Giles Scott (GBR) produced a superlative performance on the big weather fourth day at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca as he took two more race wins to extend his lead at the top to eight points. Thomas Le Breton (FRA) remains in second while a great day for Jonathan Lobert moves him up to third, with just one day of the finals series remaining.
The day's schedule was amended following the arrival of the US military air carrier 'Harry S Truman' in the bay of Palma. With a 1,000 meter exclusion zone and a 2,400 metre no-stopping zone, courses were moved and scheduled amended.
The huge intruder was matched by the huge weather. Forget the plain, today the rain in Spain fell mainly in Palma. It was a long wet day afloat in winds gusting 25 knots, with two epic races completed by the Finns to set the stage for the last day of the finals series on Friday. Huge waves transformed the bay into a bubbling cauldron that tested sailors' abilities to the limit.
In race 8 of the 11 race series Scott crossed the line ahead of overall leader Thomas Le Breton (FRA), with Jonathan Lobert (FRA) third. Scott was also leading race 9 until an impromptu swim downwind gave the lead briefly to Lobert, but Scott then managed to haul through for a fourth race win in a row, crossing the line ahead of Lobert and Tapio Nirkko (FIN).
The top three now have a useful gap on the fleet, with a 13 point margin from third to fourth. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), Nirkko and Andrew Mills (GBR) all put in low scores to move up to fourth, fifth and sixth, while Josh Junior (NZL), Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Deniss Karpak (ES) and Ed Wright (GBR slipped up to drop down the scoreboard. A lot of sailors put in some high scores in the testing conditions.
Scott was ebullient about the day. "It was a great day, with massive waves and wind to match. It was a little touch and go downwind at times with the boat skating its way out from underneath you."
"It shifted right just before our start and then there were some pretty big shifts, 30 degrees or so. The rain wasn't all that pleasant, but there are certainly some stories being told at the bar of some pretty epic moments."
Lobert was also happy after starting the day in seventh overall following a few problems earlier in the week. "Today was a good day for me I scored a third and a second. The wind was around 20 knots but the waves were very messy and pretty big. It was a very fun day."
"I was leading the second race after Giles capsized on the downwind but on the second upwind he managed to stay more right than me and manage to catch me. I am pretty happy with my day and I hope to keep on sailing that way until the end of the regatta."
World Number 1 Oliver Tweddell (AUS) has had to withdraw from the regatta for the second year in a row. "I didn't race today due to my tendons flaring up, unfortunately for the second year in a row in Palma I have had to withdraw from the event. I heard it was pretty epic."
"My week hasn't been great at all. I wasn't sailing good enough and that showed, but I have taken away some positives. Again my focus now will be recovering and rehab for this injury so I can compete for the rest of the season."
There are now just two more final series races to sail before Saturday's medal race for the top 10. Scott seems to be running away with the event, but with the often tricky conditions experienced so far this week, it is never over until it is over.
Results after 9 races
1 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 20
2 FRA 29 Thomas le BRETON 28
3 FRA 112 Jonathan LOBERT 40
4 CRO 524 Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC 53
5 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 57
6 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 60
7 EST 2 Deniss KARPAK 61
8 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 62
9 POL 17 Piotr KULA 63
10 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 66
Photos in this release by Thom Touw (www.thomtouw.com)
Further photos from other days (free of rights for editorial use) available at: www.flickr.com/finnclassphotos