• pic1.jpg
  • pic2.jpg
  • pic3.jpg
  • pic4.jpg
  • pic5.jpg
  • pic6.jpg
  • pic7.jpg
  • pic8.jpg
  • pic9.jpg
  • pic10.jpg

NOTICE BOARD

More news on the Finn Class Facebook Page and Twitter feed

January 2018
 
Major Events for 2018
Open Europeans • Cadiz, Spain • 9-17 March
Finn World Masters • El Balis, Spain • 18-25 May
Finn Gold Cup (World Sailing Championships) • Aarhus, Denmark • 30 July to 10 August)
Finn Silver Cup (U23 Worlds) • Koper, Slovenia • 25-31 August
Finn European Masters • Split, Croatia • 11-14 September
 
December 2017
 
December eNews published.
 
November 2017
 
Two new Finn books published.
 
Notice of Race published and Online Entry open for 2018 Europeans in Cadiz
 
The 2018 Finn Class Calendar is now available to purchase
 
cover2018
 
September 2017
 
2017 IFA Annual General Meeting - Agenda and Papers
 
August 2017 eNews
 
May 2017
 
For all news, reports, results and photos from the Finn European Championships in Marseille please go to the event website at 2017.finneuropeans.org
 
February 2017
 
Notice of Race Published and Online Entry Open for 2017 Open and U23 European Championship in Marseille. Event website here.
 
Major Championships for 2017:

Europeans - Marseille, France
Registration and Measurement • 5-7 May
Practice Race • 7 May
Racing • 8-13 May (Final Race 13 May)
2017.finneuropeans.org (coming soon) • www.ycpr.net

Silver Cup (U23 Worlds) - Balatonfured, Hungary
Registration and Measurement • 20-22 August
Practice Races/Rule 42 Clinic • 21 August
Racing 22-27 August (2,3,2,3,2,1)
2017.finnsilvercup.org (coming soon) • www.mvmse.hu

Finn Gold Cup - Balatonfoldvar, Hungary
Registration and Measurement • 1-3 September
Practice Race • 3 September
Racing • 4-10 September (Medal Race 10 September)
2017.finngoldcup.org (coming soon) • http://spartacus.hu

 

January 2017

 
Sailing World Cup Notices are posted here. For those wishing to receive invites to SWC Hyeres, please check Notice No 3.
 
 
New Documents:
Sailing World Championships Test Event Qualification System
7 –13 August 2017: Aarhus, DENMARK • Download

Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships Qualification System
30 July–12 August 2018 : Aarhus, DENMARK Download



All current news articles can be found in the menu on the left. Archived news can be found under the NEWS menu above.

 

2006 Finn Gold Cup - Split, Croatia

1
DEN 2
Christensen Jonas Hogh
2
4
2
5
1
3
33
6
23
2
GRE 7
Papathanasiou Emilios
4
1
5
10
2
DSQ
3
1
26
3
GBR 111
Wright Edward
1
10
7
2
3
10
7
2
32
4
SWE 11
Birgmark Daniel
11
6
3
8
15
4
27
7
54
5
ESP 100
Trujillo Rafael Joaquin
9
2
1
1
8
1
34
38
56
6
FRA 73
Guillame Florent
19
11
12
11
16
5
4
4
63
7
SWE 736
Tillander Johan
12
5
13
6
7
14
16
12
69
8
CRO 524
Kljaković Gašpić Ivan
5
12
OCS
18
10
17
1
10
73
9
CAN 41
Cook Christopher
21
7
10
13
14
11
12
9
76
10
GBR 550
Howard Matt
6
13
6
68
9
13
13
19
79
11
GBR 54
Percy Iain
7
3
21
12
4
8
28
RAF
83
12
NED 842
Postma Pieter Jan
8
23
4
39
19
2
21
16
93
13
NOR 1
Moberg Peer
10
9
14
32
11
25
11
13
93
14
AUS 221
Nossiter Anthony
25
14
22
20
17
9
46
3
110
15
SLO 5
Vinčec Gašper
BFD
29
8
22
13
7
6
28
113
16
AUT 271
Raudaschl Florian
16
34
19
4
27
16
17
17
116
17
CRO 11
Kuret Karlo
37
20
26
7
6
6
14
44
116
18
NZL 1
Slater Daniel
3
8
OCS
19
12
18
30
33
123
19
POL 12
Szukiel Waclaw
32
28
38
3
5
26
24
8
126
20
FIN 216
Tapio Nirkko
23
15
9
27
34
24
2
27
127
21
ESP 310
Arrarte Pablo
27
25
29
17
23
12
10
24
138
22
CZE 1
Maier Michael
34
16
47
16
26
23
8
21
144
23
FRA 972
Ismael Bruno
15
22
31
14
22
43
35
11
150
24
IRL 10
O'grady Aaron
31
19
35
42
25
19
37
5
171
25
GBR 625
Greig Ed
38
26
11
52
36
15
19
29
174
26
CRO 25
Mišura Marin
28
17
34
36
44
20
9
32
176
27
POL 7
Szukiel Rafal
17
18
33
29
29
22
39
37
185
28
IRL 5
Goodbody Timothy
26
37
16
9
31
31
53
39
189
29
USA 4
Railey Zach
22
21
27
71
20
27
22
51
190
30
LTU 7
Guzys Giedrius
14
30
30
43
41
21
20
41
197
31
GBR 88
Andrews Mark
24
27
24
34
35
29
50
25
198
32
GRE 8
Dragoutsis Alexandros
18
31
48
15
32
32
43
60
219
33
CRO 69
Mišura Bartul
40
24
23
53
33
62
23
26
222
34
CRO 16
Tomašević Emil
20
35
40
70
43
34
38
20
230
35
CZE 3
Lidarik Rudolf
30
50
46
40
38
56
15
18
237
36
ESP 836
Vadell Alberto
46
32
45
57
52
40
5
22
242
37
NED 80
Willems Sender
13
BFD
15
60
40
30
41
46
245
38
ITA 117
Poggi Giorgio
29
39
20
50
28
36
44
56
246
39
DEN 9
Laursen Thomas
33
40
18
RET
39
42
29
47
248
40
ESP 1
Fructoso Diego
36
36
49
59
24
41
45
23
254
41
NED 64
Zetzema Wietze
41
BFD
28
30
18
55
40
58
270
42
BRA 109
Zarif Jorge
58
44
37
26
30
33
58
43
271
43
GBR 99
Bagnall Henry
52
43
41
24
58
39
62
15
272
44
ITA 660
Bortoletto Davide
35
58
32
61
37
50
25
40
277
45
GBR 589
Davidson Peter
42
54
36
35
46
48
61
45
306
46
UKR 1
Borisov Olexiy
49
41
25
37
BFD
28
31
DNF
311
47
CAN 115
Mess Derek
57
62
43
25
53
49
55
35
317
48
NED 41
Van Hellemond Karel
43
65
53
75
66
35
51
14
327
49
CZE 9
Hruby Michal
39
33
17
21
21
DNC
DNC
DNC
331
50
POL 17
Kula Piotr
BFD
48
DSQ
23
59
54
18
42
344
51
NZL 4
Turner Jim
55
52
44
28
57
61
68
48
345
52
POL 1
Dabkowski Krzysztof
51
46
54
48
45
57
48
59
349
53
POL 45
Mazur Piotr
65
57
87
33
47
69
49
31
351
54
ITA 101
Cordovani Riccardo
79
67
42
41
DNC
38
71
30
368
55
GBR 634
Mills Andrew
54
38
39
81
48
71
42
DNF
373
56
ITA 6
Passoni Marco
53
56
52
BFD
74
51
64
34
384
57
ITA 40
Kolic Marko
BFD
42
51
DNF
67
45
26
55
386
58
CRO 88
Mrduljaš Marin
84
76
80
44
63
46
32
49
390
59
ITA 82
Bosetti Roberto
50
51
61
46
64
70
56
62
390
60
FRA 9
Ponsot Pierre Alexis
63
55
50
31
75
52
69
74
394
61
CZE 52
Vika Tomaš
75
64
73
64
60
65
36
36
398
62
GER 174
Bohn Matthias
56
63
69
93
61
37
47
76
409
63
POL 41
Szydlowski Bartek
48
49
57
62
BFD
44
52
DNF
412
64
ITA 55
Riosa Walter
70
53
63
45
50
60
78
DNF
419
65
TUR 7
Muslubas Akif
68
61
68
63
55
59
85
61
435
66
ITA 68
Romeo Piero
59
RET
75
38
BFD
53
57
54
436
67
HUN 6
Pal Gaszton
61
60
66
84
72
47
54
78
438
68
ITA 70
Lubrano Francesco
47
47
91
88
49
66
67
77
441
69
GER 108
Munck Sebastian
64
80
56
47
76
76
59
66
444
70
BUL 24
Kopanov Mihail
44
59
64
74
83
63
73
75
452
71
CRO 9
Cicarelli Lukša
82
68
74
72
51
73
66
50
454
72
BAR 2
Mcgregor David
80
70
59
56
73
72
76
57
463
73
HUN 8
Beliczay Marton
62
79
79
49
77
79
72
52
470
74
NED 45
De Ruiter Dennis
71
75
58
58
87
75
63
70
470
75
GER 165
Meid Dirk
74
69
62
67
65
74
75
DNC
486
76
ITA 929
Buglielli Marco
66
81
72
RET
68
68
88
53
496
77
CRO 6
Zekan Armano
DSQ
71
71
85
56
88
60
67
498
78
ITA 72
Guidi Andrea
88
72
82
92
54
77
65
64
502
79
EST 7
Liiv Harles
60
45
DNC
DNC
42
58
DNC
DNC
505
80
BUL 20
Stergidov Kosta
73
77
76
82
62
67
84
68
505
81
ITA 926
Mancini Simone
85
85
70
54
69
80
90
69
512
82
EST 3
Eesalu Heiko
81
73
67
90
78
64
86
63
512
83
NED 804
Scheurwater Cees
72
74
65
76
81
86
81
73
522
84
GRE 71
Panagiotis Davourlis
83
86
85
51
80
81
91
65
531
85
ITA 4
Faggiani Francesco
77
78
78
77
86
78
70
DNF
544
86
SUI 496
Gautschi Tomas
69
93
89
66
90
87
74
71
546
87
EST 8
Taveter Aare
93
87
86
73
71
84
83
79
563
88
USA 1197
Brown Conrad
76
84
88
55
79
89
93
DNF
564
89
BAR 1
Kent Christopher
78
90
81
79
84
91
80
72
564
90
AUS 2
Ironmoger Ricky
45
89
55
86
DNC
DNC
DNC
DNC
575
91
HUN 5
Pallay Tibor
86
83
77
DNC
70
82
77
DNC
575
92
GBR 631
Hart Richard
87
82
83
78
82
85
92
81
578
93
DEN 231
Boggild Kenneth
67
66
60
87
DNC
DNC
DNC
DNC
580
94
HUN 17
Keresztes Gabor
89
92
92
69
88
92
87
80
597
95
USA 1213
Nady Andras
92
91
84
80
92
93
82
82
603
96
ITA 71
Podesta Lorenzo
90
95
90
91
89
90
79
DNF
624
97
GER 666
Wingsch Volker
91
94
93
65
85
DNC
DNF
DNC
628
98
HUN 68
Laszlo Nagy Akos
94
88
94
89
91
83
89
DNC
628
99
RUS 7
Duyunov Maxim
95
96
95
83
93
94
94
DNC
650
Junior World Championship
 
Overall
   
1
31
GBR 88
Andrews Mark
2
43
GBR 99
Bagnall Henry
3
50
POL 17
Kula Piotr
4
52
POL 1
Dabkowski Krzysztof
5
53
POL 45
Mazur Piotr
6
55
GBR 634
Mills Andrew
7
57
ITA 40
Kolic Marko
8
61
CZE 52
Vika Tomaš
9
63
POL 41
Szydlowski Bartek
10
73
HUN 8
Beliczay Marton
11
82
EST 3
Eesalu Heiko
12
87
EST 8
Taveter Aare
13
90
AUS 2
Ironmoger Ricky
14
96
ITA 71
Podesta Lorenzo
15
98
HUN 68
Laszlo Nagy Akos
16
99
RUS 7
Duyunov Maxim

 

Finn Gold Cup 2006

Split, Croatia - 8-16 July

 

 

Preview: New world champion guaranteed in the 50th Finn Gold Cup

On Sunday 8th July, the 50th Finn Gold Cup will get underway in the picturesque Adriatic port of Split in Croatia.

In recent years, the Finn class has twice enjoyed the town’s great weather and wonderful hospitality. The European Championship was held there in 1997 and the World Masters in 2002. In 2006 it is the turn of the Gold Cup to complete the hat-trick of major Finn championships.

The Finn Gold Cup is one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies and has been sailed every year except one since it was presented to the class – by FR Mitchell of Burnham-on-Crouch in the UK – in 1956.

With 108 entries from 29 countries entered for the regatta it will be the largest for 24 years as well as perhaps the closest. In fact the class is guaranteed a new name on the cup as no previous winner of one of the toughest events in yachting is taking part, although the line-up includes a string of former European Champions and Olympic medallists.

The absence of the current World Champion – and the winner of the last four world championships – is considered by many to be a shame, but it may also open up the competition enormously. Ben Ainslie (GBR) is sorry not to be there to defend his title, but commitments with Emirates Team New Zealand take priority.

Ben said, “I’m not competing this year as it is during a vital testing time in Valencia with ETNZ. Like the rest of the team my focus has to be on the AC next year. Having said that, I’m disappointed not to have the opportunity to defend the Gold Cup.”

He continued, “Since the last Gold Cup in Russia I have sailed twice here in Valencia. Not as much as I would like but as I said we are working very hard at ETNZ and right now it is paying off. It’s hard to plan the future at the moment but the next big regatta I intend to compete in is the 2007 Gold Cup.”

Commenting on the form of current sailors, he said, “From the outside it looks as though Ed Wright (GBR), Dan Slater (NZL) and Emilios Papathansiou (GRE) are the on-form sailors. Rafael Trujillo (ESP) has been training hard here in Valencia and I expect the Croatians, especially Ivan Kljakovic-Gaspic (CRO) and Marin Misura (CRO), to be strong on their home waters. The class looks wide open at the moment so it is anyone’s for the taking. I hope it is a great event and the best sailor comes out on top. They will have to earn it in such a tight fleet!”

Favourites

In fact the 2006 season has been one of the most open for many years. With Rafael Trujillo winning in Miami in January, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) winning Pricessa Sofia in March, Ed Wright winning Hyeres in April, Emilios Papathansiou winning Holland Regatta and Dan Slater recently winning Kiel Week, no one sailor has dominated proceedings, although five or six have been consistently in the medals.

Since finishing as runner-up in last year’s Gold Cup in Moscow, Emilios Papathanasiou has continued to show good form, winning the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta and a number of others, although he is currently only ranked fourth in the world. He placed third in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Gold Cups and is still seeking his first world championship win. While the memory of the 2005 last race showdown with Ainslie in Moscow may still haunt him, he has to be one of the clear favourites this year.

Meanwhile, the sometimes inconsistent Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, currently ranked first in the world, has had a successful season winning in Palma, finishing third in Hyeres and second in Kiel Week. The winner in Kiel, Dan Slater, has been sailing Finns for only one year and has made rapid progress to a world ranking position of second, and is sure to figure at the front of the fleet in Split. He said of the regatta, “It’s a great venue and we are expecting good sailing in Split, with sea breezes and great temperatures. There are maybe five guys that can win but the top 10 could be made up of any out of 20 sailors. So it’s quite open. Anyone who has won a race this year is in with a chance.  It would be great if Ben was here. It’s a shame, especially as they moved the regatta for the Cup guys.”

The silver medalist from Athens in 2004, Rafael Trujillo is also back for more. Third in Holland and in Hyeres, Trujillo remains a major force within the class, despite having a day job on board +39 Challenge. His recent form and a win at the Miami OCR leave him ranked third in the world.

Following in Ainslie’s footsteps is not an easy prospect, but this year Ed Wright has managed to pull out some of his best results to date. Winning Hyeres with apparent ease, he narrowly finished second in Holland and could be the surprise of the regatta. The locals could also be a force to be reckoned with. Last year’s junior world champion, Ivan Kljakovic-Gaspic is currently ranked 9th in the world, with Marin Misura not far behind in 16th.

Other faces to watch for at the front are Gasper Vincec (SLO), Anthony Nossiter (AUS), Guillame Florent (FRA) and  Chris Cook (CAN) – who took the bronze medal in Moscow last year. Daniel Birgmark (SWE), now up to fifth in the world ranking, said “From what I've heard we could have any wind conditions, and it will be very warm. I have never sailed in Split before but I’m told it’s a nice place. I think it will be quite an open championship and there are certainly lots of people capable of doing well.”

And then there are the old hands. When the class held its 1997 European Championships at the same venue, Luca Devoti (ITA) surprised himself and everyone there by winning. Now head of the +39 America’s Cup challenger, he is back again – along with several of the crew of +39 Challenge, including Iain Percy, 1999 Finn European Champion and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist. Percy has not sailed a Finn competitively since the Sydney Olympics, but has done some Finn sailing in Valencia with many of the other Finn sailors taking part in the America’s Cup.

The racing

The first race will be a sad affair. It has been decided to make this a commemoration race for Zvonko Bevic, who died in motorcycle crash in June. Zvonko was a great talent in sailmaking and revolutionised Finn sails from the mid 90s, working with Victory Sails. He will be much missed.

The 2006 Finn Gold Cup officially opens on Sunday July 8th with the practice race on Monday July 10th followed by a nine race series commencing on Tuesday 11th. A maximum of two races per day can be sailed with no warning signal being given after 15.00 on Sunday 16th July. This event is also the last chance for country selection for the 2007 Finn Gold Cup in Cascais, Portugal.


Monday 10th of July

Report #1 by Corinne McKenzie

The 50th Finn Gold Cup has been declared officially opened Monday night by Mr. Zeljko Klaric on behalf of the Croatian Prime Minister. The opening Ceremony put an end to 3 days of intensive measurement and final preparation for sailors and organisers.

IFA Chief Measurer, Mr. Juri Saraskin was satisfied with the high level of preparation provided by the Labud Yacht club for the very demanding Finn measurement procedure. The boats and masts are weighted, their centre of gravity checked, the sails are measured and every item recorded and stamped.

“The logistic and manpower provided for the measurement is one of the best I have dealt with for a long time” declared Mr. Saraskin. “It is even better that what we had for the Olympics!” Helped by new Finn measurer trainee John Driscoll, and a team from the club members, the 97 boats were measured in less than 3 days.

The practice race was the usual affair with half of the fleet taking the start for a lap of practice before heading for the club or for further training. Iain Percy who is making a “guest star” appearance in a Finn regatta since winning the Gold medal in the Sydney Olympic has sent a message to the Gold Cup contestants by sailing in the front of the fleet: “I am back!”

Nine races are scheduled for the championship with 2 for the starting day, Tuesday 11th. With light winds predicted in the early part of the day, racing will not start before 1PM.

The 2006 IFA Annual General Assembly took place on Sunday in the spectacular Archaeological Museum assembling over 70 participants and 27 voting countries (Finn class decisions are democratically taken on a yearly basis by the countries members of IFA). The Executive Committee members were re-elected with the inclusion of top Swedish sailor, Daniel Birgmark in the role of Vice President Sailing. He is replacing Ali Enver Adakan who after committing to the Finn class during many years has decided to reduce his sailing activities.

Among the decisions taken, the Council voted to adopt the new Olympic format for the European and Finn Gold Cup, but will include providing racing on the last day for sailors not qualified in the top 10 final.

For their last Olympic qualifying event which has to be outside of Europe, the Finn representatives have decided to return to Black Rock Yacht Club,

Australia, for the 2008 Finn Gold Cup and chose the newly built Etrusca Marina in Puntone di Scarlino, Italy for the 2008 European Championship.

Representatives from the Moscow Sailing School and Moscow City Sport Management presented the 2007 Finn Junior Championship. To respond to the increasing number of Juniors and with the limitation of entries imposed by ISAF for the 2007 ISAF Worlds in Cascais, the IFA executive committee has proposed to create a separate Junior World Championship every 4 years (in the year of the ISAF Worlds). With 100 complete boats available for racing in Moscow, it was logical to enjoy this opportunity to organise this inaugural Junior event there. Based on the same system as the ISAF Youth Worlds, participants will only have to organise their trip. Accommodation and food will be provided on the premises for all participants for a good rate while the equipment and coach boats will be provided at no cost. “It is a great development opportunity for the class and sailing generally, the Finn class will organise a clinic to increase the level of junior sailors” explained IFA President Dr. Balazs Hajdu.

