Finn World Masters: French sailor leads after Finntastic opening day

Finn racing doesn’t get much better than the opening day of the 2021 Finn World Masters on Mar Menor, in Murcia, Spain.

Fleet sailing upwind
The wind reached up to 18 knots of day one of competition. Pic – Robert Deaves

With 12-18 knots of wind and in 25 degrees, two races were sailed in near perfect conditions. France’s Valerian Lebrun took both race wins to take the early lead from Filipe Silva, from Portugal, and Anthony Nossiter, from Australia. 108 Finn Masters from 20 countries are taking part in the 50th Finn World Masters.

Valerian Lebrun sailing upwind
Valerian Lebrun has a 3-point lead over second place. Pic – Robert Deaves

Reading the wind today was the key with frequent shifts and lots of pressure changes. Karel von Hellemond, from The Netherlands led at the top in Race 1, but by the gate Paul McKenzie, from Australia, had taken the lead. He maintained that lead at the second top mark but both Silva and Lebrun were close behind.

Paul McKenzie sailing towards a marker
Australia’s Paul McKenzie was black flagged in the second race. Pic – Robert Deaves

Lebrun has just come from two years of training for Olympic selection and was clearly the best downwind, moving ahead of McKenzie on the final leg.

Extending to the finish, he took the win, with McKenzie just holding off Silva to take second. After just two hours sleep following an overnight drive from the Sail GP in Cadiz, Nossiter crossed in fourth place.

Filipe Silva sailing downwind
Portugal’s Filipe Silva is coming second overall. Pic – Robert Deaves

Enthusiastic starting in the second race left quite a few boats with a black flag disqualification, including a few of the top boats, elevating many of the top 20 higher than they expected.

Bettering his first race performance, Lebrun put on a master class to lead all the way for a large win. Behind him places were changing but in a slightly reduced breeze though still with a tricky chop, Silva came through for second with Nossiter in third.

Anthony Nossiter looking down at the camera in the water, pointing
Australia’s Anthony Nossiter is placed third overall. Pic – Robert Deaves

Extending away for a big win, Lebrun stamped his authority on the fleet in the biggest breeze expected this week. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain this level during the rest of the week when lighter winds are forecast.

Exhausted sailors reached the shore, just 15 minutes from the race area, to be greeted by a wonderful paella served in the boat park, with, you guessed it, more free beer. The Finn Masters are being well and truly spoiled by the locals and their fantastic hospitality.

Racing continues until Friday with six more races scheduled. Two more races are scheduled for Tuesday.

Results after 2 races
1 FRA 111 Valerian Lebrun 2
2 POR 21 Filipe Silva 5
3 AUS 221 Anthony Nossiter 7
4 NED 41 Karel Van Hellemond 10
5 ESP 7 David Terol 11
6 NED 148 Peter Peet 15
7 SUI 7 Christoph Burger 19
8 GBR 74 Lawrence Crispin 24
9 NZL 15 Greg Wilcox 26
10 NED 29 Bas De Waal 29

Full results here:

By Robert Deaves

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