1 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 44 3 5 7 8 19 4 1 2 1 10 3
2 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 48 9 8 1 5 5 10 19 1 6 1 2
3 GBR 6 Andrew Simpson 75 32 14 9 1 1 3 3 4 8 8 24
4 DEN 200 Jonas Hoegh-christensen 84 4 3 6 2 8 23 OCS 6 12 3 17
5 FRA 73 Guillaume Florent 94 21 6 25 4 7 12 RAF 5 2 6 6
6 POL 17 Mateusz Kusznierewicz 97 10 17 18 13 9 14 7 3 5 11 8
7 IRL 8 David Burrows 98 5 2 17 18 3 1 35 29 4 5 14
8 AUS 221 Anthony Nossiter 100 6 20 15 9 4 OCS 8 7 19 7 5
9 BEL 7 Sebastien Godefroid 101 2 1 16 11 2 OCS 12 11 21 9 16
10 CRO 11 Karlo Kuret 102 18 9 3 16 25 7 4 9 14 2 20
11 TUR 6 Ali Enver Adakan 143 13 13 10 12 18 25 10 25 7 31 10
12 GRE 6 Emilios Papathanasiou 153,3 46 7 2 3 13 24 2 16 25 RDG DNC
13 NED 6 Stefan De Vries 163 22 11 8 34 6 8 14 28 24 21 21
14 DEN 7 Soren Holm 179 14 19 13 20 11 22 42 26 27 12 15
15 BRA 10 Joao Signorini 181 1 BFD 30 36 10 27 6 20 9 33 9
16 GBR 15 Charlie Cumbley 189 7 12 23 47 29 20 28 10 11 27 22
17 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 192 48 4 43 19 12 26 5 32 15 17 19
18 CAN 303 Richard Clarke 192 11 31 12 32 23 15 25 15 10 RAF 18
19 GER 79 Michael Fellmann 193 29 22 26 23 21 2 37 38 3 4 26
20 NED 78 Jaap Zielhuis 193 17 28 5 14 31 17 22 14 45 34 11
21 GBR 577 David Mellor 197 51 16 20 6 17 35 11 22 13 30 27
22 CZE 1 Michael Maier 197 28 15 22 27 15 28 20 33 16 13 13
23 CRO 14 Nenad Viali 227 35 10 21 15 24 5 57 35 23 14 45
24 SUI 7 Christoph Burger 229 24 48 33 7 14 9 34 19 38 18 33
25 NED 701 Martijn Van Muyden 254 23 23 34 39 34 11 45 44 18 24 4
26 SWE 7 Kristian Åderman 261 25 18 4 29 42 48 16 27 34 26 40
27 USA 12 Kevin Hall 264 16 25 51 25 DNC29 32 18 29 32 7
28 NZL 27 Clifton Webb 265 53 24 19 24 30 21 26 21 36 25 39
29 CAN 41 Chris Cook 286 59 40 28 49 16 34 17 23 26 19 34
30 CRO 25 Marin Misura 311 34 32 24 17 22 18 23 30 28 OCS OCS
31 AUS 222 Paul Mckenzie 321 56 26 40 44 44 31 43 13 31 37 12
32 NZL 19 Peter Fox 326 47 29 14 22 OCS51 18 39 40 22 44
33 GBR 550 Matthew Howard 335 44 38 62 40 36 19 9 24 22 OCS 41
34 FRA 972 Ismael Bruno 353 20 43 37 10 43 39 36 41 47 38 46
35 ARG 1 Alejandro Colla 354 12 41 60 45 56 44 21 37 50 47 1
36 POL 12 Waclaw Szukiel 358 26 39 DSQ35 OCS38 15 31 32 29 30
37 CZE 9 Michal Hruby 364 39 50 35 37 27 46 39 47 DSQ15 29
38 FRA 7 Sylvain Chtounder 366 27 37 39 60 33 42 DNC 43 20 16 49
39 GBR 593 Edward Greig 371 57 36 41 38 39 32 38 57 30 28 32
40 SWE 736 Johan Tillander 387 43 46 45 28 26 36 OCS 53 44 35 31
41 IRL 10 Aaron O'grady 395 30 42 31 51 20 64 58 58 42 20 43
42 CRO 16 Emil Tomasevic 402 OCS33 38 50 52 40 65 40 33 23 28
43 RUS 8 Evgeniy Chernov 408 15 30 49 43 28 58 67 59 39 45 42
44 USA 16 Mo Hart 411 31 27 50 21 32 43 29 12 DNCDNC OCS
45 ITA 71 Massimo Gherarducci 413 8 45 32 30 35 6 DNE 8 DNCDNC DNC
46 USA 11 Geoffrey Ewenson 414 OCS57 36 52 51 13 DNF 17 43 39 23
47 RUS 7 Vladislav Kapitonov 436 62 61 63 48 48 52 13 36 41 50 25
48 ITA 15 Michele Marchesini 439 19 DNC29 42 45 50 60 50 52 54 38
49 USA 1140 Bryan Boyd 439 49 53 42 26 46 60 27 52 DNC48 36
50 POL 7 Rafal Szukiel 442 36 55 47 46 55 59 33 46 37 40 47
51 BEL 2 Philippe Rogge 444 38 58 57 56 38 61 48 34 17 46 52
52 AUT 271 Raudaschl Florian 461 37 54 46 54 61 37 41 45 51 DNC 35
53 ESP 107 Agustin Juarez 469 40 21 59 31 41 45 55 48 46 DNC DNC
54 CHN 155 Xiangfeng Zhang 475 52 47 52 55 37 33 51 49 49 DSQ 50
55 USA 1181 Darrell Peck 477 70 49 44 41 40 54 56 56 35 42 60
56 NED 80 Sander Willems 491 63 35 11 33 OCS16 30 54 DNCDNC OCS
