Giles Scott (GBR) once again proved to be almost unbeatable in the latest demonstration of his domination of the Finn class. At the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event he won six out of the 11 races, and apart from a seventh in the opening race was never out of the top five all week. In what was generally thought to be quick shifty and tricky conditions, he wrapped up the week with another dominant race win in the medal race.

The week got underway on the Ponte course inside the harbour with local favourite, and current world champion, Jorge Zarif (BRA) leading the field with a 1, 2. Scott was in third behind Ed Wright (GBR), but he had to wait two more days before being able to move up, with the second day of the competition lost to all classes because of the lack of wind.

Piotr Kula (POL) described the third day, when the fleet was outside the bay on the Niteroi race area. "Huge waves rolling downwind, plus some that bounced from the cliff made it physically demanding. From fully hiked to nose touching boom on upwind. Downwind was bit tricky. If you lost pressure once, so you couldn't surf for a while, you lost a lot of distance. Our racing day started late due to postponement. Three races took about four hours. On the last downwind we had a sunset. The sun hid behind the Sugar Loaf mountain. When we got back ashore, it was already dark, but the beautiful view of the Rio lights from seaside was relaxing after the exhausting races."

Scott made the best of the conditions to move to the top to take the lead from Zarif, a lead he strengthened to 18 points the following day with two more race wins. Behind him, Wright, Jonathan Lobert and Zarif were trading places each day to remain in the medal zone for the medal race. Scott took his fifth bullet on the final qualification day to win the regatta with a day to spare.

The medal race was then a formality for Scott, but crucial for the other two medals. Lobert sailed well in the breezy conditions to finish third to snatch the silver, while Wright hung onto the bronze with a fifth. For a while Zarif was heading for a medal but a broken tiller extension put paid to that and he ended the week in fourth.

Scott said, "It's been a windy week which was kind of unexpected in all honesty but the week's gone great and we managed to complete a full series. For a lot of the sailors it's been a bit of a surprise as to how good the breeze has been for the two weeks we have been here. We haven't seen too much wind under 9 knots. The majority of the fleet came here expecting 7 knots tops. This week it wasn't quite like that so I think in that regard, actually knowing what the wind speed is, is a big step for learning."

He added, "The venue was actually quite good, but there is still a little way to go to get it to Games standard. The only thing that I can see being an issue is the lack of daylight with sunset at 5.30 and with no racing before 11 am, the window to get sailing if the sea breeze doesn't come in until 2.00 to 2.30 is very small. Personally I think they may need to look at trying to race in the drainage breeze in the early morning, especially with the classes with more than one fleet on the one course."

Wright summed up his week. "I am happy with my result. To medal in the Olympic venue is always a good sign. The most important thing was to spend time on the water and see what to expect during the Games. The race committee was good but need practice. They abandoned a race at the last mark to the finish, by accident and we sailed home in the pitch black one day, but that's why it's a test event."

"I have spent some time in Rio in the past so I was ready for the good wind we had, although there was a little more on some of the days than I expected. The racing was shifty and very interesting on the harbour courses. I spent lots of time on the Menai straights when I was young (a very tidal venue) so this place was not such a shock tidally to me."

Before the event the water quality was the biggest talking point, but it was not as bad as many expected. Wright said, "Sailors having to cope with the dirty, polluted water in Rio was in all the news before the racing began but I must admit it was not so bad. Yes, it was not the cleanest but where we were racing there was a good flow of water flushing it out into the ocean. It needs improvement of course. The worst was after a couple of days rainstorms."

Silver medalist Lobert added, "The water is not crystal clear for sure but there was no problem for racing. Inside we sometimes had to avoid some plastic bags but most of the time you can see it. I really think that the Rio city is aware of the problem and is already trying to clean the bay. We saw some special boats collecting the trash on the water."

He continued, "It was a great chance to be able to actually race on the different courses. When you train we don't do such big races as in regatta so the tactics are always different. It's also very different inside the bay or outside the bay."

Has the perception that Rio will be a light airs venue changed after last week? "The wind was not as light as we were told it would be. But you know that we never can predict the conditions we will have for the Games. I think we were lucky to be able to race the full schedule of races in six days but for the next test event and the Games there will be rest days so if we face some lack of wind we will be able to race the day after."

"So I think it's a still a very open question, I don't know yet what to say. For this regatta the Finns were able to race in good breeze most of the time but for some other classes it was not the case. So for now maybe we still have to wait and see."

How will he develop gear for the widely different conditions? "Across the courses, the range of sailing conditions is very large, for now we are still learning and collecting information. I don't know yet what would be the best gear set up yet."

But, "To be successful in Rio you will have to be a very complete sailor, you never know what condition you will get days after day."

Final results here: http://www.aquecerio.com/resultados/finn.htm

 

Rank

SailNo

HelmName

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

R8

R9

R10

Medal

Total

1

GBR41

Giles Scott

-7

1

5

1

2

1

4

1

1

4

2

29

2

FRA112

Jonathan Lobert

9

3

6

6

9

4

3

2

-13

8

6

69

3

GBR11

Edward Wright

2

4

7

10

-14

2

5

5 SP

8

3

10

70

4

BRA109

Jorge Zariff

1

2

-13

5

5

8

6

9

3

6

18

76

5

POL17

Piotr Kula

3

6

11

8

11

5

8

5

(ret)

9

8

92

6

NZL16

Andrew Murdoch

10

12

8

4

3

3

1

10

4

-14

20

89

7

ITA117

Giorgio Poggi

13

10

4

2

4

7

12

8

5

-16

12

93

8

FRA29

Thomas le Breton

6

7

1

11

10

9

-16

3

2

15

14

94

9

NZL24

Josh Junior

5

16

(dsq)

3

1

6

7

16

7

1

16

96

10

NED842

Pieter Jan Postma

11

(ocs)

3

9

6

10

2

13

14

7

4

97

11

SWE33

Max Salminen

8

8

12

7

12

11

-15

7

10

5

--

95

12

USA6

Caleb Paine

14

5

-16

15

8

16

9

6

12

2

--

103

13

FIN218

Tapio Nirkko

-15

14

2

12

7

15

10

11

9

13

--

108

14

CHN1226

Gong Lei

12

9

9

14

(ocs)

12

11

15

6

10

--

116

15

SWE6

Björn Allansson

4

11

14

-17

15

13

13

12

15

12

--

126

16

SLO5

Gasper Vincec

16

15

10

13

13

14

14

(dnc)

16

17

--

146

17

BRA1

Bruno Prada

-17

13

15

16

16

17

17

14

11

11

--

147

 

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