Winning streak comes to an end

But Laurent Hay continues to dominate the Finn World Masters in Maubuisson, France

Wednesday June 3rd 2009, Author: Robert Deaves, Location: United Kingdom
Laurent Hay (FRA) couldn't maintain his unbeaten record on day three of the Finn World Masters in Maubuisson, France, but he has managed to has extend his lead to seven points after another hot and sunny day and some very tricky races on the Lac de Carcans-Hourtin. Two more sets of races were completed with wins going to Stephane Alexis (FRA) and Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA) in race four and to defending champion André Budzien (GER) and Jürgen Eiermann (GER) in race five.

The wind started at around 8 knots from the north-east but was forecast to go north-west and strengthen. On course A, where most of the favourites were racing, after the customary black flag start the leading group came from the port end and tacked on the numerous periodic shifts. Marc Allain de Beauvais made the best of the tricky conditions to win followed by Eric Baker (NED) and Bass de Waal (NED). Regatta leader Laurent Hay recovered to 11th after rounding the top mark in the 80s.

Race 5 on course A again had a 10 degree port end start so all the top guys started at the pin end in an even lighter 6 knot north-easterly. Just after the start, better breeze on the right brought all those from the starboard end ahead of those on the left with many unexpected sailors well up.

Budzien, Michael Maier (CZE) and Hay were all well down but managed to work their way back through the fleet to the teens. Budzien went on to take the lead and finished with a big margin while Hay showed some great downwind speed to pull through to second, with Arwin Karssemeijer (NED) in third.

Second overall, Maier could only recover as far as 14th.

Race 4 on course B was even trickier with the wind gradually going very soft with frequent lulls and very patchy holes. The right side was left stranded out of the start, but Stephane Alexis got it right on the left to win followed by Thierry van Viersson (NED) and Jørgen Lindhardtsen (DEN).

Race 5 wasn't much better. Howard Sellers (GBR) achieved his five minutes of fame, leading Allen Burrell (GBR) to the windward mark, but then the wind died and a whole group got past on the second reach. The surprised winner of the race was Friedrich Muller (GER), taking the lead on the final upwind leg from Michael Staal (DEN) and Adrian Brunton (GBR).

Muller summed up his race win, "I was racing with DEN 2 in front of me, and on the last beat he went right. But I had seen more wind coming from the left. This also meant crossing the whole fleet of over 130 boats coming downwind. It looked dangerous but I took the risk. In the end I was 200 metres in front. That was a great moment for me and has really made my regatta!"

Regatta leader after five races Laurent Hay, spoke of the regatta so far: "This is my second world Masters. Last year I finished 11th. My three wins have been very different. The first one was because the guys in front raced the wrong course. The second I won from the second third of the last beat and the third I was in front from start to finish. Today I was 80th at the top mark after taking too many risks on the left hand side instead of sailing more safely in the middle. I passed 50 boats on the reaches and some more on the other legs to finish 11th. The last race I was 12th at the top mark and finished second." Laurent is from Paris where he regularly races in his Laser every Saturday. He competes in just five events in the Finn each year. "At 82 kg, I can perform up to about 12 knots but when the breeze reaches 15 it becomes a bit harder!"

Typically, just as the fleet arrived back at the club at 6.30 pm the forecast northwesterly breeze kicked in with a lovely 12 knots, but too late for racing.

The light winds are certainly finding favour with the 'older' sailors here.

At this point in the regatta, Jørgen Lindhardtsen is dominating the Grand Grand Masters Category (60-69) in sixth place overall, though he picked up a 65th in race five. His nearest opposition is Jiri Outrata (CZE) in 29th. The Legend category (70+) is being totally dominated by Walter Mai (GER). At a youthful 73 years old, he is compiling an impressive series to lie 16th after five races. Mai was winner of the Finn World Masters in 1984.

The sixth and final qualification heats will be sailed Thursday, before the fleet is split into gold and silver fleets for Friday's final race.

Results after five races (top 30 from 264 entries)
1 FRA 75 Laurent HAY 5
2 CZE 1 Michael MAIER 12
3 GER 8 Jürgen EIERMANN 13
4 GER 711 André BUDZIEN 14
5 NED 780 Jan Willem KOK 24
6 DEN 208 Jørgen LINDHARDTSEN 24
8 FRA 7 Stephane ALEXIS 31
9 BUL 24 Mihail KOPANOV 32
10 NED 29 Bas DE WAAL 32
11 ITA 5 Francesco CINQUE 37
12 GBR 2 Allen BURRELL 40
13 NED 747 Thierry VAN VIERSSEN 40
14 AUT 11 Bernd MOSER 49
15 GER 13 Eckhard DREPHAL 52
16 GER 3 Walter MAI 52
17 NED 81 Gerko VISSER 54
18 DEN 2 Michael STAAL 61
19 NED 69 Roel VAN OLST 62
20 GER 28 Christian KÜHLWEIN 64
21 AUS 3 Jake GUNTHER 68
22 GBR 567 Martin HUGHES 71
23 RUS 21 Vladimir BUTENKO 81
24 NED 10 Nanne BOOT 81
25 NED 888 Luuk KUIJPER 81
26 NED 904 Cees SCHEURWATER 82
27 NED 50 Jan ZETZEMA 83
28 GRE 71 Panagiotis DAVOURLIS 86
29 CZE 8 Jiri OUTRATA 86
30 GBR 61 John HEYES 88

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