57 IRL 5 Youen Jacob 492 60 59 27 73 OCS69 24 51 48 44 37
58 DEN 9 Thomas Laursen 507 65 52 56 57 49 30 44 60 55 51 53
59 FIN 216 Tapio Nirkko 526 67 64 48 59 57 55 40 42 DNC36 58
60 SWE 734 Anders Nilsson 549 45 51 58 68 58 53 62 64 54 41 63
61 GRE 8 Alexandros Dragoutsis 565 33 60 64 67 67 66 46 65 56 53 55
62 CHN 188 Peng Zhang 565 55 34 55 DNF 47 56 50 68 53 DNC 64
63 DEN 208 Joergen Lindhardtsen 565 42 71 65 53 59 47 59 74 66 55 48
64 USA 78 Andy Kern 567 68 56 53 58 50 41 52 55 DNCDNC 51
65 GER 151 Matthias Miller 574 41 65 61 61 OCS57 64 69 59 43 54
66 ESP 1 Diego Fructuoso 614 64 44 67 63 53 72 54 73 DNC57 67
67 GER 126 Paul Kessler 622 74 62 68 65 60 63 71 62 60 52 59
68 EST 7 Harles Liiv 625 54 70 54 62 64 DNC 73 72 61 49 66
69 JPN 1 Takeshi Kuroda 629 61 66 74 66 62 65 53 66 DSQ60 56
70 POL 40 Robert Polczynski 632 66 67 70 69 66 68 31 70 63 DNC 62
71 ITA 101 Riccado Cordovani 649 50 77 66 70 54 49 61 77 62 DSQ OCS
72 GER 81 Jan-dietmar Dellas 656 72 63 72 64 65 62 68 76 58 56 DNC
73 EST 15 Janno Hool 665 73 74 71 DNC 69 71 47 63 57 DNC 57
74 SWE 31 Bjorn Smit 672 58 75 76 DNC 71 73 69 61 67 61 61
75 AUS 223 Dean Mcaullay 673 75 69 69 72 63 70 72 71 64 58 65
76 AUS 224 John Shallvey 696 71 72 75 71 70 67 70 79 68 63 69
77 ESP 310 Claudio Montalbön 699 69 73 77 DNC 68 74 49 75 69 62 OCS
78 IRL 4 Gareth Martel 701 76 76 73 74 72 75 63 DSQ65 59 68
79 HUN 5 Tibor Pallay 777 78 68 DNCDNC DNCDNC 66 67 DNCDNC DNC
80 HUN 6 Gaszton Pal 785 79 79 78 75 73 OCS 74 78 DNCDNC DNC
81 ISV 1 Ben Beer 819 77 78 DNCDNC DNCDNC DNC DNCDNCDNC DNC
82 ITA 1 Luca Devoti 830 DNCDNCDNCDNC DNCDNC DNC DNCDNCDNC DNC
2003 Finn Gold Cup
Reports by Robert Deaves
No more time for preparations
Wall to wall sunshine and healthy breezes welcomed the Finn class to the practice race prior to the first start of the 2003 Finn Gold Cup tomorrow. While many sailors were making last minute preparations or having some last minute practice in the Bay of Cadiz , about 20 Finns ventured out to the race course some 3.4 miles away from the regatta base at Puerto Sherry.
The onshore organisation is immense. Cadiz is putting on a show to be proud of with three venues running the world championships for all the 9 Olympic classes.
With the Laser and 470 classes at other centres across the bay, the other seven are based at the impressive El Puerto de Santa Maria .
For the Finn class measurement is complete and speculation is starting as to who will be dominant at these world championships. So far just over 80 sailors from 33 countries are registered, one of the most international Finn fleets in the history of the event.
Defending 2002 World Champion - and winner of the recent pre-Olympic test event last month - Ben Ainslie (GBR) is surely going to be the man to watch. Keen to keep to his winning ways, Ainslie will no doubt have a battle on his hands to retain the title he won in Athens last year.
Runner-up to Ainslie last year and also in this year’s European Championships and looking for a third world title is Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL). Olympic Gold medallist in 1996, he finished in the leather medal position in 2000 in Sydney , Kusznierewicz has hinted this may be his last campaign in a Finn.
Also on form this season has been the 2001 Gold Cup winner, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL). With a win in Hyères, and a second behind Ainslie at Spa and a third at the Europeans, he is one of the clear favourites.
