Last year's winner, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) will start the medal race in second position. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Thomas Le Breton (FRA) are continuing to improve in the Finn fleet after qualifying in the medal race for the third time this year. The French Finn sailors are collecting the fruits of hard training last winter:
"We did some intense training with Ed Wright (GBR) over the winter in Fort Lauderdale, and it is now paying off!! Tomas and I also train well together and we are both progressing." explains Lobert.
Two races were sailed in the RS:X classes, the light conditions didn't permit a third race. Byron Kokalanis (GRE) continued his good form after winning in Palma. A victory and a fifth increased his lead and a chance to secure Gold in the medal race as he holds the top position. In the Women,s division, Bryony Shaw (GBR) collected near perfect scores with a first and a second. She has secured an18 point lead over Blanca Manchon (ESP). Shaw explains her results this week,
"It's great to be in such a strong position going into the medal race. I knew that I was strong in the light winds so that's been a bonus, but it's also encouraging to know that the work done on technique has really paid off and we've seen the benefits of that this week. It's been a really demanding week - physically and mentally - not just on the water with the light wind we've had, but the delays are pretty draining as well. Our race officer has done a pretty good job with the conditions we've had and the races we've had have been good."
There were mixed results in the Men's 470 Gold fleet with all the top teams collecting bad scores. The French crew of Nicolas Charbonnier and Baptiste Meyer - Dieu maintained a comfortable lead over the Swedish pair of Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Östling. Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) conserved their lead in the Women's fleet. Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol (ITA) climb to second position overall. Last years SOF winners the Danish team of Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer miss out on the medal race in 12th position. The new 470 team of Golden Yngling medallist Sarah Sarah Ayton and new crew Saskia Clarke finished in 14th place.
Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith (GBR) placed second twice and keep their first place overall. Austrian team of Delle Karth and Resch jump to second after a bullet in the final race of the day.
"We saw every end of the fleet, I think, and we saw both side of the racecourse but that's the nature of sailing these boats in those conditions," Brotherton explained. "The only time we lost places today was when we were mincing around in the middle [of the course] so we just decided from then on that we had to back ourselves and got two second places from it."
In the 2.4mR, Damien Seguin (FRA) adds one more win to his score. Thierry Schmitter (NED) is in second position. In the Sonar, Israel team of Cohen, Efrati and Vexler shared the lead with early leading Norwegian team of Hang and Wangsen. The 2.4mR and Sonar will race normal fleet races on the final day.
In the Laser class, only the top three will be able to take Gold or Silver in the medal race. After winning the Trofeo Sofia Mapfre in Palma last month, Javier Hernandez (ESP) took a narrow one point lead over Olympic Gold medallist, Paul Goodison (GBR). Athens Silver medallist Andreas Geritzer (AUT) is in third position. Some class favourites have missed narrowly missed the medal races. Michael Leigh (CAN), Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Mathias del Solar (CHI) have all suffered in the light conditions.
Goodison, competing at his first World Cup event of the year, explained: "This week I feel like I've not been on the right side of anything, but have managed to pull back well, so that's pretty pleasing. "I was 25th at one point in the first race, but pulled back up to seventh on one beat to finish the race in fifth so it's been tricky racing but you just have to hang in there."
Sari Multala (FIN) also suffered in the last race of the day in the Laser Radials, dropping from 1st to 14th position overall. Ausra Mileviciute (LTU) and Spanish Alicia Cebrian and Fatima Reyes hold the top three races before the medal race.
The Norwegian Star sailors Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland took the lead in the seven boat Star fleet.
There were some intense matches in the Women Match Racing competition. After the quarter finals the German team of Silke Hohlbrock defeated Katie Spithill (AUS) 3-0 and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) defeated Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-1.
Silke Hohlbrock: remarked "After loosing the first two races in the first round robin, we didn't lose a single match. Before the regatta we trained in Kiel with lots of wind. We needed some days to adapt to the light conditions. Today we had a good upwind speed. In Palma we beat Tunnicliffe twice but here is a different story. Any small mistake can make the difference. She has a good record here so we will see."
Anna Tunnicliffe: "We were able to race seven really good races today. I really enjoyed racing the semi finals against Claire Leroy. She is a very good sailor. With these light conditions it is very hard to know what would happen until the end. On the last leg against Claire, she had a penalty and we decided to keep it simple and go straight to the finish to secure the race. The organisers have done a fantastic job, especially with the lights conditions and wind coming late."
The Women Match-Racing final and the Medal races will start from 1000 hrs on Friday morning. Follow the medal races tomorrow with live tracking, on the event website.: www.sof.ffvoile.net
For the latest news, photos and videos, as well as Standings, event details and more, visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website at www.sailing.org/worldcup.