Lake Balaton did not show its finest face during the racing. Only six of the ten scheduled races were completed. The wind was quite capricious and incalculable at times, but the competitors were happy with the championship, which attracted the most participants ever. In addition, the wind finally showed how strong it can be, blowing the Hungarian flag from the north during the final ceremony.
On the last day of the championship, the top ten first completed the double points, non-discard medal race. The young sailors had to concentrate intensely, since the final positions were still wide open. The Medal Race started in a gentle 6 knot breeze. Julian MASSLER (GER) was an early starter and had to restart while Tomas VIKA (CZE) received a 720 degree penalty for pumping.
With the wind coming from the right throughout the race, Filippo BALDASSARI (ITA) and Robert BAKOCZY (HUN) sailed on the right side of the track, while ZARIF chose the left. The wind continuously turned into the south-east and the Brazilian managed to cross the Hungarian and the Italian boats and led round the first mark. He was followed by BALDASSARI, BAKÓCZY and VIKA, who had recovered well with good boat speed. Thanks to this, by the end of the first downwind he moved up to third.
On the second lap the wind came more and more from the south-east, with BAKÓCZY sailing better tactically to take back third place from VIKA. ZARIF and BALDASSARI sailed confidently in first and second and they finished in this order. BAKÓCZY finished third. This gave ZARIF the series by 16 points.
The final race for the rest began in an easterly 8 knots. The winner of the race was Artur PONIECZYNSKI (POL), who was first in the practice race too. Second was Ian COOK (USA) and third was Christoph FROH (GER).
The Championship ended with a great atmosphere at the medal ceremony, where all Finn sailors came to celebrate the winners. The main sponsor, constructor of Hungarian Pata Finn boats personally handed over to each competitor a photo selection supplemented with a personal photo taken of each sailor during the racing.
The new Finn Junior World Champion, 16 year old ZARIF movingly sang his national anthem on the stage in the hangar of Balatonfüred Yacht Club with his prize behind him, a new Pata Finn boat, which he can use for a whole year. LARIONOV did not seem to be disappointed in second place, while GUSENKO happily received his bronze medal and his Pata carbon rudder, the prize for all first three sailors.
The best Hungarian Robert BAKOCZY in ninth position overall received a special prize from Balatonfüred city, a precious crystal vase.
World Champion ZARIF spoke with cheerful nostalgia: "I have sailed since I was seven years old. First, I began with an Optimist, but I did not succeed very much. My father said it was not important which class I sailed, just to learn how to handle a boat and that results would come only at the age of 13-14. In the Laser I was much more successful, and I won the junior Brazil championship."
"But the real success came with the Finn class. Apart from the Brazilian championship, I won the South American Championship too. I would like to be a professional sailor. Naturally, I am very happy to win the world championship. Maybe you did not notice, but I was very nervous before the Medal Race, because the wind blew chaotically shifting at least 30 degrees. But after the start I calmed down and I could race well."
It was great to see how enthusiastic the young sailors are, how much they can be happy for the winners and to celebrate together. And it was very edifying how much home fleet have developed in the class.
Next year the Finn Junior World Championship is scheduled to take place in San Francisco just before the senior's Finn Gold Cup. ZARIF has five years left as a junior and it may not be long before he is making his mark in the senior fleet as well, just like his father before him.
Five years after the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup was presented to the International Finn Association by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the trophy is heading back to Brazil in the hands of young Jorge ZARIF.
Results - click here