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Finn focus in Hyeres – Gaspic confirms his Gold

by Robert Deaves, on 25 Apr 2009
Good sailing at the 41st Semaine Olympique Française in Hyeres Guillaume Durand

Sixth place was enough for Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) to take the overall win in the Finn class at the 41st Semaine Olympique Française in Hyeres Friday, his first Grade 1 win in the class.

With perfect conditions for the medal race of 15-20 knots and steep waves, the race actually started on time and finally the sailors could stretch their legs and flex their muscles.

Race winner and second overall was Ed Wright (GBR), who seems to be making a habit of winning medal races. After snatching the Rolex Miami OCR from Chris Cook (CAN) by winning the medal race and then also winning the medal race in Palma to grab second place from team mate Andrew Mills (GBR).

He has done the same trick in Hyeres and overturned a 12 point deficit from Gapser Vincec (SLO). Vincec, who has occupied second overall since day two, finished last in the medal race and dropped to the bronze medal position.

Afterwards Wright said, 'The medal race was great fun. We had some wind and waves at last and the conditions were amazing for sailing. It was thoroughly enjoyable.'

'I kept an eye on the guys close in points, sailed fast and luckily managed to win. Just kept out of trouble really. Another medal race win was particularly nice because it's been tricky sailing this week and we finally had a straightforward race. Also medal races are great as they are all so close and fun with good racing. I just hope I can carry on with the trend!'

The winner in Palma, Giles Scott (GBR) also enjoyed the windy conditions today and followed Wright across the finish line, with Michael Maier (CZE) in third and Peer Moberg (NOR) fourth. With his main competition further back, Scott climbed to fourth overall.

Kljakovic Gaspic said, 'I had a nice start in a good position with good speed on the beat. My plan was to focus on Gasper. I was in front of him at the start and didn’t let him out of my sight. Then I tacked on him and after some tacks we were on right layline.'

They rounded the first mark eighth and ninth. 'I was just ahead by a few metres and on the downwind he had one bad gybe and race for me was finished. I just had to cross the finishing line.'

'In this race today I wasn’t thinking of winning. I just had one goal: win the event. And I did it.' The Croatian, who is getting married in the middle of May before heading to the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland, commented on the ISAF Sailing World Cup so far. 'It is good idea but maybe needs some improvements, perhaps invitations for top sailors and money prizes. Also I think we should have the same sailing instructions and same format of racing, number of discards, and so on.'

This was the first Finn medal race for Deniss Karpak (EST), in only his second Finn regatta. He said, 'Now I have more experience, so that is the main thing. I feel more comfortable in the Finn fleet, and know everybody better than in Palma. It’s much easier if you know the guys you sail with.'

Tapio Nirkko (FIN) who placed 5th in the race to end up 10th overall said, 'The racing here in Hyeres this year has been very challenging. The light and super tricky winds set up a different week for us compared to Palma. I think the key to this week was to sail against the fleet mostly and avoid being apart from the top guys. I’ve also had a few problems with the upwind speed so the absolute top was not possible for me to reach on this week.'

Finn - Final Leading positions:

1 CRO 524 KLJAKOVIC G Ivan 31pts
2 GBR 111 WRIGHT Edward 44pts
3 SLO 5 VINCEC Gasper 50pts
4 GBR 41 SCOTT Giles 54pts
5 CRO 25 MISURA Marin 62pts
6 CZE 1 MAIER Michael 68pts
7 RUS 9 SKORNYAKOV Eduard 68pts
8 EST 2 KARPAK Deniss 87pts
9 NOR 1 MOBERG Peer 96pts
10 FIN 218 NIRKKO Tapio 96pts
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