The wind wasn't playing the game on the third day on Biscayne Bay. Early postponements for most classes meant the racing schedule was curtailed and the Finns only got one race in – a pretty shifty, topsy turvy race at that – and in much lighter conditions than the first two days. For the first time the fleet raced without Oscar raised for free pumping downwind.
After winning the first four races of the regatta, Giles Scott almost made it five in a row, but for a premature start that has cost him his perfect scoreline. It gave Brendan Casey his first race win this week after a massive comeback on the final downwind. Scott said yesterday that he had been getting a jump on the fleet out of the start and today perhaps he pushed it a little too hard.
Behind Casey, the World Junior Champion Luke Lawrence (USA) took a fantastic second place while Egor Terpigorev (RUS) took third.
While Casey climbs to second overall, Zach Railey (USA) stays in third after placing fourth in today's race. He said, “The wind took a while to fill in today and the race committee did a great job to get a race in for us. The wind was coming off the land so there were big shifts and lots of changes in positions during the race. It was about 7 to 10 knots the whole time.”
“It was really hard to tell what was going to happen but I am glad to get a top five in today's race. Move of the day came from Brendan Casey passing 15 boats on last downwind.”
“Overall, the fleet is very close. Giles has been the stand-out so far at this event with very good boat speed around the course and great decisions on the shifts. Looking at the rest of the fleet we are all very bunched up and I am very much in the hunt.”
Second overnight Ben Ainslie (GBR) placed 8th and drops to fourth overall, both him and fifth placed Andrew Mills (GBR) - who picked up a 16th today - using the race as their discard so far.
A fascinating dual is developing between sixth and seventh placed Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), who have been trading results all week. Only four points separate the Slovenians. Vincec has many years more experience in the Finn, while Zbogar only joined the fleet last year but has previously won two Olympic medals in the Laser class.
In eighth place Johan Tillander (SWE) is making his comeback to the Finn in Miami, having sailed Stars since 2008. He picked up a seventh place today, his best result of the week so far. He said, “When I decided to sail Star I sold all my Finn stuff, so I didn’t sit in a Finn for one minute during the Star years. I started again last year in October by just sailing alone for a few weeks. In the last session in Sweden at end of November it was 30 knots and snowing, so I went to Valencia. Luca Devoti has a nice set up there with some of top guys.”
“Last time I raced in the Finn was in Hyeres in 2008. The biggest change since then is definitely the downwinds. It is much more physical now. I will push for Olympics, but it will be hard since there are three Finn sailors from Sweden who want the same thing. But I felt I had a good chance to give the other Swedes a fight.” Bjorn Allanson (SWE) is currently lying in 11th place, while Danish Birgmark (SWE) – fourth in the 2008 Olympics and third in the 2010 Europeans – has skipped Miami this year.
The 2011 Rolex Miami OCR is now one race behind schedule and the race committee is intending to run three races on Thursday, with the Finns starting at the earlier time of 11.00. The Finns will then start at 10.00 on Friday to give enough time for the 470 to catch up its lost races.
Fleet racing continues until Friday with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday 29 January.
Results after five races:
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 4
2 AUS 1 Brendan Casey 11
3 USA 4 Zach Railey 13
4 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 14
5 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 18
6 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 22
7 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 26
8 SWE 736 Johan Tillander 34
9 USA 619 Caleb Paine 36
10 ITA 146 Michele Paoletti 39
Full results at:http://www.ussailing.org/Rolex/2011/finn/finn.html
Follow the live blog at: http://rmocr.ussailing.org/live_4823.htm
Pics: Rolex/Daniel Forster