Thomas Le Breton (FRA) heads the 92 boat Finn fleet after four tricky races were sailed on the opening day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca. Le Breton took the final race of the day, while other race wins went to Luke Lawrence (USA), Andrew Mills (GBR) and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO).
An early postponement to wait for the bay to fill with wind was rewarded with 5-8 knots of patchy and shifty breeze that mixed up the fleet and made for some tough racing. The fleet was split into two colour groups and two out of the three scheduled races were sailed. With windward-leeward courses, it was a tough day for some while others found some amazing consistency.
First up was the Yellow Fleet starting in a very light onshore wind. The pressure was clearly stronger on the right but the deciding shifts came from the left. Race winner Luke Lawrence said, "I started off in the first race by fouling Bambi [Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic] and doing a couple of spins, but after I got that over with I found a clear lane out across ducking a few boats. I stuck my nose out clean and came back across to the left and managed to control it from the left from there. It seemed to be left favoured, so I just tried really hard to make sure nobody got to my left at all and I locked it up."
Lawrence was third at the first top mark behind Zsombor Berecz (HUN) and Caleb Paine (USA). "They gybed and split from me downwind so I took my own pressure down the outside of the course and rounded the gate in front of both of them." Lawrence then led round the remaining lap to take the first winning gun of the event.
In the Blue fleet Andrew Mills (GBR) had to fight for his win until the final mark. "It was a very tricky day with the breeze swinging between a gradient and a sea breeze. There was some big pressure differences and some big shifts out there as well. In the first race I thought I would be rounding about 15th or so after the first beat and then I nailed a couple of shifts absolutely perfectly. The pressure differences and shifts were that big that you could round everyone and go from 15th to first. That was the main gain and I fell back to second at one point, but then got the French guys back on the last run." He won from Le Breton and Jonathan Lobert (FRA). He then got a fourth in the second race. "I was just trying to get off the line without too much risk and stay in middle and keep my options open."
The second set of races started very quickly with a very slight increase in wind. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) has come back this year with renewed enthusiasm and led the race from start to finish. He said, "It was quite a difficult day. In the second race a couple of minutes before the start I was looking at the pressure and there was a big righty, but everyone was at the pin end. So I started at the committee boat in a big right hand shift clear with no one around me. I had a really nice beat keeping clear of everyone and got control in the first half of the race. The rest was just about completing the task."
"Actually in both races I did really well. In the first race I started clear at the pin end and played the shifts on the left and it turned out really good. I was top five at the first mark. Everything was really nice and I was quite happy for a while, as I knew it was going to be a really difficult day and quite oscillating. I was trying to keep a simple and clear game, but unfortunately on the last run I got a penalty, which was quite a surprise for me as I was clear of the group behind." He ended up eighth in that race.
The final race for Blue fleet ended with a thrilling match race between Le Breton and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) into the final mark. Le Breton said, "It was a nice race. I had a good start and I had a nice fight with Tapio. We were both quite quick I think. We had a good gybing battle to keep the inside lane to the last mark, but I managed to keep the lead."
Speaking on the pressure differences across the course he said, "I was quite fast today with nice starts, but sometimes you also have to be a bit lucky as well. I just tried to get a good start and have clear air and then stay in the pressure."
More wind is forecast for Tuersday, building as the week goes on. After four races the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets for the final three days before the medal race next Saturday.
Results after 2 races
1 FRA 29 Thomas le BRETON 1
2 CRO 524 Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC 1
3 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 1
4 USA 40 Luke LAWRENCE 1
5 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 2
6 RUS 6 41 Arkadiy KISTANOV 2
7 HUN 40 Zsombor BERECZ 2
8 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 3
9 EST 11 Lauri VAINSALU 3
10 FRA 112 Jonathan LOBERT 3
Full results: http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/laregata/vertodoslosresultados/id/1/idsc2r/29
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