Bryan Boyd of Annapolis Yacht Club took out the first race of the 2009 Finn Gold Cup in style, leading from the first mark to extend on every leg to claim victory by more than a minute.
The world championship for the Olympic Finn class is currently underway at the scenic Danish town of Vallensbaek, a suburb of Copenhagen. 89 Finn sailors from 31 nations have gathered to challenge for one of yachting’s most famous trophies, which has now been running for some 53 years. Post-Olympic years are traditionally slow, but this year has been an exception with large numbers of new sailors entering the class – including an encouraging number of junior sailors.
Boyd’s main competition in the opening race came from Norway’s Peer Moberg, the 1996 Laser Bronze medalist who converted to the Finn in 2005, but Boyd displayed large amounts of upwind cunning and downwind speed to record a fine victory. Boyd summed up his race win, "I’ve sailed a few of these and believe me it’s good to take one down, especially the first race of the Gold Cup. It really sets the tone for the week so I’m psyched up and it’s certainly going to be a great memory to take home."
The second race wasn’t so great for Boyd with a 30th, ending up 10th overnight. Race two went to New Zealand’s Dan Slater, who won the US National Championship last year at St Francis YC – which is the location of the next Finn Gold Cup in August 2010. Slater just outgunned Sweden’s Daniel Birgmark, the two exchanging the lead several times throughout the final loop of the windward/leeward course.
Consistency was hard to achieve in Monday’s very shifty 6-9 knot winds with many of the favorites picking up at least one high score on the opening day. If the current weather pattern continues it will certainly be a high scoring series. The Danish hosts are putting on a show to be proud of, and even lined up ISAF’s President Goran Pettersen to present the day’s prizes during post-race beer and sandwiches by the harbor.
Racing continues to Saturday when the medal race for the top 10 will decide the final winner. Follow all the action as it happens on the Finn Class Blog and Twitter feed at Live race tracking is also available through the event website.
Robert Deaves, IFA