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8 July 2009, 08:44 pm
SLATER Takes Lead At The Finn Gold Cup
New Zealander Dan SLATER
New Zealander Dan SLATER leads a two-way tie for first after day three at the Gold Cup

Finn Gold Cup 2009
Vallensbæk, Denmark

After day three in Vallensbaek there is a new leader at the Finn Gold Cup, with New Zealander Dan SLATER holding first place, tied on points with US skipper Zach RAILEY.
Dan SLATER (NZL) heads the leaderboard but on the same points as Zach RAILEY (USA). Ed WRIGHT (GBR) moves up to third. Race wins on Wednesday went to Eduard SKORNYAKOV (RUS) and Marin MISURA (CRO).

Wednesday dawned as most days this week with blue skies and a light wind in place. By the time race five started it was a patchy 8-9 knots. For the first time in the series, the left side paid with a large shift under the clouds.

Bryan BOYD (USA) led from the left to lead round the top mark for the second time this week. He was followed by SKORNYAKOV, Andrew MILLS (GBR), Alex MUSCAT (ESP), Florian RAUDASCHL (AUT) and Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN). Those on the right didn't look so good.

BOYD was unable to hold on to the lead, with SKORNYAKOV taking over on the first run, which he held to the finish.

MILLS sailed a great race into second. He said, "I didn't get a great start but played the shifts up the left hand side and actually rounded in third and managed to hang onto third at the bottom. The next beat it paid to go right, but perhaps not as much as people thought it would. I rounded second and kept there down the run to the finish."

On the racing so far MILLS said, "The right is paying mostly but a lot of people are thinking it is paying more than it actually is. If you can get the right shift towards the clouds then you're off. But there's been a few people sailing on headers trying to get to them. So far it's going all right for me and I've managed to be fairly consistent. The key will be to try and keep out of the big points for as long as possible. But there's a bit more wind forecast for tomorrow so hopefully it will settle things down a bit."

Just a few boat lengths behind MILLS, SLATER had recovered to third in the race to take the overall lead of the regatta from RAILEY who had finished 29th.

As the race finished the wind all but disappeared for an hour while the fleet waiting in the hot sunshine and blue skies, though a number of rain clouds could be seen tacking down the coast inland. When these passed by the wind filled in again and race six got underway in 10-12 knots, again with a practice start so the PRO could raise the black flag.

The first upwind was defined by a large shift half way up to the right and an increase in wind to 14-15 knots. Michael MAIER (CZE) was furthest to the right and easily rounded the mark in the lead.

He said, "It was really busy by the committee boat so I started about 30 metres down from the boat. I tacked onto port, sailed about 200 metres and tacked, then did a long starboard and back again and tacked for the mark and rounded first. It was easy!"

Behind him were MISURA, Björn ALLANSSON (SWE), Giorgio POGGI (ITA), Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED) and Wietze ZETZEMA (NED). MISURA took the lead on the first downwind and held to the finish in the increasing wind, with the final run almost a reach in the changing conditions.

Second placed Jonathan LOBERT (FRA) scored his best ever Gold Cup in race six. "On the first beat I stayed in the middle after starting at the committee boat then I lost a lot of guys after letting them go further to the right and rounded tenth, but then I touched it and had do a turn. Then I got lucky on the second beat and caught a lot of boats by going right and getting a big shift. I was very quick downwind and gained a lot of distance but only two boats, so I am happy to finish second. It was great fun. Nice waves and good wind."

LOBERT, who has been sailing the Finn for three years, said, "I like the class very much. There are two of us French guys training together for Weymouth, myself and Thomas [Thomas LE BRETON] and we'll see who is best. We work as a team rather than being competitive, helping each other to try and be the best. This makes for a good atmosphere in the team."

Third placed ALLANSSON said, "I had a pretty good start by the committee boat and rounded the top mark in fourth. I gained two places on the first downwind. It was free pumping so it was pretty brutal. On he second beat I was leading for a while, but the group split into two, so I played the middle and rounded the mark second. The wind changed a bit more on the final downwind and I finished third which is a great result for me.

"I am really pleased with the second race today, but not that happy with my other results so far, but we still only half way through so it could still turn out OK."


At 45, MAIER is putting some of his experience back into the class coaching some Czech juniors. "We started last year with a little bit and continued this year in Palma because it is too cold to sail at home and we'll see how they get on at the World Juniors on Balaton next month. For me it's easy to be coaching them and sailing at the same time. I'm not really one for sitting in a motor boat. I think this will continue for the future and if I am still in one piece I will carry on sailing."

One of these new sailors is Tomas VIKA (CZE) who is currently sitting in 30th place, just four places behind the leading junior this week so far, Jorge ZARIF (BRA) in 26th place.

The points at the top are close. Both SLATER and RAILEY sit on 32 points with WRIGHT on 39. All have posted at least one high score already, so any more could cost them dearly.

Two more races are scheduled each day at 11:00 until Friday, with the Medal Race and the final race for the rest on Saturday.

Results - click here

Click here for our Finn Gold Cup page containing all the news, photos, links to live tracking, results and more from this year's Finn Gold Cup.

Robert Deaves, IFA
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