Other step towards development includes the “Web based Finn clinic” elaborated by Gus Miller and Jane Walker. All sailing topics will be covered in this tutorial interactive web based tool, where still and motion pictures will be available along with comments and interviews of top athletes and coaches in different languages.

The Finn class welcomed the project and will participate with US$6,000 on an overall estimated budget of US$30,000. This great development tool will be available free of charge to any sailor at the end of 2006 and is predicted to be used not only by Finn sailors but also by other dinghy sailors and coaches.

In order to generate sufficient income to cover the Finn development items, administration, measurement expertise and regatta organisation, IFA has voted in favour of increasing the equipment building fees for boats, masts and sails. In the last 3 years, the ISAF grant for Olympic classes was enough to cover these items. The decision by ISAF to cancel it this year is forcing most Olympic classes to find other source of income.

The high demand from sailors to see the football final forced the AGM to be adjourned after the St Francis YC bid presentation for the 2009 FGC which received high interest from sailors and will be voted for in 2007 along with other bids. The remaining items in the agenda will be discussed on Tuesday evening.


Tuesday 11th of July

Report #2

Races 1 and 2 - A perfect day!

The 2006 Finn Gold Cup started on Tuesday 11th of July with 2 good races thanks to fair wind and experienced racing management.

As expected the competition was fierce with many sailors hoping to grab their chance to win the Finn Gold Cup in a championship dominated the last 4 years by Ben Ainslie. His absence is opening the field and brings new hopes in a strong fleet of 99 sailors coming from 31 countries.

Ed Wright took the first honours by winning convincingly the first race. After a clear start, the Brit increased his lead to 150 meters to the finish. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) placed second in front of Dan Slater (NZL) and Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE).  The wind increased to 18 knots for the second race and the racing committee hoisted the Oscar flag allowing free kinetics. Sharing the lead with Rafael Trujillo during the whole race, Emilios Papathanasiou tricked the Spaniard on the last run to win the race. “I was lucky” declared Emilios once ashore. “My boat was damaged before the last race and I finished with 4 litres of water in the boat!” Athens Silver medallist, Rafael Trujillo took second place with +39 team mate Iain Percy in third. Percy, now campaigning in the Star class, has been training hard in the Finn while in Valencia with +39 sailors. Anthony Nossiter, Michael Maier, Karlo Kuret and Piero Romeo are among the +39 sailors presents in Split. When asked about his come back in a top Finn regatta after 6 years of absence, Iain Percy admits it is just for fun: "I just wanted to come with the guys (+39) and enjoy myself in the Finn again. But actually there is not one muscle in my body that’s not hurting!"

Three British are leading the Junior division with Mark Andrews in 26th position, leading his team mates Andrew Mills and Henry Bagnall by 41 and 44 points respectively, after placing 24th and 27th. The 16 Juniors in contention for the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup, are competing in the same fleet as the seniors and are representing 9 countries.

The forecast is not too promising for the second day of sailing with light winds preceding a storm in the afternoon.

Wednesday 12th of July

Report #3

Race 3

World N.1 ranked sailor in the Finn class, Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) has taken the lead of the 2006 Finn Gold Cup in Split after placing in second position in the day’s only race.

The start of the 3rd race in the 50th Finn Gold Cup was delayed by 2 hours on the water, allowing for some refreshing swims in the clear Adriatic waters.  Eager to start, the 99 Finn sailors were aggressive on the starting line generating 2 general recalls. The third start allowed racing to commence but the individual recall penalised 3 sailors on the line. While Akif Muslubas (TUR) repaired his fault by restarting, Dan Slater (NZL) and local hope Ivan Klakovitch Gaspic collected a disqualification.

Rafael Trujillo (ESP) won the race enjoying the increasing breeze and displaying his usual strength upwind in the strong conditions. Starting around 10 knots, the wind rapidly gained to reach 18 knots. Stable in direction, the wind provided some good opportunity for the sailors who could find the areas with more pressure. After a very good start, Rafael Trujillo who was among the leaders with Daniel Birgmark (SWE) and Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN), capitalised his advance on the second upwind leg. ”I was already in front but while I went to the right of the course, most of the fleet chose the left side. I could see them tack while I was heading straight to the mark with a good breeze. I was lucky.” Trujillo passed the windward mark with 1 minute lead to win the race in front of Jonas Hoegh Christensen from Denmark. “I wasn’t good at the start” admitted the Dane,” then I saw more pressure on the right side and I must have gained 17 places. I rounded the top mark in 3rd position. It was the same in the second beat; I gained lots of ground and passed the top mark in third place behind Daniel Birgmark.”

Twenty years old Scottish sailor Mark Andrews is still leading the Junior’s division improving his overall results by 3 places in 21st position. Team Skandia GBR is counting 3 sailors in the top 10. While Iain Percy have lost 5 places from 3rd to 8th, and Ed Wright have conserved his 4th position, the surprise is coming from Matt Howard. Usually seen around the 20 bench mark, Matt Howard is laying in 6th position. “He is really fast downwind” explained his coach David Howlett,”may be one of the fastest in the Finn squad. He trained hard and it is paying off.”

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow. The week still reserves many opportunities for a sailor to take a clear lead in the championship. This year has been surprising everyone by revealing lots of talented sailors, each of them taking turns to win a regatta in the international circuit. The top 4 sailors in the 2006 Finn Gold Cup have each had their moment of glory this year. Jonas Hoegh Christensen won the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, Emilios Papathanasiou now in second place took over the Holland regatta, today’s winner Rafael Trujillo took the early glory in the Miami OCR and Ed Wright was the leader in Hyères. Despite having to count with an OCS (which he is seeking redress for at the moment), Dan Slater (NZL) was the latest winner in Kiel but is still in contention for the title.

Lots of hope and pressure were put on the Croatian team who is not performing at its best and have yet to show their full potential. Six more races can still change the perspective of the championship.

Corinne McKenzie

 


Thursday 13th of July

Report #4

Second bullet gives lead to Rafael Trujillo

A second victory in the 2006 Finn Gold Cup places Athens Silver medallist, Rafael Trujillo from Spain on the top of the rankings. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is on equal points in second position after scoring a 5th place today. This is the third change of leadership since the start of the championship where no sailors are yet in charge! Ed Wright (GBR) and Emilios Papathanasiou are both on 20 points in 3rd and 4th place.

It was a difficult day on the water. The wind came from every direction and the racing was postponed until 3PM. The swimming contest was on again providing some refreshing interlude in the roaring temperatures.

After 2 general recalls, race 4 started with 15 knots and a triangle course. The first beat was fair with the top 3 choosing different options: Rafael Trujillo repeated yesterday tactic on the right of the beat to pass the top mark ahead of Edward Wright who got just as much breeze on the left corner while Waclav Szukiel (POL) got to the top mark in third position after sailing in the middle of the course! With the wind decreasing to 12 knots the reaches didn’t offer much chance to pass boats. The racing committee had to shorten the course and finally set the finishing line at the end of the second beat. The top 3 remained in the same placing. Florian Raudaschl (AUT) took 4th place and is in 11th position overall. He is realising a good regatta so far. ”I finally could take time off work and train properly to prepare for this regatta.”  Florian has taken the reins of the family loft 4 years ago and is coached by one his father main rival in the Finn class Christian Scheineker. Jonas Hoegh Christensen lost 2 places on the second upwind finishing 5th.

The second race of the day had to be cancelled after the wind took a 100 degrees shift on the second upwind leg. Iain Percy who was leading and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen in second place were counting on this race where most of their direct opponents were in very difficult situation: Emilios Papathanasiou, Rafael Trujillo and Ed Wright were sailing in 50 + positions. The top sailors in this race, while disappointed to miss a good opportunity to gain some valuable points on their rivals understood the decision of the racing committee.

Chance seems to be finally turning for Junior sailor from Poland Piotr Kula. After 2 previous disqualifications at the start (a Black Flag and a disqualification after a collision) the young Pole was the first Junior in the day’s race in 24th place.

Mark Andrews is still leading the 16 junior fleet in 23rd place overall. Henry Bagnall has climbed up the overall ranking in 37th place after scoring a 25th today. Third placed Junior is Krysztof Dabkowski (POL) in 50th position.

After a long day on the water and sailing back under stormy weather and showers, the sailors enjoyed the “Tuna on the BBQ” party organised by the Labud Yacht Club. Two Optimists were filled with ice and beer and brightened all the spirits. T. Mobile, the event main sponsor, presented with prizes, the previous race winners.

Two races are scheduled on Friday.

Corinne McKenzie


Friday 14th of July

Report #5

Race 5 & 6

Faultless regatta for World N.1 Jonas Hoegh-Christensen

Consistent racing with only top 5 placing in the last 6 races and a win today places Jonas Hoegh-Christensen from Denmark in the lead of the 2006 Finn Gold Cup in Split. Yesterday leader, Rafael Trujillo, is ranked 2nd at only 1 point from the Dane after collecting his third victory and placing 8th.

Emilios Papathanasiou and Ed Wright are placed respectively 3rd and 4th overall 8 points behind the Spaniard (10 points for Wright). However a pending disqualification for the Greek after an incident on the starting line could cost him a place in the ranking.

Perfect conditions provided 2 good races in a strengthening westerly wind. After a general recall penalising Olexiy Borisov (UKR), Junior Sailor Bartek Szydlowski (POL) and Piero Romeo, the race was started with a stable10 knots breeze on a windward return course. The “usual suspects” dominated the race with a first victory for Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) followed over the finish line by Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Ed Wright (GBR) and +39 helmsman Iain Percy.

The wind increased to 18 knots in the second race, and the racing committee changed the course for a triangle and upwind finish. The Dane was first at the top mark but lost his lead to finish 3rd. “I had a good start on the left then I covered the fleet in the middle. I didn’t want to go too far on one side with so many boats. I was leading at the windward mark but then I couldn’t find the mark and my usual rhythm downwind.” Peter-Jan Postma from Holland passed the wing mark in front but could not keep the fast Athens Silver medallist, Trujillo behind. The Spaniard passed him at the leeward mark and conserved his position until the finish where he collected his third bullet. Peter-Jan Postma (NED) managed to stay in second place obtaining the 10th place in the overall ranking.

The Croatian sailors are back into their usual form with Ivan Kljakovitch Gaspic placed in 13th position overall (after discarding an OCS) and Karlo Kuret climbing to 14th after finishing in 6 place twice today. “I was a bit rusty in the first 2 days” explained Kuret “now I am finding my mechanisms and marks in the boat.”

Like Iain Percy, Karlo Kuret is only sailing for the fun. “I could not think about having a Finn Gold Cup at home and just watch!” A Team +39 sailor, Kuret has his mind set on the America’s Cup but has been training actively in Valencia with his team mates to prepare for this regatta.

Mark Andrews is still leading the Junior division from the 33rd position overall. He has a good lead from Henry Bagnall (GBR) and Krzysztof Dabkowski. The young Pole’s third place is threatened by Andrew Mills (GBR) and Bartek Szydlowski (POL) only a few points behind.

After catching up with the racing programme, the sailors, happy with the great sailing conditions but tired, quickly disappeared from the Yacht Club to find some rest before tomorrow’s two scheduled races.

Corinne McKenzie

 


Saturday 15th of July

Report #6

Race 7

The Bura changes the game!

The Bura, a Northerly capricious wind came on Saturday to add some excitement to the crucial penultimate race of the 2006 Finn Gold Cup. Renown for being shifty and inconstant the local wind from the mountain delayed racing until 5 PM. The racing committee and the 99 Finn sailors were patiently waiting for the wind to gain in stability in order to start a race.

Sailors from Split had probably been waiting for the Bura all week and the results proved that the locals and their training partners made the most of this tricky wind. Nicknamed Bambi, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, current European and World Junior Champion, has mastered to win his first race in a World Championship climbing in 10th place overall. Best race also for Marin Misura who is finishing 9th or for his brother Bartul realising his best result with a 23rd. Slovenian Gasper Vincec who has made of Split his main training centre has collected a 6th place.

Among the favourites for the title, Emilios Papathanasiou 3rd across the line and Ed Wright 7th, managed the difficult conditions. They are keeping their previous standing while their direct opponents, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen and Rafael Trujillo followed each other across the finish in 33rd and 34th place! “I would have had more chance playing lottery” declared the regatta leader from Denmark.

The first beat was crucial, and unlike the other days it didn’t pay to sail conservatively in the middle. Both sides gave better speed with more pressure. Ivan Kljakovitch Gaspic was the first around the top mark. Tapio Nirkko from Finland threatened the young Croatian on the run where they shared the lead but not for long. The 2 ex-Juniors stayed ahead of the fleet managing the shifts and the pressure. Emilios Papathanasiou came up to third followed by Guillaume Florent from France in 4th and Alberto Vadell (ESP), 5th.

Using this last race as their discard, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen and Rafael Trujillo are only 5 points apart in 1st and 2nd position overall. Emilios Papathanasiou is not far behind, 3 points from the Spaniard. Ed Wright who is the only one among the top 4 with no bad race could also win the title.

Even if the leader has not changed in the junior division, Mark Andrews is now ranked in 32nd position. The fight is on for 3rd place between Andrew Mills (GBR) and Krzysztof Dabkowski on equal points and Piotr Kula (POL) only 10 points behind.

Only one race is scheduled for the last day of the championship and with the Bura still in action, anything can happen!

While the sailors were resting and preparing for their last race in the Finn Gold Cup, event sponsor T. Mobile organised a reception on Saturday night for officials, politics and some clients in the ex-President General Tito’s, Villa Dalmacija. Among the politicians supporting the event with logistic and funding was the Minister for Sport and Science, and city of Split vice-Mayor, Ivan Kuret, better known from the sailing community as 470 sailor. The top quality of the organisation of such an international sailing event is due to the combined knowledge and resources put together by the Labud Yacht Club, their sponsor T. Mobile and the involvement of the city of Split and the Croatian Government who believe in the benefits generated by the exposure that a sailing event is providing.


Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is the 2006 World Champion

Sunday 16th of July

Final report

Jonas Hoegh Christensen has proved this week he really is the N.1 Finn sailor in the World by winning the 50th Finn Gold Cup. He had to face some of the best sailors in a fierce competition where the smallest mistakes were paid dearly. One of the most disputed Finn Gold Cup in years; this edition assembled 99 sailors from over 30 countries on the same starting line. Hoegh Christensen’s display of skills was impressive in a field of talented opponents and in varied conditions. He is winning by a small 3 points margin from Emilios Papathanasiou. The Greek won the last race with brio but his second victory in the Championship was not enough to overcome the Dane. The Bronze medal is going to Edward Wright who raced the most constant regatta scoring only top 10 results. He finishes in second position in this last race.  Ed Wright has made a rapid progression after stepping from the Laser to the Finn last year. Also coming from the Laser is Daniel Birgmark who is acceding to 4th position after finishing 7th in the last race.

Rafael Trujillo was probably the fastest sailor in this regatta, the early leader won 3 races in the championship but the Bura wind has been fatal for the Athens Silver medallist who after collecting a 39th today misses the podium to step down to 5th position overall. Opposite situation for Guillaume Florent who after a slow start into the championship scored a 5th and two 4th places. He is placed in 6th position after taking one year off.

The best Croatian is yesterday race winner, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic in 8th position. He will pass on the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup to the new Junior World Champion, Mark Andrews (GBR). Second Junior is Henry Bagnall also from Great Britain. The third position in the Junior division has been fought for very hard during all week. After a very slow start into the Championship, Piotr Kula has reached the third place by distancing his teammates Krzysztof Dabkowski and Piotr Mazur by a few points. Piotr Kula is satisfied with his results, despite collecting two disqualifications, he is placed 50th overall in his first major Finn regatta. The 19 years old has realised his best results in Kiel Week finishing 18th after a few months in the Finn.

The Finn class is thankful to the Labud yacht Club and the Grisogono brothers who have provided the Finn sailors with a great championship.

Corinne McKenzie

2005 Finn Gold Cup - Moscow, Russia

 

GOLD FLEET
Sailed:8  Discards:1  To count:7 Entries:49
 
 
 
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q5
Q6
F1
F2
Total
1
GBR 3
Ben Ainslie
2
1
1
2
10
2
8
1
17
2
GRE 7
Papathanasiou Emilios
1
3
1
8
5
3
2
6
21
3
CAN 41
Christopher Cook
3
OCS
3
13
8
5
1
9
42
4
POL 12
Waclav Szukiel
19
8
7
4
2
14
5
14
54
5
CZE 9
Michal Hruby
8
10
17
2
1
7
23
13
58
6
NZL 1
Dan Slater
10
1
2
7
17
10
13
26
60
7
ESP 100
Rafael Trujillo Villar
8
12
11
1
32
8
12
8
60
8
AUS 228
Joshua Beaver
12
5
40
9
4
22
7
5
64
9
SWE 11
Daniel Birgmark
2
3
8
21
19
8
21
4
65
10
CRO 25
Marin Misura
11
18
2
3
1
15
20
16
66
11
NED 6
Stefan de Vries
9
7
11
10
OCS
6
17
10
70
12
DEN 2
Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
3
9.6rdg
9
7
12
17
14
18
71.6
13
SLO 5
Gasper Vincec
1
22
5
5
17
22
3
19
72
14
DEN 7
Soren Holm
4
4
19
14
21
12
19
2
74
15
GBR 6
Andrew Simpson
7
11
12
11
9
1
25
28
76
16
SWE 736
Johan Tillander
9
9
6
20
16
2
15
22
77
17
AUS 221
Anthony Nossiter
5
14
18
1
13
20
27
11
82
18
CRO 524
Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (J)
6
6
15
18
6
4
30
OCS
85
19
RUS 1
Krutskikh Vladimir
13
18
5
25
3
13
16
20
88
20
USA 12
Kevin Hall
22
11
6
16
20
4
10
21
88
21
FIN 216
Tapio Nirkko (J)
14
8
10
22
24
3
35
12
93
22
UKR 1
Borysov Olexiy
11
13
4
22
2
19
32
24
95
23
POL 7
Rafal Szukiel
17
26
16
8
3
10
18
25
97
24
NED 64
Wietze Zetzema
17
15
4
17
5
11
29
43
98
25
GBR 541
Chris Brittle
21
14
39
10
21
1
31
3
101
26
GBR 111
Edward Wright
14
2
10
6
26
13
41
31
102
27
NOR 1
Peer Moberg
16
16
12
12
19
6
26
40
107
28
NED 842
Peter-Jan Postma
4
5
13
33
4
32
36
17
108
29
IRL 8
David Burrows
5
7
31
16
7
24
22
OCS
112
30
GBR 550
Matt Howard
18
17
13
21
25
18
44
7
119
31
SWE 7
Kristian Aderman
10
17
14
3
13
28
43
35
120
32
IRL 10
Aaron O'Gradi
7
22
28
23
23
16
6
34
125
33
BLR 7
Karatkevich Ivan
32
29
30
11
11
9
4
36
126
34
RUS 8
Chernov Evgeniy
28
10
19
30
10
29
11
23
130
35
RUS 77
Semerkhanov Maxim
26
31
18
17
25
5
9
41
131
36
ESP 836
Alberto Vadell Sabater
21
6
42
24
20
12
39
15
137
37
CRO 16
Emil Tomasevic
13
23
20
4
29
14
38
DSQ
141
38
POL 17
Norbert Wilandt  (J)
24
12
8
15
28
16
40
DNF
143
39
BLR 4
Alexander Mumyga
23
21
7
15
31
24
24
37
145
40
ESP 310
Pablo Arrarte Elorza
15
28
9
26
7
31
37
30
146
41
DEN 9
Thomas Laursen
19
2
36
24
23
15
33
33
149
42
USA 1181
Darrell Peck
6
9
34
45
11
21
48
27
153
43
GBR 88
Mark Andrews (J)
25
25
15
40
12
9
46
29
155
44
TUR 3
Arif Gurdenlu
15
13
28
5
30
OCS
28
39
158
45
AUS 1
Richard Ironmonger (J)
16
24
29
25
9
17
45
44
164
46
ESP 1
Diego Fructuoso Perez
26
19
26
29
27
7
34
32
166
47
GBR8
Tim Carver
22
4
29
9
46
23
42
42
171
48
IRL 5
Timothy Goodbody
23
30
22
6
15
DNC
47
38
181
49
NED 80
Sander E.Willems
24
36
3
28
28
20
OCS
DNC
189

