The fifth leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2011 started in dramatic fashion with a solid 20 knot wind kicking up a choppy sea on the IJsselmeer at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. With a first and second each Ed Wright (GBR) and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) share the lead after day one. Greg Douglas (CAN) is third.
The Finns had a late start to the racing, and didn't get their second race off until nearly 17.30. However the sailors revelled in the challenging conditions for a great start to the week.
There are quite a number of notable absentees at this year’s regatta in Medemblik, with many of the top sailors taking a break between training camps at Weymouth, prior to the all important Sail for Gold Regatta in two weeks, which many are using as a crucial event in their selection series for 2012. Even the usually dominant Skandia Team GBR have only one entry in the form of world champion Ed Wright (GBR). Wright, who generally enjoys the stronger wind conditions placed second to Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) in race one. Gasper Vincec (SLO) won the battle for third place from Greg Douglas (CAN) and fellow Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).
Kljakovic Gaspic is the current European Champion and the winner in Medemblik last year and usually prefers the lighter conditions. Wright turned the tables in race two to win from Kljakovic Gaspic with World Masters Champion Michael Maier (CZE) in third. Maier will be keen to defend his World Masters title in Punta Ala in Italy next month against a pre-entered fleet of some 308 Finns.
Local hero Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) picked up a fourth in the race while Douglas rounded out a fantastic day for him with a fifth place.
Douglas is really the surprise package of the day. Having placed 33rd in last year's Finn Gold Cup in San Francisco, and 15th at the Rolex Miami OCR, this is his first major international regatta since then. Douglas competed in the 2008 Olympics in the Laser class before moving into the Finn in 2010 and is improving all the time.
The fleet of 66 Finn sailors from 24 nations again has a number of new faces and some sailors returning to the class. The Delta Lloyd Regatta also attracts a sizable amateur contingent who enjoy the challenge of racing against the class stars.
Fleet racing continues to Saturday with the medal race for the top 10 boats on Sunday 29 May.
Results after two races:
1 GBR 11 Edward Wright 3
2 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 3
3 CAN 5 Greg Douglas 9
4 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 14
5 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 14
6 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 15
7 CRO 25 Marin Misura 16
8 CZE 1 Michael Maier 17
9 POL 17 Piotr Kula 19
10 CZE 52 Tomas Vika 26
Event website: www.deltalloydregatta.org
Event facebook page: www.facebook.com/deltalloydregattaswc
Live updates: twitter.com/DeltaLloydRegat
Photos by: Wieringa Photography