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15 September 2005, 10:00 am
Windless Again In Moscow
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Finn Gold Cup 2005
Moscow, Russia

Yesterday in Moscow, Russia the sailors at the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup drank coffee all day and waited for the wind. The coffee kept coming but unfortunately the wind did not. One start was attempted at 1800 hours local time, but was soon abandoned as the wind started playing games again.
In order to get three races in yesterday, the green fleet had their start time brought forward to 1100 with the yellow fleet due to start at 1230. As no more races could be included in the flight allocation system, they remained the same as Tuesday. The first hydrofoil of the day to the day marina took only the sailors of the green fleet. However when the yellow fleet arrived an hour later, the green fleet were still waiting for the wind to come, sipping coffee and enjoying the sunshine.

It was a lovely sunny day, although the air was cold. It remained hot in the sun but the air remained still. The only sounds to fill the air were the chatter of Finn sailors, the throb of motor vessels as they briefly sped past and the thunderous roar of the never-ending stream of planes arriving at the nearby Sheremetyevo Airport.

The little cafe in the large tent at the day marina did a roaring trade in coffee and soft drinks as the sailors waited for seven hours. The race team were determined to get some racing in and were going to wait it out. However, the wind just was not playing ball.

Finally at 1600, the PRO postponed racing for the day for the yellow fleet. The green fleet, still a race behind, had to wait another hour. The AP came down and everyone assumed that that was that. However nothing replaced it so the fleet rapidly uncovered their boats and headed for the race area. After half an hour, with the race about to start, the wind clocked 40 degrees. Another ten minutes of wind shifts and the race officer, now running out of enough daylight to complete the race cancelled racing for the day.

The planned lay day in Moscow tomorrow is now a distant hope as there are still four races to get in before the finals start on Saturday. With only two races sailed so far and a maximum of three per day to be sailed, it looks like racing will go into Friday.

Each day in Moscow begins with breakfast on board the cruiseship moored alongside the Moscow Sailing School between 0700 and 0900. After that the sailors get ready for the first hydrofoil shuttle at 0900 down to the sailing centre at Mikhalevo Village some 10 km and 30 minutes fast ride away. If you miss this one, the next one is at 1000, although this is cutting it fine if you are sailing in the green fleet, a much longer sail out. The main deck on the cruise ship is always crowded at 0855, but they normally manage to squeeze everyone on. On Tuesday morning there were so many Finn sailors at the front that they had to be asked to move aft so that the bow would lift enough to get the craft on the hydrofoil!

The boat passes through Klyazminskoe lake first, which is quite developed with many small marinas, waterside houses, yacht clubs and restaurants. Then it passes through the long canal with its shores lined with fishermen and hundreds of small makeshift fishing tents and shacks. Occasionally there are elegant buildings, gates and churches - some of them quite impressively extravagant - no doubt country residences for some of the country's rich and famous.

After 20 minutes at high speed the sailors emerge into the Pestovskoe Lake where the racing is held. Mikhalevo Village is on the far shore about 0.5 km up a sheltered channel. The whole lake is surrounded by spruce and birch trees - apart from the dam to the southeast - with only the odd village or building breaking up the shoreline.

One of the sailors here at his first Finn Gold Cup is Lithuainian Giedrius GUZYS. GUZYS has sailed the Laser since 1996 and competed in both the Sydney and Athens Olympics and this event is his first International event in the Finn. He is only sailing here due to the ease of using one of the supplied boats, as he has yet to secure funds to buy his own. Currently in 50th place, he is thoroughly enjoying his first exploits in a Finn.

He says, 'I have no Finn so this is a great chance for me. The class is really friendly compared with the Lasers. Perhaps because the sailors are generally older, they are more gentlemanly and create a very nice atmosphere.'

GUZYS, currently studying vetinarian immunology, continued, 'We have no Finn sailors in Lithuainian sailing internationally, so our national Finn association is really happy to have me here and support me. I hope to get a Finn soon and do the international circuit. I am using some of my Laser techniques, which at first seem strange, but I am gradually getting used to the feel of the boat. I also feel very comfortable here as I am racing against many friends I made in the Laser class who have also moved onto the more technical Finn. Sailors are a special social group, with a similar path of life which gives us all something in common. I think that's important to sailors.'

He concludes, 'The organization here reminds me of the Sydney games with the travelling to the day marina and the official opening ceremony. Everything is also so well organized. I am having a great time.'

Probably the lightest sailor in the fleet is the Russian Timofey ZHBANKOV. At just 76 kg, he is here for the experience, and is finding the transfer from his usual Laser Radial - where his best result was a third at the Europeans - interesting. However he did find his way to lead round the top mark in the only race competed on Tuesday, which should do his confidence no end of good. Before this race is scored - when the green fleet catches up - he is lying in 77th place after the windy first day.

Today, the wind is forecast to be 8-12 mph all day long, so the fleets should catch up with the green fleet sailing three races and yellow fleet sailing two. The groups will then be reallocated for the final qualification race on Friday morning.

Top Ten After Two Races

Pos Nation Helm Fleet R1 R2 Pts
1 GBR Ben AINSLIE Green 2 1 3
2 GRE Emilios PAPATHANASIOU Green 1 3 4
3 SWE Daniel BIRGMARK Yellow 2 3 5
4 DEN Soren HOLM Green 4 4 8
5 NED Peter-Jan POSTMA Yellow 4 5 9
6 NZL Dan SLATER Yellow 10 1 11
7 IRL David BURROWS Yellow 5 7 12
8 CRO Ivan KLAKOVIC GASPIC Yellow 6 6 12
9 USA Darrell PECK Green 6 9 15
10 GBR Edward WRIGHT Yellow 14 2 16
Robert Deaves (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The competitors had a chance to take a break or two yesterday:© Event Media
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