Saturday, 29 May 2010

Finn World Masters: Maier extends lead with double win

Top mark rounding. Image copyright Tosca Zambra.

by Robert Deaves

In sharp contrast to previous days there was finally some solid wind at the Finn World Masters in Split, Croatia. Following two tough races with a 'Jugo' blowing up to 20 knots, Michael Maier (CZE) took a commanding lead after two emphatic race wins. Marco Buglielli (ITA) holds onto second place while defending champion Andre Budzien (GER) moves up to third.

The RC called the fleet out at 10:30 and tried to set the course Alpha just outside the harbour, but a 20+ wind and steep waves forced them to move the course to the protected channel between Ciovo island and the land.

The RED group had a clear start in 18 knots and almost everybody went to the right to Ciovo island, which proved to be the right choice.

John Mackie (GBR) led at the first mark in front of Cees Scheurwater (NED) and Armano Zekan (CRO), but Scheurwater found good gusts on the right of the outer loop downwind and rounded the bottom mark well ahead. On the second upwind the top mark was close to Marjan mountain and the situation became very tricky, with strong gusts, big lulls and 50 degrees shifts. A small group from the left corner gained about 30 boats, but Zekan, Mackie and John Heyes (GBR) managed to cross from the right and finished in this order.

Maier and Budzien. Image copyright Tosca Zambra.

Maier was sailing in the BLUE group and led from start to finish to win by a large margin, clearly enjoying the increased wind. Attila Szilvassy (HUN) trailed round behind him to place second while third place finally went to Andre Budzien (GER), climbing from sixth at the first mark.

Race five started with a shortened course which helped to avoid the influence of Marjan mountain on the outer loop.

BLUE group started first and again Maier led all the way to record his fourth win of the championship. Lars Hall (DEN) and Arwin Karssemeijer (NED) followed him round the top mark, but by the second upwind mark, Budzien had cruised into second place which he held to the finish, with Hall keeping his medal chances alive with a third.

Start of the Red fleet in race 4. Image copyright Tosca Zambra.

In the RED group Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA) had a good fast start on port in the middle of the line and led the fleet to Ciovo island and round the top mark, followed by Zekan and Scheurwater. On the second upwind Scheurwater passed Allain des Beauvais and led to the finish, with Bas de Waal (NED) in second and Allain des Beauvais in third. Zekan capsized on the downwind and finally crossed in eighth place.

This leaves Maier with a seven point lead over Buglielli going into tomorrow's final two races. The much lighter Buglielli, who placed 11th in the first race, struggled in the windier conditions. He commented, "I had, as expected, a lack of speed upwind, and also very bad luck upwind in the outer loop in first race. But luckily all the top guys were in the Blue fleet."

Behind the leading pair, the fleet really mixed it up with just 10 points separating the next 10 boats. Third placed Michael Gubi (AUT) placed 21st and sixth to drop to seventh. The big climber of the day was defending champion André Budzien who moved up to third overall.

Michael Gubi. Image copyright Tosca Zambra.

Barring major mishaps, Maier looks set to take the title he last won in 2006, however the other medal places and top ten positions are still wide open.

In the Grand Masters fleet (50-59 years old) Buglielli is leading but both Gubi and Hall are within striking distance.

In the Grand Grand Masters (60-69 years old) Wouter Molenaar (NED) has a 12 point lead over Graeme Macdonald (GBR) and Luksa Cicarelli (CRO).

Richard Hart (GBR) is dominating the Legend category (70 years +) in 62nd place overall, some 70 points and 40 places clear of John Ulbrich (SUI) and Andras Schomer (HUN).

Peter Mosny. Image copyright Tosca Zambra.

The final two races are schedule for Friday. Follow the racing live through the event website at

Results after 5 races, one drop

1 CZE 1 Michael Maier 4
2 ITA 2 Marco Buglielli 11
3 GER 711 Andre Budzien 16
4 HUN 211 Attila Szilvassy 17
5 SVK 1 Peter Mosny 18
6 SUI 5 Christen Christoph 18
7 AUT 7 Michael Gubi 19
8 DEN 6 Lars Hall 20
9 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 23
10 CRO 6 Armano Zekan 25
11 NED 29 Bas de Waal 26
12 FRA 99 Marc Allain des Beauvais 32
13 HUN 7 Antal Szekel 33
14 AUS 3 Jake Gunther 33
15 GBR 65 David Potter 35
16 GBR 61 John Heyes 41
17 GBR 68 John Mackie 42
18 HUN 5 Zsombor Majthenyi 50
19 NED 27 Paul Kamphorst 51
20 ITA 4 Francesco Faggiani 52

Finn World Masters