Saturday, 29 May 2010

Delta Lloyd Regatta: Finn European Champion Gaspic takes only race of the day

Finn fleet on day 2 of the Delta Lloyd Regatta. Image © Sander van der Borch.

by Robert Deaves

After a long wait all day for the other classes to finish and then for the wind to make a reappearance, the Finn fleet at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik got in one early evening, testing race with 6-8 knots of wind and large shifts.

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), the European Champion, took the race win from class newcomer Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and Gasper Vincec (SLO).

Gaspic said, "It was not easy but fun. Before the start it was very light and puffy. We didn't want to start but then within 3 minutes of starting the wind started to fill in. The wind had shifted totally right so I figured that we had to go left. That's why I went left and it paid off. I just had to play the shifts and the pressure."

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic. Image © Sander van der Borch.

Rafal Szukiel (POL) finished 21st. He said, "I started on the right hand side with Rafa and Zach. We were right but centred in the middle. With these shifts I didn't want to be stuck on one side. But the wind started to shift left and kept going. Bambi was the most on the left and took the lead quickly. By the top mark the wind had turned 60 degrees and then 90. We ended up beating to the bottom mark."

The top two from yesterday, Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Zach Railey (USA) didn't fare any better finishing one place either side of the Pole. Railey said, "There were huge shifts and major pressure differences in the race today and it did not go my way."

Young and old

Sailing his first major regatta of the year is the young Jorge Zarif (BRA), who last year won the Silver Cup (Junior World Championship) on Lake Bataton. He placed 13th in the race and said, " I prefer these conditions than yesterday. It reminds me of Balaton. Light and shifty."

One slightly older face at Medemblik this year is the 1996 Finn Bronze medalist Roy Heiner (NED). After jumping back into a Finn at the 2009 Dutch Open, he won the event and is now back for more. `Once a Finn sailor, always a Finn sailor!`

Roy Heiner. Image © Sander van der Borch.

He said, "I hadn't touched a Finn since the last race in Savannah that gave me the Bronze medal. I was not sure what to expect but it all came back to me, in fact it was still in me. The mechanism, the sensations, the feel for the boat... actually Finn sailing is far more enjoyable nowadays: no weight jacket, softer hull, the boat is more lively, easier to sail and so much fun. I enjoyed so much sailing the Finn at the Dutch Open that I couldn't resist coming and racing here. Of course the level is much higher and I have no idea if I will be competitive. I am not a fast sailor, I am tactical, I love racing but I need much more training. The downwind techniques have evolved and I am slow especially when it is light."

Reflecting on his comeback to Olympic sailing, he said, "Hard to say now. I have to see how I sail against the new generation. Surely the Finn remains an amazing boat to sail. It is easy and fun." Heiner currently sits in 39th place in a fleet of 61.

The Delta Lloyd Regatta continues to Sunday 30th May when the medal races will be held.

Results after three races

1 CRO524 Ivan, Kljakovic Gaspic 10
2 GBR Edward, Wright 15
3 SLO5 Gasper, Vincec 22
4 ESP100 Rafael, Trujillo 23
5 CRO25 Marin, Misura 23
6 USA4 Zach, Railey 28
7 GBR41 Giles, Scott 31
8 SLO573 Vasilij, Zbogar 32
9 GER771 Jan, Kurfeld 37
10 FIN218 Tapio, Nirkko 37

Finn Class
Delta Lloyd Regatta