Storms looming for Finn Gold Cup

Published on May 8th, 2021

Porto, Portugal (May 8, 2021) – New Zealand’s Andy Maloney has grabbed the early lead at the Finn Gold Cup after three races on the opening day of racing. USA’s Luke Muller won the first race, Joan Cardona from Spain won the second race and the European Champion from Hungary, Zsombor Berecz, ran away with the final race.

Three races were scheduled on the opening day in response to the forecast for unsafe conditions for the next two days because of heavy rainfall and a huge ocean swell caused by a passing storm. But today, the fleet of 52 competitors today had wall to wall sunshine and wind ranging from 7-8 knots in the first race up to 12-14 in the next two.

Ioannis Mikakis from Greece was the early leader in Race 1, chased by Nils Theuninck from Switzerland and Muller. Muller had the better second beat to lead down to the finish to take the race win, while Maloney climbed to third. The biggest comeback came from defending champion Josh Junior (NZL), coming from around 40th at the top mark to cross in tenth.

The breeze strengthened for the second race with Oscar flag flying for free pumping. Maloney led at the top, but Cardona rounded second and was soon in the lead to take the win from Maloney and team mate Alejandro Muscat.

After many restarts and false starts the final race started after 17:00, and this time Argentina’s Facundo Olezza led at the top from Berecz, but the 2018 World Champion moved ahead downwind and was never headed, extending to a comfortable lead to take the race win from Cardona and Olezza.

“The first race was about working in your own space and going as fast as you could,” noted Muller. “Thankfully I had a bad start but tacked out quick and was kind in my own space and did just that and stayed on the lifts and went fast in a straight line. Simple as that.

“For sure I think the first race was a bit different from the next two where there was definitely better pressure on the top left side. I was on the port layline in the last race and went from something like 14 to sixth with Joan going as fast as we could. So the conditions were a little weird, but super fun and a long day. I’m sure everyone wants to get home, and get ready for tomorrow.”

It was Muller’s first race win since the Finn Gold Cup in Aarhus in 2018. “That was kind of a crazy day. Hopefully this is a bit more of an example or how I have improved rather than a just a brilliant day. We’ve done a lot of work, sailed a lot of days, and I am confident in my team and myself.”

However, Cardona is rapidly becoming a regular at the front of the fleet. “The first race I didn’t start well but my first upwind was quite OK and I was top 10. I didn’t have a good downwind but came back to finish 11, so it was an OK result. Today was about not making any discards.

“The other races were super good for me I had really good peed, clear on my tactics, and they worked well, so I happy about today.”

Cordona accepts that consistency will be hard. “I think always in the Finn class the competition is super high and at the end the one who wins the championship has a lot of points compared to other classes so it’s all about being consistent in the front and not to have too many discards.”

Earning early discards were title favorites Giles Scott (GBR), Nicholas Heiner (NED), adn Max Salminen (SWE) who are in 14th, 16th, and 17th respectively.

With the forecast of overnight storms, combined with a 2 to 3 metre ocean swell, the start time tomorrow was moved forward to 10:30am in hopes of safe racing before the conditions get too extreme.

Results after three races
1 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 13
2 ESP 26 Joan Cardona 14
3 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 21
4 ESP 7 Alejandro Muscat 23
5 NZL 24 Josh Junior 25
6 USA 91 Luke Muller 27
7 ESP 17 Pablo Guitián Sarria 27
8. SUI 1 Nils Theuninck 31
9. CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 38
10 AUS 1 Jake Lilley 38

A ten race series is planned for May 8-12.

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Source: Robert Deaves

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