Another favourite for next year’s Olympic regatta is Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who won the first two races of last year’s Gold Cup on the Olympic sailing waters in his home town. Good results this season have kept him near the top of the world rankings.
Another sailor regularly in the top five is Karlo Kuret (CRO). His consistent form led him to No. 1 in the world rankings earlier this year.
However, nothing is ever easy, and there are many other sailors eager and able to challenge the recent regatta winners including Michael Fellmann (GER), Andrew Simpson (GBR), Waclaw Szukiel (POL) and local favourite Rafael Trujillo (ESP).
Along with the regulars are some new faces and some old ones. Paul McKenzie (AUS) and Richard Clarke (CAN) are back and Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) is also back again, some 29 years after representing Denmark in the Olympics. It is also pleasing so see entries from developing Finn nations including China , Estonia , Cyprus and Japan .
Before racing starts, tonight is the IFA AGM, minutes of which will appear on the IFA website shortly. Tune again in tomorrow, when the racing starts in earnest.
Sebastien leads the fleet
The first day of racing in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup saw a few upsets with several new sailors showing their faces at the front of the fleet and several sailors normally at the front, picking up some large scores.
One who got it right today was Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) who scored a second and a first. It was also a good day for the South Americans with Joao Signorini (BRA) winning the first race and newcomer Alejandro Colla (ARG) rounding the first mark third and first in the two races.
With the boats setting out in a good breeze, by the time they arrived at the race area, the wind was light and racing was postponed while the race committee evaluated their options. Race one finally got underway at 13.30 in 8 to 12 knots easterly with small waves
The first beat saw the fleet separate evenly across the course which was set as a trapezoid in the lighter winds. David Burrows (IRL) rounded first followed by Joao Signorini (BRA), Alejandro Colla (ARG), Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN). Most of the fleet favoured the right side on the run with Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) making large gains on the final upwind leg to move up to second place behind Joao Signorini.
After the three offwind legs to the finish, Signorini held onto his lead ahead of Godefroid with Ainslie moving up to third and Hoegh Christensen in fourth.
Burrows finished in 5th. Meanwhile Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) was making a charge moving up 10 places on the final offwind to finish 10th.
After two general recalls, race two started under a black flag in an increased breeze of around 15 to 18 knots. An Olympic triangular course was set.
Many of the favourites were buried on the first beat which saw Alejandro Colla round the first mark in the lead followed by Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Ali Enver
Adakan (TUR). Ainslie was down in the mid 20s while Kusznierewicz was in the 50s.
Sebastien Godefroid, who had rounded the first mark in 10th place, found a good shift and more pressure on the right on the second beat moved from 7th up to first, a position he held until the finish. Burrows and Hoegh-Christensen also found good shifts to finish second and third.
The overnight leader, Sebastien later said "I was pretty happy with my sailing today. Both races I got clear at the start and had good speed. I managed to survive the first beat to round each first mark around 10th. It wasn’t easy. There were so many boats, so close together and with big shifts someone else was always going to be getting it more right than you."
He went on, "It was lucky for me though; I got some good shifts on the last upwind on the first race to move up to second. Although Ben pushed me hard offwind, I managed to stay ahead. In the second race I saw a line a pressure and a shift to the right, but all the leaders were going left. It looked good, but was a risk. So I took it and came out on top with a nice lead. I was pretty happy about that!"
Second place overnight is David Burrows. "It was a bit of a scrap upwind with 30 degree shifts, and lots of bad air. It was very tricky sailing at times, although there were nice waves offwind and the final beat reached 18 knots, which was good sailing."
Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is lying is third overnight after scoring a 4th and 3rd today. He commented "It was all about getting good starts and minimizing losses to stay near to the top of the fleet. Boats were gaining on both sides of the course. I went from around 20th to 3rd in the second race, by going to one side, while those in the middle of the course generally ended up losing out."
So, overnight Sebastien leads from David and Jonas.
Defending champion, Ben Ainslie, is in 4th with a third and fifth in today’s races, having made a great comeback in the final race. Another sailor making a large gain on the final round was Mateusz Kusznierewicz, who ended up 17th after a disastrous first beat and lies 11th overall.
All change at the top
The second day of the 2003 Finn Gold Cup was proof of the depth of the class, with two more race winners, more upsets and several new faces at the front of the fleet. In a healthy breeze between 12 and 15 knots, local favourite Rafael Trujillo (ESP) led throughout to win the first race. Andrew Simpson (GBR) managed the same feat in the second race of the day with a good lead on the following pack.
Racing on the same course as the Ynglings, the Finns sailed on a shorter than usual outer trapezoid course with 3 outer loops and an offwind finish.
A cloudless sky, brilliant sunshine and a 15 knot breeze, greeted competitors for the third championship race. After a two hour delay while the race committee set, shifted and reset the course, racing finally started at 13:55 after one general recall. The pin end was favoured and as far away from his favourite committee boat starting position as he could be was Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who won the start followed by Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) and Andrew Simpson (GBR). The other favourites were positioned further up the line.
