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Sail-World.com : Qingdao Finn Race One and Two

Qingdao Finn Race One and Two

'Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Emilios Papathaasiou (GRE) scooped a bullet in the opening race of the Finn series.'    Guy Nowell ©    Click Here to view large photo

He might be ranked just 28th in the World on the ISAF Rankings, but reigning World Champion Ben Ainslie looked like he was going to put his stamp on the 2008 Olympic Finn class with an impressive win in the first race of the Qingdao regatta. However, today’s first race was not the stuff of fairy tales.

There was sunshine and light haze as the 2008 Beijing Finn fleet assembled on course A. The wind was a three to four knots easterly, with a course heading of 115 degrees, but an AP flag went up at 1300. There was yet another AP just as the fleet was lining up. Third time lucky, the course heading was still 115 but perhaps with a little more breeze.

Ainslie started seventh or eight from the pin and cleared to leeward. Conditions were soft in the middle which initially cost the World Champion, but he found more pressure on the right, crossing behind Haris Papadopoulos (CYP).

At the top mark, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) led from Giorgio Poggi, (ITA), then Rafael Szukiel (POL). Followed by Eduard Skornyakov (RUS), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Gasper Vincec (SLO), Daniiel Birgmark (SWE) and Papadopoulos (CYP). Zach Railey (USA) was 14th, followed by Australian Anthony Nossiter in 15th ahead of Dan Slater (NZL).

It was soft down the run, Hoegh-Christensen stayed on the left of course. Poggi lead Ainslie.

It seemed like a race winning run from Ainslie, who rounded a second ahead of Ivan Klakovic-Gaspic (CRO,) with Guillame Florent (FRA) then Emilos Papadopoulos (GRE). Railey (USA) was still back amongst the pack at 14th and Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) had fallen back to 18th place.

At the top mark for the second time, GBR led Michael Maier (CZE) who had climbed from ninth place. In third place was France, then Croatia, Sweden and Greece. Australia’s Anthony Nossiter climbed to seventh place. Zac Railey was 15th.

The last run was a nail biting drift, Ainslie had attempted to cover the fleet but the Greek sailor found puffs on the edge of the course, to sneak into the lead and amazingly Railey (USA) shot into second place, coming from the other edge.

Rafael Szukiel (POL) finished third. Fourth overall was Indian army sailor Nachhatar Johal with his best ever Finn race result.

Ainslie had attempted to cover the fleet behind him, but snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; he finished 10th, 61 seconds behind the winner and only just ahead of Nossiter, with New Zealand’s Dan Slater a disappointing 18th.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Ben Ainslie in the opening race of the Olympic regatta. -  Guy Nowell ©?nid=47452   Click Here to view large photo


Results Race One - Finn

1. GRE Emilos Papathanasiou
2. USA Zach Railey
3. POL Rafal Szkiel
4. IND Nachhater Singh
5. FRA Florent Guillaume
6. CRO Ivan Gaspic

However in Race 2, Ainslie proved you can never hold a champion down.

He recovered from his earlier forgettable race and went on to win Race 2 from Rafal Szukiel (POL), with Canadian Christopher Cook finishing third. Rafa Truijillio Villar (ESP) was fourth with Zach Railey (USA) fifth. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) finished sixth.

Overall Rafal Szukiel (POL) leads, with Zach Railey (USA) second and Ben Ainslie (GBR) third. Christopher Cook (CAN) is fourth.

Zach Railey commented dockside ' I was well back at the second top mark, took a risk going away from the fleet, found a nice little puff, a little bit of luck on that one, but I will take it. Then in the second race I was on the second row and three or four boats had an early start and had to go round, so I had clear air. Overall its definitely nice to have a good start.'

Ben Ainslie was obviously relieved after the second race. He was reminded today this was his best ever start to an Olympic campaign. He said 'I am a little bit relieved after the second race, the first race was pretty disappointing. You just have to fight back.'

Results after Day One
1 POL
Rafal Szukiel
3 2 5
2 USA
Zach Railey
2 5 7
3 GBR
Ben Ainslie
10 1 11
4 CAN
Chris Cook
8 3 11
5 FRA
Guillaume Florent
5 8 13
6 ESP
Rafa Trujillo Villar
12 4 16
7 CRO
Ivan Kljakovic-Gaspic
7 10 17
8 SLO
Gasper Vincec
9 11 20
9 DEN
Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
16 6 22
10 BRA
Eduardo Couto
6 16 22
11 ITA
Giorgio Poggi
17 7 24
12 FIN
Tapio Nirkko
18 9 27
13 GRE
Emilios Papathansious
1 27 28
14 IND
Nachhatar Singh Johal Johal
4 24 28
15 CZE
Michael Maier
15 14 29
16 CYP
Haris Papadopoulos
13 18 31
17 SWE
Daniel Birgmark
14 17 31
18 AUS
Anthony Nossiter
11 22 33
19 NED
Pieter-Jan Postma
19 15 34
20 IRL
Tim Goodbody
22 13 35
21 VEN
Johnny Bilbao
26 12 38
22 NZL
Dan Slater
21 19 40
23 TUR
Ali Kemal Tufekci
20 21 41
24 RUS
Eduard Skornyakov
24 20 44
25 CHN
Peng Zhang
25 23 48




by Rob Kothe - Sail-World.com

  

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7:09 AM Sat 9 Aug 2008 GMT






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