Champions lead the field at Finn Silver Cup in Koper

The 2015 youth world champion, Ondrej Teply leads the first ever international Finn championship in Slovenia after two races on Monday in a very unstable Bora wind. The 2018 U23 Finn World Championship for the Finn Silver Cup opened to great weather but a very tricky wind that left most of the fleet in trouble at some point. Race winners Oskari Muhonen, the defending champion, and Nils Theuninck, the U23 European champion, are second and third.

After several days of strong north-easterlies, rain and low temperatures, conditions returned to normal for the first day of racing run by JK Jadro Koper. The north-easterly Bora was still in place, but it was very unstable with shifts of 40-50 degrees all day long.

Race 1 got away first time and was decided on the first left shift on the first beat, leaving those on the right struggling to catch up. Cameron Tweedle led the group on the left and just rounded ahead of the current European U23 champion, Nils Theuninck and Jock Calvert. The battled continued on the second upwind with Theuninck getting the better of Tweedle to round ahead and lead down to the finish. But these two separated from the fleet and had a comfortable lead on the chasing pack, which was really tight on the last downwind. Eventually Teply rounded the gate ahead to take third.

The second race took several hours to get away, the first attempt being abandoned half way up the first beat because of another large windshift. It was finally started after a long wait and then two general recalls. The wind was fighting from left to right with huge pressure changes to match and boats played snakes and ladders with the changes.

Defending champion, Oskari Muhonen played the game perfectly though and rounded the top mark from the left, where the entre group had freed off to get down to the upwind mark in another big shift. He was never headed and sailed away for a huge win. Mikhail Iatsun rounded second, but was soon run down by Teply and then by Guillaume Boisard.

Theuninck explained his day, “The first race was quite windy and shifty, and the second was a bit lighter, and in the end it was a long day on the water as the wind was turning a lot, but we had two good races.”

“On the first upwind there was a big left shift so it was just one tack. The second upwind was longer and I tried to play to play the shifts and with my speed that helped, so it was good to take the win on the first one.”

“The second race was not so good. I took too much risk at the start and touched the pin and then was trying to catch up too hard and I got a yellow flag. So it was not so easy to catch up. I was quite happy with my second upwind where I caught up a lot but I need to do better to make the podium at the end of the week.”

“It’s my first time here in Koper and the conditions are for the moment quite good, quite shifty, but for the rest of the week we are expecting more of a sea breeze so probably a bit more stable wind.”

Defending champion, Muhonen, had the opposite fortunes.

“In the first race I had a really bad start, but managed to get a few places back and I think I was eighth so pretty decent finish. At the first mark I was pretty deep so a good comeback. In the second race I had good start, with good speed and got some good shifts and had a good lead, then it was easy to cover everyone else. But it was pretty shifty.”

“At least I had a better start than last year. I think I didn’t have a good regatta in Aarhus [at the world championship] but I am fairly confident here. It’s a good fleet with a lot of good sailors, so a pretty good level. There are a bit fewer boats than last year but the level is pretty good, and it’s going to be a really tough fight for the gold and the medals.”
Guillaume Boissard

Results after 2 races
1 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 5
2 FIN 8 Oskari Muhonen 9
3 SUI 1 Nils Theuninck 10
4 NOR 9 Lars Johan Brodtkorb 11
5 GBR 98 Cameron Tweedle 12
6 FRA 9 Guillaume Boisard 12
7 AUS 32 Jock Calvert 13
8 GER 595 Simon Gorgels 18
9 ESP 26 Joan Cardona 22
10 RUS 1 Mikhail Iatsun 23

Full results here: http://2018.finnsilvercup.org/results/
Photo galleries here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos/

– Robert Deaves

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