SILVER FLEET
Sailed:9  Discards:1  To count:8  Entries:49
 
 
 
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q5
Q6
F1
F2
F3
Nett
1
LTU 70
Giedrius Guzys
25
25
22
12
23
30
5
4
6
122
2
GBR 625
Edward Greig
18
20
34
27
18
25
17
8
3
136
3
HUN 1
Balazs Hajdu
20
24
24
26
14
27
OCS
9
1
145
4
HUN 5
Tibor Pallay
34
16
17
35
31
32
12
5
2
149
5
GER 8
Eiermann Jurgien
37
33
23
19
17
31
6
3
17
149
6
RUS 11
Bozhedomov Yury
35
38
42
31
6
18
2
16
5
151
7
RUS 111
Zhbankov Timofey
39
35
14
33
22
34
7
15
7
167
8
EST 7
Harles Liiv
30
28
21
19
34
25
16
17
11
167
9
EST 15
Janno Hool
36
26
21
20
14
39
4
13
36
170
10
CZE 3
Rudolf Lidarik
20
21
25
14
DNF
39
23
18
13
173
11
USA 1140
Bryan Boyd
36
29
38
28
27
36
3
11
8
178
12
POL 45
Piotr Mazur (J)
35
23
27
29
29
42
21
7
15
186
13
RUS 7
Kapitonov Vladislav
33
27
39
18
8
29
37
25
9
186
14
BAR 2
David McGregor
31
19
36
38
38
34
1
2
26
187
15
GRE 8
Dragoutsis Alexandros
27
40
31
43
21
26
19
1
22
187
16
GER 108
Sebastian Munck
28
32
33
30
OCS
33
13
6
14
189
17
USA 167
Bradley Nieuwstad (J)
39
32
37
36
26
11
9
10
31
192
18
NED 41
Karel van Hellemond
12
20
24
35
DSQ
21
OCS
23
12
197
19
NED 29
Bass de Waal
37
34
44
32
30
26
11
12
21
203
20
GER 137
Sebastian Petrov (J)
29
43
44
38
36
23
8
19
20
216
21
GBR 10
Robert Deaves
32
35
36
23
15
19
30
36
28
218
22
GER 203
Duisberg Hartmut
29
33
16
41
34
36
31
32
19
230
23
DEN 231
Kenneth Boggild
27
30
45
34
37
35
24
31
29
247
24
EST 8
Aare Taveter (J)
33
31
26
34
47
38
20
21
45
248
25
GRE 71
Davourlis Panagiotis
43
42
20
42
33
38
14
35
25
249
26
NED 1
Cees Scheurwater
34
36
34
13
38
44
29
33
33
250
27
EST 11
Mihkel Kosk (J)
44
37
41
37
37
28
10
20
43
253
28
BUL 20
Kosta Stergidor
31
39
49
31
43
DSQ
22
28
10
253
29
UKR 2
Zelenskiy Valeriy (J)
38
43
32
40
41
33
15
22
46
264
30
SUI 8
Benz Nick
41
45
37
32
32
41
34
27
23
267
31
HUN 6
Gaszton Pal
38
34
41
27
44
30
DSQ
24
32
270
32
SUI 496
Gautsci Thomas
40
46
30
37
35
44
32
26
30
274
33
RUS 21
Lavrov Alexey
47
46
43
45
39
45
18
37
4
277
34
BLR 8
Strelok Anatoli (J)
40
39
40
36
33
37
25
DNE
18
278
35
USA 975
August Miller
49
40
29
42
42
43
28
29
27
280
36
GER 266
Eller Michuel
41
37
45
40
32
37
38
42
16
283
37
CAN 111
Evan King (J)
42
27
23
DNF
36
42
DNF
41
24
285
38
GER 92
Detlen Guminski
45
44
25
44
42
27
35
39
35
291
39
BUL 5
Nikolay Vasilev Vasilev
46
38
32
39
40
35
27
DNF
41
298
40
RUS 38
Kravchenko Vasiliy
48
48
43
41
44
40
26
14
44
300
41
HUN 8
Marton Beliczay (J)
42
45
35
43
39
40
39
38
34
310
42
RUS 55
Borovyak Alexey
44
41
39
45
41
41
36
34
38
314
43
GER 19
Andreas Bollongino
43
42
47
47
35
46
41
40
37
331
44
BUL 69
Nikolaj Emilov Rusev (J)
46
OCS
48
46
46
46
33
30
39
334
45
AUS 22
John Shallvey
30
44
46
48
45
43
40
BFD
48
344
46
GER 12
David Guminski
47
41
46
47
40
47
42
44
47
354
47
RUS 18
Danilov Valentin
48
47
47
46
46
47
43
45
40
361
48
ITA 892
Cisbani Paolo
45
47
48
48
43
45
OCS
43
42
361
49
UKR 3
Evgen Yaroshenko
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
450
 
 

 

Finn Gold Cup 2005
9th to 18th September

Event website: www.finngoldcup2005.ru

(c) September 2005 Robert Deaves, International Finn Association


Finn Gold Cup 2005 - Preview

Robert Deaves

The 2005 Finn Gold Cup and Junior Finn Gold Cup will open in Moscow on Saturday with 100 sailors from 33 countries taking part. Registration and measurement will continue through to Sunday with the first race scheduled for Monday 12th and continuing through until next Sunday, the 18th.

The hosting club is the Moscow Sailing School, with the racing scheduled to take place on Pestovskoe Lake, about 30 km north of the centre of Moscow. The 49er Class have just held their World Championship at the same venue and now it is the turn of the Finn class - these are the first two Olympic class world championships to be held in Russian waters.

The organisers have supplied all the Finns for competitors, who were also free to bring their own rigs in a laid-on container from the Europeans in Kalmar, Sweden.

Defending champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) is back to try and win the event for a record breaking 4th time in a row. After wins in Athens (2002), Cadiz (2003) and Rio de Janeiro (2004), as well as Olympic Gold in Athens last summer, Ainslie has taken a step back from Finn racing this year. However, he emphatically won the Holland Regatta and the Europeans with virtually no training. He is viewed by most of the fleet as the firm favourite, but with the light and shifty conditions expected, nothing is certain.

Ben commented, “Winning the Europeans was a bit of a shock, but I guess it's like riding a bike. I hope to be in the frame in Moscow. Things have gone well this season but winning big championships is all about performing when it matters.”

Also present in Moscow is the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) and 2001 European Champion, Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who are probably the greatest threat to Ainslie’s dominance at the moment.

However there are a large number of sailors capable of high finishes including world ranked number 1, Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), Gasper Vincec (SLO), who has hit form this year with a 3rd at the Europeans and a win at Kiel Week, Andrew Simpson (GBR) - 6th in Rio and 3rd in Cadiz and back for another go - and Marin Misura (CRO) who finished 4th at this year’s Europeans.

The fleet has also seen an influx from the Laser class over the past year including Dan Slater (NZL) - who recently finished as runner-up to Ainslie at the Europeans - 1996 Bronze medalist Peer Moberg (NOR), Daniel Birgmark (SWE) - who finished 14th in the Finn in Athens last year - Ed Wright (GBR), who finished 3rd in Hyeres this year.

Commenting on the depth of the fleet, Dan Slater said, “The fleet is littered with experience and great sailors. There are also some new sailors like myself who have been lucky with the light air season so far. Most of the new guys have all been good in Lasers and other classes so they know how to pick wind shifts and race a fleet but we are all not as good in the boat handling and tuning of the boat. The level is high but it’s watered down by sailors like Ben, Rafa and Maier all not spending so much time Finn sailing due to America’s Cup sailing, so us new guys can catch up a little.”

The format for this Finn Gold Cup is different to previous events with a two fleet format. Six qualifying races will be sailed (2, 1, 2, 1) over the first four days, followed by a gold/silver split for the final two days (2, 1).

There are also 13 sailors competing for the title of Junior World Champion, and based on performance so far this year Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is the clear favourite. He followed a 3rd at Kiel Week with a 12th at the Europeans, well ahead of many experienced helms.

New Finn Class President Balasz Hajdu (HUN) commented, “It is good to try a new format. However, because of likelihood of extremely shifty winds, equipment will not be a decisive factor. We are expecting light and shifty winds with calm waters, so reliable starts, good pointing and good boat to boat sailing skills will be important as the sailing area will be rather small. Bearing in mind the expected conditions, light, smart sailors with a feel for light winds should do well.”

The first races are scheduled for Monday.


Sunday 11th September - Practice Day - All set for a great championship
 
Last night at the opening ceremony, new Finn class president Balasz Hajdu (HUN) opened the 2005 Finn Gold Cup in front the 100 sailors and more than 200 officials, personnel and guests at the Moscow Sailing School. The opening ceremony was very impressive with a marching band, majorettes and all the sailors lined up behind a local girl carrying a banner with their national letters on it. Dr. Balazs Hajdu, said that it was a great honor to come to Russia, with its deep traditions in Finn sailing. In his speech he drew attention to the many Russian Finn sailors over the years, some of whom were present at this event including 1972 Bronze medalst Victor Popatov, Evgeny Chernov and Oleg Khoerpski.
 
Following the ceremony - which was attended by local dignitaries including Mr. Mikhail Stepaniants, The Chairman of the Moscow Sports Committee, Mr. Alexander Kotenkov, President of Russian Sailing Sports, Mr. Anatoly Yudaev, Vice-Chairman of Moscow Region Sports Committee and Mr. Mikhail Tikhomirov Vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee - the sailors and guests were treated to a buffet of Russian style food followed by a band and dances by traditionally dressed girls. A dancing Russian bear also made an appearance, although you could clearly see the zip up his back if you looked carefully! The party continued well into the night...
 
Today, the practice races were sailed in a shifty, fitful wind. The wind was across the lake so only allowed first beats of 0.4 and 0.6 miles with the fleets sailing windward leeward courses. However, the usual sailors were near the front. Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Andrew Simpson (GBR) headed the Green fleet, although both were OCS, and Daniel Birgmark (SWE), Peer Moberg (NOR) and Marin Misura (CRO) were at the front of the Yellow fleet. The two course areas are run by two separate race teams, one from Spain and one from Sweden, with assistance from Russian staff as well. Each course area also has a full International Jury, with Pat Healy (USA) as Chairman.
 
The organisation here is immense. The very impressive modern campus of the Moscow Sailing School sits alongside the Klyazminskoe Lake where the cruise ship acting as home to the 100 Finn sailors is moored. However the Finns are sailing at the larger Pestovskoe Lake, about a 10 km tow to the north. Here the organisers have constructed a day marina with full facilities where the boats will be kept for the week. Hydrofoil ferries will whisk the sailors to and from the marina each day.
 
All the boats are now located at the day marina - an impressive construction - easily accommodating the 100 Finns on a specially built platform, with tents on land providing cafe and changing facilities and a small cruise ship moored next to it.
 
The hospitality experienced by all the sailors and guests is also something special. Marinepool is one of the main sponsors of the regatta and has generously outfitted all the sailors and officials with smart event clothing, for which many sailors - who came expecting a summer heat wave - are now using gratefully as some colder weather has descended on Moscow.
 
If everything goes to plan, four days of qualification races will be followed by a lay day and then two days of gold/silver finals. It seems as if everything has been taken care of and nothing too much trouble for our hosts and the sailors are now looking forward to the racing, with the first start scheduled for midday local time on Monday.

 


Monday 12 September - Day 1 - Challenging day in Moscow
 
The 2005 Finn Gold Cup got underway in Moscow today with two challenging races sailed in near perfect conditions. A complete change in weather overnight saw a healthy and relatively steady 8-14 knots breeze from the south-east. After two races, defending champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) narrowly leads Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE).
 
 
With the wind aligned along the main axis of Prestovskoe Lake, the race committee on each of the two courses could set long legs. Both fleets sailed 3 windward leeward loops for each race with the maximum wind strength coming half way through the first set of races. At the second windward mark in the first race, the wind had increased in excess of 12 knots, just enough to allow free pumping on both courses and the Finn sailors had great fun. However, the flag remained in its bag for the afternoon race.
 
Green flight
 
Course 2 is furthest from the day marina and saw the steadiest winds of the day. It also saw the first showdown between two of the main favourites for this event. 2001 European Champion Emilios Papathasaniou (GRE) led race one from start to finish. Starting at the pin end he was never headed throughout the race. Ben Ainslie (GBR) rounded the first mark in 5th place and gradually worked his way up to second by the finish.
 
The second race again saw Ainslie playing catch up. Josh Beaver (AUS) rounded the first mark in the lead followed by Soren Holm (DEN) and Ainslie. At the bottom mark Thomas Laursen (DEN) had taken the lead, which he held until 100 metres from the final upwind mark, when Ainslie moved in front to lead to the finish.
 
Yellow course
 
Course 1 is set just a short sail from the day marina and the windward mark was set just below the dam at the south-east end of the lake. Both right and left paid at times, and the sailing proved challenging for some. The first race saw Peter-Jan Postma (NED), an ex Laser sailor in his first Gold Cup leading round the first mark followed by Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN). Postma led until the second windward when the O flag was raised. Vincec took the lead on the free pumping run and led inrto the finish followed by Daniel Birgmark (SWE) and Hogh-Christensen.
 
Race two was sailed in slightly less wind, with a large shift out of the start favouring those at the committee boat end. Edward Wright (GBR) led Dan Slater (NZL) and Tim Carver (GBR) into the top mark. These three battled down the run with Carver just (probably) ahead at the leeward gate. However on the next beat Slater and Wright gained some distance and fought all the way to the finish. Birgmark just pipped Carver on the third beat to take third.
 
 
With today's forecast of very little wind, the sunny, windy conditions were a surprise to many, but a welcome one nevertheless. The day was challenging not because of the expected fluky conditions, but because of tired legs and arms after a hard day's sailing. The racing was tight in places, with the corners of the beats well up on dry land, but finding the right shifts and the better pressure paid big dividends. The race committees did an excellent job today timing the races to perfection. With a suggested duration of 75 minutes, the first boat on the green course finished after 74 minutes in race 1 and then 75 minutes in race 2. Not bad.
 
While most of the fleet are using the supplied equipment, some sailors have opted to bring their own rig. All underwent the same rigorous measurement procedure and it will be interesting to see how many supplied rigs feature high up in the results.
 
There are 10 Russian entries in this year's Gold Cup, the most ever seen and an international championship. In fact the number of entries from Eastern European countries is very high indeed with Bulgaria and Lithuania fielding entrants in addition to the usual countries such as Belarus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Estonia.
 
The forecast for the week includes more wind for tomorrow but also - for those sitting at home in front of their computers - temperatures are forecast to plummet to zero on Wednesday morning!
 
Race three is scheduled to start at midday Tuesday.

Tuesday 13th September Lack of wind causes problems
 
While Yellow fleet completed one race today with a large win for Ben Ainslie, Green fleet had two abandoned races when the wind died away to nothing. The wind kept coming and going, coming and going all day long and was a race officers nightmare. Light winds and calm patches delayed racing by two hours.
 
 
The only race sailed on the yellow course today saw a win for Ben Ainlie (GBR) after rounding the top mark in third place. He moved into the lead on the second upwind to extend his lead to win by some 3-4 minutes.
 
The green course saw two races started. The first was abandoned at the first windward mark when the wind completely disappeared. An hour later the second races was started and three laps were completed of the four lap course when the wind died again and the drumming of tillers on decks was followed by the second race abandonment  of the day.
 
As a result, green flight must sail three races tomorrow with yellow sailing two to level things up. The forecast is for more wind so hopefully this will happen so the fleets can keep to the schedule

 


Wednesday 14th September - Coffee shop reports record breaking sales!
 
Today in Moscow, the sailors at the Finn Gold Cup drank coffee all day and waited for the wind. The coffee kept coming but unfortunately the wind didn't. One start was attempted at 18.00, but was soon abandoned as the wind started playing games again.
 
 
In order to get three races in today, green flight had their start time brought forward to 11.00 with the yellow flight due to start at 12.30. As no more races could be included in the flight allocation system, they remained the same as yesterday. The first hydrofoil of the day to the day marina took only the sailors of the green flight. However when yellow flight arrived an hour later, green flight were still waiting for the wind to come, sipping coffee and enjoying the sunshine.
 
It was a lovely sunny day, although the air was cold. It remained hot in the sun but the air remained still. The only sounds to fill the air were the chatter of Finn sailors, the throb of motor vessels as they briefly sped past and the thunderous roar of the never ending stream of planes arriving at the nearby Sheremetyevo Airport.
 
The little cafe in the large tent at the day marina did a roaring trade in coffee and soft drinks as the sailors waited for seven hours. The race team were determined to get some racing in and were going to wait it out. However, the wind just wasn't playing ball.
 
Finally at 16.00, the PRO postponed racing for the day for the yellow flight. The green flight, still a race behind, had to wait another hour. The AP came down and everyone assumed that that was that. However nothing replaced it so the fleet rapidly uncovered their boats and headed for the race area. After half an hour, with the race about to start, the wind clocked 40 degrees. Another 10 minutes of wind shifts and the race officer, now running out of enough daylight to complete the race cancelled racing for the day.
 
The planned lay day in Moscow on Friday is now a distant hope as there are still four races to get in before the finals start on Saturday. With only two races sailed so far and a maximum of three per day to be sailed, it looks like racing will go into Friday.
 
Each day in Moscow begins with breakfast on board the cruise ship moored alongside the Moscow Sailing School between 7 and 9. After that the sailors get ready for the first hydrofoil shuttle at 9.00 down to the sailing centre at Mikhalevo Village some 10 km and 30 minutes fast ride away. If you miss this one, the next one is at 10.00, although this is cutting it fine if you are sailing in the green flight, a much longer sail out. The main deck on the cruise ship is always crowded at 8.55, but they normally manage to squeeze everyone on. Yesterday morning there were so many Finn sailors at the front that they had to be asked to move aft so that the bow would lift enough to get the craft on the hydrofoil!
 
The boat passes through Klyazminskoe lake first, which is quite developed with many small marinas, waterside houses, yacht clubs and restaurants. Then we pass through the long canal with its shores lined with fishermen and hundreds of small makeshift fishing tents and shacks. Occasionally there are elegant buildings, gates and churches - some of them quite impressively extravagant - no doubt country residences for some of the country's rich and famous.
 
After 20 minutes at high speed we emerge into the Pestovskoe Lake where the racing is held. Mikhalevo Village is on the far shore about 0.5 km up a sheltered channel. The whole lake is surrounded by spruce and birch trees - apart from the dam to the south-east - with only the odd village or building breaking up the shoreline.
 
One of the sailors here at his first Finn Gold Cup is Lithuainian Giedrius Guzys. Giedrius has sailed the Laser since 1996 and competed in both the Sydney and Athens Olympics and this event is his first International event in the Finn. He is only sailing here due to the ease of using one of the supplied boats, as he has yet to secure funds to buy his own. Currently in 50th place, he is thoroughly enjoying his first exploits in a Finn.
 
He says, "I have no Finn so this is a great chance for me. The class is really friendly compared with the Lasers. Perhaps because the sailors are generally older, they are more gentlemanly and create a very nice atmosphere."
 
Giedrius, currently studying vetinarian immunology, continued  "We have no Finn sailors in Lithuania sailing internationally, so our national Finn association is really happy to have me here and support me. I hope to get a Finn soon and do the international circuit. I am using some of my Laser techniques, which at first seem strange, but I am gradually getting used to the feel of the boat. I also feel very comfortable here as I am racing against many friends I made in the Laser class who have also moved onto the more technical Finn. Sailors are a special social group, with a similar path of life which gives us all something in common. I think that's important to sailors."
 
He concludes, "The organisation here reminds me of the Sydney games with the travelling to the day marina and the official opening ceremony. Everything is also so well organised. I am having a great time."
 
Probably the lightest sailor in the fleet is the Russian Timofey Zhbankov. At just 76 kg, he is here for the experience, and is finding the transfer from his usual Laser Radial - where his best result was a third at the Europeans - interesting. However he did find his way to lead round the top mark in the only race competed yesterday, which should do his confidence no end of good. Before this race is scored - when green flights catches up - he is lying in 77th place after the windy first day.
 
Tomorrow (Thursday), the wind is forecast to be 8-12 mph all day long, so the fleets should catch up with green fleet sailing three races and yellow fleet sailing two. The groups will then to reallocated for the final qualification race on Friday morning.

 


Thursday 15th September - Finally some racing
 
Finally there is some racing to report at the Finn Gold Cup in Moscow. Five races were sailed today, two for the yellow flight and three for the green flight. A 2nd and 10th for Ben Ainslie (GBR) is enough to hold the series with 6 points from Emilios Papathanasious (GRE) on 10 points and Marin Misura (CRO) on 17 points. Today the sailors had it all. Flat calms, flat out planes and hard hiking beats, sometimes all at the same time coming into the weather mark!
 
