The 2009 Finn Gold Cup attracted 89 entries from 31 countries as far afield from the host nation of Denmark, as Australia and New Zealand, the USA and India, along with Russia and of course nations throughout Europe and the Baltic. Among the competitors were many seasoned Olympians who have been in the Finn for years.
A poll among the competitors has given the 2009 Finn Gold Cup the thumbs up for nearing that elusive ‘perfect regatta' status, with an attractive venue, a challenging mix of conditions, no delays in the schedule, top race management plus welcome support and good facilities ashore at Copenhagen's Vallensbæk Sailing Club.
Despite a turbulent week that saw him lead the regatta into the final day to lose ultimately by just one point to Denmark's own golden boy, Jonas Høgh-Christensen, American Zach Railey was still upbeat about the venue. “It has been really great. Denmark has a long history with the Finn Gold Cup. It was great that we were able to come back here for it this year. The race committee has been fantastic given the difficult conditions that they have had with the winds shifting back and forth. The hospitality here at Vallensbæk Sailing Club is unbelievable. It is one of the best regattas off the water. You come in and there's food, there's entertainment, there's free beer…”
Spain's Rafa Trujillo, who has one of the longest track records in the class including a silver medal at the Athens Olympics and a Finn Gold Cup win in 2007, was still complaining after today's medal race in which he finished eighth, leaving him seventh overall, about his failing to get to grips with the shifts up the beat throughout this week. Otherwise he has been impressed with the event. “It is really fantastic. The people are friendly and the race courses are really good and we have nice conditions on the water. We have been on time. We haven't missed any races. It has been a great championship. It has had everything.”
For New Zealander Dan Slater, this was his fifth Finn Gold Cup, after more than a decade of Olympic campaigning. “The organisation has been pretty awesome and just the whole atmosphere they set up every afternoon… The racing has certainly been shifty and we've had our ups and downs, but it has all been well done and on time and there's never been any problems with marks not being laid. And you come ashore and there are people with your trolleys and it is just really well organised. I think out of all the Gold Cups, this has been one of the best I've done. With the tracking, here for every race – I don't think any class has done that. They have done a great job.”
After four weeks training and competing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta and Kielerwoche before this, Slater is still contemplating whether or not he will undertake another Finn campaign for London 2012.
For top Italian at the Finn Gold Cup, Giorgio Poggi, who came 11th in Beijing last year, this regatta was his first back in the class after a horrendous biking injury earlier this summer. On the windy days this week he says he struggled from a lack of fitness. “Everything is really nice: Really good organisation and we had also good conditions. We make 10 races and it is perfect. When we come back always there is food and it is really really good here. For me the sailing was not so perfect on this windy day. It was the first regatta for me this year, because I was injured in Palma and I broke both arms biking on 21 May. So I am happy to be here. When it was light I had good races. I was 23 but for me, it is okay.”
But perhaps the greatest endorsement came from one of the least expected sources. Nachhatar Singh Johal is the sole Indian entry at the Finn Gold Cup and is ranked 34th in the ISAF class standings. He is a 29 year old officer in the Indian Army, which is funding his campaign for London 2012. So far this year he has competed at Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland and Kieler Woche. This is Johal's third Finn Gold Cup and he says it is the best Olympic class regatta he has been to.
“It has been fantastic. I have done about 30 international events, but this has been by far the most well organised regatta I have seen in my last six years of international sailing. There are really good arrangements. Someone has made the effort to put it on, with the opening and the mid-week party, etc. Number one is the Olympics. Second is this…”
Denmark's Year of Sport, of which the 2009 Finn Gold Cup is a featured event, continues directly with the Laser Radial European championship to the north of Copenhagen that had their first day of racing today.
Final top 10
1. Jonas Hogh-Christensen, DEN, 65 points
2. Zach Railey, USA, 66
3. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 77
4. Giles Scott, GBR, 81
5. Daniel Birgmark, SWE, 95
6. Edward Wright, GBR, 101
7. Dan Slater, NZL, 103
8. Rafael Trujillo, ESP, 105
9. Marin Misura, CRO, 106
10. Andrew Mills, GBR, 111