Unstable winds and large shifts characterised the third day of racing at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPRE in Palma. After two more races Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes a one point lead over Giles Scott (GBR) into the finals with third placed Thomas Le Breton (FRA) a further eight points back. Race wins today went to Zach Railey (USA), Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), Ainslie and Le Breton.
Day three brought another postponement for the Finn class as the land breeze died, but today the postponement stretched into the afternoon before the sea breeze built enough to allow racing to start. The fleet finally got away in 8 to 11 knots just after 14.00 after a very long wait on the water.
In race five, Zach Railey (USA) finally found the front and led the blue fleet across the line followed by Jan Kurfeld (GER) and Jorge Zarif (BRA), while the current European Junior champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) won the yellow fleet from Gasper Vincec (SLO) – who turned 30 yesterday – and Michele Paoletti (ITA).
Mitakis said, “I had a great start on the left, which was the good side. I was first at the top mark but then Gasper passed me and I sailed in second for a while, but managed to pass him again on the run before the finish."
Railey said, “I was able to get in phase right away and had good boat speed. I rounded first mark in second then had a good downwind to take the lead. I was free to sail where I wanted on the second beat and was able to pull out to lead to the finish and had a nice lead on the pack. It was good to get in a win.”
Ben Ainslie (GBR) won the yellow fleet in race six - his third this week - from Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA). After a long wait for the wind to settle and a number of black flag starts, Thomas le Breton (FRA) won the blue fleet from Giles Scott (GBR) and Ed Wright (GBR). The yellow fleet had finished their race before the blue fleet actually started theirs.
After struggling so far in the regatta, Lobert picked up a welcome third place. “It has been bit difficult for me these days, but I am not giving up and I will try to come back. For race six it was again a little bit tricky and the wind was shifting hard to the right, and Ben just sailed away. Anyway it is good to be back racing with the guys and I hope to have nice races for the end of the regatta.”
Ainslie, who won race six with a useful lead of about 150 metres, said, “It’s been an interesting event. The first day we had a lot of wind and that was hard work for everybody – I haven’t raced in that amount of wind for a long time, so that was a good experience but hard work. The last couple of days has been a bit lighter and trickier winds and it’s been good racing.”
“We’ve got so many good sailors in the UK squad at the moment, there’s always going to be a British boat somewhere around the top of the fleet so I’m obviously happy to be up there at the moment. I’ve raced here a lot over the years and I’ve always enjoyed it, it’s a great venue. We’ve been training here since January and we’ve been very fortunate with the conditions we’ve had. We’ll see where we end up for the medal race – things are going OK so far, but it’s a really tough field here.”
Railey, who has now climbed into the top 10 for the first time also said, “I finished fifth in race six, which was a very hard race with big wind shifts. I'm glad to have had a solid result and a good day before the gold finals over the next two days.” Railey spoke about how he adapts to different conditions. “It is the smaller changes that are always the hardest to figure out but also the most important. Also I make some small adjustments in my technique and also with how I approach the racing. Those are also very important.”
With Ainslie and Scott eight points clear at the top and just nine points separating third to 11th, it will come down to who gets the small things right in the remaining races to find out who gets into that all important medal race on Saturday.
After six races, the fleet will now be split into gold and silver fleets, with four more races over the next two days before the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday.
Results after 6 races:
1 GBR 3 Ben AINSLIE 12
2 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 13
3 FRA 29 Thomas Le BRETON 21
4 ESP 100 Rafael TRUJILLO 23
5 USA 4 Zach RAILEY 24
6 NZL 1 Dan SLATER 26
7 NED 842 Pieter-Jan POSTMA 27
8 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 27
9 ITA 146 Michele PAOLETTI 29
10 AUS 1 Brendan CASEY 30
Photos by Jesus Renado
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