Power sailors move up as big breeze arrives at Finn Europeans in Cádiz

The breeze finally arrived on the third day of the Open and U23 Finn European Championships in Cádiz, with three testing races in winds building from 15 to 22 knots during the day. Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands, extends his lead to nine points from Ed Wright, of Britain. However, Swedish World Champion, Max Salminen, had the best day of anyone and moved up to third overall.

For the U23 title, the defending champion, Briton, Henry Wetherell took pole position from Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic, and Nils Theuninck, from Switzerland. Wetherell is the only one that remains inside the top 10, in ninth place after a tough day on the Bay of Cádiz, however Teply and Theuninck are not far behind in 11th and 12th overall.

Nicholas Heiner celebrates winning the first race on Wednesday
Highlights from Day 3

With an early start time to get racing finished before another forecast storm came in, and three tough races in strong winds to get back on schedule, it was a tough day for sailors and race officials alike. The severe chop and large swell made for a physically challenging day, but with some beautiful free pumping offwind legs that allowed these powerful sailors to really push themselves and the fantastic Finn to the limits.

Heiner dominated the first race after rounding the top mark in the lead. Australian, Jake Lilley, was second round, but picked up the first of two black flags. Tom Ramshaw, from Canada, had some great downwinds to finish second while Jorge Zarif, from Brazil, pulled through to cross in third.

The wind increased slightly for Race 5 of the championship with Lobert leading almost from start to finish. Alican Kaynar, from Turkey, led at the top but dropped behind Lobert downwind, while Nils Theuninck, sailed a great race to cross in third.

With the breeze now topping out with 24 knot gusts, Lilley had something to prove and was first out of the blocks in Race 6 to just lead round the top from Teply and Caleb Paine, from the USA. Lilley sailed away for the win, while Salminen after passing early front markers Heiner and, Ben Cornish, from Britain.

Max Salminen

Lilley was of the fastest upwind in the big breeze, but two black flags will cost him dearly. However he was happy to come back to win the third race of the day.

For me the regatta hasn’t been going too well so far; a pretty steep learning curve and today two black flags didn’t help things. I guess you could say I was pretty motivated in the last race to make amends, and managed to come away with the win and it would have been nice to race in the first two races as I quite like the wind after a good Aussie summer of training in a lot of breeze. Anyway, that’s how it goes and I’m learning heaps.”
The defending champion, Lobert, is now up to fourth overall. “We had some good breeze out there with big waves; very tough. In the first race I was not too bad at the top mark, but I didn’t make it and had to loop round, so I lot a lot and had to fight to come back.”

“In the second race I was pushing to get the pin, and I won the start and I was leading from the beginning to the end. Then in the third race everyone started to be a little bit tired. We could see the guys going up and down and in the end I managed to be top 10, which is not too bad. So I am really happy with the day.”

Josh Junior is up to fifth overall

Paine said, “It’s definitely been challenging sailing here. We have had a variety of conditions here with today being super windy. Definitely tested me coming off the back of a cold and new equipment here. It’s my first big event back since Miami and doing the best I can, trying to hang in and kind of see where I stack up and what we need to work on.”

On the level in the fleet, “There are some really great sailors here. For instance, in my second race yesterday I got a 61st, which was pretty bad. Just goes to show how great the fleet is here. Big starting line, big fleet, long courses, there’s lots to play for here.”

So at the half way stage, the championship is back on schedule and Henier has a useful lead, but along with Wright, has an inconvenient score from the second race of Wednesday when they both got stuck on the wrong side. Salminen has done really well to creep back to the top, and is now within striking distance.

The forecast for the next days is a mixture of light and windy weather. Racing continues Thursday at 11.00 with four more races before Saturday’s final race and medal race.
Results after six races:
1  NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 16
2  GBR 11 Edward Wright 25
3  SWE 33 Max Salminen 37
4  FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 38
5  NZL 24 Josh Junior 48
6  BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 53
7  GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 55
8  USA 6 Caleb Paine 59
9  GBR 71 Henry Wetherell 59
10  EST 2 Deniss Karpak 64
Full results here.                         

– Robert Deaves

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