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15 September 2005, 05:27 pm
PAPATHANASIOUS Keeps The Pressure On AINSLIE
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Finn Gold Cup 2005
Moscow, Russia

Finally there is some racing to report at the Finn Gold Cup in Moscow, Russia after two windless days. Five races were sailed today, two for the yellow fleet and three for the green fleet. A second and tenth for Olympic Champion Ben AINSLIE (GBR) was enough to hold on to the series lead with four points separating him from Emilios PAPATHANASIOUS (GRE). A bullet in the final race puts Marin MISURA (CRO) a further seven points back in third.
Today the sailors had it all. Flat calms, flat out planes and hard hiking beats, sometimes all at the same time coming into the weather mark!

With only two complete sets of races sailed after three days, all fingers and toes were crossed this morning that the competitors would get a full day's quality racing in. The day dawned windless and cold again and there was an audible sigh from the Finn sailors as the hydrofoil entered Pestovskoe Lake to a near mirror like surface. However very soon the breeze started to fill and in green fleet were sent out to the race area.

It took a long while to set the course as the breeze kept changing its mind where to blow. The breeze was across the lake only allowing a short windward/leeward course. The windward marks were quite near the trees so the approach was critical. Sometime it was easy, sometimes it was hard when the wind died away and sometimes it was fun when the shift was so big you came into the buoy on a reach. To say it was quite shifty would be a gross understatement.

Finally it kind of settled in one direction (+/- 30 degrees) and race three was started. Repeating his success of race one, PAPATHANASIOU started well at the pin end, tacked onto port, cleared the fleet and was never headed. He was followed by Sander WILLEMS (NED) and Emil TOMASEVIC (CRO). Dan SLATER (NZL) eventually passed WILLEMS to finish second.

The next race got underway fairly soon with Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP) leading at the first mark followed by Michal HRUBY (CZE) and Edward WRIGHT (GBR). Apart from briefly losing his lead to HRUBY on the second lap. Olympic silver medallist TRUJILLO led into the finish to win by a considerable margin.

There was a long wait for the third race as the fleet waited for yellow fleet to finish their second race on the larger, slightly more stable course area, so that they could use it. HRUBY finished off a great day with a win followed by Olexsiy BORYSOV (UKR) and Vladimir KRUTSKIKH (RUS), the first of four Russian sailors in the top ten.

The first race for the yellow fleet was started at 1300 hours local time and while TRUJILLO was winning in the green fleet, his +39 (ITA) team mate Anthony NOSSITER (AUS) dominated race four of the yellow group by leading from the start to win. There was a strong challenge early on from leader of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN), before he fell foul of a large shift, and then MISURA. However, series leader AINSLIE came through from eighth at the first mark to second at the finish. The wind strength went over the magic twelve knot mark after the first beat, allowing for free pumping downwind.

The second race turned into a battle between MISURA and Waclav SZUKIEL (POL). Neck and neck most of the way round, they finished in that order within just yards of one another. The final downwind was an epic battle of strong arm pumping. To make it a family affair, Rafal SZUKIEL (POL) finished third, albeit quite a long way back from the leaders.

So after four days, there have been five sets of races sailed, so tomorrow's flights will be receded for the final qualification race for the gold and silver fleet finals. The forecast tomorrow is for less wind, but hopefully just enough to get the start off promptly. After five races, AINSLIE leads on six points, four ahead of PAPATHANASIOU, with MISURA eleven points off the lead in third.

This year's event sees the highest number of Junior sailors in recent times with 15 sailors representing eleven countries. Defending World Junior Champion Tapio NIRRKO (FIN) is currently lying in 28th place, some way behind the favourite to take the title, Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) who is up in 17th, 21 points ahead. Third is Norbert WILLAND (POL) in 31st place with 59 points.

Top Ten After Five Races

Pos Nation Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Pts
1 GBR Ben AINSLIE 2 1 1 2 (10) 6
2 GRE Emilios PAPATHANASIOU 1 3 1 (8) 5 10
3 CRO Marin MISURA 11 (18) 2 3 1 17
4 NZL Dan SLATER 10 1 2 7 (17) 20
5 CZE Michal HRUBY 8 10 (17) 2 1 21
6 POL Waclav SZUKIEL (19) 8 7 4 2 21
7 NED Peter-Jan POSTMA 4 5 13 (33) 4 26
8 DEN Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN 3 7.8 RDG 9 7 (12) 26.8
9 CAN Christopher COOK 3 (50) OCS 3 13 8 27
10 SLO Gasper VINCEC 1 (22) 5 5 17 28
Robert Deaves (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Event Media
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