 
With only two complete sets of races sailed after 3 days, all fingers and toes were crossed this morning that we would get a full day's quality racing in. The day dawned windless and cold again and there was an audible sigh from the Finn sailors as the hydrofoil entered Pestovskoe Lake to a near mirror like surface. However very soon the breeze started to fill and in green flight were sent out to the race area.
 
Green flight
 
It took a long while to set the course as the breeze kept changing its mind where to blow. The breeze was across the lake only allowing a short windward/leeward course. The windward marks were quite near the trees so the approach was critical. Sometime it was easy, sometimes it was hard went the wind died away and sometimes it was fun when the shift was so big you came into the buoy on a reach. To say it was quite shifty would be a gross understatement.
 
Finally it kind of settled in one direction (+/- 30 degrees) and race 3 was started. Repeating his success of race 1, Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) started well at the pin end, tacked onto port, cleared the fleet and was never headed. He was followed by Sander Willems (NED) and Emil Tomasevic (CRO). Dan Slater (NZL) eventually passed Willems to finish second.
 
The next race got underway fairly soon with Rafael Trujillo (ESP) leading at the first mark followed by Michal Hruby (CZE) and Edward Wright (GBR). Apart from briefly losing his lead to Hruby on the second lap. Trujillo led into the finish to win by a considerable margin.
 
There was a long wait for the third race as the fleet waited for yellow flight to finish their second race on the larger, slightly more stable course area, so that they could use it. Hruby finished off a great day with a win followed by Borysov and Vladimir Krutskirh (RUS), the first of four Russian sailors in the top ten.
 
Yellow flight
 
The first race was started at 1pm and while Trujillo was winning the green flight, his +39 team mate Anthony Nossiter (AUS) dominated race 4 of the yellow group by leading from the start to win. There was a strong challenge early on from Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), before he fell foul of a large shift, and then Marin Misura. However, series leader Ben Ainslie came through from 8th at the first mark to second at the finish. The wind strength went over the magic 12 knot mark after the first beat, allowing for free pumping downwind.
 
The second race turned into a battle between Marin Misura (CRO) and Waclav Sukiel (POL). Neck and neck most of the way round, they finished in that order within just yards of other other. The final downwind was an epic battle of strong arm pumping. To make it a family affair, Rafal Szukiel (POL) finished 3rd, albeit quite a long way back from the leaders.
 
Every night the sailors either eat on board the ship, take a free shuttle bus ride into Moscow or are entertained in the large tent by the cruise ship. The other night there was a games evening and last night there was a Turkish evening with hubble bubbles, food and belly dancers. When this is finished the usual go-go girls take up position in the corner and gyrate to the music and their Finn fans.
 
Topics of conversation include which angle the ship will be angled today. Sometimes it's towards the shore, sometimes towards the land. The thing is that the showers in the cabins only have drain holes in one corner so if the ship is angled the wrong way, your shower water doesn't drain and creates a puddle in the corner under the sink. A committee has worked long and hard to find the reason for this, but rumour has it that it all depends which side of the dining room Chris Brittle (GBR) is sitting at the time!
 
So after four days, there have been five sets of races sailed, so tomorrow's flights will be reseeded for the final qualification race for the gold and silver fleet finals. The forecast tomorrow is for less wind, but hopefully just enough to get the start off promptly. After 5 races, Ainslie leads by 4 points on Papathansiou and 11 points on Misura.
 
This year's event sees the highest number of Junior sailors in recent times with 15 sailors representing  11 countries. Defending World Junior Champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) is currently lying in 28th place, some way behind the favourite to take the title, Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) who is up in 17th, some 21 points ahead. Third is Norbert Willand (POL) in 31st place with 59 points.
 

Friday 16th September - Ainslie extends lead after good day for the British sailors
 
The final race of the qualification series for the 2005 Finn Gold Cup was sailed this morning in Moscow. Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) led the yellow flight home with Chris Brittle (GBR winning the green flight by nearly two minutes . For the next two days the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets with 49 Finns in each fleet.
 
 
The wind was blowing most of the night. After two days of near nothing on Tuesday and Wednesday, it seemed a shame to waste all that wind. However the forecast for Friday morning at 11.00 was 12 knots from the SW, which was not the best direction but at least a good strength. When sailors awoke in the morning, for the first time this week, there was a healthy breeze across the lake.
 
The qualification series has been plagued by shifty winds that have tested the patience of even the most laid back sailor. Gus Miller (USA) - currently languishing in 88th place - put it nicely, "Uncle Wiggley had a great time with his stacks of red chips, large and small and green chips, large and small. The pressure would look good on one side while the angle would look good on the other with confusing little shifts up by the weather mark. On runs there would be random strong shafts what would pick up one small group and send them flying ahead through the fleet."
 
While those at the top of the fleet had guaranteed a place in the Gold fleet, and those at the bottom of the table had done their best to be in the Silver fleet, the points in the middle were so close, that there were a great many battles of honour to be able to sail in the gold fleet on Saturday and Sunday. There was only 20 points separating 40th place and 60th place, so a good final result could make all the difference.
 
Yellow fleet got away second time with Wittze Zetzema (NED) leading followed by Tapio Nirko (FIN). Andrew Simpson (GBR) took the lead on the second beat to lead to the finish. Ben Ainslie (GBR) recovered from a poor first beat to finish second, taking off places on each leg.
 
In the green fleet Kevin Hall had a good start to lead round the top mark from Chris Brittle (GBR), having started at the committee boat. Brittle took the lead on the first run and extended his lead to win by two minutes. Johan Tillander (SWE) sailed  a great race to come second with Emilios Papathansaiou (GRE) in third.
 
This leaves Ainslie leading the regatta on 8 points followed by Papatahansaiou, 5 points back and Michal Hruby in third, some 20 points behind. It is all very tight going in the final two days, and with the eratic winds in Moscow, anything could happen. Many sailors results are just as eratic as the wind. Yesterday, class newcomer Peter-Jan Postma (NED) posted a 13, 33, 4 and lies 7th overall. Meanwhile Athens Silver medalist Rafael Trujillo (ESP) posted a 11, 1, 33!
 
Meanwhile in the junior fleet, Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) continues to lead after a scoring a 4th today, with second placed Tapio Nirko (FIN) finishing 3rd to sit in 24th place. Both are in the gold fleet going into the finals, so the title is still open for the taking.
 
Over the weekend Ben Ainslie will be racing for a place in the record books. Not just the Finn class record books, but also those of the sport of sailing. Having already won this title for the past three years - equaling a record lasting for some 32 years - a fourth win will make him the most successful Finn sailor of all time.
 
Meanwhile, second placed Emilios Papathansiou is looking for his first Finn World Championship. So determined is he, that he is one of the very few sailors here - and the only one from western Europe - who brought their own boat to sail. He was European Champion in 2001, but the World title has continued to elude him, his best placed being 3rd in 2000, 2001 and in 2002.
 
The event is receiving a lot of media interest with both Russian TV crews following the regatta as well as international TV companies such as the BBC here for filming. Internet aficionados will also be interested to note that they can follow the gold fleet finals live online. Track and trace equipment is being places on the boats in the gold fleet which will be relayed live through the event website www.finngoldcup2005.ru. Check the forum section for details and the web address.

 


Saturday 17th September - Ainslie and Papathanasiou set for last race showdown
 
The first day of the finals at the 2005 Finn Gold Cup saw a mixed bag of weather from which Ben Ainslie (GBR) still holds a narrow lead over Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE). A good day for Chris Cook (CAN) sees him lifted from 6th overnight to third going into tomorrow's final race.
 
 
Yesterday's moderate breeze was still in place this morning, albeit now from the south. However by the time the races were started this had died to a shifty 3-5 knots. However, by the start of the second Gold fleet race it had shifted some 120 degrees towards the west and increased to 16-18 knots.
 
Gold fleet
 
Starting in the light rain and lights winds, Chris Cook (CAN) led round each and every mark of the first race of the day to score his first win of the regatta. At the first mark he was followed by Ivan Karatkevich (BLR) and Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE). Papathansaiou moved up to second on the third upwind, while Gasper Vincec (CRO) moved up to third. Karatkevich, sailed his best race of the regatta to finish in 4th. Series leader Ben Ainslie (GBR) got himself boxed in at the start and spent the entire race trying desperately to catch up with the leaders. Picking off places on every leg, he finally caught up to 8th at the finish, his second worst result so far, but also a countable race.
 
However, after this first race, for the first time in the regatta, Ainslie had lost the overall lead to Papathanasiou by one point. He responded in typical Ainslie fashion by winning the final race of the day, but not after a great deal of confusion.
 
The second race was started in similar conditions to the first with Cook again in front, Walclav Szukiel (POL) in second and Ainslie in third. However, half way up the second beat, a 120 degree shift in the wind led to its abandonment. Papathanasiou must have breathed a sigh of relief as he was second to last at the time. Actually this is the third time this week, he has got out of jail through a race abandonment.
 
The course was reset along the length of the lake and with gusts up to 18 knots and waves starting to build, the sailors had a great time with the O flag raised for free pumping throughout. Again Ainslie didn't get a great start, but recovered to round the top mark just behind Soren Holm (DEN) and Dan Slater (NZL). Behind him there was chaos. Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) was finally having a good race and about to round the top mark in 4th, but David Burrows (IRL) didn't see him as he ducked Ainslie rounding the mark and the two collided and capsized.
 
Behind this collision, a lot of boats were arriving at the windward mark together allowing the top three to escape down the run. Holm maintained his lead at the second top mark with Josh Beaver (AUS) moving up to second and Daniel Birgmark (SWE) in third. Ainslie had slipped to 6th. He put that to rights on the third beat, taking the lead which he held to the finish. Holm held on for second place, with Chris Brittle (GBR) claiming third.
 
After the top mark collision, Burrows happened to be OCS anyway, so sailed home, but Hogh-Christensen has trouble righting his boat in the strong winds and moderate waves and rounded the bottom mark in 44th. He sailed well though, to recover to 18th by the finish but was understandably upset.
 
Commenting on his success today Chris Cook - finished 9th in the second race of the day - said "I have been doing a lot of training in Canada on a lake similar to this, with flat water and very shifty winds. A shoulder injury meant I was unable to do the European summer circuit, so instead I did a lot of training at home. It seems to have worked."
 
Silver fleet
 
In the silver fleet, both races became somewhat scrappy due to the shiftiness of the wind. Consistency is very hard to achieve here due to the vagaries of the wind, and most people are looking for a few top positions to boost them up the results table. One such is David McGregor (BAR), representing another new country in the Finn community. Taking the lead on the final run of the first race in his own private patch of wind, he sailed well to score second in the next, after recovering from around 10th at the first mark. Second race winner, Dragoutsis Alexandros (GRE) found an impossible shift out of the start line to lift out on port and cross the entire fleet. He sailed well to lead throughout and win by a large margin.
 
Finn Class president Balasz Hajdu (HUN), who missed the gold fleet by just 3 points, had an unfortunate day with an OCS followed by a 9 to lie 5th in the silver fleet. Giedrius Guzys (LTU) and Jurgien Eirmann (GER) both had a consistent day to end the day first and second.
 
 
The battle for the junior title took a new twist today when overnight leader Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) had a bad day with a 30th and an OCS to drop to 18th overall, just 8 points ahead of the defending champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) in 21st place. Tomorrow, these two will fight it out for the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup while third placed Norbert Wilandt (POL) will try to maintain his 12 point margin over Mark Andrews (GBR).
 
Our time here in Moscow is nearly coming to and end, and it will be sad to leave. All the sailors and officials here have been made so welcome by everyone, and have had a great time. Most have made the time to visit Moscow and see the sights - Red Square, The Kremlin, St Basils, the shopping areas. Life aboard the ship has also been an interesting and different experience, with all the sailors and helpers eating breakfast and often dinner together, creating a community atmosphere that is rarely present at major international regattas. However, it must be said that the ship has taken on the look of a sailing club changing room, with all the corridors decked out with drying wetsuits sand rash vests, along with the natural aroma that only wet wetsuits can create. One factoid this is interesting is that the vessel, the Felix Dzerzhinski, was named after the found of the Cheka, which was the forerunner to the KGB!
 
Before we all head home though, there is still tomorrow to sail, and all eyes will be on Ainslie and Papathansaiou. Between them they are guaranteed first and second. The 4 point margin means that Papathansaiou has to be in the top 5 to stand any chance of winning, and at least 3 places clear of Ainslie. While not pre-empting Ainslie's strategy for tomorrow, some pundits are already expecting a repeat of the Ainslie/Scheidt showdown in the last race of the 2000 Laser regatta in the Sydney Olympics. For third place, Chris Cook has a 12 point margin over Walclav Szukiel, but with the wind the way it is in Moscow, that could all change.
 
The forecast is for a miserable, cold day but with wind. It all starts at 11.00 local time, with live internet coverage through 

Sunday 18th September - Ainslie makes in four in a row
 
Eighteen months ago in Rio, Ben Ainslie (GBR) made history by winning the Finn Gold Cup for the third time in a row. It was only the second time in the event's 48 year history that this had been done. He equalled the record set by Jorg Bruder (BRA) between 1970 and 1972. Today in Moscow, Ainslie has made his own record, winning the Finn Gold Cup - arguably one of dinghy sailing's hardest and most coveted trophies, for the fourth time in a row.
 
 

With a light northerly light wind in the morning, the fleets set sail for the final race of the 2005 Finn Gold Cup. The temperature had dropped to 3 degrees overnight so those sailors who had only brought summer sailing gear found the day rather cold. In fact the Gold fleet sat around for over two hours before a race could be started. The wind changed from one minute to the next and was varying by over 70 degrees. So the race committee waited around in the cold air for it to stabilize.

Finally at just after 13.00, the postponement came down and the fleet got underway. Series leader Ben Ainslie said, “In these conditions I was going to try to control Emilios [the only man who could beat him] from the start.” At the four minute signal, the two were locked together in their own match race. Ainslie succeeded in delaying Papathansaiou’s start, but picked up a penalty himself. “I wasn’t sure if our boats touched, but I did the turns anyway to make sure.”

The two boats started well behind the fleet with Papathanasiou banging the left hand corner in a bid to find a large enough shift to get him back to the front. Ainslie played the shifts and looked ahead half way up the beat when the wind died again and the race officer admitted defeat and abandoned racing. “It was a huge relief when they abandoned,” Ainslie admitted later. “With the wind we have had here this week anything could have happened.”

So Ainslie makes history in being the only sailor to win four Finn Gold Cups, and these in successive years. He won in Athens in 2002, Cadiz in 2003, Rio de Janeiro in 2004 and now Moscow in 2005. His coach David Howlett commented, “Ben’s outright professionalism is the key to his success.”

Ainslie concluded, "The organization is great, I liked the sailing centre but the race conditions were very difficult. I am very happy that I could cope with the wind and win."

Second placed Papathansaiou scores his best Finn Gold Cup result to date, but is still looking for that world championship win that continues to elude him. Third placed Chris Cook (CAN) wins his first major championship medal after being one of the few sailors here to find any sort of consistency.

Meanwhile the silver fleet sailing on course two further down the lake - had just enough wind to start a race at 11.30. The race was characterized by large shifts and flat patches and the left hand side was made more interesting on the third beat with the arrival of a cruise vessel trying to get down the lake. The lead changed several times and it was a surprised Alexey Lavros (RUS) who found himself leading the fleet. He eventually finished 4th with the lead finally going to Class President Balasz Hajdu (HUN) to lift him to third in the fleet. A good 3rd place from Edward Greig (GBR) lifted him to second in the silver fleet, while the ever consistent Giedrius Guzyz (LTU) posted a 6th to win the fleet by 13 points. Full credit must go to the slick race team who managed to change the marks for each and every leg of the race as the wind performed circles around them.

The Junior Finn World Championship was won by Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) in 18th place, beating defending champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) bu just 8 points. Third placed Norbert Wilandt (POL) finished in 38 place, 58 points behind Gaspic.

 
Interestingly, Ainslie is one of many America's Cup sailors taking time out of their AC dayjobs to sail the Finn. In fact five of them have won races here. From +39,  Rafael Trujillo (ESP), Andrew Simpson (GBR), Chris Brittle (GBR) and Antony Nossiter (AUS) have all won individual races. In addition, both Ainslie and Kevin Hall (USA) - who finished 20th - are with Emirates Team New Zealand.
 
Before the regatta, ISAF World Ranked No 1, Jonas Hogh-Christensen had commented, "Sailing against Ben is like biking against Lance, playing basket against Jordan, driving against Schumacher or playing golf against Tiger. More and more when you look good in a race you start looking around to see if Ben is close to you, if he is not, be ready to get a big shift not going your way. Ben is already a legend in sailing and he will probably be the biggest ever. But bear in mind that legends get beaten. I think Ben looks unbeatable because he has the highest ground level in the world. The rest of us just have to turn it up a level or two, to beat him. If we didn't think that he could be beaten we should start doing something else."
 
Finally a big thank you to Moscow, Moscow Sailing School and the literally hundreds of helpers, staff and officials who have made this championship possible. While the sailors expected difficult sailing conditions, the magnitude of the welcome and the organisation took them completely by surprise. Moscow Sailing School have a first class facility here, and have excelled in running a fabulous regatta, to which the Finn Class has been honored to be invited.
 

Next year's Finn Gold Cup in in the beautiful town of Split, in Croatia. Will Ainslie turn up and try to make it five in a row? Watch this space...

2004 Finn Gold Cup - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 
 

1

GBR 3

Ben Ainslie

56.0

5

17

3

6

1

12

3

9

DNC

2

CAN 303

Richard Clarke

69.0

11

4

19

11

12

13

7

6

5

3

IRL 8

David Burrows

79.0

33

7

11

9

7

5

10

15

15

4

POL 17

Mateuzs Kuzsneirewicz

82.0

3

16

7

2

27

6

14

21

13

5

CRO 25

Marin Misura

82.0

37

6

2

20

13

19

4

11

7

6

GBR 6

Andrew Simpson

89.0

20

36

16

1*

14

4

20

4

9

7

CRO 11

Karlo Kuret

91.0

6

13

17

7

9

20

DNF

17

2

8

ESP 100

Rafael Trujillo Vllar

93.0

45

37

6

3

5

3

8

30

1

9

BRA 10

João Signorini

103.0

21

21

8

10

20

15

5

14

10

10

DEN 7

Soren Holm

104.0

15

9

25

14

19

23

9

3

12

11

DEN 200

Jonas Hogh-Christensen

116.0

4

10

9

BFD

22

10

31

10

20

12

NZL 14

Dean Barker

122.0

32

5

44

27

8

11

13

12

14

13

AUS 221

Anthony Nossites

123.0

30

14

23

5

21

7

23

13

17

14

TUR 6

Ali Enves Adakan

128.0

18

34

22

16

2

9

38

16

11

15

NED 80

Sander E. Willems

131.0

17

2

1

25

3

42

42

8

33

16

CZE 1

Michael Maier

135.0

1

28

14

38

18

29

17

24

4

17

BEL 7

Sebastian Godefroid

146.0

24

3

20

BFD

4

14

36

27

18

18

GBR 15

Charlie Cumbley

148.0

8

11

12

34

24

24

18

23

28

19

FRA 73

Guillaume Florent

155.0

19

1

53

26

6

2

11

37

DNF

20

NED 6

Stefan de Vries

165.0

9

20

24

15

17

27

44

31

22

21

BRA 1

Bruno Prada

167.0

7

DSQ

15

8

15

33

1

33

BFD

22

NED 78

Jaap Zielhuis

168.0

2

8

29

19

23

40

46

26

21

23

POL 12

Waclaw Szukiel

174.0

27

23

4

17

29

32

24

18

BFD

24

FRA 972

Bruno Ismael

180.0

26

33

36

24

10

22

DNF

2

27

25

SLO 5

Gasper Vincec

180.0

55

12

18

13

11

17

27

38

BFD

26

HUN 1

Balazs Hajdu

183.0

23

38

38

18

25

8

19

22

30

27

GBR 550

Matt Howard

191.0

25

25

13

23

26

28

32

40

19

28

CAN 41

Christopher Cook

195.0

DNF

18

37

21

31

25

21

39

3

29

ARG 1

Alejandro Colla

197.

