The vagaries of the fickle wind at the Finn World Masters in Sopot, added a new dimension to the mix on Wednesday, day three of the regatta, as only half a full race was managed. Stefan Fagerlund (SWE) won the Yellow group while the Blue fleet didn't even manage to start with very light and patchy winds all day long. A new schedule has been issued for Thursday to catch up the series.
After a series of recalls and postponements Yellow fleet finally got race 3 under way. While many favoured left or right, Stefan Fagerlund (SWE) emerged from the middle to lead round from Allen Burrell (GBR). Burrell briefly took the lead on the tortuous downwind leg with Felix Denikaev (RUS) also passing Fagerlund. However, Fagerlund went found the best pressure on the second upwind and passed both of them and then led down to the reach and final short beat to the finish line. Denikaev got past Burrell on the final upwind to snatch second.
By the time Yellow fleet finished, Blue fleet were still trying to start, but the wind was becoming more and more unstable and 30 minutes later they were sent back to shore with no races sailed.
So with only half of a full two-group race sailed on Wednesday the first order of the day on Thursday is to make up the lost race. The new schedule posted late on Wednesday is for Blue to race first and then two more sets of races. There has been talk all week of the winds finally increasing for the last two days of the championship, so everyone is expecting a solid breeze for Thursday's races.
Fourth place today went to Greg Wilcox (NZL) He said, "It was a bit marginal today. We had breeze up the first beat. It was quite patchy but it wasn't any different to how it had been. All the good guys came out of the middle. I started about a third down from the boat and tacked to the right, almost up the middle because it was quite a big lefty, and then took a few digs back to the middle. And then down the first run the breeze died out, and on the next beat it flicked to the left, so you could almost lay the mark, which made things easier. But the last beat to the finish was really tricky. It was only short but there was a bit of carnage. The fleet just compressed right up, but Stefan sailed very well to win."
Fagerlund described his race, "It was very patchy and difficult but I got a good start and came up in the middle and then worked my way out to the right. Then the shifts went with me and I rounded first. I was under pressure on the very long run because it was very patchy, and Allen and the Russian came on my inside and passed me on the left. The Russian went very low round the mark and I rounded behind Allen. Then it lifted from the left and I passed him again. I led again at the top mark and to the finish. The last beat was very shifty, but I stayed right and then got a header so it was easy for me. Allen went left and lost a place to the Russian."
On Sopot, "It's a beautiful town. We've been into town for dinner on a couple of nights and we're staying in a house near here. On the water, they are trying their best to get us sailing out there but it's really difficult in these conditions. We were lucky to get away today. They say tomorrow we will have 7 or 8 m/s, so then it's another story. There are a lot of guys that will be really fast in that; but you never know..."
The day started with the Masters Annual Meeting with lots of important items on the Agenda. There sailors' tent was packed to capacity and beyond, with the major decisions focussing on future events. After some excelent presentations, it was decided that the 2016 Finn World Masters will be in Torbole, Italy, the first time the event has been held on Lake Garda for many years. Then the vote was held for 2017. The Barbados Tourism Authority had made a great presentation the night before, at which the sailors had consumed a considerable volume of the Mount Gay rum provided for the occasion. The class had been offered a very attractive package, as well as a uniqiue opportunity, and there was unbridled enthusiasm from the assembled sailors to accept the bid. Therefore the 2017 Finn World Masters will be in Barbados. We can't wait.
The meeting also marked the last official engagement of former Masters President Fons van Gent (NED), who passed the mantle to Andy Denison (GBR) at last year's meeting. He had remained on the committee to oversee the transition, but was now retiring completely. Presented with the traditional wine, he then received a full standing ovation from the gathered sailors. His place on the committee is being taken by Philip Baum (RSA).
Racing resumes at 11.00 Thursday.
The 2014 Finn World Masters consists of a series of eight races scheduled from Monday to Friday, ending with a medal race on Friday afternoon.
Full results so far at: http://media.ergohestiacup.pl/results/finn.htm
More photos at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.690550260981709.1073741828.106887889347952&type=1
Event website: www.finnmasters.pl
Club website: www.skz.sopot.pl
Class website: www.finnclass.org
Masters website: www.finnworldmasters.com