Finn style street fighting on Weymouth's testing waters
Giles Scott (GBR) has taken the lead at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland after posting the best score of the day. He holds a narrow lead over Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Josh Junior (NZL). Race wins went to Lobert and Scott.
Described by Scott as “tight street fighting” racing, the second day in Weymouth produced fantastic conditions with big waves, moderate winds and incredibly close racing. He said of one top mark rounding, “I think the whole fleet was round in 30 seconds.” Blink and they were gone.
The downwinds were a Finn sailor's dream, surfing alongside the scenic coastline in the afternoon sunshine. It was a great day to be on the water.
Lobert dominated the second half of the first race, taking the lead out of the right on the second upwind. Scott again showed exceptional downwind speed, rounding the top mark in seventh to move up to third at he gate and second across the finish. Third place went to the ever improving Ben Cornish (GBR) after moving up from eighth at the top mark. Early race leader Piotr Kula (POL) dropped on the first downwind and then was forced out of the second race after losing his rudder following a collision.
Like many here, the London 2012 Bronze medalist Lobert is back in Weymouth for the first time since the Olympics He said, “It's nice and I like to sail here. The weather is always good for sailing. There are nice waves so we have fun downwind. Upwind it was quite tricky with this wind direction I was mostly trying to play the right hand side at the bottom because I thought there was more pressure there and then it was good to be on the left at the top. So some tricky lines to do but so far so good.”
The second race was initially led by Jake Liley (AUS), but Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) came through downwind and led the remainder of the race. However he was OCS so the race win went to Scott, who again rounded the top mark deep, and again pulled through downwind to third at the gate and then passed Lobert on the final downwind to take the bullet.
Kljakovic Gaspic recently won the European Championship, but he feels he is starting the season again. “This is my comeback [to Weymouth] after a long time since the Olympics...to refresh the memories. It's been a nice few days of racing so far, and fun. I can't say that I am in top shape at the moment. After the Europeans I was totally relaxed and looking after my new born baby, so some emotional stress in my life. So coming back here, I am back into sailing and starting the season all over. After this I am starting full preparation for the worlds in Takapuna.”
On the OCS, “That's part of sailing. I am not really focused on the results of this event. It is just to do some racing, to change the conditions, because I did a lot of Mediterranean sailing this season and now this is more ocean sailing.”
On the racing, Scott said, “We've had two very similar days now with 10-15 knots and it's very, very physical racing. I think everyone is feeling pretty tired today. But today for me was a bit better than yesterday. I managed to come away with a 1 and a 2, so I can't really grumble today.”
On the small fleet, “We have 24 boats, so it surprising how everything seems to close up and everyone is super punchy on the start line. So you have to watch that a little bit. And of course everyone here is quick so it is very easy to find yourself on the back foot and not so many people behind you. But with that said it makes the racing super good. It's tight street fighting.”
On the forecast, “I think tomorrow we will be back to the supposed normal with southwesters potentially. I think there is potential for it to build but I haven't looked into it too much. But I think there is some weird stuff going on with the systems so we'll have to wait and see.”
After four races there are only three points separating the top three boats. The opening series is now at its half way stage, with four more races to decide who goes into Sunday's medal race.
Results after four races (1 drop)
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 4
2 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 6
3 NZL 24 Josh Junior 7
4 NZL-16 Andrew Murdoch 11
5 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 14
6 GBR-11 Edward Wright 19
7 ITA 66 Enrico Voltolini 21
8 FIN 218 Tapio Nirkko 22
9 ESP 7 Alex Muscat 24
10 AUS 41 Jake Lilley 24
Photo: Robert Deaves