The majority of the fleet headed for the favoured left hand side of the course, while a small bunch headed to the right. Most of the boats went left on the second beat as well and at the top mark Rafael Trujillo led from Stefan de Vries (NED), Sander Willems (NED), Kristian Aderman (SWE) and Richard Clarke (CAN). Hoards of boats overstood the windward mark, causing great problems for those rounding it and setting off on the run. In particular class president Philippe Rogge (BEL) who had to negotiate a long stream of reaching starboard tackers while doing turns for touching the mark. Favourites Ben Ainslie, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Sebastien Godefroid were all buried in the chasing pack.
Rafael extended his lead on the final legs to win by a comfortable margin. At the final windward mark he was followed by a group of three - Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Waclaw Szukiel (POL) and Kristian Aderman.
However at the finish Karlo Kuret (CRO) had worked his way up to third and Waclaw had slipped down to 10th. Ben Ainslie as usual was working his way up the fleet making a late charge and finished in 7th place behind Jonas and Jaap Zielhuis (NED). It was a good race for the Dutch team with three boats inside the top 12.
The start of the second race was almost of copy of the first, with Emilios again winning the pin end start from Gaszton Pal (HUN) and Rafael Trujillo (ESP). Most of the favourites were down the pin end or just slightly up the line. Initially, Emilios led the fleet to the left but most tacked within 2-300 meters to cross to the right. By this time the right was looking better and round the first mark Andrew Simpson (GBR) emerged with a good lead ahead of Guillaume Florent (FRA), Rafael Trujillo, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), Emilios and Ismael Bruno (FRA)
The sailing conditions were near perfect, with 15 knots of breeze and good surfing waves downwind. Andrew held onto and extended his lead on the next round and led a bunch of five boats that had broken away from the pack. Jonas, Emilios, Guillaume and Rafael dutifully followed Andrew round the course to the finish. As on previous beats virtually the whole fleet had pegged left and also as per usual a large majority, including some who should know better, ended up cracking off to lay the windward mark.
Overnight, positions have changed so that Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is in the lead followed by local Rafael Trujillo and defending champion Ben Ainslie in third. Yesterday’s leader, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) had an indifferent day to score a 17th and 11, to end up 4th overall. Likewise David Burrows (IRL), second after yesterday scored two 18ths to drop to 5th overall. A ninth and a first moved Andrew Simpson from 21st to 9th, while a 2nd and a 3rd moved Emilios Papathanasiou from 25th up to 11th.
One of the most colourful characters on the Finn circuit, Luca Devoti - who won the Silver medal in Sydney - retired from the regatta, claiming the end of his Finn racing career due to ´old age´! He said “I am too old for this anymore, I’m 41 next month and I can’t race anymore. It hurts too much. But I still really enjoy the boat so I will just join the coaches." He continued, "I will still sail the boat, as it’s so beautiful to me, but only for training."
Consistency proves to be the key
The 2003 Finn Gold Cup in Cadiz reached its half way stage today with two more races sailed in excellent conditions. A shifty 12 to 16 knots kept the sailors on their toes on the upwind legs and provided some nice waves to give them a bit of fun offwind. After his fine win yesterday, Andrew Simpson (GBR) did it again in this morning’s race, narrowly beating Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), the leader after day one. Simpson, the only sailor to have now won more than one race so far in these championships, then went on to score a third in the second race to move him up to third overall. That race was won by David Burrows (IRL) who crossed the finish line with a considerable lead over the chasing pack.
Again, sharing the course with the Ynglings, the Finns sailed an outer trapezoid course with two outer loops.
The wind was at 14 knots, just below the limit for the yellow flag and unlimited pumping. With the race area set relatively close to the shore, the majority of the fleet, as usual, headed up the left hand side of the course. Third overall, going into the day, David Burrows (IRL) rounded first followed by Stefan de Vries (NED) and Andrew Simpson (GBR). Andrew had started mid line and started going left, crossed to the right on a shift stayed at the front of the fleet.
On the subsequent offwind and windward legs, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) worked his way into the lead, but after touching the windward mark and doing a penalty turn, dropped back. This let Andrew into the lead which he stretched out considerably on the run and following beat. He was still leading at the top of the next beat with Burrows, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Trujillo hard on his heels. The left side still proved favoured with many boats hitting the layline early and many overstanding the windward mark yet again.
On the final downwind, Sebastien started to push hard and got past Burrows, but couldn't catch Simpson. Nossiter finished in fourth with Trujillo in fifth.
The sixth race started in similar conditions with Martijn van Muyden (NED) starting at the committee boat end and sailing the right side of the course.
Most of the favourites, as usual, headed left, but at the top of the beat it was Martijn in the lead followed by Joao Signorini (BRA), Michael Fellman (GBR), Burrows and Massimo Gherarducci (ITA).
Again the left side was favoured on the following upwind leg. Burrows sailed well to take the lead, creating a large lead from Fellmann and Simpson. Nenad Viali (CRO 14) had made large gains to round fourth, just ahead of the favourite Ben Ainslie (GBR) who had been having an indifferent day so far.
