Giles Scott (GBR) has taken the lead in the Finns after day three at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta after another great performance on the Olympic sailing waters. A fourth race win followed by a second place gives him an eight point lead over Ben Ainslie (GBR), while Zach Railey (USA) drops one place to third.
The weather had improved slightly from Tuesday’s inclement conditions, but it was still another tough day on the water. The moderate wind from the south-west peaked at around 19 knots, providing challenging sailing conditions in which only the best could thrive. And clearly Giles Scott and Ben Ainslie, the two greatest Finn sailors in the world at the current time, thrive in these conditions.
Race five got under way after a general recall and Scott was soon in the lead. The battle behind was between Deniss Karpak (EST), Pieter-Jan Postma (NED and Mark Andrews (GBR). Scott went on to win his fourth race in a row while Postma continued his good form with a second. Third place finally went to Ben Ainslie (GBR) after another big recovery.
Scott then looked to be going for his fifth race win in the second race of the day, rounding the top mark ahead of Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Brendan Casey (AUS). But Ainslie had other ideas and stormed downwind to the gate to take the lead and then just sailed away from the fleet, while Scott dropped to third. Kljakovic Gaspic and Scott changed places again on the next upwind but Ainslie had already built a huge lead and they finished in this order.
Discarding his 21 from ay one, Scott takes the lead. He said, “To remain on top I am going to keep doing what I am trying to do now by taking each race as it comes. It is always better to have fewer points than more, being out in front is always a nice position to be in.”
Second overall Ainslie commented, “I had a nice final race to end the day. I haven’t been 100% at this regatta, but to be honest it is a great opportunity to get out on the water and see how the competition is doing and know more about the venue so it is completely worth doing and hopefully I will start to feel better towards the end of the week. Giles is doing really well, he certainly has turned the pace up especially upwind in these conditions. I am very lucky that he is my training partner."
After an eighth and a fourth today, Zach Railey (USA) drops to third overall. He said, “We had was about the same wind as yesterday but there were bigger velocity changes which made it hard, and they were still long races at over 75 minutes so very hard physically.”
“The fleet is very close and making the correct choice at the top of the first beat has been key so far. Ben did really well in the second race and won by a good margin. He sailed really well.”
If the forecast for the rest of the week is accurate, then this could be it until Saturday, when winds are supposed to moderate to 23-27 knots. Some predictions for the next few days indicate winds in excess of 30 knots and reaching 45 knots. Four more opening series races are scheduled before Saturday's medal race.
Results after six races
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 6
2 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 14
3 USA 4 Zach Railey 24
4 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 26
5 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 30
6 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 31
7 GBR 88 Mark Andrews 37
8 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 39
9 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 46
10 DEN 2 Jonas Hoegh-Christensen 50
Event website: http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk