A change in wind wrought many changes on the Finn class on day three at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) has moved into a narrow lead over Giles Scott (GBR) while former leader Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) drops to third, though just one point separates the top three. In the much needed, much increased wind, race wins went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Ed Wright (GBR).
With forecasts of 15-20 knots, the fleet started its final series in gold and silver fleets. The stronger wind brought some new faces to the front and the light wind experts suffered, but it was a near perfect day for sailing
The first race went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA) from Pieter-Jan Postma and Andrew Mills (GBR). Lobert explained, “Today the key was a good start and good speed. Then it was classic Hyeres east wind race, mostly on the left side of the course. I won the first race just in front of PJ after a good downwind and in the second race I finished just behind Ed Wright.”
“I am happy with my sailing today I hope to keep on going that way. There are four more races to go and then the medal races, so a lot can still happen.”
Then Ed Wright won the next race, his second race of the week with Lobert rounding out the best performance of the day in second and the ever consistent Mills in third again.
Wright said, “Another race win in completely different conditions. Today was fabulous sailing in about 14-16 knots, but it seemed stronger. I think I need to man up! There were awesome waves downwind. It was a pleasure to sail today.”
“I sailed the first upwind reasonably well rounding third. Then I had a solid downwind, leading at the bottom and held it to the finish. I saw some really great sailing technique from the others today on the downwind. The downwind game has moved forward and I need to work on this over the coming months.”
Mills added, “It was great to get some good breeze and the forecast remains good for the rest of the week. It was a similar day to yesterday with the left hand track although the second race saw a few more gains from the right.”
He made an important observation,“This week could prove the best example of the problems with the scoring system. Those that sailed consistently in the light get hardly any benefit from the first two days and the final results will probably reflect a heavy breeze regatta not the mixed event it has been.”
In the silver fleet Lauri Vainsalu (EST) had the best of the day with a 1, 2, but still sits in eighth place. London 2012 Olympian Oleksiy Borysov (UKR) leads the fleet after a 2, 3 in today's fresh winds.
Vainsalu commented, “Definitely I'm very happy with my downwind speed today. I felt very confident and I had good rhythm and it worked out great. I managed to make big gains and big distance with others downwind. So I'm pleased with today's races. After a horrible first two days it was refreshing to get some good breeze and good results.”
“But for sure it's a little disappointing for me to be in a silver fleet but I'm trying to take the max out of it and learn as much as I can. The new scoring system is complicated. As far as I understand it the goal is to make it more interesting and dramatic for spectators but at the same time it should be very easy to understand. At the moment it's everything else but easy to understand. For sure it has positive points as well like making sailing closer but at the same time it's weird, like in Palma it was possible to discard all the first three days after first day of finals.”
Considering we are seven races into a 11 race series the points are incredibly tight. The sailors have effectively started again after taking their overall position after the first five races as a non-discardable first race in the finals series. Only 15 points now separate the top 10. A 2, 7 from Postma puts him in the lead after three days, but it's so close anything can happen.
Full results: http://sof.ffvoile.net/results/finn.htm