Image copyright J Liot/FFVoile
by Robert Deaves
Giles Scott (GBR) and Andrew Mills (GBR) have built a useful cushion between themselves as the rest of the fleet on the last day of the finals series at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres. Scott won the first race of the day and then, the last race was won by Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) who moves back up to third, but just one point ahead of Josh Junior (NZL) in fourth.
The third finals day started with grey skies with early light rain with the wind not building much beyond 10-12 knots.
In the first race of the day Giles Scott consolidated his overall lead with a second race win, while his main opponent Andrew Mills crossed second. Thomas Le Breton (FRA) seemed to prefer the lighter winds again and crossed in third.
Pieter-Jan Postma took a much needed win in the final race to close the gap on the leaders with the super consistent Mills in second again and then Scott in third.
Scott said, “In the first race I rounded in third and had a good run to round just behind Mills and Thomas. I then went right to overtake them and win the race.”
About the format, “I don't think it's so great at all especially when you look at the forecast tomorrow, very variable, but you never know, it could all be fine, and we may get some good racing.”
Postma has now recovered to third overall, “In the second race, the first downwind was free pumping but the second wasn't. So I could keep the lead that I had built on the second upwind, when it got lighter and the wind shifted right.”
“In finals it was mostly about speed, a reasonable start and then play the left. I need to work on my speed as the Brits go faster downwind with really nice technique. For me it's not about fitness, it's about the right moment and the right power. So it's about feel. I need to work on that.”
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“But I'm really looking forward for tomorrow. Giles and Mills have a 20 point lead, but after that, it's all to play for. Will be some exciting medal races.”
After a 4, 7 today Oliver Tweddell (AUS) has qualified for his first medal race in Europe and he's pretty pleased about it. He revealed, “This will be my first medal race in a European regatta which is pretty exciting, I have done a few at Sail Melbourne before so I kind of know what to expect, but this one is pretty special.”
“Today the conditions were flicking between 8-12 knots. I seemed to have good speed in these conditions and they weren't too stressful on my injury so I was having a lot of fun.”
“Tomorrow with the medal stage means there are a lot of points up for grabs, so I am pretty keen to try and improve on my ninth place. There are some extremely good sailors in the medal race so it will be very tough. I am just pumped to be racing amongst them.”
A late charge from Mark Andrews (GBR) means he has made the medal race at the last possible moment. He said, “It makes a change from three years ago when I was 11th at every event.”
“The conditions today were a bit similar to the last race yesterday, around 10 knots so the pumping flag was up and down with the wind.”
“It's good I made it after the shocker I had first few days. I've got nothing to loose going in but got to take it like any race and try and do as well as I can. But it's a bit unlikely I can medal.”
“I think the scoring system is bit dodgy. I definitely don't deserve to be where I am but it is what it is. The conditions the first few days were not great for me I didn't sail the beats very well.”
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In the silver fleet a 1, 2 from Peng Zhang (CHN) took him to the top to win by just two points from Lauri Vainsalu (EST) and Oleksiy Borysov (UKR). Borysov had led the silver fleet since the start of the final series but a 6, 8 today cost him dearly. The final race for the silver fleet was won by Enrico Voltolini (ITA).
Going into the medal race, Scott has a six point lead over Mills, but then there is a sizeable 17 point gap to Postma in third. The points are very tight after that so anything could and probably will happen in Saturday’s medal races with a possible 40 points up for grabs.
In fact anyone in the top 10 can theoretically medal. And any in the top eight can theoretically still take the gold. Despite Scott’s and Mill’s significant domination and advantage, they still have to go out and do it all over again.
The two Finn medal races are scheduled for 13.00 on Saturday.
Results after 11 races (5 opening series, 6 finals series)
1 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 11.00
2 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 17.00
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan POSTMA 34.00
4 NZL 24 Josh JUNIOR 35.00
5 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 42.00
6 FRA 112 Jonathan LOBERT 43.00
7 FRA 29 Thomas LE BRETON 47.00
8 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 48.00
9 AUS 261 Oliver TWEDDELL 59.00
10 GBR 88 Mark ANDREWS 60.00
Full results: http://sof.ffvoile.net/