Defending champion Michael Maier (CZE) made it clean sweep at the Finn World Masters in Punta Ala, Italy after winning both his final heats. The next three boats were all on 13 points, only split on count back, with Allen Burrell (GBR) taking the silver and Uli Breuer (GER) winning the bronze at his first Finn Masters.
A new wind direction from the south introduced new elements into the racing with moderate wind strengths of up to 16-17 knots and much more shifty conditions than so far this week. Both courses were set up and down the beach rather than perpendicular to it, with Course 2 being much more shifty due to its proximity to the Punta Ala headland. On Course 2, there were much lighter winds in the first race, though it filled in nicely for the second.
Virtually all of the favourites were on Course 1, where in spite of the random fleet assignment, six out of the top ten ended up in one heat. In the Yellow fleet Enrico Passoni (ITA), took his first race win of the week, from Adrian Brunton (GBR) and Jurgen Eiermann (GER). In the second race fellow Italian Marco Buglielli (ITA) won his second race of the week from Michael Staal (DEN) and Brunton. These two top-three results from Brunton lifted him into the top 10 overall for the first time this week.
In Blue fleet, where all the top sailors were, Michael Maier notched up two more race wins to make it a clean sweep of eight wins out of eight races. In the first race, Thomas Moerup Petersen (DEN) crossed in second with Marc Allain des Beauvais in third while in the second race Allen Burrell placed second with Allain des Beauvais again in third.
Over on course two, held under the headland of Punta Ala, the winds were much more gusty and provided for some interesting racing. In Red fleet Lars Hall (DEN) won the first race from Kenneth Boggild (DEN) and Alexander Kasatov (RUS), while in the second race Hall finished second to Mihail Kopanov (BUL) with Bernd Moser (AUT) in third. Hall's great performance also lifted him into the top 10 overall.
In Green fleet, Jan Willem Kok (NED) was the only top ten contender and he won the first race before finishing third in the second. Svend Vogt Andersen (DEN) placed second in the first race from Cees Scheurwater (NED), while in the second race, Paul Blowers (GBR) – at his first ever Masters Worlds - won from Francesco Faggiani (ITA) and then Kok.
Marco Buglielli said of his race win, “I was sailing lower than all the guys who are bigger than me. I was third at the top mark behind two big guys but got past them downwind, then one got past me again upwind and I passed him on the next downwind, and then on the last upwind to the finish, which was much longer than usual, he gained again and I won by a couple of boatlengths. It was really tough.”
Uli Breuer summed up his week, “It was really hard racing today. In the first race, I rounded the top mark in third, but then I did one tack wrong on the second upwind and dropped to 12th. In the second race I was fifth, but it was really hard today, after seven races, it's been a long week and for my first year in the Finn, it's really hard. But it is really nice here and has been a nice regatta and I am really am satisfied with how I did and my wife is also satisfied with how she sailed. She did all the races and that is hard, so it was good. It's a very nice racing area with good wind – it was perfect. We will be back next year in Pwhelli.”
Laurent Hay didn't have quite the day he hoped for and dropped to sixth overall, “In the first race I was good but I made a mistake on the second upwind leg. I went 30 metres too far on the left when I was second and five boats passed me. In the second race, I broke something in my boat on the second leg upwind and had to fix that and then I capsized on the downwind leg and lost four boats and finished seventh.”
After winning the silver medal, an elated Allen Burrell said, “It's been a fantastic week, the sailing has been run really well and I am over the moon about getting silver as I thought I would be third or fourth after today, so to come second is fantastic. I thought I had blown it when I finished fifth in the first race today, but the breeze filled in a bit more and I got a second in the next race, which made all the difference. But the conditions this week have been fantastic – almost perfection.”
In winning here, Michael Maier claims his third World Masters title, “Today was good, though it looked like it could be a little bit tricky, but finally the wind was good and I think that's the most wind we had all week. I am sailing this week for fun, if I win I win, but if I don't then it's OK. I am very happy with the result, but I have had a few lucky races this week, especially yesterday in the light winds - you never know what will happen. But today everyone at the top was in blue fleet and it's supposed to be random, so maybe there was something wrong in the computer!”
An emotional Howard Sellars, winner of the Legend category said, “It's very, very difficult to say how I feel about this. It's very emotional and I battled not to have a tear in my eye. Some of these guys are the elder statesmen of the greatest class in the world, and to be up there on stage with those guys is wonderful, I couldn't believe I had won it until he actually read my name out – I couldn't believe that it was going to happen – and I still can't really.”
Winner of the ladies prize, Bine Beuer, said“At the beginning of the week I spoke with Fons about the 'big five in life' and definitely this medal is one of my big five in life.”
At the prizegiving, Masters President, Fons van Gent (NED) said, “We have had a great week. But as usual, everything that is good comes to an end and I am sure we all had a great, great sailing week. I saw all these smiles when we came off the water, everyone was tired but very satisfied. The sailing was super, and I don't think I can exaggerate that. People are already asking me when will we come back here. Next time will be even better than this year.”
Next year the event returns to the UK for the first time in 12 years and is being hosted by the Pwllheli Sailing Club in Wales.
2 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 13
3 GER 707 Uli Breuer 13
4 DEN 9 Thomas Moerup Petersen 13
5 NED 780 Jan Willem Kok 17
6 FRA 75 Laurent Hay 21
7 BUL 24 Mihail Kopanov 25
8 FRA 99 Marc Allan des Beauvais 26
9 DEN 6 Lars Hall 29
10 GBR 707 Adrian Brunton 32
2 CZE 4 Bozena Smidova 401
2 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 13
3 GER 707 Uli Breuer 13
2 DEN 6 Lars Hall 29
3 ITA 6 Enrico Passoni 41
Grand Grand Masters
2 NED 860 Louis Kruijer 98
3 GBR 80 Ray New 106
2 GBR 631 Richard Hart 160
3 GER 3 Walter Mai 175
Video highlights from around the event can be seen at sailrev.tv
Photos by Marina Prinzivalli
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