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11 September 2005, 05:31 pm
Practice Day - All Set For A Great Championship
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Finn Gold Cup 2005
Moscow, Russia

Last night at the opening ceremony, new Finn class president Balasz HAJDU (HUN) opened the 2005 Finn Gold Cup in front the 100 sailors and more than 200 officials, personnel and guests at the Moscow Sailing School.
The opening ceremony was very impressive with a marching band, majorettes and all the sailors lined up behind a local girl carrying a banner with their national letters on it. Dr Balazs HAJDU, said that it was a great honor to come to Russia, with its deep traditions in Finn sailing. In his speech he drew attention to the many Russian Finn sailors over the years, some of whom were present at this event including 1972 Bronze medalist Victor POPATOV, Evgeny CHERNOV and Oleg KHOERPSKI.

Following the ceremony - which was attended by local dignitaries including Mr Mikhail STEPANIANTS, The Chairman of the Moscow Sports Committee, Mr Alexander KOTENKOV, President of Russian Sailing Sports, Mr Anatoly YUDAEV, Vice-Chairman of Moscow Region Sports Committee and Mr Mikhail TIKHOMIROV Vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee - the sailors and guests were treated to a buffet of Russian style food followed by a band and dances by traditionally dressed girls. A dancing Russian bear also made an appearance, although you could clearly see the zip up his back if you looked carefully! The party continued well into the night...

Today, the practice races were sailed in a shifty, fitful wind. The wind was across the lake so only allowed first beats of 0.4 and 0.6 miles with the fleets sailing windward leeward courses. However, the usual sailors were near the front. Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and Andrew SIMPSON (GBR) headed the Green fleet, although both were OCS, and Daniel BIRGMARK (SWE), Peer MOBERG (NOR) and Marin MISURA (CRO) were at the front of the Yellow fleet. The two course areas are run by two seperate race teams, one from Spain and one from Sweden, with assistance from Russian staff as well. Each course area also has a full International Jury, with Pat HEALY (USA) as Chairman.

The organisation in Moscow is immense. The very impressive modern campus of the Moscow Sailing School sits alongside the Klyazminskoe Lake where the cruise ship acting as home to the 100 Finn sailors is moored. However the Finns are sailing at the larger Pestovskoe Lake, about a 10 km tow to the north. Here the organisers have constructed a day marina with full facilities where the boats will be kept for the week. Hyrdofoil ferries will whisk the sailors to and from the marina each day.

All the boats are now located at the day marina - an impressive construction - easily accommodating the 100 Finns on a specially built platform, with tents on land providing cafe and changing facilities and a small cruise ship moored next to it.

The hospitality experienced by all the sailors and guests is also something special. Marinepool is one of the main sponsors of the regatta and has generously outfitted all the sailors and officials with smart event clothing, for which many sailors - who came expecting a summer heatwave - are now using gratefully as some colder weather has descended on Moscow.

Four days of qualification races are scheduled, followed by a lay day and then two days of gold/silver finals. The start for the first race is scheduled for midday local time on Monday.

Robert Deaves, International Finn Association. Image: © Event Media
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