41

40

10

4

32

21

26

42

23

30

CRO 14

Nenad Viali

210.0

49

32

41

29

41

16

6

19

26

31

SUI 7

Bruger Christoph

211.0

31

24

30

36

16

18

28

28

BFD

32

SWE 736

Johan Tillander

218.0

14

35

28

30

40

31

15

29

36

33

BRA 109

Jorge Zarif

221.0

10

46

48

42

37

35

2

1

BFD

34

SUI 1

Othmar Mueller Von Blumenvon

224.0

28

39

5

39

30

34

41

44

8

35

IRL 10

Aaron O`Grady

228.0

13

45

42

32

34

30

25

20

32

36

ESP 107

Agustin Juarez Narrero

232.0

29

29

32

33

39

37

22

25

25

37

GER 79

Michael Fellmann

240.0

22

43

39

28

OCS

RAF

40

7

6

38

ITA 15

Michele Marchesine

240.0

12

42

33

31

28

26

34

34

BFD

39

CZE 22

Babicky Roman

260.0

38

19

26

43

43

46

30

45

16

40

FIN 216

Tapio Nirkko

263.0

51

22

21

35

38

36

DNF

5

BFD

41

IRL 5

Youen Jacob

269.0

46

15

45

12

35

44

35

46

37

42

CAN 4

Mike Milner

272.0

43

26

40

40

36

41

12

DNF

34

43

HUN 5

Tibor Pallay

276.0

34

30

31

44

44

43

33

32

29

44

BRA 3

Henry Raul Boening

293.0

40

41

46

37

33

38

45

35

24

45

BRA 100

Maurício Bueno

301.0

36

44

34

41

42

39

29

41

39

46

BRA 18

Marco Aurélio de Sá Ribeiro

338.0

42

51

43

48

46

49

43

36

31

47

BRA 101

Jorge Rodrigues

362.0

35

49

47

BFD

49

DNF

49

43

35

48

USA 55

Philippe Kahn

366.0

50

50

49

47

48

45

37

48

42

49

GBR 1

Robert Deaves

371.0

48

52

51

46

50

50

39

49

38

50

ITA 1

Luca Devoti

376.0

39

27

35

DNC

DNC

DNC

DNC

DNC

DNC

51

GER 266

Michael Ellen

378.0

47

48

50

49

47

DNF

47

50

40

52

NED 8

Rodrick Casander

379.0

RAF

47

52

45

45

48

50

51

41

53

BRA 79

Gustavo Pereira Vaitsman

402.0

52

53

54

50

51

47

48

47

BFD

54

GRE 6

Emilios Papathanasiou

440.0

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

RAF

 
Finn Gold Cup 2004 - Rio de Janeiro
 

Saturday 14th February
 
Just five months after the close of the 2003 Finn Gold Cup in Cadiz, Spain, Finn sailors from across the world have gathered once again to compete for one of sailing's most prestigious trophies.
 
In the past, the Finn Gold Cup has been sailed in some very attractive and exotic venues, but perhaps none quite match up to the awe and splendour of Rio de Janeiro. It has been a long held dream of the Brazilian Finn Class to host the Gold Cup here, after the success of the 1998 Gold Cup in Ilha Bela, some way to the north of Rio, and these are finally being realised.
 
53 boats from 23 countries are in Rio for this carnival of Finn sailing, just a week before the real Rio carnival gets underway. The line up includes 3 previous world champions and a host of would-be hopefuls looking for a first win.
 
Since their arrival, the sailors have been out practising and have sailed two preparation regattas. The Brazilian Championship, sailed from 28-31 January, was the first chance many of the sailors had to test the waters here. Guillaume Florent (FRA) beat the one of the local favourites Joao Signorini (BRA), as well as current world champion Ben Ainslie (GBR).
 
Straight after this regatta, the South American Championships were also sailed out of Rio de Janeiro with 47 sailors taking part. Marin Misura (CRO) sailed an excellent regatta to win two races and beat Ainslie on count back after the two ties on points. Rafael Trujillo, who was second in last year's Gold Cup, finished 3rd.
 
The racing so far has been very testing with many sailors up and down the results. If the preparation regattas are anything to go by then the Gold Cup should be a very interesting regatta, and it is hard to pick a clear favourite, although with a third and second in the two regattas so far, most money would have to be on Ainslie to make it three in a row.
 
Finn sailing has a special place in the hearts of the Brazilians, as it was their very own Jorg Bruder who was the only Finn sailor ever to score three successive wins at the Finn Gold Cup. Between 1970 and 1972 Bruder won two Gold Cup by the narrowest of margins and one comfortably, after 6 times of previously finishing in the top 5. Fate decided he would remain unbeaten as he was tragically killed in an air crash on the way to France to defend his title in 1973.
 
If Ainslie has his way here over the coming week, it will be ironic that not only will Bruder have to share his record with an Englishman who achieved it on Bruder's home waters but that it was this same
Englishman who so famously beat another of Brazil's sailing heroes, Robert Scheidt, in the last Laser class race of the Sydney Olympics.
 
In the preparation regattas over the past two weeks, several sailors put in some good results. Andrew Simpson (GBR) won two races, David Burrows (IRL) finished top 5 in both regattas, and a battle royal seems to be developing between Brazil's Joao Signorini and Bruno Prada, who are fighting to determine who will represent Brazil in the Olympic regatta later this summer.
 
After some changeable weather recently, today brought almost unbroken sunshine and high temperatures, which will make for some testing racing. The practice race was held this afternoon on the course outside the harbour in mainly light and variable winds.
 
With the opening ceremony tonight, tomorrow sees the first races of the 2004 Finn Gold Cup.
 
[back up]

Sunday 15 February
 
Michael Maier makes the best of tricky first race
 
In a fitful and unpredictable breeze and under gaze of Christ the Redeemer high up on Corcovado, the first race of the 2004 Finn Gold Cup got underway in grey and damp conditions. The opening race went to Michael Maier (CZE) after taking the lead on the second upwind and holding off some strong competition on the final downwind leg.
 
After Saturday's prefect sunshine, the fleet awoke this morning to a strong wind and rain. Overnight the wind had shifted 180 degrees and was blowing onshore at the regatta centre. As the morning progressed the wind decreased and by the time of the first race at 13.00, it was down to 5-7 knots and very patchy.
 
However the scene couldn't have been more spectacular. With the start line close under Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado over to the left, the grandeur of Rio Harbour and the majestic and formidable looking mountains cutting the horizon made an awesome vista from which to start a Finn race. Everyone was keen to start racing. Too keen in fact.
 
The course set was a windward leeward double loop with a gate at the end of the first downwind. After two general recalls the black flag went up and this time the fleet got away cleanly. Most of the fleet headed to the left while a few went up the middle and the right. The leaders emerged round the first mark mainly from the left side of the course, although a few of those who stayed near the middle rounded in the top 10.
 
First round was Jaap Zielhuis (NED) closely followed by fellow Dutchman Stefan de Vries (NED). Behind them chaos ensued as many sailors got caught out by the strong tide around the windward mark and bunched up in a big raft. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of shouting!
 
Zielhuis protected his lead through the downwind gate, although Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) was very close behind. These two began a tough battle heading to the centre-left of the course after taking a short hitch right. Behind them Michael Maier (CZE) and Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) headed left and kept on going. Maier, who had rounded the gate in 6th hit the left hand corner, tacked and laid the windward mark in first place.
 
The cloud had started to clear by now and those who went left gained enormously on the right as the breeze increased. Zielhuis held onto second place with Kusznierewicz rounding in third.
 
The final downwind became a battle of wills with the breeze now starting to build in patches. However Maier kept his cool to win the first race of the regatta. Hoegh-Christensen finished in fourth, just ahead of defending champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) who commented on the tough conditions after the race.
 
Also commenting on the tough racing, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, was still pleased with his fourth place. He said, "In conditions like these a top 10 result is always good, so I am happy with my day. I like to sail conservatively and not take too many big risks. I saw what Michael was doing but didn't want to follow him as that corner had proved to be difficult on the first upwind. So I let him go. It was a big risk for him, but today it obviously paid off nicely."
 
Some sailors didn't have such a good day. David Burrow (IRL) and Luca Devoti (ITA) got caught in the raft at the first windward mark and finished very poorly for them in 33rd and 39th places and Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) was down in 24th. However, last year's runner up Rafael Trujillo had a worse day yet, finishing in 45th.
 
[back up]

 
Tuesday 17th February
 
Nail biting wait for Andrew Simpson after dramatic win
 
Only one race today in sunny Rio, where temperatures reached 32 degrees and by the end of the race, the conditions were just about perfect for Finn sailors. Andrew Simpson (GBR) scored his first win of the regatta, although he was subject to protest by the Jury for failing to have the required equipment on board.
 
 
After an hour waiting in very sloppy waves and a fitful wind, race four finally started in 7 to 8 knots of breeze from the north east. For the third day in a row the windward leeward loop was sailed. However it took three general recalls and a black flag to get the fleet away. Second overnight Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) fell foul of the black flag along with Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) and Jorge Rodriguez (BRA).
 
Waclaw Szukiel (POL) started at the heavily biased pin end and headed left inshore and rounded the first mark just behind Rafael Trujillo-Villar (ESP) who emerged from the mid left in the lead. These two were followed by Alejandro Colla (ARG), Bruno Prada (BRA) and Andrew Simpson (GBR).
 
The fleet split on the first run with most favouring the inshore side of the course to the right. By the downwind gate, Colla had moved into the lead followed by Trujillo Villar and Szukiel. Szukiel lost heavily on the second beat but the two front runners stayed the same. In the increased breeze, now blowing 10-12 knots, Simpson moved up into a close third around the windward mark followed by Prada and Anthony Nossiter (AUS).
 
It was all change on the final run to the finish. Simpson found speed and the right side to take the lead and win the race. He was later spot checked by the Jury and found to be missing a required piece of equipment. He was given one penalty point but the race stands. Behind him Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) put on a charge to move from 10th at the windward mark to 2nd at the finish. He had lost a lot on the second upwind after playing the shifts towards the left of the course, and fell down the fleet.
 
Rounding the windward mark alongside Ben Ainslie (GBR) the two split gybes and Kusznierewicz headed to the right of the course. Mateusz takes up the story, "I was sailing very fast down the last run, catching up many boats. After the disastrous second beat I decided to go my own way on the run and avoid the other boats as much as possible. I headed out to the right and found some clear air and nice waves and was really pleased to end up second." Third at the finish was Trujillo Villar with Colla slipping to 4th.
 
At the half way stage of the regatta, the leaders are beginning to emerge, and it has all the signs of being a high scoring regatta. Mateusz Kusznierewicz commented, "The sailing here is really tricky, the current is confusing and today the waves were a real mish-mash. However onshore the organisation is very good. All the people here are nice and it is a very nice city to be in."
 
One rejuvenated Finn sailor competing here in Rio is Dean Barker, helmsman for Team New Zealand, who last sailed a Finn in 1996 before moving into the America's Cup boats. Commenting on his performance (currently lying 28th), Barker said, "It's certainly a challenge sailing the Finn again and is a bit different from sailing the America's Cup boats! It can be very frustrating at times because you know you you can do better. I started sailing the Finn again in November last year and sailed a bit with Clifton (Webb) and Peter Fox in New Zealand, but I'm still a bit fresh. But it's great racing one on one with the other guys here."
 
When asked about how things had changed over the past eight years Barker said, "Of course the equipment has moved on a bit since I last sailed them, the boats have become more standardised so there is no longer so much of a speed differences any more, and that makes for really good racing. However, downwind technique has changed a lot since I last sailed. It is much more refined now and has improved a lot." On the future he said, "The New Zealand Olympic selection trials are in Palma and at the Europeans, so I am going home for a while before coming to Europe to try and qualify for Athens this summer."
 
 
[back up]

Wednesday 18 February
 
Ben Ainslie moves into the lead
 
The Finn Gold Cup in Rio de Janeiro saw two more races today in superb conditions in Guanabara Bay with fresh winds and great waves. A win in race 5 and a 12th in race 6 saw Ben Ainslie (GBR) move into a 7 point lead over Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) with just three races to go. David Burrows (IRL) moved up to 3rd after some consistent races.
 
 
Race five got underway in 8 to 10 knots of breeze in a warm north-east wind. The windward leeward course was set and most sailors started down near the pin end. The majority of the fleet headed towards the left of the course. Sebastian Godefroid (BEL) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) moved towards the right and then tacked back to the left. These two rounded the top mark first and second followed by Rafael Trujillo Villar (ESP, Ali Enver Adakan (TUR).....stop! You don't want to know all that. I mean we are in Rio. It's two days to the carnival, the sun is out, it's 30 plus degrees, the wind is blowing, the water is sparkling and there are some great waves to surf down. What more could a Finn sailor want out of life?
 
The scene is awesome. The cloud has cleared giving a great view of the Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado, Cococabana beach and some really impressive mountains behind. The mere mention of the romantic names of places in Rio conjures up a life on the beach, of beautiful people, partying, girls, sand and awesome scenery. Do you really want to know who rounded what mark in what order? I guess you do...
 
Ah hmm..to continue...and Anthony Nossiter (AUS). The overnight leader, Mateusz Kusznierewicz was struggling somewhere in the mid-20s. The leaders split gybes on the first downwind with Ainslie going to the left and Godefroid heading right. The top sailors were in their element now as the wind increased allowing them to show off their great pumping and surfing skills - under the ever watchful eye of the Jury of course. Godefroid rounded the gate in the lead but went wrong up the second beat to let Ainslie through to the lead which he held to the finish. Godefroid eventually finished 4th behind Ali Enver Adakan and Sander Willems (NED).
 
One of the most experienced sailors in the fleet, Sebastian has been sailing Finns for 14 years and will step out of his hiking pants after the Olympics in Athens this summer. Not doing quite as well as he expected here Sebbe spent the winter months sail testing, however it didn't’t quite go according to plan. “When we put together this new sail we sailed every day in a large swell and 7 to 8 knots. In Rio until today we have had flat water, so I am lacking a bit of speed.” On his plans after the summer, Sebbe says, “I am planning to go into the Tornado after the Olympics. I got a taste for speed without too much effort sailing the trimarans and also really liked the teamwork that’s involved. If you sail Finns for so long, it can get a bit boring, so it’s good to sail other boats for a change.” Tucking into a big sandwich he continues, “I am also doing some triathlons, the first one is is September, straight after the Games, but it should help me lose some weight for the Tornado.”
 
Race six started in 12-15 knots and for the first time in the regatta the traditional Olympic course was used with an upwind finish. After one general recall, the pin end marker was moved and many boats opted to start at the committee boat, Ainslie among them. However shortly after the start the wind shifted back and left those at the starboard end with some catching up to do. The majority of the fleet headed left again and at the top mark it was Guillaume Florent (FRA) leading Rafael Trujillo Villar, Emilios Papathanisiou (GRE), Balazs Hadju (HUN), Anthony Nossiter (AUS), Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) and Andrew Simpson (GBR). Ainslie was somewhere in the 30s and had a lot of work to do.
 
Large waves and an increased wind facilitated two fantastic reaches, but it was still Florent at the leeward mark ahead of Trujillo and Papathansaiou. The fleet virtually all banged left again on the second beat. Papathanasiou emerged round the top mark in the lead followed by Florent and Trujillo. Positions remained the same on the run and the final beat, with Simpson moving up to fourth.
 
With a bad result apiece today, the top two from yesterday, Ainslie and Kusznierewicz, swapped positions going into the penultimate day. David Burrows is just 5 points behind the Pole and this group are 11 points ahead of the chasing group. It could be an interesting day as positions 4 through to 10 are separated by just 6 points, so tomorrow will be very important for some.
 
After racing Ainslie commented, "In the first race I got it just about right. I started at the pin end, rounded the top mark in second place and then moved into the lead on the final run. In the second race, after the general recall, they moved the pin end mark and I made a mistake by deciding to start by the committee boat. Anyway, soon after the start the wind shifted back, and those who started at the pin crossed me by miles. I rounded the top mark in the 30s, but managed to pull up a lot offwind and a few on the final beat, so I am reasonably happy with a 12th."
 
One other person who should be mentioned is David Howlett, the GBR coach here.  Now David keeps a close eye on his boys and makes sure they all know what is going on and gives them every assistance - even going as far as giving some good advice on the odd occasion. So imagine the reaction when coming alongside your beleaguered author, who expected a tow in after a hard days racing, he comes up with, “You’re the kind of person who is always saying they don’t sail enough, so here’s your big opportunity.” And with that he roars off back to the club. To add insult to injury, on the way out to the race course today, he comes alongside in a similarly jocular tone (hey very funny!) and comments, “I would give you a tow but you need the practice!” And roars off again in a cloud of spray. Great advice if ever any was needed…
 
 
Three more races are still to be sailed in this championship, two tomorrow and one Friday. Tomorrow Ainslie could make history and become only the second sailor ever to win the Gold Cup in three consecutive years.
 
[back up]

 
Thursday 19 February
 
Ben Ainslie moves one step closer to historic triple
 
The only race sailed today in the Finn Gold Cup in Rio de Janeiro saw another downwind comeback for Ben Ainslie (GBR), giving him a third place and moving him 18 points clear at the top of the results, ahead of Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), who is just one point ahead of David Burrows (IRL). However the day belonged to Brazil, with Bruno Prada winning the race ahead of veteran Finn sailor Jorge Zarif.
 
 
Not only were the sailors tired today after yesterday's fresh winds, but the wind must also have been tired. As a result, the Finn fleet spent more time being towed around today than actually racing. The fleet headed out to Guanabara Bay for the scheduled 13.00 start. After a postponement and a wait the fleet was towed back into the harbour where a pleasant 7 to 8 knot breeze was waiting. The press had also arrived with their cameras and helicopters, so there was quite a commotion within the harbour.
 
At the start most of the favourites favoured the pin end, but Dean Barker (NZL) and Marin Misura (CRO) led half of the fleet out of the committee boat end towards the favoured right hand side. However most of the favourites including the top three overnight went to the left of the course before digging back in. But it was too late by then as even the slowest of the boats heading right crossed nearly all those who had gone left, leaving several high ranking boats with too much to do to get back in the chocolates.
 
Soren Holm (DEN) rounded the top mark in the lead followed by Nenad Viali (CRO), Misura, Chris Cook (CAN), Barker and Rafael Trujillo Villar (ESP). Ainslie rounded about 14th and headed to the right on the run, where there looked to be more pressure. It worked a treat as Ainslie rounded the downwind gate in second place just behind Joao Signorini (BRA) and just ahead of Jorge Zarif (BRA), Barker, Cook and Bruno Prada (BRA).
 
Ben takes up the story, "I had a good start and went left a bit then back to the right. I was trying to stay with Mateusz and David and they were behind me so that was OK. I rounded the top mark about 14th and then went right on the run and gained a lot to round the gate in second. I actually got into the lead on the second beat, but didn't quite go far enough right, so lost out a bit." Ainslie rounded the top mark in second place just behind Prada and just ahead of Holm and Misura. He continued, "It was really close at the finish, so I wasn't sure if I was 2nd or 3rd." In fact, Prada maintained his lead on the final downwind leg to the finish, with Zarif moving up to second to make it a Brazilian 1, 2.
 
Meanwhile Mateusz was having his own problems. He commented, "After rounding the first mark behind Ben I knew I had to attack on the next beat. I'm not here to come second or third (even though I might do that now!), so I went to the right, probably too far, and ran out of wind. It was very bad for me. I lost a lot of places, but luckily managed to catch up some on the final downwind." Kusznierewicz finished 14th to give Ainslie an 18 point cushion going into the final day tomorrow.
 
Just as the race committee tried to start a second race, the wind died and it was postponed until tomorrow. The fleet then dropped their sails and started the tow back to the club - five minutes later a stiff wind filled in from the opposite direction. The wind has been fickle and changeable all week, and with a change in the weather overnight, the final day is unlikely to be any less challenging for the 54 competitors..
 
Ainslie commented on his plans for the final day, "Tomorrow will just be a matter of keeping an eye on Mateusz and David, and trying to stay ahead of them." The Pole also reflected on the final day, "Tomorrow obviously I will still try and win but it's not going to be easy."
 
The battle to be the best home country sailor also heated up today. Bruno Prada and Joao Signorini will soon be battling it out for selection for Brazilian berth in Athens. Here in Rio, they are neck and neck going into the final day. A win for Prada and a 5th place for Signorini sees them tied on 79 points each. There will be more than one battle taking place tomorrow.
 
For those following the GBR coach's anti-towing regime against literary Finn sailors, today's request for help was simply met with a, "After what you wrote yesterday, you've got no chance of a tow now!" Well. Fair dues, but when I was at school the difference between no chance and nothing was still nothing. Imagine the pleasure this author will feel if passing said coach if he happens to have broken down on the motorway, "You can walk. You need the exercise!"
 
