The 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN), got proceedings underway at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami with a win in the only Finn race sailed on the opening day. After a slow start caused by lack of wind and several postponements, the Finns were delayed so much that they ran out of daylight to start the scheduled second race.
Høgh-Christensen rounded the first mark third from 2012 Olympian Lei Gong (CHN) and Phil Toth (USA), but took the lead downwind as the he and Gong extended away from the fleet for a comfortable 100 metre lead. However they stayed within 10 metres of each other for the rest of the race, having their own engaging private battle in front of the fleet. Even at the finish, Gong was only seconds behind the Dane.
In contrast there was a lot of movement through the fleet behind the leading pair with third place being challenged by a number of sailors before Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS), the current European Junior Champion, claimed third place on the final downwind to lead the tightly packed chasing group across the finish.
Høgh-Christensen explained his race, "I had a good start at the pin tacked and crossed the fleet and played it safe up the first beat. It was close in the top three and I sailed a good run to move into first. Lei Gong was going fast and I had to work hard to keep him behind me. Looking forward to tomorrow and just happy to start out with a great race.”
Apart from overall honours, the main interest in Miami this week is the country selection for North and South America, and the USA Olympic trials. With USA already qualified, only Canada is represented here from North America, while from South America there are Argentina and Chile.
Facundo Olezza (ARG) is the leading South American competitor in fifth, while in his first Finn event Juan Ignacio Biava (ARG) is just behind in sixth place. Keeping everything close, Antonio Poncell (CHI) is in tenth. Luke Muller (USA) leads the US trials in seventh, just ahead of the favourite Caleb Paine (USA), from Phil Toth (USA) in 12th overall. The US trials consists of Miami and the Europeans in Barcelona in five weeks time.
Both Olezza and Muller are members of the Finn class development team FINNTEAM. Muller said, "Today was quite light and had a wide range of directions. After waiting all day we finally went out for one race. A clean start, clear lanes and staying in the pressure were all key to a good race. I by no means had the perfect race but staying in pressure and looking up the race course a lot helped. I think I definitely got the better end of some lucky shifts as well." Olezza added, "It was definitely a tricky race, you just needed to stay in the pressure."
Racing in Miami contiunes for the 47 strong Finn fleet on Tuesday with three races scheduled from 13.30. Event website is at: miami.ussailing.org
Results after day 1
1 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen
2 CHN 1226 Lei Gong
3 RUS 6 Arkadiy Kistanov
4 RUS 2 Aleksey Borisov
5 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza
6 ARG 7 Juan Ignacio Biava
7 USA 91 Luke Muller
8 USA 6 Caleb Paine
9 AUS 41 Jake Lilley
10 CHI 12 Antonio Poncell