Hay loses the lead
The final qualification race on day four in Maubuisson, France was sailed in a shifting 10-12 knot northeasterly breeze. After several attempts to get the fleet away the race officer moved the mark 20 degrees to port. On the third attempt, which still had a 10 degree port bias, regatta leader Laurent Hay appeared to change his mind and tacked back to the committee boat. But the left end paid off with more pressure in spite of a big temporary shift on the right. Marc Allain de Beauvais (FRA) having started at the pin was first around the top mark while those who started on the right were buried in the 40s.
By the downwind mark Hay had made it up to the mid-20s, but lost places again on the final beat to finish 35th. Allain de Beauvais also lost out in the final few meters to the finish, which let the highly consistent Jürgen Eiermann (GER) through to win the race and move up to first overall. Second place went to Peter Bronke (GER) with Uwe Kinast (GER) making it a German top three. Allain des Beauvais finally finished fourth.
There was more drama on the other course as second placed overall Michael Maier (CZE) failed to finish the race, leaving Andre Budzien to claim his second race win and move up to second overall. Baas de Waal (NED) finished second with Stephane Alexis (FRA) in third.
The leader board now looks very different with Eiermann one point clear of Budzien who is one ahead of Hay. Last year Budzien had assured himself of the title before the final day, but there is now a real race on for the title in Friday's final race.
Eiermann is the most consistent with top four placings every race except race five when he was 13th. Budzien has two wins, two seconds, a ninth and that black flag from Tuesday. Hay has three race wins, a second, an 11th and now a 35th.
On Friday the fleet will be split into gold and silver divisions, so the top contenders will all be racing each other for the first time.The title is still wide open. It could be some showdown.
Results after six races (top 30 out of 264 entries)
1 GER 8 Jürgen EIERMANN 14
2 GER 711 André BUDZIEN 15
3 FRA 75 Laurent HAY 16
4 CZE 1 Michael MAIER 26
5 FRA 7 Stephane ALEXIS 34
6 NED 29 Bas DE WAAL 34
7 BUL 24 Mihail KOPANOV 44
8 DEN 208 Jørgen LINDHARDTSEN 47
9 GER 13 Eckhard DREPHAL 56
10 NED 780 Jan Willem KOK 60
11 ITA 5 Francesco CINQUE 60
12 GBR 2 Allen BURRELL 61
13 NED 81 Gerko VISSER 64
14 NED 747 Thierry VAN VIERSSEN 65
15 DEN 2 Michael STAAL 76
16 NED 25 Arwin KARSSEMEIJER 85
17 NED 10 Nanne BOOT 86
18 NED 904 Cees SCHEURWATER 88
19 NED 69 Roel VAN OLST 89
20 GER 3 Walter MAI 92
21 GER 28 Christian KÜHLWEIN 93
22 NED 703 Eric BAKKER 97
23 CRO 110 Luksa CICARELI 100
24 CZE 8 Jiri OUTRATA 101
25 GRE 71 Panagiotis DAVOURLIS 103
26 SWE 721 Mikael BRANDT 104
27 FRA 99 Marc ALLAIN DES BEAUVAIS 106
28 GBR 567 Martin HUGHES 110
29 GBR 61 John HEYES 112
30 NED 888 Luuk KUIJPER 112