Tomorrow, two races are scheduled and the racing has been moved forward one hour to 12.00 in the hope that the wind will remember to get up one hour earlier. Tomorrow also sees the opening stages of the Rio Carnival.
 
[back up]

 
Friday 20 February
 
Ben claims third Finn World title in fine style
 
Milestones in sailing don't come along every day, but today in Rio de Janeiro, there was a very special milestone. Winning the Finn Gold Cup for the third time in a row, Ben Ainslie (GBR) has equaled Jorg Bruder's record set between 1970 and 72. Overcoming very challenging conditions and a very deep field of talent, Ainslie has now won all five major championships since he entered the class in 2001. With the Olympic Games just 6 months away, is there anyone who can stop this man?
 
 
The Finn Festival in Rio is over and the Rio Carnival is just starting. Rio de Janeiro has certainly put on a show to be proud of over the past 7 days and the Finn Gold Cup was just one of many preparatory events for the 2007 Pan-American Games. Most sailors here would agree that this regatta has been a great success and can't deny the beauty and attractions of Rio.
 
However, before all the congratulations could start some sailing had to be done. The courses, which were again windward leeward loops, were set inside the harbour today to ensure that two races could be sailed.
 
Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes up the story. While he admits to being very nervous before the start - especially when waiting onshore earlier in the day for the wind to pick up - as soon as the racing started he settled down. He relates, "It was essential to be at the committee boat at the start and head off right out of the tide. I got a good start and went right right before coming back towards the middle. I was watching for both Mateusz and David and they went too far in and lost the wind a bit. When they came out they were behind me and it was looking good. After that I just played the fleet up the middle, but it was pretty nerve racking at times."
 
Up at the front Jorge Zarif (BRA) was battling with Tapio Nirkko (FIN), Michael Fellmann (GER) and Soren Holm (DEN). Zarif was Brazil's Olympic representative at the 1984 Olympic Games in Long Beach, USA. He is a veteran Finn sailor and today he led from the front to record an impressive victory. A large hole in the wind to the right of the course caused quite a few problems for some sailors, but Zarif led the way round. Ainslie rounded the top mark about 14th and managed to climb up to 9th at the finish, but that didn't matter. He had beaten both his nearest rivals and now couldn't be touched for the title. However the race was still very much on for the other medals with 5 to 6 sailors in with a chance.
 
At the start of race nine, several top boats were found to be having trouble trying to negotiate the strong tidal stream around the committee boat and having to tack out and come round for another go. Several attempts to start the race ended in general recalls as the tidal set was pushing boats over and the biased line was causing bunching at the committee boat. At one false start Sebastian Godefroid (BEL) was seen inching his way along the leeward side committee boat on port tack where he was pinned by the tide and facing a number of starboard tack boats shouting at him. His response was, "This is my only way out of here. Sorry" One of those shouting at him was Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Fate would then have it that less than a minute later Mateusz was doing the same trick. Luckily a general recall was sounded soon after.
 
When the fleet finally got away, again the majority tacked and headed to the right, although for a while both sides looked good. Then a shift to the right brought those who had gone far right to the front and Rafael Trujillo Villar (ESP) led round the first mark followed by Gasper Vincec (SLO), Karlo Kuret (CRO), Babicky Roman (CZE) and Michael Maier (CZE). With the wind picking up to around 12 knots, Rafa held his lead throughout the race. Chris Cook (CAN) pulled through on the downwind leg and ended up third at the finish just behind Kuret.
 
Richard Clarke (CAN), 10 points adrift of a medal going into the day, scored a 5th, which put together with his 6th in the morning catapulted him into the silver medal position. Mateusz Kusznierewicz couldn't quite find the form he had in the early races and dropped to fourth overall. Third overnight, David Burrows (IRL) had a scrappy day but two 15th places were just enough to keep him in the bronze medal position, which he was pretty pleased about.
 
His bronze medal here this week is David's first Finn World Championship medal. He commented. "This is an amazing place. I've never been anywhere quite like it. After the pre-regatta training several of us went up to Buzios, north of Rio for a break. It was a stunning place, 20 knots winds every day and some gorgeous scenery. I have really enjoyed it here although the racing has been tough." Buzios is also the location where the Brazilians will have their Olympic selection trials in a week's time.
 
Joao Signorini (BRA), the leading sailor from Brazil concurred, " It has been a really great event. There has been a very high level of racing with the leaderboard changing many times during the week. Rio has showed that it is a place which can be very tricky. You have to stay calm to race well here and be consistent. Some guys have results all over the place, even on the same day. However it has been a hard event with some great racing. I think the organisers have done a great job in bringing it all together and I hope that all the sailors have enjoyed their time in Rio."
 
The Finn Junior World Championship had a reduced entry this year, perhaps due to the costs of getting here, but the IFA are delighted that the Brazilian Olympic Committee has presented the class with 'The Jorg Bruder Silver Cup', a perpetual trophy to be presented to the winner of the junior event, as a memorial to the late great Finn sailor from Brazil. The leading junior here is Tapio Nirkko (FIN), who finished in 40th place in this Gold Cup just four places ahead of Brazil's Henry Raul Boening. Nirkko did himself a favour in this morning's race with a 5th, as he was black-flagged in the second race as a premature starter, but still maintained a big enough points difference on the Brazilian.
 
Talking about the championship after the race, Ben Ainslie put his success here down to consistency, and agreed the conditions have been difficult. He commented, "This gives me a good confidence boost for Athens, but it is still six months away and there is a lot that can happen and a lot of hard work to do in that time."
 
Ben said, "I am really elated about this win. It's really special for me to win the Gold Cup a third time and to do it in Brazil as well is really good. It was a very tough regatta and I really am chuffed to bits to come out on top. It's always special to win a big championship like this but to win this for the third time in Brazil", Jorg Bruder's home country - the only sailor before today to win three consecutive Finn Gold Cups, "makes it very nice for me. It makes all the time and effort training worthwhile."
 
And after Athens. "Well I am probably getting involved in the America's Cup again, but nothing has been firmed up yet." And what about going for a fourth title in Moscow? "Well I'm not saying I'm never sailing a Finn again after Athens, so I'm not ruling out going to Moscow next year..."
 
An enormous number of people contributed to the success of the event including the ever present Nuno Caminada, Kadu (Richardo Baggio) - Sailing Manager of the Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, Marco Aurelio sa Ribeiro and the Brazilian Finn Association as well as the hard working PRO, Pedro Paulo Petersen. Marco Aurelio commented, "I think it has been a very successful event. Although the conditions were tricky, I think the sailors who did the right thing on the water were the winners. It was a fair championship and we are very pleased with the organisation."
[back up]
Copyright 2004
Robert Deaves - International Finn Association.
Reproduction in full or part welcomed with credit to author

2003 Finn Gold Cup - Cadiz, Spain

 

1 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 44 3 5 7 8 19 4 1 2 1 10 3

2 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 48 9 8 1 5 5 10 19 1 6 1 2

3 GBR 6 Andrew Simpson 75 32 14 9 1 1 3 3 4 8 8 24

4 DEN 200 Jonas Hoegh-christensen 84 4 3 6 2 8 23 OCS 6 12 3 17

5 FRA 73 Guillaume Florent 94 21 6 25 4 7 12 RAF 5 2 6 6

6 POL 17 Mateusz Kusznierewicz 97 10 17 18 13 9 14 7 3 5 11 8

7 IRL 8 David Burrows 98 5 2 17 18 3 1 35 29 4 5 14

8 AUS 221 Anthony Nossiter 100 6 20 15 9 4 OCS 8 7 19 7 5

9 BEL 7 Sebastien Godefroid 101 2 1 16 11 2 OCS 12 11 21 9 16

10 CRO 11 Karlo Kuret 102 18 9 3 16 25 7 4 9 14 2 20

11 TUR 6 Ali Enver Adakan 143 13 13 10 12 18 25 10 25 7 31 10

12 GRE 6 Emilios Papathanasiou 153,3 46 7 2 3 13 24 2 16 25 RDG DNC

13 NED 6 Stefan De Vries 163 22 11 8 34 6 8 14 28 24 21 21

14 DEN 7 Soren Holm 179 14 19 13 20 11 22 42 26 27 12 15

15 BRA 10 Joao Signorini 181 1 BFD 30 36 10 27 6 20 9 33 9

16 GBR 15 Charlie Cumbley 189 7 12 23 47 29 20 28 10 11 27 22

17 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 192 48 4 43 19 12 26 5 32 15 17 19

18 CAN 303 Richard Clarke 192 11 31 12 32 23 15 25 15 10 RAF 18

19 GER 79 Michael Fellmann 193 29 22 26 23 21 2 37 38 3 4 26

20 NED 78 Jaap Zielhuis 193 17 28 5 14 31 17 22 14 45 34 11

21 GBR 577 David Mellor 197 51 16 20 6 17 35 11 22 13 30 27

22 CZE 1 Michael Maier 197 28 15 22 27 15 28 20 33 16 13 13

23 CRO 14 Nenad Viali 227 35 10 21 15 24 5 57 35 23 14 45

24 SUI 7 Christoph Burger 229 24 48 33 7 14 9 34 19 38 18 33

25 NED 701 Martijn Van Muyden 254 23 23 34 39 34 11 45 44 18 24 4

26 SWE 7 Kristian Åderman 261 25 18 4 29 42 48 16 27 34 26 40

27 USA 12 Kevin Hall 264 16 25 51 25 DNC29 32 18 29 32 7

28 NZL 27 Clifton Webb 265 53 24 19 24 30 21 26 21 36 25 39

29 CAN 41 Chris Cook 286 59 40 28 49 16 34 17 23 26 19 34

30 CRO 25 Marin Misura 311 34 32 24 17 22 18 23 30 28 OCS OCS

31 AUS 222 Paul Mckenzie 321 56 26 40 44 44 31 43 13 31 37 12

32 NZL 19 Peter Fox 326 47 29 14 22 OCS51 18 39 40 22 44

33 GBR 550 Matthew Howard 335 44 38 62 40 36 19 9 24 22 OCS 41

34 FRA 972 Ismael Bruno 353 20 43 37 10 43 39 36 41 47 38 46

35 ARG 1 Alejandro Colla 354 12 41 60 45 56 44 21 37 50 47 1

36 POL 12 Waclaw Szukiel 358 26 39 DSQ35 OCS38 15 31 32 29 30

37 CZE 9 Michal Hruby 364 39 50 35 37 27 46 39 47 DSQ15 29

38 FRA 7 Sylvain Chtounder 366 27 37 39 60 33 42 DNC 43 20 16 49

39 GBR 593 Edward Greig 371 57 36 41 38 39 32 38 57 30 28 32

40 SWE 736 Johan Tillander 387 43 46 45 28 26 36 OCS 53 44 35 31

41 IRL 10 Aaron O'grady 395 30 42 31 51 20 64 58 58 42 20 43

42 CRO 16 Emil Tomasevic 402 OCS33 38 50 52 40 65 40 33 23 28

43 RUS 8 Evgeniy Chernov 408 15 30 49 43 28 58 67 59 39 45 42

44 USA 16 Mo Hart 411 31 27 50 21 32 43 29 12 DNCDNC OCS

45 ITA 71 Massimo Gherarducci 413 8 45 32 30 35 6 DNE 8 DNCDNC DNC

46 USA 11 Geoffrey Ewenson 414 OCS57 36 52 51 13 DNF 17 43 39 23

47 RUS 7 Vladislav Kapitonov 436 62 61 63 48 48 52 13 36 41 50 25

48 ITA 15 Michele Marchesini 439 19 DNC29 42 45 50 60 50 52 54 38

49 USA 1140 Bryan Boyd 439 49 53 42 26 46 60 27 52 DNC48 36

50 POL 7 Rafal Szukiel 442 36 55 47 46 55 59 33 46 37 40 47

51 BEL 2 Philippe Rogge 444 38 58 57 56 38 61 48 34 17 46 52

52 AUT 271 Raudaschl Florian 461 37 54 46 54 61 37 41 45 51 DNC 35

53 ESP 107 Agustin Juarez 469 40 21 59 31 41 45 55 48 46 DNC DNC

54 CHN 155 Xiangfeng Zhang 475 52 47 52 55 37 33 51 49 49 DSQ 50

55 USA 1181 Darrell Peck 477 70 49 44 41 40 54 56 56 35 42 60

56 NED 80 Sander Willems 491 63 35 11 33 OCS16 30 54 DNCDNC OCS

57 IRL 5 Youen Jacob 492 60 59 27 73 OCS69 24 51 48 44 37

58 DEN 9 Thomas Laursen 507 65 52 56 57 49 30 44 60 55 51 53

59 FIN 216 Tapio Nirkko 526 67 64 48 59 57 55 40 42 DNC36 58

60 SWE 734 Anders Nilsson 549 45 51 58 68 58 53 62 64 54 41 63

61 GRE 8 Alexandros Dragoutsis 565 33 60 64 67 67 66 46 65 56 53 55

62 CHN 188 Peng Zhang 565 55 34 55 DNF 47 56 50 68 53 DNC 64

63 DEN 208 Joergen Lindhardtsen 565 42 71 65 53 59 47 59 74 66 55 48

64 USA 78 Andy Kern 567 68 56 53 58 50 41 52 55 DNCDNC 51

65 GER 151 Matthias Miller 574 41 65 61 61 OCS57 64 69 59 43 54

66 ESP 1 Diego Fructuoso 614 64 44 67 63 53 72 54 73 DNC57 67

67 GER 126 Paul Kessler 622 74 62 68 65 60 63 71 62 60 52 59

68 EST 7 Harles Liiv 625 54 70 54 62 64 DNC 73 72 61 49 66

69 JPN 1 Takeshi Kuroda 629 61 66 74 66 62 65 53 66 DSQ60 56

70 POL 40 Robert Polczynski 632 66 67 70 69 66 68 31 70 63 DNC 62

71 ITA 101 Riccado Cordovani 649 50 77 66 70 54 49 61 77 62 DSQ OCS

72 GER 81 Jan-dietmar Dellas 656 72 63 72 64 65 62 68 76 58 56 DNC

73 EST 15 Janno Hool 665 73 74 71 DNC 69 71 47 63 57 DNC 57

74 SWE 31 Bjorn Smit 672 58 75 76 DNC 71 73 69 61 67 61 61

75 AUS 223 Dean Mcaullay 673 75 69 69 72 63 70 72 71 64 58 65

76 AUS 224 John Shallvey 696 71 72 75 71 70 67 70 79 68 63 69

77 ESP 310 Claudio Montalbön 699 69 73 77 DNC 68 74 49 75 69 62 OCS

78 IRL 4 Gareth Martel 701 76 76 73 74 72 75 63 DSQ65 59 68

79 HUN 5 Tibor Pallay 777 78 68 DNCDNC DNCDNC 66 67 DNCDNC DNC

80 HUN 6 Gaszton Pal 785 79 79 78 75 73 OCS 74 78 DNCDNC DNC

81 ISV 1 Ben Beer 819 77 78 DNCDNC DNCDNC DNC DNCDNCDNC DNC

82 ITA 1 Luca Devoti 830 DNCDNCDNCDNC DNCDNC DNC DNCDNCDNC DNC

 

2003 Finn Gold Cup
Cadiz, Spain
Reports by Robert Deaves

No more time for preparations

Wall to wall sunshine and healthy breezes welcomed the Finn class to the practice race prior to the first start of the 2003 Finn Gold Cup tomorrow. While many sailors were making last minute preparations or having some last minute practice in the Bay of Cadiz , about 20 Finns ventured out to the race course some 3.4 miles away from the regatta base at Puerto Sherry.

The onshore organisation is immense.  Cadiz is putting on a show to be proud of with three venues running the world championships for all the 9 Olympic classes.

With the Laser and 470 classes at other centres across the bay, the other seven are based at the impressive El Puerto de Santa Maria .

For the Finn class measurement is complete and speculation is starting as to who will be dominant at these world championships. So far just over 80 sailors from 33 countries are registered, one of the most international Finn fleets in the history of the event.

Defending 2002 World Champion - and winner of the recent pre-Olympic test event last month - Ben Ainslie (GBR) is surely going to be the man to watch. Keen to keep to his winning ways, Ainslie will no doubt have a battle on his hands to retain the title he won in Athens last year.

Runner-up to Ainslie last year and also in this year’s European Championships and looking for a third world title is Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL). Olympic Gold medallist in 1996, he finished in the leather medal position in 2000 in Sydney , Kusznierewicz has hinted this may be his last campaign in a Finn.

Also on form this season has been the 2001 Gold Cup winner, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL). With a win in Hyères, and a second behind Ainslie at Spa and a third at the Europeans, he is one of the clear favourites.

Another favourite for next year’s Olympic regatta is Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who won the first two races of last year’s Gold Cup on the Olympic sailing waters in his home town. Good results this season have kept him near the top of the world rankings.

Another sailor regularly in the top five is Karlo Kuret (CRO). His consistent form led him to No. 1 in the world rankings earlier this year.

However, nothing is ever easy, and there are many other sailors eager and able to challenge the recent regatta winners including Michael Fellmann (GER), Andrew Simpson (GBR), Waclaw Szukiel (POL) and local favourite Rafael Trujillo (ESP).

Along with the regulars are some new faces and some old ones. Paul McKenzie (AUS) and Richard Clarke (CAN) are back and Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) is also back again, some 29 years after representing Denmark in the Olympics. It is also pleasing so see entries from developing Finn nations including China , Estonia , Cyprus and Japan .

Before racing starts, tonight is the IFA AGM, minutes of which will appear on the IFA website shortly. Tune again in tomorrow, when the racing starts in earnest.

 

Sebastien leads the fleet

The first day of racing in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup saw a few upsets with several new sailors showing their faces at the front of the fleet and several sailors normally at the front, picking up some large scores.

One who got it right today was Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) who scored a second and a first. It was also a good day for the South Americans with Joao Signorini (BRA) winning the first race and newcomer Alejandro Colla (ARG) rounding the first mark third and first in the two races.

Race one

With the boats setting out in a good breeze, by the time they arrived at the race area, the wind was light and racing was postponed while the race committee evaluated their options. Race one finally got underway at 13.30 in 8 to 12 knots easterly with small waves

The first beat saw the fleet separate evenly across the course which was set as a trapezoid in the lighter winds. David Burrows (IRL) rounded first followed by Joao Signorini (BRA), Alejandro Colla (ARG), Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN). Most of the fleet favoured the right side on the run with Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) making large gains on the final upwind leg to move up to second place behind Joao Signorini.

After the three offwind legs to the finish, Signorini held onto his lead ahead of Godefroid with Ainslie moving up to third and Hoegh Christensen in fourth.

Burrows finished in 5th. Meanwhile Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) was making a charge moving up 10 places on the final offwind to finish 10th.

Race two

After two general recalls, race two started under a black flag in an increased breeze of around 15 to 18 knots. An Olympic triangular course was set.

Many of the favourites were buried on the first beat which saw Alejandro Colla round the first mark in the lead followed by Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Ali Enver

Adakan (TUR). Ainslie was down in the mid 20s while Kusznierewicz was in the 50s.

Sebastien Godefroid, who had rounded the first mark in 10th place, found a good shift and more pressure on the right on the second beat moved from 7th up to first, a position he held until the finish. Burrows and Hoegh-Christensen also found good shifts to finish second and third.

The overnight leader, Sebastien later said "I was pretty happy with my sailing today. Both races I got clear at the start and had good speed. I managed to survive the first beat to round each first mark around 10th. It wasn’t easy. There were so many boats, so close together and with big shifts someone else was always going to be getting it more right than you."

He went on, "It was lucky for me though; I got some good shifts on the last upwind on the first race to move up to second. Although Ben pushed me hard offwind, I managed to stay ahead. In the second race I saw a line a pressure and a shift to the right, but all the leaders were going left. It looked good, but was a risk. So I took it and came out on top with a nice lead. I was pretty happy about that!"

Second place overnight is David Burrows. "It was a bit of a scrap upwind with 30 degree shifts, and lots of bad air. It was very tricky sailing at times, although there were nice waves offwind and the final beat reached 18 knots, which was good sailing."

Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is lying is third overnight after scoring a 4th and 3rd today. He commented "It was all about getting good starts and minimizing losses to stay near to the top of the fleet. Boats were gaining on both sides of the course. I went from around 20th to 3rd in the second race, by going to one side, while those in the middle of the course generally ended up losing out."

