domenica 29 aprile 2018

Four way fight for Finn gold in Hyéres medal race clincher

It was yet another light wind day in Hyéres, with high temperatures and a weak onshore breeze. The Finns were finally released from shore at 16.30, for what could have been a game changing race in less than five knots. After a very pin end biased start, Kaynar led at the top from Australia’s Oliver Tweddell and Jake Lilley. Regatta leader Heiner was back in about tenth. However it was soon obvious the dying breeze was fading away and the race was abandoned. Shortly after the fleet was sent back to shore.

So the medal race line up looks like this:

Nicholas Heiner NED 89 – The best sailor here this week with four race wins, and the only sailor to win more than one race. A former Laser World Champion, his only win in the Finn so far was at the Aarhus test event last year in a fairly good field. He took bronze at the 2017 Finn Gold Cup, silver at the 2018 Europeans (after leading all week) and then silver again a few weeks ago at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma.

Jorge Zarif BRA 109 – Made history in 2013 as the first sailor to ever win the Junior and Senior World Championships in the same year. Has won the WCS Miami leg a few times, placed fourth at the Rio Olympics, seventh at the 2018 Europeans and fifth in Palma. Needs just one boat between himself and Heiner and ahead of Kaynar to take gold.

Alican Kaynar TUR 21 – The winner here in Hyéres last year after a medal race match race against Heiner. Had a bumpy start to the week, and then was the most consistent in the later stages. He has to put two boats between himself and Heiner and beat Zarif to retain the gold. After last year’s experience that could be a tough task.

Ondrej Teply CZE 5 – The 2015 Junior World Champion, and still an U23 sailor, Teply has had an amazing week in challenging conditions with good speed and clever sailing. He is 16 points off gold, and 10 off the bronze, so has a lot on but is clearly capable of a surprise medal.

Jake Lilley AUS 1 – An inconsistent week from Lilley, leaves him in fifth place, some 17 points outside the medal zone, and has perhaps left too much to do to take a medal. He won the regatta two years ago in one of the most dramatic medal races ever that was crucial in winning selection for Rio.

Ioannis Mitakis GRE 77 – the 2009 and 2010 Junior European Champion, and the 2012 European Champion. Has too much to do to win a medal now, but is one of the fastest sailors in the fleet so for sure will be going for the win.

Milan Vujasinovic CRO 369 – A bronze at the 2016 Europeans was his best result in recent years. One of three very strong Croatian sailors here in Hyéres this week.

Jonathan Lobert FRA 112 – the 2017 European Champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist. He placed third here last year and was the leader for the first two days this year before dropping down after a series of high scoring races.

Max Salminen SWE 33 – The current world champion has been one of many sailors struggling all week in the tricky conditions and was borderline top ten for several days.

Andy Maloney NZL 61 – One of two Kiwis here and the second medal race in a row after picking up the bronze in Palma. After winning the America’s Cup as part Team New Zealand in 2017, he jumped into the Finn at the end of 2017 and is already making waves.

The Finn medal race on Sunday is scheduled to start at 12.45.

All races are being tracked live with SAP and the medal race will be streamed live on YouTube here:
Results after eight races
1 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 32
2 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 36
3 TUR 21 Alican Kaynar 38
4 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 48
5 AUS 1 Jake Lilley 55
6 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 64
7 CRO 369 Milan Vujasinovic 70
8 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 78
9 SWE 33 Max Salminen 84
10 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 87

Full results here.

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