Ed Wright (GBR) has done it again. At each and every medal race in the past four regattas of the ISAF Sailing World Cup he has pulled something extra out of the bag to give himself the best possible chance.
He didn't win the medal race, today Sunday at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Netherlands, but a second place was enough to move ahead of Giles Scott (GBR) and win the regatta in the most thrilling way.
Scott, who has led this series from the very first race looked to have it sewn up after a good start and leading Wright until the final upwind leg when it all came undone. At the first mark, Scott was in third and Wright was near the back. It looked like it was job done.
But the three laps of the course allowed plenty of time for Wright to catch up and he gradually nibbled away at the boats ahead to round the second downwind gate level with Scott. Then they split tacks for a while with Wright going left and Scott going right. Wright crossed ahead near the final upwind mark and then moved up to second on the final downwind to take the regatta by 11 points.
Scott faded away on the final downwind to end up ninth in the race and only hung onto second overall by two points. It was not the finale to a great week for him that everyone was expecting. Perhaps in the end Wright's experience in these situations was the deciding factor.
The race winner was the 2007 world champion Rafael Trujillo (ESP). Getting the best start and favouring the left hand side he never looked in danger and by the final downwind had extended his lead to 45 seconds. Third paced Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) occupied second place for most of the race, just losing out to Wright on the final downwind, but it was enough for the Croatian to claim third place overall.
Trujillo's win moved him up two places to fourth, while Zach Railey (USA) hung onto fifth place overall after a steady fourth place in the race.
Railey said, 'It was lots of fun today and also tense because the points were so close between third and ninth overall. The wind was very patchy with big differences in pressure so finding that was important. Rafa got in front and stayed there the whole race while everyone else was packed very tight and the last downwind was where the final spots were decided. Overall I am pretty happy with fifth, and other than two races I felt like I made good decisions and am very happy to be racing again.'
Meanwhile, in the final race for the best of the rest, Piotr Kula (POL) won from Bryan Boyd (USA) and Florian Raudaschl (AUT). A 13th place for Mark Andrews (GBR) though was enough to hang onto 11th overall.
At the Rolex Miami OCR Ed Wright won the medal race to overtake Chris Cook (CAN) who had led for most of the series. In Palma, he won again to take second from Andrew Mills (GBR), and in Hyeres he won a third medal race to snatch second place from Gasper Vincec (SLO). After two average opening races earlier this week, he rallied and came back strongly to take the regatta at the last possible moment. Wright is rapidly becoming the man to beat in the ever competitive Finn fleet.
The class reassembles for Kiel Week at the end of June before heading for Copenhagen for the world championships in early July. It is going to be fascinating to watch. Finn - The final top 10 in Medemblik looks like this:
1 GBR 111 Edward Wright 25
2 GBR 41 Giles Scott 36
3 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 38
4 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 42
5 USA 4 Zach Railey 45
6 SWE 11 Daniel Birgmark 45
7 NED 842 Pieter Jan Postma 57
8 GBR 634 Andrew Mills 60
9 NZL 1 Dan Slater 63
10 FIN 218 Tapio Nirkko 73
Class website: www.finnclass.org
Event website, photos and full results: www.deltalloydregatta.org