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Finn Gold Cup Balaton


IFA Reports

2017 Finn World Champion Max Salminen

Max Salminen secures Opel Finn Gold Cup after intense Balaton Medal Race

Max Salminen, from Sweden, has secured his first Finn world title as the 2017 Opel Finn Gold Cup closes at Balatonföldvár with an extremely close and intense medal race in light winds. Jonathan Lobert, from France took the silver while Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands, took bronze after leading the race from start to finish.

With a reasonable wind forecast it was with some dismay that the sailors arrived at Spartacus SC to a windless lake and a postponement. However it wasn’t long before an easterly wind was in place and the top 10 were sent out for the medal race.

The title was down to five sailors, with Salminen, Wright and Lobert with the best chances, and Heiner and Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary with outside chances.
Max Salminen
L-R: Jonathan Lobert, Max Salminen, Nicholas Heiner
Sailed in 6-8 knots it was the kind of conditions the sailors had expected all week, and that many had trained for. Heiner was especially keen to sail in light winds and it was soon obvious why as he took the lead on the first upwind and never relinquished it. He had done everything needed to be in with a chance of a medal, now it just depended what happened behind him.

Ed Wright, from Britain, started badly and then got a yellow flag on the downwind. But he pulled back on the subsequent legs to cross in sixth place.

Lobert had an even worse first leg, rounding the first mark in last place and having a lot of work to do to keep a medal or take the title. He made some ground downwind and on the second upwind and then moved up to fifth on the final downwind, which was just enough for the silver medal.

Salminen controlled his main opponents and defended against Lobert and Wright. But the title nearly slipped away from him on the final downwind as the pressure dropped out on the left and both boats passed him just before the finish.

As the fleet crossed the finish line there was some frantic maths to work out who had won what. In the end, it was extremely close, with just three points separating the top four boats. Even the coaches didn’t want to commit for fear of missing a point. But finally the results were known and the celebrations began.

In the final race for the rest, it was quite fitting that the race win went to the new U23 World Champion Oskari Muhonen, from Finland. This gave him an impressive 11th overall in the Finn Gold Cup.

Facundo Olezza, from Argentina, picked up the best U23 prize from Muhonen and Henry Wetherell, from Britain.
Start of Medal Race
Sailing at his first Finn Gold Cup, Heiner commented, “I think it was quite an interesting week, and for sure not what we expected wind wise. In the training days and early races we had quite a decent breeze and finally today we had a bit lighter and the training paid off and I won the medal race.”

“Having said that, I think I lost a few places in the races just by my own mistakes, so I am a bit disappointed with that, so could have got away with a bit more.”

After his first year in the class, “I have spent nearly a year in the Finn now and spent three quarters of the year training with Rafa [Trujillo]. It’s my first Finn Gold Cup and it’s not a bad result if you think about it. I have had a really nice season, but for sure I need to be a bit more consistent on speed. We know how to race, but I need a few extra kg down to be competitive against the big guys in a breeze. So we are going to hit the gym and the supermarkets again.”
Nicholas Heiner leads Anders Pedersen
Lobert, who nearly gave up sailing after a disappointing result in Rio last year continues his stellar season.

“It was a very tough week. We did seven very good races and I think I have been sailing very well all week. I was at least five times leading races, but in the end I lost a few points and today I paid the price by finishing second by one point.”

“It’s very, very frustrating, but if someone had told me I would finish second with one point to the gold, I would have been happy. It’s a medal and I am happy to being another one home.”

He adds the silver to the European title and third in Hyeres. “The season has been very good to me, so not to bad for someone who was away for a while after the Olympics.”

On the medal race, “It was very tricky. I thought there was more pressure on the right, so I was protecting that on the first upwind, but it came from the left. But I kept on fighting and came back into the game.”

On the competition, “It was a very intense medal race. We could all play for the medals, and that was very nice. I was really looking forward to going on the water and having a nice race.”

“I think it is good for the Finn to see that there are so many guys and countries and the level of the fleet is always getting better.”
Jonathan Lobert
Salminen was also disappointed with his performance in Rio last year.

“It was a devastating medal race in Rio, so that’s why this success is even more sweet now to be able to show to myself that I could pull off a good medal race and do what I need to do”

“It’s been an amazing week and I am just so happy that, even though it was a really light medal race that I managed to finish it off in the best way.”

“I got away really good and managed to control the other bib holders around the course, but then the last downwind the wind died a bit and it got a bit nerve wracking there for a bit.”

He has trained with Lobert for many years. “Beating Jonathan at any event is as big an achievement as winning the world title. He is an amazing opponent and sparring partner, one of the best who pushed me each and every day.”

On Balaton “I tried not to have any expectations about sailing here. I knew there could be some waiting on shore, but especially the first half of the week was amazing, with really good racing. It’s challenging for any venue to host a event like this with 100 plus Finns, so it’s been a positive surprise to me.”

This has been the target all year and we were trying to train in the light stuff, but it only really paid off in the last race.”

At the prizegiving he paid tribute to his coach Dayne Sharp, his training partners Lobert and Tapio Nirkko, from Finland, and also to the whole fleet for being such good role models for the sport of sailing and such good examples of sportsmanship.

