On the first day of the finals series for Finns at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca Giles Scott (GBR) took two wins and a second to move into an six point lead from the only other race winner Pieter-Jan Postma (NED). Andrew Mills (GBR) continues his good form to hold onto third place.
The Finns had a short postponement out on the water, waiting for the wind to settle in direction, before had three races with free pumping with the wind starting out with 12 knots and building during the day to peak with gusts of 18 knots.
The fleet was split into silver and gold flights. Scott had the best of the day to discard his second place to end with zero points. Postma sailed his best day so far with a 3,1 3 while third placed Mills scored 2, 10, 4.
Just six point separate fourth to eighth, the Mark Andrews (GBR) posting another good day and the two Kiwi sailors Josh Junior (NZL) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) performing very well as newcomers to the class. They currently lie in seventh and eighth.
Scott admits to finding the switch back from a 72 foot America’s Cup multihull to the Finn a refreshing change, and is pleased not to have lost too much of his form. “The biggest thing that’s surprised me is that I’m still able to hike. I seem to be going alright but there’s a few bits of rust here and there that I’ve noticed – I suppose you can expect that after not having done much [Finn] sailing at all.”
“Today was typical Palma with a left trend in the breeze and, unlike other days, I was able to get off the start line which helped me a little bit”
Postma said, “It's been great racing here in Palma. We have a strong fleet and perfect conditions. The Brits are sailing fast, and are on top. For me it's taking a lot of rust off the racing. I have been training a bit in the spring, but by myself, so speed is good, but I have lost having my head inside in my boat. Today was different I could get the boat going and could battle for the front.”
On the new scoring format he commented, “The format is remarkable. It's good that we test some this year to make the right and convinced call on the ISAF conference in November. For this format I hear that everybody including me is convinced, this one ain't it.”
“Sailing is a sport with a lot of components and variables, so for me it's not like, for example, swimming where only last race counts. For me it's like the cycling, Tour de France, it's best over a period of time. Also we need to educate the journalists and explain how sailing is working instead of putting to much emphasis on a last day, mostly because we depend on the weather.
Piotr Kula (POL) is having a great regatta, currently lying in ninth overall. “We had tough day today. Strong wind, quite big waves and all this in three demanding races. I believe everybody is exhausted after that.” The format, “..is pretty different from what we got used to. If you"ll check the results, you"ll find that some guys already have discards on score, they had after qualifying series. Which practically means, their three days racing result is now discarded. Pretty strange, but interesting at the same time. The double medal race should be intriguing as well. We will see if that's going to be the standard in the future.”
Fourth placed Andrews said, “It was a tough and important day today with the regatta being reset but it was all to play for. The forecast was for the wind to shift left all day so it was important to get a good start and hold your lane to the left. There was the odd shift here and there but the leaders all came from the left.
“Giles and PJ showed good pace all day and the results show it. New Kiwi sailor Andrew Murdoch sailed really well in the first two races in the day great starts and some good pace down wind.
“To tell you the truth I am a bit broken. I think it's time to get back in the gym. Today went as a bit of a blur, all hiking to hold your lane and pumping like crazy to make the gains down wind.”
“The forecast tomorrow is light, shifty and rainy so another important day with the points being so close.”
Bjorn Allanson (SWE) is in 12th overall. “It was a bit like the regatta restarted today, but with only 36 boats on the starting line. Racing was close and a mistake could cost you plenty. There was no time and no space to relax, together with some hard downwinds resulted in a sailing day when it is at its best. I think the new scoring system made everybody push extra hard today, as everything was still open which was great.”
“Today I managed to get three good starts, finally, making my day a lot easier for myself. I rounded the first mark in the top ten all three races. I feel I have a lot of effort that I need to put in to the boat over the coming months, But overall I'm happy with my day and it feels like I am learning and improving every day out on the water.”
The finals series concludes on Friday before Saturday's medal racing.
Event website: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org