Saturday, 11 July 2009
Dan Slater in the mix at the Finn Gold Cup in Denmark. Image copyright Vallensbæk Sailing Club.
by Jodie Bakewell-White
Dan Slater is lying 5th at the 2009 Finn Gold Cup World Championship with only the medal race to be sailed in Denmark. High winds and seas prevailed on the penultimate day of racing just concluded.
“Friday's racing was the toughest yet, with a cold south-westerly in place, raining most of the day with winds up to 25 knots and high seas,” reports Robert Deaves on site.
Two races were sailed to complete the ten race qualifying series and kiwi Dan Slater placed 15th and then 8th which saw him improve his overall standing one place up to fifth.
“What a day!” says Slater. “It was fresh to frightening today with 25 knots plus , big seas, shifty winds and a whole lot of rain. Sounds like fun doesn't it?”
With the fleet leaders now stretching their lead on Slater his aim is to sail a top medal race and improve his standing for the final result at this year’s Finn Gold Cup.
“Tomorrow is the medal race and the best thing I can do is just go and win the race. There is a gap to 4th of 14 points so the guys ahead need to finish at the back of the 10 boat fleet. I also need to protect my 5th place, but will go for the bullet. If all the stars align tomorrow, I could still climb a few places.”
The first race of the day was wet and fast for Slater. “I had a good start but got the side of the course wrong on the first beat and had to play catch up for the remainder of the race.
“Going upwind the boat was launching of the top of the waves and smacking down making a sound like someone hitting a 44 gallon drum with a steel bar. On the down winds there was just a constant sheet of water coming at me like a fire hose, so by the time the rain had stopped I didn’t even really notice.
“During the final stages of this race, I had a couple of really close potential swims on the final reach as I dropped off a couple of really steep waves and the boat sort of slipped out from under me leaving me healed right over to windward. Yikes. I finished 15th and absolutely exhausted. When I crossed the finish line I was so ready to go home; my body was aching and so was my pride.”
Due to the challenging conditions delays affected the start of the second race of the day. “Finally, after an hour and a half we started race two. Again I had a great start and followed the dirty black cloud out towards the left which turned out to be quite good and I think that I rounded the top mark maybe 10th. I had a good run and although I only gained 1 or 2 boats I closed right up on the bunch ahead. Up the second beat the breeze died a little to 15-17 knots and became very unstable. I rounded the top mark 8th and that’s where I finished.
“Overall I gained a place to be 5th but lost a few points on the leaders.”
2009 Finn Gold Cup
Top ten take part in medal race
1st USA Zach Railey 60
2nd DEN Jonas Høgh-Christensen 63
3rd GBR Giles Scott 65
4th CRO Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 67
5th NZL Dan Slater 81
6th SWE Daniel Birgmark 83
7th CRO Marin Misura 88
8th ESP Rafael Trujillo 91
9th GBR Edward Wright 92
10th GBR Andrew Mills 107
Finn Gold Cup