So, overnight Sebastien leads from David and Jonas.

Defending champion, Ben Ainslie, is in 4th with a third and fifth in today’s races, having made a great comeback in the final race. Another sailor making a large gain on the final round was Mateusz Kusznierewicz, who ended up 17th after a disastrous first beat and lies 11th overall.

 

All change at the top

The second day of the 2003 Finn Gold Cup was proof of the depth of the class, with two more race winners, more upsets and several new faces at the front of the fleet. In a healthy breeze between 12 and 15 knots, local favourite Rafael Trujillo (ESP) led throughout to win the first race. Andrew Simpson (GBR) managed the same feat in the second race of the day with a good lead on the following pack.

Racing on the same course as the Ynglings, the Finns sailed on a shorter than usual outer trapezoid course with 3 outer loops and an offwind finish.

Race three

A cloudless sky, brilliant sunshine and a 15 knot breeze, greeted competitors for the third championship race. After a two hour delay while the race committee set, shifted and reset the course, racing finally started at 13:55 after one general recall. The pin end was favoured and as far away from his favourite committee boat starting position as he could be was Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who won the start followed by Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) and Andrew Simpson (GBR). The other favourites were positioned further up the line.

The majority of the fleet headed for the favoured left hand side of the course, while a small bunch headed to the right. Most of the boats went left on the second beat as well and at the top mark Rafael Trujillo led from Stefan de Vries (NED), Sander Willems (NED), Kristian Aderman (SWE) and Richard Clarke (CAN). Hoards of boats overstood the windward mark, causing great problems for those rounding it and setting off on the run. In particular class president Philippe Rogge (BEL) who had to negotiate a long stream of reaching starboard tackers while doing turns for touching the mark. Favourites Ben Ainslie, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Sebastien Godefroid were all buried in the chasing pack.

Rafael extended his lead on the final legs to win by a comfortable margin. At the final windward mark he was followed by a group of three - Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Waclaw Szukiel (POL) and Kristian Aderman.

However at the finish Karlo Kuret (CRO) had worked his way up to third and Waclaw had slipped down to 10th. Ben Ainslie as usual was working his way up the fleet making a late charge and finished in 7th place behind Jonas and Jaap Zielhuis (NED). It was a good race for the Dutch team with three boats inside the top 12.

Race four

The start of the second race was almost of copy of the first, with Emilios again winning the pin end start from Gaszton Pal (HUN) and Rafael Trujillo (ESP). Most of the favourites were down the pin end or just slightly up the line. Initially, Emilios led the fleet to the left but most tacked within 2-300 meters to cross to the right. By this time the right was looking better and round the first mark Andrew Simpson (GBR) emerged with a good lead ahead of Guillaume Florent (FRA), Rafael Trujillo, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), Emilios and Ismael Bruno (FRA)

The sailing conditions were near perfect, with 15 knots of breeze and good surfing waves downwind. Andrew held onto and extended his lead on the next round and led a bunch of five boats that had broken away from the pack. Jonas, Emilios, Guillaume and Rafael dutifully followed Andrew round the course to the finish. As on previous beats virtually the whole fleet had pegged left and also as per usual a large majority, including some who should know better, ended up cracking off to lay the windward mark.

Overnight, positions have changed so that Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is in the lead followed by local Rafael Trujillo and defending champion Ben Ainslie in third. Yesterday’s leader, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) had an indifferent day to score a 17th and 11, to end up 4th overall. Likewise David Burrows (IRL), second after yesterday scored two 18ths to drop to 5th overall. A ninth and a first moved Andrew Simpson from 21st to 9th, while a 2nd and a 3rd moved Emilios Papathanasiou from 25th up to 11th.

One of the most colourful characters on the Finn circuit, Luca Devoti - who won the Silver medal in Sydney - retired from the regatta, claiming the end of his Finn racing career due to ´old age´! He said “I am too old for this anymore, I’m 41 next month and I can’t race anymore. It hurts too much. But I still really enjoy the boat so I will just join the coaches." He continued, "I will still sail the boat, as it’s so beautiful to me, but only for training."

 

Consistency proves to be the key

The 2003 Finn Gold Cup in Cadiz reached its half way stage today with two more races sailed in excellent conditions. A shifty 12 to 16 knots kept the sailors on their toes on the upwind legs and provided some nice waves to give them a bit of fun offwind. After his fine win yesterday, Andrew Simpson (GBR) did it again in this morning’s race, narrowly beating Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), the leader after day one. Simpson, the only sailor to have now won more than one race so far in these championships, then went on to score a third in the second race to move him up to third overall. That race was won by David Burrows (IRL) who crossed the finish line with a considerable lead over the chasing pack.

Again, sharing the course with the Ynglings, the Finns sailed an outer trapezoid course with two outer loops.

Race five

The wind was at 14 knots, just below the limit for the yellow flag and unlimited pumping. With the race area set relatively close to the shore, the majority of the fleet, as usual, headed up the left hand side of the course. Third overall, going into the day, David Burrows (IRL) rounded first followed by Stefan de Vries (NED) and Andrew Simpson (GBR). Andrew had started mid line and started going left, crossed to the right on a shift stayed at the front of the fleet.

On the subsequent offwind and windward legs, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) worked his way into the lead, but after touching the windward mark and doing a penalty turn, dropped back. This let Andrew into the lead which he stretched out considerably on the run and following beat. He was still leading at the top of the next beat with Burrows, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Trujillo hard on his heels. The left side still proved favoured with many boats hitting the layline early and many overstanding the windward mark yet again.

On the final downwind, Sebastien started to push hard and got past Burrows, but couldn't catch Simpson. Nossiter finished in fourth with Trujillo in fifth.

Race six

The sixth race started in similar conditions with Martijn van Muyden (NED) starting at the committee boat end and sailing the right side of the course.

Most of the favourites, as usual, headed left, but at the top of the beat it was Martijn in the lead followed by Joao Signorini (BRA), Michael Fellman (GBR), Burrows and Massimo Gherarducci (ITA).

Again the left side was favoured on the following upwind leg. Burrows sailed well to take the lead, creating a large lead from Fellmann and Simpson. Nenad Viali (CRO 14) had made large gains to round fourth, just ahead of the favourite Ben Ainslie (GBR) who had been having an indifferent day so far.

These positions remained the same on the final downwind, except that Ainslie’s superior speed got him past Viali and for a while threatened Simpson as well.

Viali finished fifth, followed by Gherarducci.

So overnight, going into tomorrow’s rest day, Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) is still leading despite scoring an eighth and a 23rd in today’s races. Neither him, nor second placed Ben Ainslie have yet to win a race, but their consistent top ten finishes are placing them in good stead. Andrew Simpson’s good day moved him up to third, while Rafael Trujillo slipped from 2nd to 4th. Surprisingly a third and first from David Burrows caused him to slip to fifth overall from third.

Simpson commented on his day’s work, "It was tough out there, very hard to break through and you never really knew what was going to happen." "However I had good speed round the course and good starts, and also a bit of luck, which helps," he added, with a grin.

Someone not so lucky was the leading American sailor Kevin Hall. USA is still trying to qualify their country for next year’s Olympics, so as the top sailor from the States so far, all eyes were on Kevin. However he didn’t do his chances much good after capsizing at the windward mark and getting holed by another boat. He didn’t finish that race but made on the water repairs so he could start the next and went on to score a 29th, to stay in 30th position going into the lay day. Kevin has only been sailing the Finn since the SPA regatta in May, after switching from the 49er. "Sailing the Finn is great," he commented. "You get really got racing and some great competition. It’s easy to just jump in the boat and go."

Fellow American Darrell Peck commented "This is a really nice place to sail, fantastic weather, great winds and good facilities. However after three days I am looking forward to the rest day tomorrow. Going to see a few of the sights and be a tourist."

Similarly Geoff Ewenson, also from the States was full of praise for the event. Geoff had his best race of the series so far with a 13th in race six, climbing as high as seventh at the end of the downwind legs. He said, "The breeze was softer out of the start which meant I didn’t get blown away upwind. I rounded the first mark about 12th and it gets a whole lot easier if you get to play near the front of the fleet."

Further down the scorecard it is interesting to see training partners Michael Fellmann (GER) and David Mellor (GBR) on equal points in 20th and 21st positions.

Finally, commenting on his OCS in race two Sebastien Godefroid said, "I wish I had found out earlier about the OCS. I could have done without the additional exercise." At least that is something that none of the sailors have to worry about tomorrow as they enjoy a rest day in sunny Cadiz .

 

Everything still to play for

With a lay day for the Finn Gold Cup today, the sailors are taking a well earned break, doing some sight seeing around Cadiz , or making last minute preparations for the final five races. It couldn’t be tighter at the top. The first six boats are all within 10 points and second to fifth are within two points of each other; the next five places are within six points of each other. There is still everything to play for in these championships.

However, all but one of the sailors in the top 10 has at least one high score so far, so none of them can afford to make any more mistakes. The only sailor within the top 10 with a virtually clean sheet, and all top 10 finishes, is local sailor Rafael Trujillo (ESP). With his worst placing so far as 10th, he must be hoping some of the other sailors around him slip up one more time.

In spite of this though, the depth of the fleet is as great as always. So far, 22 sailors have achieved a top 10 result this week, and 39 have achieved a top 20 result. This is going to make it extremely difficult to remain consistent in the tricky breezes out in the Bay of Cadiz .

The weather today is very much the same: cloudless skies and good breezes, although there is slightly less wind than yesterday. The conditions look set to continue for the next few days at least.

The scene today though is of a deserted dinghy park. A handful of sailors are making small adjustments or repairs and a couple of boats are going out sailing for some last minute testing. "It’s not like the old days,” reminisces veteran Finn sailor Jorgen

Lindhardtsen (DEN). "Back then, everyone would be working on the boats and masts, making adjustments, repairs. Today there is much less you can do to the boat." he says scanning the Finn park, devoid of everything but covered boats and a few sailors.

Jorgen has been sailing in the Finn Gold Cup for 28 years. He picked up a new mast on the way down to Cadiz , borrowed a sail and is currently languishing in 60th place, a situation he is not particularly happy with. "I have no speed and no pointing," he comments wryly. While most people his age would be pleased to be still sailing, Jorgen is an icon for the more time-challenged sailor. Still sailing OK Dinghies and Finns, Jorgen still manages to beat the best in the OK Dinghy class, recently finishing in 3rd place in the European Championships this summer.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the Junior Finn Gold Cup is also being sailed here, combined with the senior fleet as has been the tradition for the past few years. Leading Junior at present is Marin Misura (CRO) in 26th place after a consistent string of results between 17th and 34th. Second placed Junior is Ed Greig (GBR) in 46th place, and third Junior is Tapio Nirkko (FIN) in 62nd place. Although they are fairly spread out there is still a long way to go.

Sharing their course with the Finn so far in this regatta, the Ynglings sailed their final day today, so for the next three days the Finns should have Delta course to themselves.

 

Clear leaders begin to emerge

Today, the defending champion had his best day of the championship so far. Making hard work of the first six races in the series, today Ben Ainslie (GBR) was back to the form that has won him two European Championships, one Finn Gold Cup and the Athens test event. Leading the first race from the start he won by more than a minute, and he then placed second in race eight, behind local hero Rafael Trujillo (ESP) after a drama played just yards from the finish line.

However the first problem was the wind – or rather the lack of it. A change in the weather saw the day dawn with flat calm, cloud filled skies and a misty haze over the Bay of Cadiz . All racing was postponed and it was not until 13:00 that the AP came down and the fleet was sent out to sea.

Race seven

The racing finally started at 14.40 in a patchy 5-6 knot north-westerly. Offshore initially looked like the favoured side, but half way up the first beat more pressure appeared to the right and those who poked that way, lifted up to the mark. Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes up the story. "I started just down from the committee boat where there was a bit space, got lifted out of the start and then tacked over to the right where the majority of the fleet were going." Ben’s excellent start put him in clear air and he crossed the whole fleet when going right to lead into the windward mark by about 10 boat lengths from Kristian Aderman (SWE), Peter Fox (NZL), Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) and Karlo Kuret (CRO).

The gap that Ben had made allowed him to escape downwind, while the following pack slowed each other down. Many of the other favourites were buried in the 20s and 30s. On the second beat, most of the fleet went hard right again, playing the shifts on the inshore side of the course. Ben extended his lead here while Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Andrew Simpson (GBR) moved up to third and fourth respectively behind Ben and Emilios.

The third beat followed a similar pattern, with Karlo Kuret sneaking into fourth ahead of Simpson at the windward mark. However on the three offwind legs to the finish, Simpson’s superior downwind speed pulled him through to third place, with Karlo in fourth, Vincec in fifth and race one winner, Joao Signorini (BRA) climbing well to finish sixth.

It was a bad race for championship leader Jonas Hoegh-Christensen. After crossing the finish line eighth, he found out he was OCS at the start, as was Johan Tillander (SWE) after scoring one his best results of the week.

Race eight

The breeze had increased slightly for the eighth race to around 10 to 12 knots, and the race officer started it very promptly after the previous race. Again the committee boat end was biased with most sailors looking for a clear route through to the previously favoured right hand side. Everyone was too keen though, but after one general recall, the fleet got cleanly away. Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) started right by the committee boat and tacked off to the right. Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) followed him slightly to windward, while Ainslie and Simpson started slightly down from the committee boat end and headed off slightly left before tacking and trying to get back to the right.

Half way up the beat those on the right were looking good, but the boats on the far left were starting to look better. Ainslie tacked back to the left just in time and rounded the first mark just behind local boat Rafael Trujillo (ESP) who had worked left of middle up the course. These two were followed by Mo Hart (USA), Massimo Gherarducci (ITA), Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Guillaume Florent (FRA).

As Ainslie had done in the previous race, Rafael extended his lead on each leg to win by about a minute, welcomed across the finish line with cheering and applause from the delighted local crowd. The chasing pack of Kusznierewicz, Simpson, Hoegh-Christensen and Florent traded places and tacks until the final windward mark. Mateusz rounded just ahead of Andrew and Jonas and the race to the finish was one.

On the downwind leg, Mateusz caught some nice waves to the right of the course and surfed up to Ainslie, reducing his 100 meter lead to nothing. On the next wave he was past and led into the final mark, before the short reach to the finish. However it was not over yet. These two battled hard for second place and just yards from the line it looked as it the Pole would get it. But then the yellow flag went up from the nearby jury boat. Ainslie slumped thinking it was him and as his second yellow flag of the regatta he would have to retire from the race. But the flag was pointed at Mateusz, who then had to do his turns and finish third behind Ainslie. An exciting finish to an exciting race! Simpson held onto fourth place ahead of Florent and Hoegh-Christensen.

Finally finding his form and definitely the man of the day, Ben Ainslie's first and second moves him into the overall lead. Andrew Simpson's consistency moved him up to second overall, while his win, combined with a 19th, moves Rafael Trujillo up to 3rd.

One of the pre-regatta favourites and twice world champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz has moved up to ninth overall after a seventh and third today. Speaking before today's races about his below average performance so far he said, "I have had good starts, clear air out of the starts and good speed, but just haven't been able to get the shifts right. I don't know why, maybe it's just one of those regattas. However we are only half way through and there is still a long way to go." With only 20 points between him and fourth overall, if he continues to find some form - and the right shift - he could yet pose a threat to the leaders

Analysing the racing, Ainslie commented, "It was still tough out there today, although once you were in front, clear air and water were definitely an advantage, as both myself, this morning, and Rafael this afternoon proved, although he had pace on me in the breeze this afternoon. Tomorrow the plan is just to plug away and try and do the same."

Team-mate, Andrew Simpson concurred, "Some sailors are getting results all over the place, up and down. It's really tricky to be consistent, so tomorrow is all about going out and trying to stay near the front again and avoid any shockers. But I'm really pleased with my form. It's nice getting back to the front of the fleet again, so I'm going try my best to stay there."

Another sailor who had a good race this afternoon was Paul McKenzie, who finished 13th, after struggling to get a reasonable result all week despite training hard for this event. He declined to comment to your reporter, as he was saving his energy for tomorrow!

As well as Ainslie and Simpson, other British team members also had a good day. Matt Howard and Charlie Cumbley both scored 10th places today to move up the score sheet. And a 23rd and 30th for Junior Marin Misura (CRO) moved him up to 27th overall, clear ahead of the next Junior Ed Greig (GBR) in 45th.

Tomorrow could be the deciding day in the championship, with two more races to sail.

 

Happy Rafael makes sure of a medal

A day of testing racing on the penultimate day of the racing in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup has determined two of the three medal winners. All that needs to be decided in tomorrow’s final race who gets which colour. As yesterday, Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Rafael Trujillo (ESP) scored a win each, but Ben’s 10th compared to Rafa´s 6th, narrowed the gap between them to five points. Andrew Simpson’s two eighth places dropped him to third overall, but all three are still in with a chance of winning the Championship.

A light northerly wind caused the postponement flag to be flown onshore while waiting for the sea breeze to kick in. Finally the fleets were sent out and the first race got underway at 13.05 in 10 to 12 knot north westerly, clear blue skies and some nice waves starting to build.

Race nine

Getting a clean start first time, most of the favourites were just down or near to the committee boat. Mateuz Kusznierewicz (POL) started right next to the boat and tacked off to the right, which had proved heavily favoured yesterday in similar conditions. Ben Ainslie (GBR) tacked to the right as soon as he was clear out of the start and most boats soon followed this well worn track.

Those on the far left including Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) and Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) started to look good, but a right shift toward the end brought all those boats who had favoured that side back to the front with David Burrows (IRL) leading round the first mark with a nice lead over Guillaume Florent (FRA), Ali Enver Adakan (TUR), Mateusz, Sylvain Chtounder (FRA) and Ainslie.

Sailing a triangle course, the reaches were fast and furious with Ainslie taking several boats on the first reach and the rest on the second, to lead round the bottom mark. From then on it was mainly a drag race to the right, and no one could catch Ainslie downwind, so he sailed on to his second win of the event.

Meanwhile, behind him, Michael Fellmann (GER) was finding some form in the stronger wind and moved into third on the third beat after outpacing Burrows.

Kusznierewicz narrowly beat Trujillo into sixth place on the downwind finish.

Race ten

With an increased wind and larger waves, race ten was a Finn sailor’s dream. As the wind was over 15 knots, the flag was up for free pumping downwind.

The start line was biased slightly towards the pin end, but the most thought the favoured side was still right. Mateusz executed another text book committee boat start to lead to the right. However half way there he was not looking too good, so tacked off to dig back into the pack. Emilios went further right and suffered later on.

Meanwhile those who had started nearer the favoured pin end had found a shift on the left. Race winner Rafael commented, "I started mid left on the line and had really good speed off the line and then I tacked for the right on a 5 degree shift. After a while I saw Karlo and Jonas on the left sailing in much more pressure so I tacked over to get it and found myself leading round the first mark."

He was followed by Karlo Kuret (CRO), Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), Marin Misura (CRO) – who was actually OCS - and Anthony Nossiter (AUS). Ben Ainslie, who had started mid line but had got stuck in traffic, and Mateusz and Emilios, who had played the right, rounded someway back and started to play catch up.

By the now the wind was reaching 18 to 20 knots and the fleet really had fun on the triangle, with fantastic waves and great surfing to be had. Positions didn’t change much with Rafael just protecting his lead from Karlo at the bottom mark and then extending it on the right hand track of the next beat and never looking back. After the next upwind and downwind he was greeted across the finish line by the usual cheering and applause from the locals. This was his third win of the championship.

Behind him the fleet dutifully followed him to the right on the upwind and generally down the middle on the run. Karlo held on to second for his best result of the week, with Jonas in third, Michael Fellmann again scored a good result in fourth and David Burrows completed a good day in fifth.

After having a mediocre regatta so far, Class President, Philippe Rogge, was very pleased with his first race. Sailing a blinder on the first upwind leg, he rounded the top mark in sixth place and held onto a top 12 slot until the final downwind leg, when he slipped back to 17th. Still, it was a good result for someone who completed his training programme for this event back at the SPA regatta. The 2002 one that is - and he hasn’t sailed since then!

With one more race to sail tomorrow, Ben Ainslie has a 5 point lead over Rafael Trujillo who has a 10 point lead over Andrew Simpson. Only these three can win the championship tomorrow, but fourth placed Jonas Hoegh-Christensen can move into third if he posts a result 16 places better than Simpson.

The next six places are wide open with only 13 points the difference, and with many of those discarding a high score, they all need a good result to keep their position. At the moment, Karlo Kuret is leading David Burrows, Sebastien Godefroid, Guillaume Florent, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Anthony Nossiter.

