The 42 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre began Monday in Palma and challenging conditions tested the Finn fleet.
20-30 knot winds tested the preparedness of the Finn fleet to the full. The wind on day one was averaging 24 knots and gusting 30 before the start of race one, though the forecast said much less.
The offshore wind meant that the waves were not very big, but very short so the boats were travelling faster than the waves This made downwind sailing quite tricky and about 18 sailors never even made it down to the start. Top Russian sailor Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) had problems with halyard lock on his mast and had to stop just after start in both races. Tomas Vika (CZE) managed to break his mast and many sailors just stopped and struggled back to the harbour.
The large entry meant that the fleet was split into two groups – yellow and blue. While yellow got away first time for race one, blue had a general recall. Giles Scott (GBR) led yellow fleet across the finish with 2007 World Champion Rafa Trujillo (ESP) close behind and then the winner in Perth last year, Jonathan Lobert (FRA) behind. In the blue fleet Tapio Nirkko (FIN) crossede ahead of 2010 world champion Ed Wright (GBR) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).
In the second race of the day Scott again won the yellow fleet ahead of Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Trujillo, while Postma went two better to win the blue fleet from Nirkko and Daniel Birgmark (SWE), who had picked up an OCS in race one.
After winning both races Giles Scott (GBR) took the early lead. Other race wins went to Tapio Nirkko (FIN) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).
Scott had been dominant in Miami on the windier days and has opened his Palma challenge in the same fashion with a double win. He said, 'The first race was pretty tight with Rafa and then in the second one I managed to get a bit of a lead out on the second beat and had quite a comfortable win, which was nice. Everyone’s turned up here and I think it’s going to be very competitive especially towards the end of the week when we go into gold fleet.'
Third overall Postma has been training hard over the past few months and his results today of 3, 1 show his new direction. 'Three weeks in February and three weeks in March together with coach Stefan de Vries. We've put considerable effort into training on feeling the boat. There was a big catch up in terms of boat feel, in the light weather range. In addition, we've also done some equipment development and physically we have worked on endurance and resilience.'
'The 85 best Finn sailors in the world are here. And you hear from everyone that they have trained hard and are ready.'
The 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey sits in 19th after a 10, 9 today He said, 'In the second race I was sailing very well and happy with my speed. I was in around third or fourth on the second upwind protecting the left side at the top of the beat. This was a misread on what I thought the wind was going to do. The wind ended up shifting right another 10 degrees and with the racing so close at the top I ended up dropping to 11th. I was able to pull back a few boats before the finish getting ninth.'
Racing continues until Friday, with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday 9th April. Results after 2 races:
1 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 2
2 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 3
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan POSTMA 4
4 ESP 100 Rafael TRUJILLO VILLAR 5
5 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 8
6 FRA 112 Lobert JONATHAN 8
7 AUS 1 Brendan CASEY 9
7 GBR 3 Ben AINSLIE 9
9 TA 117 Giorgio POGGI 12
10 FRA 29 Thomas Le BRETON 13 www.finnclass.org