Jorge Zarif wins medal race and World title at Finn Juniors

The Pata Boats Finn Junior World Championship for the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup
finished with a Brazilian victory, Russian silver and Ukrainian bronze medal
at Balatonfüred Yacht Club. A third race win to Jorge Zarif (BRA) gave him
the gold medal by a significant margin, while Egor Larionov (RUS) and Andriy
Gusenko (UKR) placed sixth and eighth to hang onto to silver and bronze.

Lake Balaton did not show its finest face during the racing. Only six of
the ten scheduled races were completed. The wind was quite capricious and
incalculable at times, but the competitors were happy with the championship,
which attracted the most participants ever. In addition, the wind finally
showed how strong it can be, blowing the Hungarian flag from the north
during the final ceremony.

On the last day of the championship, the top ten first completed the double
points, non-discard medal race. The young sailors had to concentrate
intensely, since the final positions were still wide open. The medal race
started in a gentle 6 knot breeze. Julian Massler (GER) was an early starter
and had to restart while Tomas Vika (CZE) received a 720 degree penalty for
pumping.

With the wind coming from the right throughout the race, Filippo Baldassari
(ITA) and Róbert Bakóczy (HUN) sailed on the right side of the track, while
Zarif chose the left. The wind continuously turned into the south-east and
the Brazilian managed to cross the Hungarian and the Italian boats and led
round the first mark. He was followed by Baldassari, Bakóczy and Vika, who
had recovered well with good boat speed. Thanks to this, by the end of the
first downwind he moved up to third.

On the second lap the wind came more and more from the south-east, with
Bakóczy sailing better tactically to take back third place from Vika. Zarif
and Baldassari sailed confidently in first and second and they finished in
this order. Bakóczy finished third. This gave Zarif the series by 16 points.

The final race for the rest began in an easterly 8 knots. The winner of the
race was Artur Ponieczynski (POL), who was first in the practice race too.
Second was Ian Cook (USA) and third was Christoph Froh (GER).

The Championship ended with a great atmosphere at the medal ceremony, where
all Finn sailors came to celebrate the winners. The main sponsor,
constructor of Hungarian Pata Finn boats personally handed over to each
competitor a photo selection supplemented with a personal photo taken of
each sailor during the racing.

The new Finn Junior World Champion, 16 year old Jorge Zarif movingly sang
his National Anthem on the stage in the hangar of Balatonfüred Yacht Club
with his prize behind him, a new Pata Finn boat, which he can use for a
whole year. Larionov did not seem to be disappointed in second place, while
Gusenko (UKR) happily received his bronze medal and his Pata carbon rudder,
the prize for all first three sailors.

The best Hungarian Róbert Bakóczy in 9th position overall received a special
prize from Balatonfüred city, a precious crystal vase.

World Champion Zarif (BRA) spoke with cheerful nostalgia: “I have sailed
since I was seven years old. First, I began with an Optimist, but I did not
succeed very much. My father said it was not important which class I sailed,
just to learn how to handle a boat and that results would come only at the
age of 13-14. In the Laser I was much more successful, and I won the junior
Brazil championship.”

“But the real success came with the Finn class. Apart from the Brazilian
championship, I won the South-American Championship too. I would like to be
a professional sailor. Naturally, I am very happy to win the world
championship. Maybe you did not notice, but I was very nervous before the
medal race, because the wind blew chaotically shifting at least 30 degrees.
But after the start I calmed down and I could race well.”

It was great to see how enthusiastic the young sailors are, how much they
can be happy for the winners and to celebrate together. And it was very
edifying how much home fleet have developed in the class.

Next year the Finn Junior World Championship is scheduled to take place in
San Francisco just before the senior's Finn Gold Cup. Zarif has five years
left as a junior and it may not be long before he is making his mark in the
senior fleet as well, just like his father before him.

Five years after the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup was presented to the
International Finn Association by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the
trophy is heading back to Brazil in the hands of young Jorge Zarif.

Text and photos: Julia David

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