Epic conditions at Finn Europeans
Published on March 15th, 2018
Cádiz, Spain (March 15, 2018) – Ben Cornish (GBR) schooled the Finn fleet on Day 4 of the Open and U23 Finn European Championship with two emphatic race wins in conditions that developed during the day from awesome to epic with huge waves, 20+ knots of wind, as well as something almost unseen so far in Cadiz, the much promised Spanish sunshine.
Unfortunately the second race was later abandoned after extensive jury hearings because the first mark was out of position.
At the top of the Open leaderboard, Nicholas Heiner (NED) still leads the Edward Wright (GBR), though now just by two points, while Josh Junior from New Zealand is some way back in third. Defending champion Jonathan Lobert from France holds third place in the European Championship.
Rio 2016 bronze medalist Caleb Paine (USA), by finishing sixth today, takes a step up the ranking from eighth to seventh overall.
Defending U23 champion, Henry Wetherell (GBR) has also extended his lead from Nils Theuninck (SWE) and Ondrej Teply from Czech Repubic.
The fleet was promised great conditions in Cádiz and on Day 4, the weather finally delivered. Following a tough three races the day before, today would prove who was the toughest and fittest on the Bay of Cádiz. By the afternoon the skies had cleared and the waves rolled down the bay to provide exceptional power sailing conditions.
Race 7 got away in 12-15 knots after delay caused by a wind change that heralded a gradual increase in wind though the day. Josip Olujic, from Croatia, held a nice lead at the top from Piotr Kula, of Poland and Egor Terpigorev, of Russia.
A big rain cloud on the second upwind changed the landscape with Cornish playing it the best to emerge in the lead and extending downwind for a nice victory. Olujic held on for second, while Andy Maloney, from New Zealand, also made gains to cross third.
A long delay to the start of Race 8 caused by wind shifts and a dragging pin-end vessel gave the wind time to really pick up and by the time the fleet got away, with more black flagged boats, conditions were about as good as they could get.
Cornish slipped round the top mark ahead while much of the fleet had trouble finding the top mark in the huge waves and had overstood. Cornish sped away downwind and was never challenged to win his second race of the day.
Alessio Spadoni, from Italy and Australian Jake Lilley fought all the way round for second place, with Lilley just getting the inside at the final mark to lead Spadoni across the finish. However, after various protests for redress because of the out of position top mark – about 0.6 miles – the race was abandoned.
Heiner commented, “We had amazing conditions, especially for the second race. Big waves again, building waves, and I think the last race was about 18 to 20 knots, so really good fun. Champagne sailing conditions.
“It was hard to see the shifts and the pressure lines, and the weird rain cloud that didn’t really work as I would have liked but overall another really physical day of sailing and really hard one, but it was amazing to be out there.
“In the first race I had a bit of a miscalculation with the rain cloud. I was on the left side and I thought, happy days, so I hit the rain cloud and waited for the left shift, but that never came and it went right. A lot happened in that race, and fought my way back on the downwind and a 12th is still a counter, so it’s OK.
“In the second I knew I just needed to put down a good result, so I just put the hammer down and it was good fun.”
Kula has not had the best week so far but after a black flag in the first race, now has nothing to show for a long day on the water.
“I was sailing much better than previous days despite the BFD. I managed to come sixth in the first and 12th in second in these crazy conditions, which is not so easy to do.”
On the extreme conditions downwind in the second race, “The thing with the downwind today, especially the last one, you had to choose between whether you wanted to add some power from yourself or just steer the boat, and let it go with the waves as they were huge enough.
“So I was not pushing so much myself, I decided to sail safe and mostly it was paying off. There were moments when the wind was dropping for a brief while and then it may be better to pull the sail one-to-one but changing hands in these conditions is tricky.”
Cornish said, “It was quite a changeable day. The first race was quite weather dominated with some quite big swings in the wind which came with the rain clouds. For the second race the skies opened up and we got the gradient come down, as forecast and quite a steady breeze for the afternoon.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day but in the first race I was in the mix at the top, but certainly not in a position were I though I would win the race, but then up the second beat a massive rain cloud came through and I had learnt from my mistakes from the other day. And made sure I wasn’t on the wrong side of that one and managed to get myself into the lead.
“In the second race, there was a little bit of a navigation error from the fleet, so I led from the top and held on it for the rest of the race.”
On the testing conditions, “It was full on. On the back of yesterday’s three races, where everyone was hanging on by the end just to get round and then straight back into it today. It was just as hard today with the conditions and I think there are a few broken people around here, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
With Race 8 being abandoned, three races are now scheduled for tomorrow.
Heiner and Wright are separated by just two points at the top, with a nice gap of 22 to Josh Junior, from New Zealand, who moved up from fifth overall. From there the points are really close in the top 10, so everything could easily change on the final day of the opening series tomorrow.
Racing continues through March 17.
Day Four Results (Top 10 of 91; 7 races, 1 discard)
1 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 28
2 GBR 11 Edward Wright 30
3 NZL 24 Josh Junior 52
4 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 53
5 SWE 33 Max Salminen 60
6 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 60
7 USA 6 Caleb Paine 65
8 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 65
9 GBR 71 Henry Wetherell 70
10 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 79
The Finn European Championship is being held March 12 to 17 in Cádiz, Spain. Competing from North American are Luke Muller (USA), Caleb Paine (USA), and Tom Ramshaw (CAN) amid the 91-boat fleet.