Giles Scott (GBR) and Josh Junior (NZL) are locked together at the top of the scorecard after the fourth day of racing for Finns at the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR. Tapio Nirkko (FIN) moves up to third. Race wins went to Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Scott.
A later start allowed the sailors to rest in the morning but it was still a long day on the water with the fleet not getting to shore until gone 18.00 after more start line-ups that they care to remember caused by a dragging pin end boat and a shifting wind. The day was a long drawn out affair with multiple attempts to get the starts away interrupted by numerous postponements in the final minute. The second race of the day took an hour to get off the line, with eventually six boats pulled out under black flag.
Postma owned the first race of the day from start to finish. Alican Kaynar (TUR) rounded second and held on throughout the race to substantially improve his chances of qualifying for his second Olympic Games. Junior extended his lead at the top over Scott with a third place, albeit only briefly.
Scott described the second race. “The wind was going right and early on they had a few issues getting the pin end to hold and once they got it to hold, the wind then shifted right which created the same problem again. The fleet was just not playing ball, and rightly so. They were not prepared to start on a line that was 40 degree biased. So we took a long, long time to get away.”
“When we did get away, I won the starboard end with Tapio and tacked off and went right. Actually the guys from the pin end who managed to start and get immediately onto port rounded in the lead. I went round in about sixth and just got through the main group at the bottom of the run which put me into second at the right gate.” Enrico Voltolini (ITA) had rounded te top mark in first and led down to the gate.
Scott continued “I then managed to get a nice lane above the Italian. He sailed quite a low mode which freed me up a bit and I managed to just get round the windward mark ahead of Zsombor and that was it.” Voltolini held on for second with Zsombor Berecz (HUN) in third.
Postma summed up his day. “It was a beautiful day of sailing in Palma. Quite a good day, but I had a first and an OCS. I wasn't that happy with the OCS but I more happy with the first. I actually thought I wasn't over the line, so I was a bit surprised. But it's all learning. For me it's a training event and step by step we are getting better.”
“It is a great regatta and a good fight. Josh and Giles are now equal and I am just 11 points from Tapio, but actually it's not finished yet.”
Nirkko moves into the top three for the first time this week. “In the first race my start was a disaster but I managed to get in the pressure and speed to the right corner and managed to survive pretty well, but had a super bad downwind, losing a lot of boats, so some ups and downs. In the second race I got a super start and managed to do what I wanted but went right, which was wrong, as the left came in pretty strong. But a reasonable day.”
“I've managed to be pretty consistent really this week, nothing magic happening on the course for me but consistency is obviously paying off.” He has been doing a lot of training in Rio. “Rio is becoming more familiar. It feels might we might have an edge over the other guys as we have such a strong group and we've spent a lot of time there, but we'll see in the Games if it pays off.”
Kaynar took the lead in the extremely close battle for the final Olympic spot for Europe after a 2, 21. Piotr Kula (POL) has also made a late charge with an 11, 13 today, but still trails Kaynar by some 30 points. Ondrej Teply (CZE) is just five points behind Kaynar and Egor Terpigorov (RUS) is two points behind him. With Frederico Melo (POR) sandwiched between them, just 15 points off the lead, a battle that started on day 1 is going right down to the wire with nothing to separate five sailors going into the final day. One race could change everything.
The African continental qualification is all but over. Allan Julie (SEY) has amassed a 141 point lead over Karim Esseghir (TUN), who was one of those black flagged today, and that is perhaps too large a gap to bridge with just two races left.
There is one more day of the opening series before the medal race on Saturday. The Finn fleet is scheduled to continue racing at 11.00 on Friday to determine the European Olympic place and the ten sailors to challenge the medal race.
Results after eight races
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 24
2 NZL 24 Josh Junior 24
3 FIN 218 Tapio Nirkko 48
4 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 59
5 AUS 41 Jake Lilley 61
6 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 67
7 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 67
8 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 69
9 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 76
10 AUS 261 Oliver Tweddell 80