Photos: Robert Deaves

Giles Scott wins with a race to spare

Third Finn Nationals title for British sailor

Monday May 7th 2012, Author: Robert Deaves, Location: United Kingdom

He only needed one race and that was all it took. Giles Scott (GBR) won the opening race of the day at the JP Morgan Asset Management Open UK Finn Nationals to seal his third UK title with a race to spare. Ben Ainslie (GBR) finished second while Jonathan Lobert (FRA) placed third.

The overnight storms had cleared leaving blue skies in the morning, but the wind built during the day for a challenging, physical day on the water for the last day of the regatta. The first race took over 45 minutes to get away following a series of general recalls and black flags. When it did Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) led round the top mark with Giles Scott (GBR) close behind. Scott soon took the lead and rounded the gate just ahead of Andrew Mills (GBR) and Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) to sail away to win the race and the championship.

With the wind reaching 20 knots the final race was a hard test, with many deciding to call it a day. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) battled against Jonathan Lobert (FRA) for the lead, but eventually the Croatian extended for a comfortable win.

Scott said of the first race, “It was an exciting race with lots of recalls and the tide pushing us over the line. There was more and more tide as you went out to sea and left was really good but there were a few shifts to play with as well.”

“I didn't get the best of starts so I took a hitch up and came back on good numbers and then caught up the guys who had hit the left harder. I managed to round second and then had the lead by the bottom and then slowly extended up the second beat which was nice.”
On his third UK title, “It's nice to win here, especially as it's the first time I have raced Ben in a Finn nationals.”

Due to his America's Cup World Series commitments with Team Korea, Scott will not be defending his title next week but when asked for comments he said: “Isn't it normal that it's going to be completely different to the week before, so that means it's not going to be 15 knots. So I predict a light wind worlds. Just on the law of sod. But seriously I reckon it will be a very different week as a lot of guys aren't here yet.”

Second overall, Ben Ainslie (GBR) commented, “It's been great racing and it's been a fantastic event I think. We've had great conditions and a variety of conditions. For me it's been great to be sailing back in Cornwall where I grew up. I've never really raced here so I am learning a lot . I didn't sail particularly well to be honest so its good to learn about the conditions. I will certainly have to try and sail better next week. The competition will ramp up that little bit with the extra boats. And, with it, of course, the intensity of a world championship. It will be tougher and I'll have to raise my game a little bit.”

And will there be less pressure with Scott not sailing? “No, I don't think so. Giles is obviously sailing really well at the moment and sailed fantastically this weekend, but there are loads of good guys in the fleet. But of course it will be easier without Giles there though it's still incredibly tough out there to win these races.”

Today's second race winner Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic said: “It was a great event. We had really good conditions and a good quality fleet so it's good experience of the race areas and to get in touch with the local knowledge. Getting ready for the gold cup I feel really good. I seem to have more speed especially in stronger winds which was a problem for me for a couple of years. So I am now quite competitive and I can't wait for the gold cup to begin.

“Falmouth is a great venue. I really like it. The conditions are very similar to Weymouth so it's a great training place. The venue is really nice and and well organised, and the hospitality is great so I can't say anything bad about our hosts. Everything is the best.”

The prizegiving was held in the Falmouth Watersports Centre, where the championship has been based. Giles Scott was presented with the Sunday Times Gold Cup for the third time.

Andy Denison, Chairman of the British Finn Association said, “What a great championship we have had here this weekend. The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club has been the perfect host and, of course, special thanks to our major sponsor JP Morgan Asset Management and also to Harken for supplying a range of wonderful prizes and goodies. These events are made far better by support such as this.”

The sailors now have five days off before the JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup starts on Sunday 13 May.

Final results (7 races, 1 drop)
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 11
2 GBR 3 Ben Ainslie 18
3 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 26
4 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 28
5 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 33
6 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 45
7 UKR 1 Oleksiy Borysov 58
8 CZE 1 Michael Maier 66
9 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 71
10 RUS 9 Eduard Skornyakov 72

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