Giles Scott (GBR) continued to extend his lead on the Finn fleet on the fourth day of racing at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander for the Finn Gold Cup. He now holds a 13 point lead after six races from Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO).
It was another windy and shifty day on the course area with some big shifts mixing up the fleet. The anchoring problems of Wednesday were gone with the course set further inshore in shallower water and a buoyed line used for the start and finish to keep things simple. It worked a treat with some great downwind finishes as the wind rose and fell between 15 and 25 knots. Though three races had been scheduled by amendment, only two were sailed as the championship was not allowed to get ahead of schedule.
The fleet was now split into gold and silver fleets after just four races with several sailors not in the fleet that they perhaps would have chosen at the beginning of the regatta. Several Olympians were to be found sailing in the silver fleet.
The early leader in race 5 was Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) who ended a great day after a 5, 3 in eighth overall. Scott recovered from a mid-fleet first mark rounding to record his fifth race win of the championship from Lobert and Michele Paoletti (ITA), who had rounded the top mark in second.
Scott then looked to have a sixth race win all wrapped up, but Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) had other ideas and picked the right course to take advantage of a late surge in the wind and passed underneath Scott just metres from the finish line to deny the Brit a perfect scoreline. Mitakis crossed in third.
In the Silver fleet race wins went to Ben Cornish (GBR) and Giorgio Poggi (ITA).
Scott described his races. "In the first race, I was there or thereabouts half way up the first beat and then just got the wrong side of a big shift at the top and ended up rounding in the pack. Then I caught up a bit down the run at the gate I was third round the left gate but about 12th through. I then and had a good second beat. I managed to play the shifts up the right hand side well."
"It just slowly started to clock right and I managed to take everything I could right. I managed to take the lifts to the right which is what ended up making it so good. And then at the top it went really hard right and all the leading group had committed to getting across to the right, and I had the furthest right numbers so I ducked their transoms on really high numbers on starboard and then, just before I got to the layline, it flicked back to the mean direction and I was on top. Better lucky than good."
"In the second race I rounded fourth or fifth after a big righty at the top. I was just underneath the group that got that shift and then I got on top of Lobert on the second beat and there was a constant left shift all the way up. Ivan was out on the left and it stayed in long enough for him to get across but I just managed to round in front of him. But then on the last run he was inside of a big gust coming down on the right and just got me on the line."
Bjørn Allansson (SWE) summed up his day. "We had big shifts all day, but it was really only oscillating. It was just about playing the shifts correctly and today and lot of other guys played them better than me. You needed to be able to go with the pressure and capitalise when you had the opportunity. So I think everyone learned a lot today, though some are probably more happy with their results than others."
He went into the day tied on points with Max Salminen (SWE), but the Swedish battle went Salminen's way today. Allansson is not phased though, "I never actually watch the results through the regatta. I just try to focus on my performance and see the result at the end of the regatta. It's only on the final day that it actually matters."
Josh Junior (NZL) continued his consistent form to end the day in tenth overall. "I did alright today. We had shifty, pretty windy conditions and I managed an eighth an a tenth, so pretty pleased with that, though it could have been slightly better. I quite liked the conditions and managed to get in phase with the shifts. I got on the wrong side a few times, and it could have been a lot worse, but I have two counters today. It was pretty good racing out there today, with awesome race management, and makes up for sitting around for two days earlier in the regatta."
"Not sure what the forecast is for tomorrow. Ours hasn't been right so far, but the local forecast has been excellent. Looking forward to tomorrow."
Kljakovic Gaspic said, "Today we had two very difficult races and I can say it was obvious who was physically ready and who was not. A couple of us really stood out in these conditions and sailed great. Now I need to rest, have a massage and tomorrow if possible do the same again."
Also just inside the top 10 is Deniss Karpak (EST). "I had a so-so day. It was a tricky first one and a good second one but both were very shifty. Always the first half of the upwind was good for me and then the second half not so good. It was a bit tricky. I kept getting myself back in the top 10, and then went back again on some shifts. My speed is OK, my starting had been good, I've just been on the wrong side of the shifts. My goal here is top 10, so I can drop the 17th today and should still be OK. I hope I can remain there. The race committee did a great job today."
There are now four more races left in the finals series before the medal race on Sunday.
Results after six races
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 5
2 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 18
3 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 19
4 GBR 11 Edward Wright 35
5 ITA 146 Michele Paoletti 35
6 FRA 29 Thomas Le Breton 37
7 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 38
8 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 40
9 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 41
10 NZL 24 Josh Junior 41
Extensive gallery of each day can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos/ and on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finn-Class/110408332633
Photo credit: Robert Deaves/Finn Class