After winning Monday's only race, Phillip Kasueske (GER) followed that by a second place in the only race on Wednesday to rise to the top of the Finn Gold Cup fleet as the wind again failed to play the game. Giles Scott (GBR) led the race from start to finish to rise to second overall while previous leader Deniss Karpak (EST) drops to third.
It was a long and frustrating day in Gaeta. The day started wet with lots of rain, and the sun came out as the fleet set sail at 11.00 in a solid 14-18 knots, but by the time they reached the start it had dropped to 6 knots. After a two hour wait the fleet was sent ashore only to be turned around within 30 minutes as the wind returned.
Starting cleanly under a black flag, those at the pin who managed to tack and cross the fleet made the most of the right side to lead round the top with defending champion Giles Scott (GBR) ahead of Pablo Guitian Sarria (ESP), Jake Lilley (AUS) and Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN). Scott extended downwind, with Høgh-Christensen coming through to second at the gate and Kasueske moving into third.
Kasueske sailed the best second upwind to round just behind Scott and they finished in that order with Høgh-Christensen crossing third. Regatta leader Karpak could only finish 31st, as once again the whole fleet produced mixed results in the tricky conditions.
Though a sequence was started for a second race, the wind rapidly deteriorated and further racing was abandoned for the day.
Scott explained the day, “It was a pretty tricky day for Luigi [Peter Reggio the race officer].”
At the start, “The wind was so shifty, it kept shifting from pin end bias to starboard end bias. Fortunately by the time the start came I was at the right end and there was a big left hand shift and those of us down there were pretty quick onto port. Jonas did the best job of it and won the pin and led out, and I followed suit. The majority of the first beat was on port which made it quite simple if you managed to get away from the pin end.”
After four days, only four races have been sailed. “I think the majority of the main players have now got a reasonably big score on the cards so we have to take our hats off to the German guy who has been the most consistent through the fleet by quite some margin.”
On Thursday's forecast, “We've got westerly 14-18 knots which is better for a sea breeze, which will hopefully bring some decent racing. There is all still to play for with the discard coming in and a maximum of three races so I think tomorrow will be pretty crucial in deciding who will walk away with the cup.”
Høgh-Christensen said, “I was in a good spot on the first beat and I was lacking a little bit of speed and took a little hit to come across and try to recover and place safe. I sailed a good first downwind to pull out 5-10 boatlengths from third but I didn't get the shift right on the second upwind and the German sailed a very good beat and he managed to pass me.”
“There is no doubt that these conditions will favour the light guys and I think if you look at the top guys they are probably all averaging 100 kg or just below. And some of the guys here at the front are closer to 90 kg. If we get breeze tomorrow they'll probably have a much harder time.”
“If we get some races in tomorrow, the regatta opens up again because no one can really afford a bad race.”
The new, and for many, unexpected leader of the Finn Gold Cup, Kasueske said, “I started pretty safely on the left. It wasn't the best start but it turned out to be OK because most of the guys in front of me tacked so could get clear air and a clear lane to go to the left. I tacked to cross the fleet to the right side and we had more wind than those guys who tacked earlier.”
“I have really good speed at the moment so don't have to worry about that, so I have been able to really keep my head up and watch for the shifts and the gusts. I also changed the sail a month ago. I switched to WB and that's working pretty well for me.”
On leading the Gold Cup. “It feels pretty good. I have never been so good before, and so far it's the regatta of my life. So I am enjoying every moment. I am not watching the forecast because today was forecast a strong wind day and it turned out to be a light wind day. I will just see what happens tomorrow. I won't change the system right now, it's working, so I will try to do the same tomorrow.”
Racing is scheduled to continue Thursday at the earlier time of 10.30, with three races scheduled.
Results after four races
1 GER 259 Phillip Kasueske 30
2 GBR 41 Giles Scott 46
3 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 48
4 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 53
5 FRA 17 Fabian Pic 54
6 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 57
7 ESP 7 Alejandro Muscat 60
8 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 61
9 ITA 146 Michele Paoletti 66
10 POL 17 Piotr Kula 71
Full results here: http://2016.finngoldcup.org/ (though website is experiencing some problems)