For the third time in a row, the Finns lost their opening race at a major regatta. After losing the opening day in both Miami and Palma, on Sunday it was the turn of the SOF Hyeres, the fourth leg of the 2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup. Picking up where he finished in Palma, where he won the medal race, the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) won the opening race in very light and shifty conditions
In fact the Finns raced for two hours on Sunday, but finally ran out of wind and time while the fleet was heading up the second beat and was sent home in the early evening with no scores on the board. The conditions for the rest of the week looked equally bad, and Monday morning came and went with a postponement, glassy seas and no wind.
Finally a breeze broke though at just after 13.00 the Finns were called out to sail just one testing race in about 5 knots of wind – but at least it was one race down.
The fleet were so keen to get going that Florian Raudaschl (AUT), Matt Coutts (NZL) and Rafal Szukiel (POL) were all black flagged out of the start. But picking up where he finished in Palma, where he won the medal race, the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) won the opening race in very light and shifty conditions.
Railey said, “There have been very tough conditions so far. I rounded in fourth at the first weather mark and it was the first downwind that really made the race for the top 10 boats. It was very hard to know where to go, but I was able to round in second at the leeward mark and then had a great fight with Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) for first and second in the race.”
Mitakis is a relative newcomer in the fleet and last year won the Junior European Championship. Gasper Vincec (SLO) completed the top 3, with the current World Cup leader and winner in Miami and Palma, Ed Wright (GBR) in fourth.
Railey concluded, “I'm glad to just get a good score in the race. It was very difficult to know what the wind was going to do so I feel fortunate to have got in a good race. In the second race the RC made the right decision to call off the race as there was no wind to race in at all.”
Racing continues until Friday when the medal race will be held for the top 10 sailors.