These positions remained the same on the final downwind, except that Ainslie’s superior speed got him past Viali and for a while threatened Simpson as well.
Viali finished fifth, followed by Gherarducci.
So overnight, going into tomorrow’s rest day, Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) is still leading despite scoring an eighth and a 23rd in today’s races. Neither him, nor second placed Ben Ainslie have yet to win a race, but their consistent top ten finishes are placing them in good stead. Andrew Simpson’s good day moved him up to third, while Rafael Trujillo slipped from 2nd to 4th. Surprisingly a third and first from David Burrows caused him to slip to fifth overall from third.
Simpson commented on his day’s work, "It was tough out there, very hard to break through and you never really knew what was going to happen." "However I had good speed round the course and good starts, and also a bit of luck, which helps," he added, with a grin.
Someone not so lucky was the leading American sailor Kevin Hall. USA is still trying to qualify their country for next year’s Olympics, so as the top sailor from the States so far, all eyes were on Kevin. However he didn’t do his chances much good after capsizing at the windward mark and getting holed by another boat. He didn’t finish that race but made on the water repairs so he could start the next and went on to score a 29th, to stay in 30th position going into the lay day. Kevin has only been sailing the Finn since the SPA regatta in May, after switching from the 49er. "Sailing the Finn is great," he commented. "You get really got racing and some great competition. It’s easy to just jump in the boat and go."
Fellow American Darrell Peck commented "This is a really nice place to sail, fantastic weather, great winds and good facilities. However after three days I am looking forward to the rest day tomorrow. Going to see a few of the sights and be a tourist."
Similarly Geoff Ewenson, also from the States was full of praise for the event. Geoff had his best race of the series so far with a 13th in race six, climbing as high as seventh at the end of the downwind legs. He said, "The breeze was softer out of the start which meant I didn’t get blown away upwind. I rounded the first mark about 12th and it gets a whole lot easier if you get to play near the front of the fleet."
Further down the scorecard it is interesting to see training partners Michael Fellmann (GER) and David Mellor (GBR) on equal points in 20th and 21st positions.
Finally, commenting on his OCS in race two Sebastien Godefroid said, "I wish I had found out earlier about the OCS. I could have done without the additional exercise." At least that is something that none of the sailors have to worry about tomorrow as they enjoy a rest day in sunny Cadiz .
Everything still to play for
With a lay day for the Finn Gold Cup today, the sailors are taking a well earned break, doing some sight seeing around Cadiz , or making last minute preparations for the final five races. It couldn’t be tighter at the top. The first six boats are all within 10 points and second to fifth are within two points of each other; the next five places are within six points of each other. There is still everything to play for in these championships.
However, all but one of the sailors in the top 10 has at least one high score so far, so none of them can afford to make any more mistakes. The only sailor within the top 10 with a virtually clean sheet, and all top 10 finishes, is local sailor Rafael Trujillo (ESP). With his worst placing so far as 10th, he must be hoping some of the other sailors around him slip up one more time.
In spite of this though, the depth of the fleet is as great as always. So far, 22 sailors have achieved a top 10 result this week, and 39 have achieved a top 20 result. This is going to make it extremely difficult to remain consistent in the tricky breezes out in the Bay of Cadiz .
The weather today is very much the same: cloudless skies and good breezes, although there is slightly less wind than yesterday. The conditions look set to continue for the next few days at least.
The scene today though is of a deserted dinghy park. A handful of sailors are making small adjustments or repairs and a couple of boats are going out sailing for some last minute testing. "It’s not like the old days,” reminisces veteran Finn sailor Jorgen
Lindhardtsen (DEN). "Back then, everyone would be working on the boats and masts, making adjustments, repairs. Today there is much less you can do to the boat." he says scanning the Finn park, devoid of everything but covered boats and a few sailors.
Jorgen has been sailing in the Finn Gold Cup for 28 years. He picked up a new mast on the way down to Cadiz , borrowed a sail and is currently languishing in 60th place, a situation he is not particularly happy with. "I have no speed and no pointing," he comments wryly. While most people his age would be pleased to be still sailing, Jorgen is an icon for the more time-challenged sailor. Still sailing OK Dinghies and Finns, Jorgen still manages to beat the best in the OK Dinghy class, recently finishing in 3rd place in the European Championships this summer.
At the other end of the age spectrum, the Junior Finn Gold Cup is also being sailed here, combined with the senior fleet as has been the tradition for the past few years. Leading Junior at present is Marin Misura (CRO) in 26th place after a consistent string of results between 17th and 34th. Second placed Junior is Ed Greig (GBR) in 46th place, and third Junior is Tapio Nirkko (FIN) in 62nd place. Although they are fairly spread out there is still a long way to go.
Sharing their course with the Finn so far in this regatta, the Ynglings sailed their final day today, so for the next three days the Finns should have Delta course to themselves.
