Tokyo 2020: Defending Finn Champion Giles Scott bounces back

Giles Scott, the British defending Olympic champion from Britain, won both races on the second day of competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, following a lacklustre performance on the opening day left him in ninth place.

The top three overall remain the same, with Turkey’s Alican Kaynar still leading from Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz and Spain’s Joan Cardona.

Cardona had the best day out of the top three with a 5,3, while Kaynar struggled with a 6, 13 and Berecz was just satisfied with a 9,4. However, Scott’s two race wins moves him up to fourth, and just three points off the top spot.

The second day of the Finn competition delivered superb conditions on Sagami Bay and two spectacular races for the Finn fleet on the offshore Zushi course area. The forecast delivered as expected with 15-18 knots onshore wind and generally sunny conditions, and not a typhoon in sight.

With a building wind during the day and a growing sea state, the fleet had two fantastic races. The left side proved favoured most of the day and those who could dominate their lanes to the left generally came out ahead.

In Race 3, Norway’s Anders Pedersen led the group from the left round the top mark from Cardona and USA’s Luke Muller. Pedersen built a useful gap on the first downwind and maintained his lead up the second beat, though Scott had closed the gap to just 6 seconds, after rounding the first mark in seventh.

Anders Pedersen, NOR, leads Race 3
Anders Pedersen, NOR, leads Race 3.

Scott’s downwind technique was key and he took the lead as the boats came together at the bottom gate to lead into the finish. Pedersen crossed second, with 2019 World Champion, Josh Junior, from New Zealand, finding some form to cross in third.

Race 4 was again all about the left.

Scott explained, “It was clear early on that it was left favoured and I was slightly punched out on starboard and able to cross the fleet to the right on the layline with other guys stacked above me and slightly overstanding, which pushed me out the front even more. That was quite nice.”

Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) sits in 10th place overall.

He rounded ahead of Cardona and Greece’s Ioannis Mitakis. Scott was dominant though and never looked like relinquishing the lead, extending away for a comfortable win. Behind him The Netherland’s Nicholas Heiner moved from fifth to second on the first downwind and stayed there for the remaining legs, while Cardona just held off a challenge from Berecz to cross in third.

Nicholas Heiner (NED) is in sixth place overall.

Sweden’s Max Salminen posted a 7, 8 to end the day in 11th overall.

Salminensaid, “Today went a bit better, but it’s going to be a long regatta – a marathon. It’s just about keeping it going are getting good results even though you are tired with the heat. I think it’s all going to accumulate, so just about hanging in there.

“I was just outside the top five in both races, so it was a good step up from yesterday. I needed that and I had some good downwinds as well. 

“But it was really good sailing today, and a lot of fun downwind, but also painful.”
Kaynar said, “The second race was quite tough, but the first race was good for me. I now have a big score from the second race so this could be a bit costly for me in the next days, so I have to be careful.”

Alican Kaynar (TUR) currently sits in first place overall.

On what he expects for the coming days, “The forecast is not yet clear. We have another front coming next week, so we have to see, but for now we have to focus on the next days.”
Though he had a slightly better day, Heiner slips one place to sixth.

“It was a better day but not much better. Second race was better though. I knew I needed to turn it on. The first race was pretty average again. I was lacking some upwind speed to keep up with the heavy guys, but luckily I had some good downwind speed, so good to switch it on.

“So far I have had half bad races and half good races. It’s nothing much really, it’s a small fleet and it’s very tight.”

“To be honest I had a little talk with myself after the first race and it paid off.”

Scott was relieved he had put Tuesday behind him. After opening with two ninth places he admitted to being slightly worried. “I mean it was a shaky start, but I have a bit of a history of shaky starts at events like this, I guess, so I hope I can continue more like today.

“It was a lot better than yesterday, with a big change in the conditions. We had 15 knots in the first race and a bit more in the second. So it was nice to stretch the legs and do away with what was a shaky start yesterday with two really solid results, which was just what I needed.”

Downwind, “The pressure was super streaky but there were some really nice waves to surf, and getting through big waves you can extend away but that said, if you get it wrong its frustrating and it’s so hot out there you can overdo it and not have enough left at the bottom mark to go upwind. So there’s a little bit of energy maintenance needed in this heat.”

Like all the Finn sailors here he knows it is his last chance for an Olympic medal with the Finn not being included in the Paris 2024 programme.

“It’s incredibly sad it’s the last Finn medal in the Olympics, but personally what an opportunity to try and close it out. There are lot of us that are after the same thing there so whoever puts it together this week is going to be the deserving winner of that.”

On Thursday the Finns move to the further back to the inshore Enoshima course area, with two more races starting from 14.30 local time. 

Full results can be found here:

– Robert Deaves

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