Monday, 11 April 2011

Palma Day One - Scott Revels in Big Breeze

Finns on day one in Palma. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Robert Deaves

Challenging 20-30 knot winds tested the preparedness of the Finn fleet to the full on day one of the 42 Trofeo SARPrincesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma, Monday with Giles Scott (GBR) taking the early lead after winning both his heats. Other race wins went to Tapio Nirkko(FIN) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).

The wind on day one was averaging 24 knots and gusting 30 before the start of race one, though theforecast said much less. The offshore wind meant that the waves were not very big, but very short so the boats were travelling faster than the wavesThis made downwind sailing quite tricky and about 18 sailors never even made it down to the start. Top Russian sailor Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) hadproblems with halyard lock on his mast and had to stop just after start in both races. Tomas Vika (CZE) managed to break his mast and many sailorsjust stopped and struggled back to the harbour.

The large entry meant that the fleet was split into two groups – yellow and blue. While yellow got away firsttime for race one, blue had a general recall. Giles Scott (GBR) led yellow fleet across the finish with 2007 World Champion Rafa Trujillo (ESP) closebehind and then the winner in Perth last year, Jonathan Lobert (FRA) behind. In the blue fleet Tapio Nirkko (FIN) crossede ahead of 2010 worldchampion Ed Wright (GBR) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).

Giles Scott (GBR). Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

In the second race of the day Scott again won the yellow fleet ahead of Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Trujillo, while Postmawent two better to win the blue fleet from Nirkko and Daniel Birgmark (SWE), who had picked up an OCS in race one.

Scott had been dominant in Miami on the windier days and has opened his Palma challenge in the same fashion with adouble win. He said, “The first race was pretty tight with Rafa and then in the second one I managed to get a bit of a lead out on the secondbeat and had quite a comfortable win, which was nice. Everyone’s turned up here and I think it’s going to be very competitive especially towards the end of the week when we go into gold fleet.”

Third overall Postma has been training hard over the past few months and his results today of 3, 1 show his newdirection. “Three weeks in February and three weeks in March together with coach Stefan de Vries. We've put considerable effort into training onfeeling the boat. There was a big catch up in terms of boat feel, in the light weather range. In addition, we've also done some equipment developmentand physically we have worked on endurance and resilience.”

“The 85 best Finn sailors in the world are here. And you hear fromeveryone that they have trained hard and are ready.”

Raja Trujillo (ESP). Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

The 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey sits in 19th after a 10, 9 today He said, “In the secondrace I was sailing very well and happy with my speed. I was in around third or fourth on the second upwind protecting the left side at the top of thebeat. This was a misread on what I thought the wind was going to do. The wind ended up shifting right another 10 degrees and with the racing so closeat the top I ended up dropping to 11th. I was able to pull back a few boats before the finish getting ninth.”

Racing continues until Friday, with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday 9th April.

Results after 2 races:

1 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 2
2 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 3
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan POSTMA 4
5 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 8
6 FRA 112 Lobert JONATHAN 8
7 AUS 1 Brendan CASEY 9
9 TA 117 Giorgio POGGI 12
10 FRA 29 Thomas Le BRETON 13

International Finn Association
Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE