Michael Maier (CZE) continued his good form by winning both races on the second day at the Finn World Masters in Pwllheli, North Wales, but he didn’t have it all his own way. Maier leads after three races while Laurent Hay (FRA) is second and Allen Burrell (GBR) is third.
The day started grey, but there was a light breeze in place as sailors arrived at the club so the 131 boats were sent out for a start on schedule. As the sun warmed the land the breeze temporarily died, but it didn't take long for a light sea breeze to form and racing to begin. The breeze built during the day, peaking at around 8-10 knots, and with the cloud clearing, leaving very sunny and bright conditions, it was a great day for being on the water.
Both starts got way under black flag again, with the first race of the day picking out ten early starters. In the first race Rob Coutts (NZL) led the fleet round the top mark from Alexandr Kasatov (RUS) and Peter Kilchenmenn (SUI), while regatta leader Michael Maier (CZE) was some way back in eighth. The very light winds made it a painful race for some, but Coutts held onto the lead down the first run and even up the second beat. Maier wiggled his way through on the second downwind, to lead round the shortened final lap to win the race. Coutts crossed in second with Pascal Tetard (FRA) in third.
The wind increased slightly for race three, allowing the sailors to stretch their legs a little. Maier hit the right corner again to lead round the top from Uli Breuer (GER), but took a wrong shift on the downwind to let Breuer into the lead at the gate, but ever so briefly. Maier moved up a gear to quickly take the lead for his third win, while Breuer sailed out of the pressure on the second downwind to let Coutts through for another second place.
A clearly happy Coutts said, “Yesterday I was rock bottom, so I had to do some soul searching today after getting a black flag as sitting on the shore wasn't much fun at all, knowing there was only going to be one race. Yesterday was one of those days with general recall after general recall and you could say it was a senior moment. But I think sailing is a great leveller. You have your ups and your downs.”
On today's performance he said, “For a kiwi to come to Europe and do well in the light is pretty good, so I am happy with that. In the first race today, full credit to Mike Maier. He didn't get a great start, he was back a little bit but just worked his way through with phenomenal boat speed. I am chartering a boat from him, so his boats got first and second, so he's happy with that. On that first beat in the first race I just worked the shifts and got some really nice ones. Both starts were really conservative, after my black flag yesterday.”
“The judging was pretty good today as well; it kept everyone honest, and you can't fault the race management. They are unflappable. I love the people here. They are very much like New Zealanders and even though we can't understand a word of what they say when they speak Welsh, they are really friendly.”
On his competitors, “Full credit to the Poms because the standard of sailing in the UK, every which way I look, is way ahead of everyone else; it's awesome. And here there's always three or four Poms hanging around in the top places. There is an awesome standard here with the UK sailors. And I really like the sharing. I have my boat next to a British guy and he's very open about everything and I really like that. The rest of the world could learn from that.”
Fourth overall after three races, Breuer was equally happy with his day. “I was second round the top mark and then on the downwind Michael took a shift and go to the right and then at the gate I caught him and rounded in the lead. But then he goes for full speed under me and it takes about 30 seconds until I was behind him again, but it was a nice feeling to be leading 130 boats. It was really fun and I really recognised it.”
On Pwllheli, “It's really nice here to be here. The guys from the club here are very welcoming and hospitable. They are always really helpful and Gareth [Roberts] is just a fantastic manager. He is always everywhere, helping us and looking after us. It is all really good for us here, and also they are making good job here for the families. It's perfect.”
Racing continues Wednesday at 13.00. The Masters Annual Meeting will take place Wednesday morning, where among other decisions, the assembled crowd has to decide the venue for 2014 between Hungary, Poland and the USA.
The 2012 Finn World Masters continues until Friday, when the final race and the medal race for the top 10 will be sailed.
Top 10 after day two (provisional)
A full gallery of photos can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finn-Class/110408332633
Follow the event on the club website at: http://www.pwllhelisailingclub.co.uk/finn2012/en/home/