Clear leaders begin to emerge
Today, the defending champion had his best day of the championship so far. Making hard work of the first six races in the series, today Ben Ainslie (GBR) was back to the form that has won him two European Championships, one Finn Gold Cup and the Athens test event. Leading the first race from the start he won by more than a minute, and he then placed second in race eight, behind local hero Rafael Trujillo (ESP) after a drama played just yards from the finish line.
However the first problem was the wind – or rather the lack of it. A change in the weather saw the day dawn with flat calm, cloud filled skies and a misty haze over the Bay of Cadiz . All racing was postponed and it was not until 13:00 that the AP came down and the fleet was sent out to sea.
The racing finally started at 14.40 in a patchy 5-6 knot north-westerly. Offshore initially looked like the favoured side, but half way up the first beat more pressure appeared to the right and those who poked that way, lifted up to the mark. Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes up the story. "I started just down from the committee boat where there was a bit space, got lifted out of the start and then tacked over to the right where the majority of the fleet were going." Ben’s excellent start put him in clear air and he crossed the whole fleet when going right to lead into the windward mark by about 10 boat lengths from Kristian Aderman (SWE), Peter Fox (NZL), Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) and Karlo Kuret (CRO).
The gap that Ben had made allowed him to escape downwind, while the following pack slowed each other down. Many of the other favourites were buried in the 20s and 30s. On the second beat, most of the fleet went hard right again, playing the shifts on the inshore side of the course. Ben extended his lead here while Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Andrew Simpson (GBR) moved up to third and fourth respectively behind Ben and Emilios.
The third beat followed a similar pattern, with Karlo Kuret sneaking into fourth ahead of Simpson at the windward mark. However on the three offwind legs to the finish, Simpson’s superior downwind speed pulled him through to third place, with Karlo in fourth, Vincec in fifth and race one winner, Joao Signorini (BRA) climbing well to finish sixth.
It was a bad race for championship leader Jonas Hoegh-Christensen. After crossing the finish line eighth, he found out he was OCS at the start, as was Johan Tillander (SWE) after scoring one his best results of the week.
The breeze had increased slightly for the eighth race to around 10 to 12 knots, and the race officer started it very promptly after the previous race. Again the committee boat end was biased with most sailors looking for a clear route through to the previously favoured right hand side. Everyone was too keen though, but after one general recall, the fleet got cleanly away. Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) started right by the committee boat and tacked off to the right. Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) followed him slightly to windward, while Ainslie and Simpson started slightly down from the committee boat end and headed off slightly left before tacking and trying to get back to the right.
Half way up the beat those on the right were looking good, but the boats on the far left were starting to look better. Ainslie tacked back to the left just in time and rounded the first mark just behind local boat Rafael Trujillo (ESP) who had worked left of middle up the course. These two were followed by Mo Hart (USA), Massimo Gherarducci (ITA), Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Guillaume Florent (FRA).
As Ainslie had done in the previous race, Rafael extended his lead on each leg to win by about a minute, welcomed across the finish line with cheering and applause from the delighted local crowd. The chasing pack of Kusznierewicz, Simpson, Hoegh-Christensen and Florent traded places and tacks until the final windward mark. Mateusz rounded just ahead of Andrew and Jonas and the race to the finish was one.
On the downwind leg, Mateusz caught some nice waves to the right of the course and surfed up to Ainslie, reducing his 100 meter lead to nothing. On the next wave he was past and led into the final mark, before the short reach to the finish. However it was not over yet. These two battled hard for second place and just yards from the line it looked as it the Pole would get it. But then the yellow flag went up from the nearby jury boat. Ainslie slumped thinking it was him and as his second yellow flag of the regatta he would have to retire from the race. But the flag was pointed at Mateusz, who then had to do his turns and finish third behind Ainslie. An exciting finish to an exciting race! Simpson held onto fourth place ahead of Florent and Hoegh-Christensen.
Finally finding his form and definitely the man of the day, Ben Ainslie's first and second moves him into the overall lead. Andrew Simpson's consistency moved him up to second overall, while his win, combined with a 19th, moves Rafael Trujillo up to 3rd.
One of the pre-regatta favourites and twice world champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz has moved up to ninth overall after a seventh and third today. Speaking before today's races about his below average performance so far he said, "I have had good starts, clear air out of the starts and good speed, but just haven't been able to get the shifts right. I don't know why, maybe it's just one of those regattas. However we are only half way through and there is still a long way to go." With only 20 points between him and fourth overall, if he continues to find some form - and the right shift - he could yet pose a threat to the leaders
Analysing the racing, Ainslie commented, "It was still tough out there today, although once you were in front, clear air and water were definitely an advantage, as both myself, this morning, and Rafael this afternoon proved, although he had pace on me in the breeze this afternoon. Tomorrow the plan is just to plug away and try and do the same."
Team-mate, Andrew Simpson concurred, "Some sailors are getting results all over the place, up and down. It's really tricky to be consistent, so tomorrow is all about going out and trying to stay near the front again and avoid any shockers. But I'm really pleased with my form. It's nice getting back to the front of the fleet again, so I'm going try my best to stay there."
Another sailor who had a good race this afternoon was Paul McKenzie, who finished 13th, after struggling to get a reasonable result all week despite training hard for this event. He declined to comment to your reporter, as he was saving his energy for tomorrow!
