Thomas le Breton (FRA) extended his lead at the top of the Finn fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca after an impressive display on the second day in Palma. Tapio Nirkko (FIN) is in second with Deniss Karpak (EST) in third. Three sets of races were held after the fleet waited, first ashore and then afloat, for more than three hours for the wind to build.
When the wind finally arrived it kicked in at a solid 8-10 knots ad Oscar was raised at the first mark and more or less stayed up all day. The shifty winds kept the sailors busy all day with bands of wind up to 14 knots and down to 6 knots coming down the course area.
Thomas Le Breton (FRA) capitalised on a good start yesterday to place 6, 1, 1 to take a nine point lead at the top. Second placed Tapio Nirkko (FIN) won the opening race in his group before rounding up the day with a 9, 2. Deniss Karpak (EST) added two second places to his Monday's scores to sit in third, on equal points with Nirrko. Other race wins went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA), Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Piotr Kula (POL).
Le Breton said, "It was nice today I was going well in the shifts, and had good speed downwind for sure. I made a nice comeback in the last race after a bad start. In the second race I had a nice battle with Deniss, while in the first race I had a good start but I missed something and dropped back. It was not an easy day, but at least it was sailable."
Le Breton is working on a training group that includes 2012 bronze medalist Lobert, 2012 Star Olympic gold medalist Max Salminen (SWE) and double Olympian Nirkko. "I think we did a good job this winter, though it's only the beginning of the season so there's a long way to go. But it's great to start like this. We are quite confident with our speed."
Greg Douglas (CAN), star of the 360 video (http://youtu.be/8jdt6JsoD4M) had a good day with a 2, 3, 9. He said, "I stayed consistent on a day that was tough to stay consistent. There were some big shifts today and the key was keeping your head out of the boat and being able to do what you needed to do. That meant starting so you could tack when you needed to and keeping clear and free from the rest of the fleet. Upwind I definitely had some speed which allowed me to get punched and hit the shifts when I wanted to, and then going quick downwind and stay with the boys."
Last race winner Piotr Kula (POL) rounded out an excellent day after a 4, 2 said "I knew it was quite late in the afternoon so I was prepared for some big shifts. Not the shore shifts but the big ones so I was expecting for something big to happen and indeed it did. We had a big left hand shift on the first beat and I was on the right side. I mean I was on the left side, which is where you wanted to be and was first to the top mark. Then I pumped like crazy so I gained quite a big advantage over the fleet."
However it wasn't quite in the bag yet as on the final downwind the wind dropped to 5-6 knots for a while. "I was quite in front of everyone and I was thinking what to do because I was out of any wind and it was coming from behind, so I was expecting the fleet would catch me, But I used a little bit of one gust to take me to another one and I kept my place, though not the big lead. It was tricky and it's pretty tough to pump without any wind. You need to wait for the sail to go back with the expander and pump again. But it was a tough day in all."
The Finn fleet is now split onto gold and silver fleet for the final three days before the medal race on Saturday. Forecasts are for a lot more wind later in the week.
Results after 5 races
1 FRA 29 Thomas le BRETON 5
2 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 14
3 EST 2 Deniss KARPAK 14
4 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 16
5 CRO 524 Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC 18
6 POL 17 Piotr KULA 18
7 CAN 5 Greg DOUGLAS 18
8 HUN 40 Zsombor BERECZ 18
9 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 21
10 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 21
Further photos (free of rights for editorial use) will be available at: www.flickr.com/finnclassphotos