The 2010 World Champion, Ed Wright (GBR), leads the Finn fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres after a tricky opening day. After posting a 17th in the first race he came back to win the second race of the day. Oliver Tweddell (AUS) won the opening race, while the best performance of the day was from one of New Zealand's emerging Finn stars, Josh Junior (NZL) who posted a 2, 7 to end the day in fourth, just behind Giorgio Poggi (ITA).
Again there is a new scoring format being trialled at this last Sailing World Cup event in the 2012-3 series. Sailors must count their positions from the qualification series (5 races) over the first two days into the final series (six races) where there will be a gold/silver fleet split. The two double-points, non-discardable medal races will be held next Saturday.
Confused? Ed Wright commented, “Although it's nice to win the race today with the new scoring, overall it pretty much counts to nothing. I am just happy it's a training regatta for me. I am a sailor and I don't even understand it, so good luck to the public.”
The opening day tested sailors and organisers alike with light patchy winds causing early postponements and mixing the fleet up on the water. The fleet of 68 Finns in Hyeres includes some more sailors not present in Palma as well as more new faces. The first race was won by Oliver Tweddell from Josh Junior and Thomas Le Breton (FRA). Tweddell said, “The conditions were extremely tricky today, very shifty and big pressure patches across the course. I managed to get a good clean start in race one and popped out to the right with some nice pressure, then was able to play the shifts from there.”
“I had a nice battle with Caleb [Paine(USA)] for most of the race, but it was great to come back to racing with a win after pulling out of Palma with a tendon injury. I'm pleased with my racing today, although I am taking it one day at a time, and I am hoping to be able to finish the regatta without aggravating my injury.”
Unfortunately Paine was one of the over eager sailors scored BFD after the first race went to a black flag start. The difficult conditions took their toll on some big names. Palma winner Giles Scott (GBR) was down in 29th while Ed Wright was back in 17th.
Wright got it right in the next race though leading round from Giorgio Poggi and Bruno Prada (BRA). Poggi commented, “The racing today was pretty difficult, with 4-6 knots and big areas of lull. During the second upwind of the first race there was a big left shift, which was very difficult to read.”
“In the second race I started on the pin and went straight out. Only Ed Wright could tack on my bow and we rounded the mark first and second, and after that we kept control over the fleet.”
Wright, who is sailing his first major Finn event since Sail for Gold last year said, “It's good to be back Finn racing. I have been working on my fitness over the winter but that did not come in to play today. It was head out the boat and the shift fairy had to be with you. It was wacky racing. I hope the wind improves.”
While under the new scoring format the discard comes in after the second race which distorts the scenery somewhat, the best score over both races today was Josh Junior. “The racing today was extremely close, it was very easy to make some big losses, as the wind and pressure were all over the show. The start line didn’t seem to be able to fit all the boats along it, so it was going to be crucial to get good starts and I did. I couldn’t really believe it after how bad they were in Palma. I didn’t sail perfectly but I did enough to get two good results and I am really happy with my two races today and am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Three races are now scheduled for the Finn on Tuesday from 13.00 to conclude the qualification series. The forecast suggests more light winds.
Results after two races
1 GBR 11 Edward Wright 0.00
2 AUS 261 Oliver Tweddell 0.00
3 ITA 11 Giorgio Poggi 2.00
4 NZL 24 Josh Junior 2.00
5 BRA 1 Bruno Prada 3.00
6 FRA 29 Thomas Le Breton 3.00
7 GBR 41 Giles Scott 4.00
8 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 4.00
9 GER 64 Lennart Luttkus 5.00
10 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 5.00
Full results: http://sof.ffvoile.net/results/finn.htm