As well as Ainslie and Simpson, other British team members also had a good day. Matt Howard and Charlie Cumbley both scored 10th places today to move up the score sheet. And a 23rd and 30th for Junior Marin Misura (CRO) moved him up to 27th overall, clear ahead of the next Junior Ed Greig (GBR) in 45th.
Tomorrow could be the deciding day in the championship, with two more races to sail.
Happy Rafael makes sure of a medal
A day of testing racing on the penultimate day of the racing in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup has determined two of the three medal winners. All that needs to be decided in tomorrow’s final race who gets which colour. As yesterday, Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Rafael Trujillo (ESP) scored a win each, but Ben’s 10th compared to Rafa´s 6th, narrowed the gap between them to five points. Andrew Simpson’s two eighth places dropped him to third overall, but all three are still in with a chance of winning the Championship.
A light northerly wind caused the postponement flag to be flown onshore while waiting for the sea breeze to kick in. Finally the fleets were sent out and the first race got underway at 13.05 in 10 to 12 knot north westerly, clear blue skies and some nice waves starting to build.
Getting a clean start first time, most of the favourites were just down or near to the committee boat. Mateuz Kusznierewicz (POL) started right next to the boat and tacked off to the right, which had proved heavily favoured yesterday in similar conditions. Ben Ainslie (GBR) tacked to the right as soon as he was clear out of the start and most boats soon followed this well worn track.
Those on the far left including Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) and Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) started to look good, but a right shift toward the end brought all those boats who had favoured that side back to the front with David Burrows (IRL) leading round the first mark with a nice lead over Guillaume Florent (FRA), Ali Enver Adakan (TUR), Mateusz, Sylvain Chtounder (FRA) and Ainslie.
Sailing a triangle course, the reaches were fast and furious with Ainslie taking several boats on the first reach and the rest on the second, to lead round the bottom mark. From then on it was mainly a drag race to the right, and no one could catch Ainslie downwind, so he sailed on to his second win of the event.
Meanwhile, behind him, Michael Fellmann (GER) was finding some form in the stronger wind and moved into third on the third beat after outpacing Burrows.
Kusznierewicz narrowly beat Trujillo into sixth place on the downwind finish.
With an increased wind and larger waves, race ten was a Finn sailor’s dream. As the wind was over 15 knots, the flag was up for free pumping downwind.
The start line was biased slightly towards the pin end, but the most thought the favoured side was still right. Mateusz executed another text book committee boat start to lead to the right. However half way there he was not looking too good, so tacked off to dig back into the pack. Emilios went further right and suffered later on.
Meanwhile those who had started nearer the favoured pin end had found a shift on the left. Race winner Rafael commented, "I started mid left on the line and had really good speed off the line and then I tacked for the right on a 5 degree shift. After a while I saw Karlo and Jonas on the left sailing in much more pressure so I tacked over to get it and found myself leading round the first mark."
He was followed by Karlo Kuret (CRO), Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), Marin Misura (CRO) – who was actually OCS - and Anthony Nossiter (AUS). Ben Ainslie, who had started mid line but had got stuck in traffic, and Mateusz and Emilios, who had played the right, rounded someway back and started to play catch up.
By the now the wind was reaching 18 to 20 knots and the fleet really had fun on the triangle, with fantastic waves and great surfing to be had. Positions didn’t change much with Rafael just protecting his lead from Karlo at the bottom mark and then extending it on the right hand track of the next beat and never looking back. After the next upwind and downwind he was greeted across the finish line by the usual cheering and applause from the locals. This was his third win of the championship.
Behind him the fleet dutifully followed him to the right on the upwind and generally down the middle on the run. Karlo held on to second for his best result of the week, with Jonas in third, Michael Fellmann again scored a good result in fourth and David Burrows completed a good day in fifth.
After having a mediocre regatta so far, Class President, Philippe Rogge, was very pleased with his first race. Sailing a blinder on the first upwind leg, he rounded the top mark in sixth place and held onto a top 12 slot until the final downwind leg, when he slipped back to 17th. Still, it was a good result for someone who completed his training programme for this event back at the SPA regatta. The 2002 one that is - and he hasn’t sailed since then!
With one more race to sail tomorrow, Ben Ainslie has a 5 point lead over Rafael Trujillo who has a 10 point lead over Andrew Simpson. Only these three can win the championship tomorrow, but fourth placed Jonas Hoegh-Christensen can move into third if he posts a result 16 places better than Simpson.
The next six places are wide open with only 13 points the difference, and with many of those discarding a high score, they all need a good result to keep their position. At the moment, Karlo Kuret is leading David Burrows, Sebastien Godefroid, Guillaume Florent, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Anthony Nossiter.
Speaking before today’s race Rafael said, “I am happiest in the boat when it is blowing 10 to 15 knots. I am much faster then. I have been training here for the past year and it is a really nice place to sail in summer. The weather today will be good for me – a sea breeze will come in for the racing and we will have good winds.” Rafael’s analysis proved correct and now he is delighted at having made sure of a medal. He later commented, “I have won individual races before, but never finished in the top three. I am now really tired as this has been a tough championship but am so pleased to have won a medal. It is incredible for me to finish on the podium. I am very happy about that.” The 11th race will decide the colour of that medal.
