With eight races sailed at the Finn Gold Cup in San Francisco, Ed Wright from Great Britain and Rafa Trujillo from Spain have won six between them. If the others are not careful, this regatta could turn into a two horse race.
Trujillo (left) opened with a 1-2. Then Wright replied with a 1-1-1 to take the overall lead, while Trujillo slipped up with a 35th. Then a 1-2 for Trujillo on Thursday to Wright’s 2-5 leaves Wright with a 10 point margin going into Friday’s final fleet races before Saturday’s double points non-discardable medal race.
Wright has been hunting for the Finn world title for several years. He commented on Thursday’s races, “We had some really difficult conditions out there. Very, very gusty and shifty and going from 8-18 knots and all over the place. To come out with a second and fifth I am very happy. The only thing was Rafa had a better day with a 1,3. so gained points on me. Also Giles is still knocking them in. It’s all on Friday. The fog rolled in and it seemed pretty cold in the city tonight so I am hoping we can finally get that 25 knots plus that San Francisco has been threatening to deliver for the last year.”
The defending champion Jonas Høgh Christensen, who hasn’t sailed all year finally found the front on Thursday, but missed a race victory by two boatlengths as Daniel Birgmark from Sweden came blasting through on the final reach to beat the Dane on the line. Høgh Christensen inexplicably broke a finger in training and has been slightly hampered around the boat.
“Coming to San Francisco with the world title is tough. I have been out of the boat for a year and I’ve lost a lot in a year. I have gained a lot of weight but have lost a lot of technique. I was going all right the first day but the next few days I didn’t had any luck and I have this broken finger.” He is currently in 15th overall and 23 points off the medal race, not an insurmountable margin in an 87 boat fleet.
Although he has no definite plans to return to full time sailing he said, “I still love sailing the Finn. It’s a great boat and probably the best boat I have ever sailed. It’s fun, it’s hard, super technical, very tactical. You have to be a compete sailor to do well in the Finn that’s why its the perfect boat for being an Olympic class. These guys here are the strongest in the world. They are big, strong guys. It’s really athletic and I think it’s one of the best boats ever.”
The closest sailor to upset Wright or Trujillo could be Giles Scott (pictured right), also from Great Britain (and one of four Brits in the top 10). He is 17 points behind Wright, but with Wright placing 18th in race one, it will only take one slip up for Scott to be right back in the running.
“My objective here is the same as most championships – I am going to try and win. At the moment I am kind of hanging on in there, so I hope to be in as good position going into the medal race.” All of the British team here have been putting in some very good results. Scott explained, “We all came out to San Francisco for about two weeks about a month ago so we did a lot of training here. Although back then it was a bit windier than it is now, so we all have our hiking legs now.”
Trujillo won the world title in 2007 and an Olympic silver medal in 2004. Wright won the Europeans in 2006 and may have won an Olympic medal in 2008, but for fellow countryman Ben Ainslie winning the British place. Trujillo has had an up and down season, while Wright has had an outstanding season. Which one is hungry enough to take the 2010 world title on Saturday?
Watch it live on www.finngoldcup.com. Story and photos thanks to Robert Deaves.