There was no racing on day four of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth, UK, after the wind spent most of the day spinning circles around the race committee. Three races will now be sailed on Thursday, to conclude the opening series, before Friday's medal race and final race.
Lights winds forced an early postponement ashore and the sailors waited. AP was lowered at 11.15 with 6-7 knots out of the race course and the boats were sent out hoping for at least one race. However, as the soon as they arrived the wind dropped, shifted picked up, shifted, dropped and finally set in at around 10 knots. The race team got as far as setting a course before a 90 degree shift through west turned the course on its head.
With further changes to the wind strength and direction the race officer pulled the plug and sent the fleet home early to enjoy the daily pasta, supplied by Sainsbury's, and served in the dinghy park straight after racing.
Principal Race Officer, Peter 'Luigi' Reggio, described the day, “We were planning to hopefully get started after 12.30 looking at the breeze starting to build up earlier in the day. The forecast was never brilliant and the day certainly proved it, starting out due south before going round to the north west, west and then it went south east, we moved the committee boat and it was starting to look good for a while. We started to lay the start line but the pin end was directly downwind so that wasn't going to work, after trying to get back to the west the breeze finally died, we had about 7-8 knots for 20 minutes and then that was the end of it. It had changed so many times throughout the course of the day, that when it died down it was time to pull the plug.”
Asked why he enjoys coming to Finn regattas, he said, “It's the people. From the organisation down to the sailors, the people I get to work with are fantastic. The sailors are a really tight bunch of guys and they have a lot of fun in what they do. They are really serious out there and sometimes pretty brutal. It's a tough bunch of sailors, but you get somebody new in the class and instantly they are helping them. It's fantastic to see. They are really a fun bunch to work with.”
One of the sailors here looking to qualify his country and gain selection for the 2012 Olympics is Matthias Miller (GER). So far he has sailed a good regatta and sits in 22nd place after six races, well within the qualification zone.
“My regatta is going well. It was strong winds yesterday I had a good day and my boat speed felt very fast and then we had light winds today with no racing, but it will be strong winds again tomorrow so hopefully we will get three races in. For me the conditions we have had here haven't been too much of a challenge. I'm quite a good all round sailor. I felt fast in the strong winds so hopefully tomorrow I can get a couple of good races in.”
On qualification, “I have to be in the top ten nations here to qualify for the Olympics, at the moment it's quite hard to get in to this position but with three more races it is defiantly possible.”
Though there is no junior championship here, there is still a tense battle to be leading junior at the world championship. The leading junior is Jorge Zarif (BRA), the 2009 Junior World Champion in 28th place. Martin Robitaille (CAN) is close behind in 35th while Anders Pedersen (NOR) is further adrift in 40th.
So there will be three races on Thursday, slightly shorter than normal and with a forecast of 20 knots from the east it could be the epic day everyone has been waiting for. Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes a ten point into the day and if it all goes his way, he could end the day with his sixth Finn Gold Cup virtually in the bag.
British coach Matt Howard (GBR) commented, “We've got one more day of fleet racing with hopefully three races. The forecast is 18-22 knots so there shouldn't be any reason why we can't get the three races in. The expectations are that the team will continue to do reasonably well, we're pretty strong in that kind of breeze. As a team we need to make sure we keep plugging away, ensuring we don't do anything silly like putting letters on score lines, so tomorrow we will hopefully be in a position to make things interesting in the medal race.”
“Tomorrow's forecast is no different from yesterday's where Ben got two wins. He's on really good form at the moment and he's going really well in both the light and in the breeze so I think he will be looking to have a steady day and have two races that count.”
Thursday's races, scheduled for 11.00, will decide the split for the medal race on Friday and you can follow the racing every day on the event blog at: http://falmouthfinnfestival.com/liveevent/C1
Top 10 after six races (one discard)
Full results: http://www.falmouthfinnfestival.com/goldcup-results/C1
Photos by Mark Lloyd