Tomorrow’s final race is certainly going to be a nail biting race for some.
A win for Mama but Ben takes the title
With three possible championship winners going into today’s final race in the 2003 Finn Gold Cup, competitors were frustrated by being held on shore until 13.00 and then having to wait on the water until 15:00 before there was a steady enough wind to be able to start. Sailing a brilliant race, Alejandro Colla (ARG), sailing in his first Gold Cup led the fleet at the first mark and went on to win in fine style. The drama that was being played out behind him was the stuff of legends.
After one general recall the fleet finally got underway at 15.35, just 25 minutes short of the time limit. The wind was at 6-7 knots and patchy in places with a fairly flat sea. The race initially followed a similar pattern to previous days with Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) starting at the committee boat and tacking off to the right. He was followed by Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN). Mateusz tacked back towards the left after a while, which saw him round the windward mark in 10th. Both Andrew and Jonas were well down.
Further down the line, regatta leader Ben Ainslie (GBR) got buried out of the start and has difficulty finding clear lanes. His main rival for the title, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) did find the right shifts to round the top mark 6th. However the man who could do no wrong was Alejandro Colla (ARG), who emerged from the middle right with a substantial lead.
He was followed by Kevin Hall (USA), Guillaume Florent (FRA), Emil Tomasevic (CRO), Marin Misura (CRO) – who was again OCS - and Rafael, accompanied by the now standard cheering from the local crowd. Ainslie rounded 23rd, accompanied by shocked silence from the British supporters. Surely even Ben couldn’t recover from that position...
The first downwind was the key leg of the race. Ben tells his side of the story. "There was no one on the left of the course. I saw Rafa doing well down there and I really needed to catch up. So I went left and fortunately it worked well and I picked up a lot of ground." In fact he took over ten places on that leg alone. There was now very much a race on.
By the next windward mark, Alejandro had extended his lead and Rafael had moved up to second place. Anthony Nossiter (AUS) and Martijn van Muyden (NED) were up in third and fourth, while Ainslie has taken more places to move into seventh.
The right was generally paying on the beat and at the end of the next downwind, during which Ainslie has inevitably moved up to fifth, Alejandro led a group to the right, while Ainslie led another group round the right hand mark to the left of the course. Ben emerged round the top mark just behind Rafael and after three offwind legs, with the positions unchanged; he had retained the title he had won in Athens last year.
Alejandro won his first Finn Gold Cup race after much promise at the start of the regatta. He said afterwards, "I dedicate this win to my mother, who died a year and a half ago. My boat is named Mami in honour of her. This win will give me the incentive I need to improve and come back to La Rochelle to qualify Argentina for the 2003 Olympics."
Second in the race and the Silver medal winner, Rafael, was pleased the regatta came down to the last race. He said, "I am very pleased because normally the winners have all been decided before the last race, and there has always been a clear winner, so this year was good because we didn’t know until the very end. I am glad about that. It made for a good competition."
Third in the race and Gold Cup winner, Ben Ainslie concurred, "The last race was very exciting for spectators. There was a lot going on. It has been very hard because both Rafa and Bart have been sailing very well. I was a bit worried after the first mark, and it was really tough to get back into the race. I am very pleased."
Behind Ainslie in third were Martijn van Muyden, Anthony Nossiter, Guillaume Florent and Kevin Hall.
The race for the bronze medal looked over at the first mark with both Andrew and Jonas somewhere in the 50s.
However, Jonas’s phenomenal ability to make comebacks saw him take boat after boat and overtake Andrew on the final offwind to finish 17th. However, Andrew stayed close enough to be sure of the bronze medal. Andrew later commented, "I had a good gap beneath me in the points, so I decided to take a risk and go to an extreme to try and get a result. I had to do something spectacular if I was a going to win, so decided to take the risk. However it didn’t really pay off. I wasn’t really aware of where Jonas was and he got past me when I wasn’t paying attention. However that woke me up and I started trying harder again and kept in touch with him to stay in third overall."
Twice former world champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz ended, what for him was a poor regatta, in sixth place. After having a bad start to the week with a 17th and 18th, he has been trying to understand what was going wrong. He revealed, "I have been having bad upwind speed all week. I don’t know why. I need to look at things and make some improvements I think.
After my terrible first two days though, I am delighted with sixth overall." On the future for him he commented, "I will sail in Brazil next year and then in Athens , but then I will give up sailing the Finn. I might be tempted to come back for the Moscow Gold Cup as it sounds like that will be good."
In the Junior Finn Gold Cup Marin Misura (CRO) finished in 30th place, ahead of Edward Greig (GBR) in 39th and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) in 59th.
The prize giving was held by the swimming pool of the Hotel Yacht Club in Puerto Sherry with the medals being awarded by ISAF Vice-President, Fernando Bolin.
(c) Robert Deaves 2003