Another high scoring day
Ben Ainslie won his second race in the series to remain in second overall, behind Dan Slater who retains the lead despite an up and down day.
The conditions were light when the sailors arrived at Black Rock Yacht Club this morning. Regatta PRO Bill Bell was already anticipating the possibility to postpone racing onshore to avoid a long unwanted wait on the water. Set like a Swiss clock, the wind started to fill in on Port Phillip Bay 30 minutes before starting time, allowing for the fourth race of the Finn Gold Cup to start. The conditions, like the previous days were light but fair with a stable eight knot wind that didn’t go much over 11 knots throughout the day.
Race four started under a Black flag with most of the fleet massed at the pin end of the line. While Chris Cook (CAN) and Dan Slater (NZL) took the best start, Ben Ainslie collided with Sander Willems (NED). He repaired his fault with a 720 but that cost him dearly, finishing 18th.
Meanwhile Dan Slater and Chris Cook where leading the fleet to the top mark. The Canadian took command on the run and increased his lead with skilful boat handling. Under the watchful eyes of the Jury he went on to win the race. Slater collected his first penalty for kinetics at the end of the first run allowing Cook to sail further in front. Zach Railey (USA) who has had a disappointing regatta so far was glad to recover his good form from the Sail Melbourne regatta, to place second in front of Slater and Ed Wright (GBR). World ranked number six, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic recovered from a 20th position after a yellow flag at the start of the first run to finish in fifth place. “I gained ten places on the second beat and another five on the last downwind leg”, explained “Bambi”.
The right side of the course was often the best choice. It was how Ben Ainslie won the second race: “I started on the pin end again but crossed to the right. I went on the right side again on the second beat and gained a few places. It looks like the right is often the way to go. It is a hard place to sail and the wind is not obvious to read.”
Chris Cook repeated his first race tactic to finish second in front of Gasper Vincec (SLO). It was the first top ten result for the Slovenian who has been struggling so far.
The top three positions in the overall results remain unchanged, with each of the three leaders discarding their only two digit results today. The best improvement among the top ten came from Chris Cook today who climbed from ninth to fourth place overall. While Guillaume Florent from France gained 16 places to 29th thanks to a fifth in the last race.
In the chase for Olympic places, Florian Raudaschl (AUT) has put Austria on the list after dropping 83 points for and earlier OCS infringement.
The Finn race had a special observer today. John Bertand (AUS), Sail Melbourne’s Patron (second at the 1972 Finn Gold Cup, 1976 Finn Bronze medallist and winner of the 1983 America's Cup) watched the racing and was impressed with the changes in a boat he sailed 30 years ago: “This is way above the boat and the way we sailed in the 70’s. The rig has improved greatly; it is impressive for such an old design to have evolved this way. The athletes are so fit, just a pity they are so restrained by the jury. Kinetics should be free, these guys should be able to sail freely and express their athleticism.”
When asked about his best memories in the Finn, Bertrand doesn’t hesitate: “Friends! Most of my best friends from today sailed a Finn at some stage. Because this is a single handed boat, you need to make friends. This is a boat that demands good qualities, the ability to accept the help and advice from the others. This is in fact a “team” boat. It is not easy for single handed sailors to integrate that into their mentality. It works as a natural filter to keep the best people. This is also such a demanding boat that sailors need to be tough. In the end it makes the sailors a better person!”
Australia goes into “holiday” mode tomorrow and to allow everyone to properly celebrate “Australia day”, the sailors and officials will have a day off. Racing will resume with two races on Sunday. Tonight, the sailors were treated to a taste of Australian “wildlife on the Barbie” with Emu, Kangaroos, Barramundi and other local delicacies.
|6||Pieter Jan Postma||NED||11||3||13||[20.00]||7||34|
|44||Ali Kemal T Fekci||TUR||[57.00]||42||23||50||42||157|
|47||Karel Van Hellemond||NED||29||56||40||[64.00]||40||165|