Speaking before today’s race Rafael said, “I am happiest in the boat when it is blowing 10 to 15 knots. I am much faster then. I have been training here for the past year and it is a really nice place to sail in summer. The weather today will be good for me – a sea breeze will come in for the racing and we will have good winds.” Rafael’s analysis proved correct and now he is delighted at having made sure of a medal. He later commented, “I have won individual races before, but never finished in the top three. I am now really tired as this has been a tough championship but am so pleased to have won a medal. It is incredible for me to finish on the podium. I am very happy about that.” The 11th race will decide the colour of that medal.

Tomorrow’s final race is certainly going to be a nail biting race for some.

 

A win for Mama but Ben takes the title

With three possible championship winners going into today’s final race in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup, competitors were frustrated by being held on shore until 13.00 and then having to wait on the water until 15:00 before there was a steady enough wind to be able to start. Sailing a brilliant race, Alejandro Colla (ARG), sailing in his first Gold Cup led the fleet at the first mark and went on to win in fine style. The drama that was being played out behind him was the stuff of legends.

Race eleven

After one general recall the fleet finally got underway at 15.35, just 25 minutes short of the time limit. The wind was at 6-7 knots and patchy in places with a fairly flat sea. The race initially followed a similar pattern to previous days with Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) starting at the committee boat and tacking off to the right. He was followed by Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN). Mateusz tacked back towards the left after a while, which saw him round the windward mark in 10th. Both Andrew and Jonas were well down.

Further down the line, regatta leader Ben Ainslie (GBR) got buried out of the start and has difficulty finding clear lanes. His main rival for the title, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) did find the right shifts to round the top mark 6th. However the man who could do no wrong was Alejandro Colla (ARG), who emerged from the middle right with a substantial lead.

He was followed by Kevin Hall (USA), Guillaume Florent (FRA), Emil Tomasevic (CRO), Marin Misura (CRO) – who was again OCS - and Rafael, accompanied by the now standard cheering from the local crowd. Ainslie rounded 23rd, accompanied by shocked silence from the British supporters. Surely even Ben couldn’t recover from that position...

The first downwind was the key leg of the race. Ben tells his side of the story. "There was no one on the left of the course. I saw Rafa doing well down there and I really needed to catch up. So I went left and fortunately it worked well and I picked up a lot of ground." In fact he took over ten places on that leg alone. There was now very much a race on.

By the next windward mark, Alejandro had extended his lead and Rafael had moved up to second place. Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Martijn van Muyden (NED) were up in third and fourth, while Ainslie has taken more places to move into seventh.

The right was generally paying on the beat and at the end of the next downwind, during which Ainslie has inevitably moved up to fifth, Alejandro led a group to the right, while Ainslie led another group round the right hand mark to the left of the course. Ben emerged round the top mark just behind Rafael and after three offwind legs, with the positions unchanged; he had retained the title he had won in Athens last year.

Alejandro won his first Finn Gold Cup race after much promise at the start of the regatta. He said afterwards, "I dedicate this win to my mother, who died a year and a half ago. My boat is named Mami in honour of her. This win will give me the incentive I need to improve and come back to La Rochelle to qualify Argentina for the 2003 Olympics."

Second in the race and the Silver medal winner, Rafael, was pleased the regatta came down to the last race. He said, "I am very pleased because normally the winners have all been decided before the last race, and there has always been a clear winner, so this year was good because we didn’t know until the very end. I am glad about that. It made for a good competition."

Third in the race and Gold Cup winner, Ben Ainslie concurred, "The last race was very exciting for spectators. There was a lot going on. It has been very hard because both Rafa and Bart have been sailing very well. I was a bit worried after the first mark, and it was really tough to get back into the race. I am very pleased."

Behind Ainslie in third were Martijn van Muyden, Anthony Nossiter, Guillaume Florent and Kevin Hall.

The race for the bronze medal looked over at the first mark with both Andrew and Jonas somewhere in the 50s.

However, Jonas’s phenomenal ability to make comebacks saw him take boat after boat and overtake Andrew on the final offwind to finish 17th. However, Andrew stayed close enough to be sure of the bronze medal. Andrew later commented, "I had a good gap beneath me in the points, so I decided to take a risk and go to an extreme to try and get a result. I had to do something spectacular if I was a going to win, so decided to take the risk. However it didn’t really pay off. I wasn’t really aware of where Jonas was and he got past me when I wasn’t paying attention. However that woke me up and I started trying harder again and kept in touch with him to stay in third overall."

Twice former world champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz ended, what for him was a poor regatta, in sixth place. After having a bad start to the week with a 17th and 18th, he has been trying to understand what was going wrong. He revealed, "I have been having bad upwind speed all week. I don’t know why. I need to look at things and make some improvements I think.

After my terrible first two days though, I am delighted with sixth overall." On the future for him he commented, "I will sail in Brazil next year and then in Athens , but then I will give up sailing the Finn. I might be tempted to come back for the Moscow Gold Cup as it sounds like that will be good."

In the Junior Finn Gold Cup Marin Misura (CRO) finished in 30th place, ahead of Edward Greig (GBR) in 39th and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) in 59th.

The prize giving was held by the swimming pool of the Hotel Yacht Club in Puerto Sherry with the medals being awarded by ISAF Vice-President, Fernando Bolin.

(c) Robert Deaves 2003

2002 Finn Gold Cup - Athens, Greece

 
 
Pos
Sail No
Helm
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
Pts
1
GBR 3
Ben Ainslie
6
2
5
1
1
2
2
8
19
2
POL 17
Mateusz Kusznierewicz
5
91
16
3
2
1
3
7
37
3
GRE 6
Emilios Papathanasiou
1
1
13
91
3
10
9
5
42
4
CRO 11
Karlo Kuret
7
4
15
6
7
5
7
11
47
5
ESP 100
Rafael Trujizo Villar
21
6
1
14
25
3
4
1
50
6
BEL 7
Sebastien Godefroid
3
19
7
4
18
11
1
6
50
7
GER 79
Michael Fellmann
11
33
6
2
17
13
6
12
67
8
FRA 73
Guillaume Florent
2
15
3
28
9
16
17
9
71
9
GBR 6
Andrew Simpson
12
40
8
7
24
26
5
2
84
10
FRA 17
Pascal Rambeau
25
14
9
15
4
7
16
37
90
11
GBR 541
Chris Brittle (J)
32
7
18
17
26
4
13
13
98
12
GBR 15
Charlie Cumbley
9
5
10
29
8
12
30
27
100
13
BRA 10
Joao Signorini
10
17
4
9
13
18
91
33
104
14
IRL 8
David Burrows
18
69
23
19
12
14
14
23
123
15
CZE 1
Michael Maier
49
3
38
13
39
6
10
16
125
16
SWE 7
Kristian Aderman
19
35
12
16
6
22
28
25
128
17
CRO 25
Marin Mizura (J)
20
8
28
20
19
23
11
29
129
18
NED 6
Stefan de Vries
13
18
17
12
14
21
38
36
131
19
USA 1176
Gregory Skidmore
31
11
27
91
5
9
23
28
134
20
CRO 14
Nenad Viali
8
37
33
25
37
19
12
4
138
21
AUS 221
Anthony Nossiter
14
9
41
10
66
40
8
19
141
22
DEN 7
Soren Holm
17
91
30
11
27
8
19
34
146
23
POL 12
Waclaw Szukiel
51
21
11
22
38
48
15
3
158
24
NZL 27
Clifton Webb
38
10
21
33
30
30
18
31
173
25
SWE 736
Johan Tillander
22
25
49
44
10
35
33
10
179
26
FRA 7
Sylvain Chtounder
27
22
22
30
91
34
22
26
183
27
GBR 577
Dave Mellor
46
20
50
5
56
29
20
18
188
28
SLO 5
Gasper Vincec (J)
91
24
29
21
11
36
35
35
191
29
BRA 109
Jorge Zarif
34
26
40
31
54
15
24
21
191
30
BRA 1
Bruno Prada
60
28
2
39
45
44
21
14
193
31
NED 785
Jaap Zichlhuis
4
12
31
8
23
25
91
91
194
32
POL 7
Rafal Szukiel
47
13
19
43
20
32
32
44
203
33
SUI 477
Christoph Burger
37
45
91
24
15
37
26
22
206
34
FRA 11
Mathieu Deplanque
26
41
14
26
48
20
34
56
209
35
USA 1161
Morrison Hart
15
16
24
41
31
43
41
53
211
36
USA 1170
Geoffrey Ewenson
24
36
25
91
32
28
39
38
222
37
SWE 734
Anders Nilson
28
71
39
32
29
24
40
30
222
38
GRE 12
Apostolos Karnoutsos
48
27
47
23
22
91
31
39
237
39
IRL 10
Aaron O'Grady
54
51
42
38
21
17
27
47
243
40
IRL 5
Youen Jacob
43
39
20
45
91
53
25
20
245
41
RUS 1
Vladimir Krutskikh
56
42
51
50
28
31
29
15
246
42
AUS 228
Josh Beaver
23
60
34
18
60
38
47
42
262
43
FIN 216
Tapio Nirkko (J)
44
23
36
48
41
47
37
48
276
44
USA 40
Bryan Boyd
39
48
43
49
16
35
51
73
281
45
GRE 8
Alexandros Dragoutsis
33
29
52
62
33
33
49
52
281
46
CAN 4
Mike Milner
30
59
35
37
53
41
45
40
281
47
GBR 2
Adam Cowling
40
38
26
35
34
65
52
66
290
48
RUS 7
Vladislav Kapitonov
63
32
45
42
44
45
36
46
290
49
GBR 550
Matt Howard
36
52
48
36
91
39
60
24
295
50
ITA 15
Michele Marchesini
58
43
32
52
75
27
53
43
308
51
TUR 7
Akif Muslubas
29
56
46
34
50
42
54
68
311
52
CZE 9
Michal Hruby
50
55
37
27
49
62
42
61
321
53
ITA 11
Walter Riosa
35
44
56
40
51
64
91
41
331
54
UKR 21
Sergey Kotov (J)
53
80
58
66
46
49
56
17
345
55
CAN 41
Christopher Cook
16
78
44
53
35
91
91
45
362
56
GBR 593
Edward Greig (J)
71
47
66
61
57
55
57
32
375
57
ITA 841
Filippo Caporali
57
61
60
46
36
60
91
55
375
58
BRA 100
Mauricio Bueno
66
49
62
91
40
52
44
63
381
59
GER 126
Paul Kessler
45
63
68
54
70
58
43
54
385
60
BLR 8
Vladislav Aleinikov
42
46
55
57
65
59
91
65
389
61
NED 80
Sander Willems
52
64
73
55
52
56
48
64
391
62
USA 78
Andrew Kern
69
54
91
47
62
70
46
49
397
63
DEN 9
Thomas Laursen
91
31
57
58
59
51
91
51
398
64
GER 81
JanDietmar Dellas
59
66
69
59
47
50
50
67
398
65
NED 784
Albert Jurgens
62
34
53
51
69
61
91
69
399
66
AUT 271
Florian Raudaschl
41
50
67
60
91
46
91
50
405
67
GER 121
Thomas Finke (J)
73
57
70
65
42
69
55
57
415
68
ESP 292
Miguel Santaursuca Vilas
64
70
64
64
63
54
59
58
426
69
GRE 11
Pachomios Papastefanou (J)
77
30
75
56
67
72
65
74
439
70
HUN 61
Tibor Pallay
65
83
59
63
61
57
63
72
440
71
POL 9
Piotr Zoltowski (J)
67
77
54
91
55
71
62
60
446
72
ITA 890
Iacopo Tacchino (J)
91
62
63
67
80
63
61
75
471
73
GRE 1
Aggelos Boubouras (J)
76
53
74
73
73
67
66
70
476
74
GER 150
Gunter Hoffmann
70
65
77
70
43
77
91
76
478
75
BLR 7
Ivan Korotkevith (J)
75
81
71
69
91
68
58
62
484
76
NED 804
Cees Scheurwater
61
68
91
72
74
66
64
91
496
77
GRE 71
Panagiotis Davourlis
82
76
65
74
68
73
91
59
497
78
POL 40
Robert Polczynski
55
74
61
68
64
91
91
91
504
79
NED 788
Pim de Visser (J)
68
67
82
77
72
79
68
79
510
80
NED 787
Nanno Schuttrups (J)
78
75
76
76
58
75
91
78
516
81
HUN 2
Peter Sipos
74
58
81
80
77
78
91
77
525
82
GRE 62
Kostantinos Mitropoulos (J)
79
73
84
75
71
81
69
91
532
83
RSA 468
Boris Miladinovic
84
85
78
79
82
74
67
80
549
84
AUS 223
Dean McAullay
72
79
72
71
91
91
91
91
567
85
HUN 30
Bence Sipos (J)
91
91
80
78
81
80
91
71
572
86
HUN 6
Pal Gaszton (J)
81
72
85
91
76
76
91
91
572
87
GER 92
Detlev Guminski
80
84
79
81
79
82
91
91
576
88
GER 12
David Guminski (J)
83
82
83
82
78
83
91
91
582
89
DEN 200
Jonas HoeghChristensen (J)
91
91
91
91
91
91
91
91
637
89
ITA 1
Luca Devoti
91
91
91
91
91
91
91
91
637
 
 
Finn Gold Cup 2002 Report
by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie.
 
The 2002 Finn Gold Cup was sailed in Athens, Greece from July 22 to 28 and provided Great Britain with its first World Champion for 26 years - and someone who had been in the class just six months.
 
Day one
Emilios Papathanasiou proved that he is the king at home after winning the first two races with ease. For everyone else it was a hard day. The capricious wind, favouring the right side of the course early afternoon, turned constantly to the left, with three major shifts during the afternoon. The first one cost the first race, cancelled as the leaders had the finish line in sight! Class newcomer, Joao Signorini from Brazil, had fought hard to remain in the lead, 100 meters from a race victory, but the checked flag was flown and great hope turned into bitter frustration. The 100 degrees shift that had hit the top of the course didn't leave any other option to the race committee. Emilios Papathanasiou, placed in the last 10, as well as many top Finn sailors who had taken a bad option, blessed the wise decision of the race committee and the PRO George Sklavounos!
 
The start of the first race was given again in light conditions and a small chop. The left side was again favoured. Jaap Zielhuis shared the lead with Nenad Viali until Emilios came from fourth at the last top mark to win the race. Guillaume Florent made his way back from a 15th place to second across the line in front of Sebastien Godefroid. First Junior was Marin Misura in 20th position.
 
The second race of the day started under Q flag and a triangle course after a clean first start. Emilios led all the boats going to the left. He increased his lead on the reaches and the last run. After the first leg to the windward mark, the wind decreased to 12 knots. The Q flag for 'free' pumping was unchanged until the bottom mark allowing the sailors to demonstrate their pumping skills!! The second major shift of the day happened on the second reach. The wind turned more drastically on the last beat. Ben Ainslie made the largest gain to finish second in front of Michael Maier and Karlo Kuret. Marin Misura, the Junior from Croatia, finished in 8th.
 
Day two
Ben Ainslie from Great Britain took the lead overall after two beautiful races. With no less than two Olympic Medals and World titles in the Laser class, the British sailors is making a brilliant debut in the Finn class. After placing fifth in the first race of the day, Ben claimed victory in the second. Early regatta leader, Emilios is now in 22nd place after two bad starts and breaking his rudder in the last race after a collision.
 
The wind had settled to a stable direction and varied only from 8 to 12 knots in a very choppy sea. The committee used the windward leeward course in both races and produced high quality and fair racing.
 
The first start was given under individual recall and as usual the pin end was crowded. Rafael Trujillo got clear on the left side of the course to lead the race, to the finish. Brazilians Bruno Prada and Joao Signorini placed in second and fourth places with Guillaume Florent from France in third.
 
Sebastien Godefroid, Ben Ainslie and Michael Fellmann fought to the finish to cross the line within two meters of each other! Following them, Christoph Burger made a last effort to catch a wave that cost him the race - he collected his second yellow flag from the jury!
 
Race four got under way with 20 boats fighting for a pole position at the pin end, Emilios hit another boat and had to start way back after taking his penalty turn. After a rocket start, Michael Fellmann rounded the top mark in front of Ben, Gregory Skidmore and Mateusz Kusznierewicz.
 
Ben passed the German on the second beat, only by a boat length. They entered the last run to the finish with a 30 second lead on Mateusz and Joao Signorini.
 
Day three
Ben Ainslie and Mateusz Kusznierewicz reigned on the third day of racing, winning one race each and placing second in the other. The two Olympic Medalists displayed great racing skills, especially on the downwind legs, under the watchful eye of the Jury. The Pole was now back in contention for the title after discarding a race disqualification following two yellow flags on the first day of racing.
 
The wind varied between 8 to 14 knots towards the end of the last race. The sea was flat with waves starting to appear on the last run.
 
The start of race five was given under black flag, after a general recall. The wind had settled since the previous day and minor shifts made racing tricky. Pascal Rambeau led to the top mark. "I started in the middle of the line and played with the shifts." He was soon passed on the downwind leg by Ben. Mateusz and Emilios closed the gap at the second top mark and passed the Frenchman on the run. Ben claimed his second victory followed across the line by Mateusz, Emilios, Pascal Rambeau and Greg Skidmore.
 
Danish Junior Jonas Hoegh-Christensen had to withdraw from the race and the Championship after getting a third disqualification by the jury for pumping upwind!
 
The second race of the day (race six) started with winds averaging 12 knots. The line was even and the wind shifting slightly across the course. Rafael Trujillo first at the mark, lost some ground on the run but kept the lead. The Spaniard entered the last run to the finish with Ben and Mateusz on his tail. A real show of downwind techniques was displayed with Mateusz winning the contest and the race. "I finally had some great fun downwind, the waves were big enough to allow good surfing." Ben took second place in front of Rafael Trujillo. British Junior Chris Brittle placed fourth.
 
Day four
After waiting several hours at the Olympiakos Yacht Club for a storm to pass over Athens, Finn sailors left for the seventh and eighth race of the Championship with a strong sea breeze.
 
After a general recall, the race started under black flag for an Olympic triangle and 'free upwind pumping'. A few sailors decided to go back to the yacht club after the wind increased to 20 knots and lift the sea to a 2.5 meter rolling waves.
 
Sebastien won the race in what he describes as being his favourites conditions: "It was great fun out there, I love these big waves, a pity there wasn't a second one!!." The start was slightly favoured at the committee boat. Andrew Simpson went to the left to reach the top mark in front of Sebastien and Mateusz. The wing mark was hidden by the big waves and the top sailors went too high. Sebastien and Mateusz were the first one to locate it and took the opportunity to pass Andrew. Ben and Sebastien passed Mateusz and Andrew on the second beat. Sebastien took the lead on the last run and Ben made the most of his 90kg to finish second in front of Mateusz.
 
Day five
The 90 sailors engaged in the Finn Gold Cup came into their last day of sailing with hope to finish the championship with two good races. The conditions were perfect with nice big waves and medium wind. After the end of race eight won by Rafael Trujillo, the sailors were sent back to the yacht club with a postponement. Still expecting to go out again to enjoy the good conditions for the last race of the championship, sailors and coaches were disappointed when the racing was definitely cancelled.
 
None of this will bring to disrepute the magnificent performance of Ben Ainslie and his fellow competitors, Mateusz who takes second and Emilios in third position.
 
The top three Juniors are Chris Brittle who has retained his title, Marin Misura and his training partner, Gasper Vincec from Slovenia.
 
The top nine countries to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics (under ISAF approval and protests) are: GBR, POL, CRO, ESP, BEL, GER, FRA, BRA and IRL
 

TRANSLATE

enfrdeitptrues

MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEDIA PARTNERS

TOP STORY

Finn format trials survey: The pros and cons

Following requests to trial a ‘first across the line’ race format, the Finn class carried out trials at two events early in 2017 – the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma and the European Championship in Marseille. Both were designed around a winner-takes-all final race where the first boat across the line was the winner. As expected, both events produced a lot of feedback, good and bad, and after the Europeans the Finn Class organised an online survey to assess the success or otherwise of the trials and gather further feedback.

Read more ...

EVENT SITES

finnworldmasters2

LATEST FINNFARE

FINNFARE December 2017 150

December 2017

Finn Gold Cup on Balaton, U23 World Championship, Wooden Finn restoration, FIDeS update, World update, 2017 AGM and Accounts

Download a PDF here or read the magazine online here.

THE FINN CHANNEL

GoFundMe the FINNTEAM

Bookharbour

© 2017, International Finn Association, Inc