After 2 days of racing cancelled due to bad weather, the Finn Gold Cup finally took a good start yesterday with 2 good races sailed under a bright sun and light breeze.
The 57 sailors and the racing committee showed their eagerness to go racing yesterday: everybody was ready well before starting time on the racing area, 1.5 miles offshore Eastern Yacht Club.
The sea was flat despite little chop and swell. A very shifty wind between 6 to 8 knots and a cross current made racing tricky.
Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), in good form after extensive training with the English and Turkish teams, scored a second and a third in today races to lead the regatta from European Champion, Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE).
Race 1, scheduled at 11am started with no delay or recall. Emilios Papathanasiou, coming from the right side of the course, rounded the top mark in front of Canadian, Larry Lemieux "light weather specialist", Sebastien Godefroid, Mathieu Deplanque (FRA) and young Ukrainian, Sergey Kotov.
While the wind dropped to 4 knots on the downwind legs (trapezoid course), the Jury started to discipline the fleet and penalise a couple of sailors for pumping and/or rocking. At the end of the run, Emilios had increased his lead to 1 minute over Sebastien Godefroid, now placed second in front of Larry Lemieux (the only sailor to bring his coach "Dooly" and his dog "Rusty" on the water!!).
The second beat offered again some chances, with various shifts. While Sebastien bet on the right side to win enough ground to take the lead, Emilios had gone to the left but had still enough speed to place second. The run was a real duelling for first place, under the careful eye of the Jury. Just behind them another battle for 3rd place opposed Chirs Brittle to Ian Clingan, both from Great Britain. The contest was won by Emilios just before the Leeward mark. The reach to the finishing line was just a formality. Sebastien took second in front of Junior sailor Chris Brittle (GBR), Ian Clingan (GBR), Ukrainian Junior, Sergey Kotov and Mathieu Deplanque (FRA).
After enough time for refuelling, race 2 was under way. The starting line was this time a bit more biased and the Committee boat was soon to be crowded with half of the fleet. A first general recall was followed by an individual recall that penalised Americans Russ Silvestri, Greg Skidmore and Dutchman Martijn van Muyden. Sebastien Godefroid took a rocket start at the Committee boat while Greek sailor Emilios Papathanasiou, in doubt, decided to come back and restart. Canadian, Mike Milner sailed up in the middle of the course to lead the fleet at the top mark. Sebastien Godefroid is second in front of British Junior Charlie Cumbley and US sailor Andrew Pimentel. Placing didn't change much on the run but the second beat saw a few upsets with more shifts.
Charlie Cumbley, played safe in the middle and right side of the course, but the winner of the beat was undoubtedly Andrew Pimentel, first at the top mark. Andrew had not sail a Finn for the last 15 years !
Charlie in second place took the lead on the run to win the race. Andrew Pimentel remained in second place in front of Sebastien Godefroid and Mike Milner, 4th.
In the overall standing, Sebastien Godefroid is first with only 5 points. Emilios Papathanasiou and Mathieu Deplanque are on an equal 11 points apiece, while American sailor Andrew Pimentel is in 4th position. First Junior is Chris Brittle from Great Britain in 5th place.
The Race Committee provided outstanding organisation, replacing the marks at each leg and providing fair and enjoyable racing.
The difficult task of the Jury, chaired by Josje Hofland-Dominicus (7 years IFA secretary) was "well dosed" and sailors, in these light range of wind, were all well behaved. "Ex-Finn sailor" and Jury member Ralph Roberts "King of Takapuna", celebrated his birthday on the water with only 1 Yellow flag.
1 77 BEL 7 GODEFROID, Sebastien 2 3 5.0 pts
2 36 GRE 6 PAPATHANASIOU, Emilios 1 10 11.0 pts
3 52 FRA 11 DEPLANQUE, Mathieu 6 5 11.0 pts
4 29 USA 1169 PIMENTAL, Andrew 12 2 14.0 pts
5 20 GBR 541 BRITTLE, Chris 3 14 17.0 pts
6 47 UKR 21 KOTOV, Sergey 5 12 17.0 pts
7 18 GBR 15 CUMBLEY, Charlie 18 1 19.0 pts
8 3 POL 17 KUSZNIEREWICZ, Mateusz 17 6 23.0 pts
9 8 CAN 4 MILNER, Mike 20 4 24.0 pts
10 35 NED 785 ZIELHUIS, Jaap 8 17 25.0 pts