Delta Lloyd Regatta day four has presented many challenges for sailors in the Finn class and after a whirlwind of thrills, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic of Croatia has sailed into the lead.
Not very far behind Gaspic is British sailor Ed Wright. Brendan Casey of Australia whose precision in his racing abilities have moved him up to third place, now has a lead of at least sixteen points over the remaining sailors in the fleet.
After losing Thursday's racing because of some very strong winds battering Medemblik, the sailors were keen to make up lost time on Friday. But the IJsselmeer was still not particularly inviting on Friday, with harsh 20 knot winds, persistent rain and dropping temperatures. It was a day to sail tough and be tough.
Race five started under black flag with the only casualty being third placed overall Vasiliy Zbogar (SLO). The race win went to last year’s winner here Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Brendan Casey(AUS).
Race six brought Dan Slater (NZL) to the front. Apart from two black flag disqualifications, Slater has been putting together a good series. He eventually won the race in front of Casey and Kljakovic Gaspic.
Overnight leader Ed Wright (GBR) scored two fourth places to drop to second overall behind Kljakovic Gaspic, while Casey moves up to third. Casey wasn't the only Australian having a good day. Returning class stalwart Rob McMillan (AUS) picked up a 10, 7 to climb to13th overall and within striking distance of the medal race after the final qualification races on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the fleet, Pitotr Kula (POL) had a consistent day with a 7, 5 to move ahead of main rival Rafal Szukiel(POL) who placed 18, 11. Meanwhile, Gasper Vincec (SLO) is winning the battle of the Slovenians, taking a two point advantage over Zbogar following his earlier black flag.
The top three are starting to extend on the fleet, with Kljakovic Gaspic and Wright the only two to maintain a top 10 score line so far. Casey is one of several trying out a new boat this week. He said, 'I was getting good starts, and the new boat feels very fast. The races were good when they got them going.'
Despite carrying a black flag disqualification, Slater is now up to 15th and could still make the medal race. He said, 'It was a very positive day for me. It was very shifty but I managed to get in phase with the shifts. At the top mark Timo Haggort (NED) was in front but I passed him on the reach and extended my lead on run, and then the race was over.'
About his two black flags, Slater commented, 'They could have gone either way. On one black flag I was the only one caught and it could well have been someone else. But I am sailing fast in my new boat.
Overall leader Kljakovic Gaspic commented on race five. 'I was pretty fast and made a good call on first beat. I rounded top mark first and then extended my lead to finish first. It was very windy, about 17-22 knots and quite steep waves. It wasn't easy.'
'I sailed well, and I am pleased as the conditions were demanding, with a strong and unstable wind. But the race committee kept us waiting a long time, so we are all feeling tired and freezing so it's adding an extra burden.'
On the decision to cancel racing on Thursday, he said, 'Yesterday it was just too windy and risky for equipment as the shallow water is dangerous for breaking your mast.'
The final qualification races will be sailed on Saturday before the medal race for the top 10 on Sunday. The medal race will be tracked live through the event website Results after six races:
1 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 9
2 GBR 11 Edward Wright 12
3 AUS 1 Brendan Casey 18
4 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 34
5 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 36
6 POL 17 Piotr Kula 36
7 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 41
8 CRO 25 Marin Misura 46~
9 CAN5 Greg Douglas 48
10 POL 7 Rafal Szukiel 55 Event website