Finally, thank you to Spartacus Sailing Club and Balatonföldvár for putting on an outstanding Finn Gold Cup, for Opel and the other sponsors, for all the supporters and helpers. The friendly welcome and hospitality the sailors have received has been nothing short of exceptional.
Final result (medal race in brackets)
1 SWE 33 Max Salminen 47 (8)
2 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 48 (5)
3 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 50 (1)
4 GBR 11 Ed Wright 50 (6)
5 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 53 (2)
6 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 59 (3)
7 POL 17 Piotr Kula 80 (10)
8 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 83 (9)
9 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 92 (4)
10 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 95 (7)
Zsombor Berecz
About the Finn Gold Cup
• 113 of the world's best Finn sailors are taking part in the Finn Gold Cup at Spartacus Sailing Club in Balatonföldvár, Hungary. It is the highest entry for 35 years.
• The Finn Gold Cup was presented to the International Finn Association by the late F. G. Mitchell of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Great Britain in 1956 and became the World Championship Trophy for the Finn Class.
• 11 races are scheduled over seven days from Monday 4 September to Sunday 10 September, ending with a medal race for the top ten sailors after the opening series.
L-R: Oskari Muhonen, Facundo Olezza, Henry Wetherell



MEDIA ALERT: Opel Finn Gold Cup medal race will be covered live on YouTube

The Medal Race at the Opel Finn Gold Cup in Balatonföldvár was scheduled to begin at 10.00. At the moment the fleet is held ashore under AP, though conditions are expected to improve during the morning. The entire Medal Race will be covered live on YouTube using drone cameras.  The embed link will be issued through the following channels when the live stream begins so stay tuned... Finn Class Facebook: www.facebook.com/InternationalFinnClass/ Spartacus SC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finngoldcup/ Finn Class Twitter: twitter.com/Finn_Class Event website: https://www.2017finngoldcup.org  


Oisin Mcclelland

No wind on Day 5 of Opel Finn Gold Cup, but plenty of potential

The fifth day of the Opel Finn Gold Cup at Balatonföldvár started promising with some nice wind on the lake, but just as the sailors were getting ready to launch, a fog bank rolled in and AP was displayed.

When the fog cleared two hours later, the wind had gone and Balaton remained calm and largely windless through the morning and afternoon. Finally at 15.30 the race office pulled the pin and the sailors dispersed.

There are two days left to sail, with three possible races remaining in the opening series before the final and medal races on Sunday.
Rockal Evans
For the past decade, the Finn class has been supporting sailor’s dreams through the Finn Class Development Programme (FIDeS). The current support includes part-funding three sailors to train at the Dinghy Academy in Valencia and with some logistical support.

The three sailors receiving funding are Oisin Mcclelland, from Ireland, Ahmad Ahmadi, from Iran, and Rockal Evans, from Bermuda

While Mcclelland is sailing in his second Finn Gold Cup, both Evans and Ahmadi are sailing their first, and are very encouraged by the experience, though hoped they would be doing better on the water.

Evans moved into the Finn just over a year ago. The grandson of 1976 Finn Olympian Howard Lee, he has set his ambition to qualify and compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in the Finn. He even uses the same sail number as his grandfather.
He is finding it a tough challenge.

“The fleet is awesome with tough, tough racing. They are tough boats to race at the top level, so I have to get fitter, do more cardio, get stronger, and better all round. However, I am learning a lot.”

“I was in Sydney for a month training before this event with Rob McMilllan in Rose Bay. It was a solid bit of training. Then I went back home for a week and went to Croatia for two weeks to train with Milan Vujasinovic, and that was my preparation for this event.”

He is certainly the right size for the boat at six and a half fleet tall and weighing 103 kg, but knows he has a lot of work to do.

“I have been in the boat about a year now, racing and training, improving slowly but surely, but I have got to make way more improvement before the first qualifier next year in Aarhus.”

“My plans after the Gold Cup are to move to Sydney to train from October to February 2018, and then I come back to Europe, maybe to Valencia, training with a new group of guys there in the lead up to the first qualification event in Aarhus in August.”
Oisin Mcclelland leads Race 1
Mcclelland has spent most of the year training in Valencia at the Dinghy Academy with the new group that has formed there.

“We got some pretty good training in over the summer. After the European Championship [in Marseille, in May] I felt that I had made a big step forwards in boatspeed and set up.”

He placed 30th out of a fleet of 64 “My goal for the year was to finish top 30 at a major event, so it felt like I’d done well there. Top 30 here will be tough considering where I am currently sitting, the number of people here and the trickiness of the racing.”

After seven races he is the highest of the three sailors in 49th place out of 113 sailors.

“The money from FIDeS had allowed me to train pretty much non stop since the Europeans, and assist in the training cycle of three months leading up to this Gold Cup. It really felt like I came into this competition with the best preparation I have had towards any event I have done.”

“Obviously this week has been a bit tricky for me and I not currently sitting where I’d like to be, but there has definitely been glimpses of speed and getting where I’d like to be.” A high point was leading the fleet round the first mark in the first race of the series.

“The FIDeS funding has been a big help this season, giving me a more stress free time to train and not worry about the money.”

He says that next for him is solid winter of training in Valencia.

“I think this season was a lot of building. I learnt a lot, made some steps and next year I just have to put it all together and move forward. Obviously the goals are a bit higher next year, but the progress is still there. I am still making progress every day I am on the water.”

He was joined on the campaign trail this year by another Irish sailor, Fionn Lyden, who recently picked up the bronze medal at the U23 World Championship.

“It’s a good thing for sure. With another competitor from the same country, it’s going to make you wake up better in the morning. When you are feeling a bit groggy in the morning it’s definitely great motivation. We get along well and we are making plans to train together next season as well.”
Ahmad Ahmadi
Ahmadi is the most recent inclusion in the FIDeS programme and this Finn Gold Cup is his first major event in the class.

“I really have a good feeling about the races and the guys and how friendly they are, helping each other and I really appreciate that.”

“Every race I did here I learn something from the start to the finish line. It has been really good so far in the seven races so far. It was completely different to what I was expecting but since I joined in, it has been a really nice fleet for racing. I really love it, and I am learning all the time.”

For the future, “I just need to keep training towards my qualification, the worlds in Aarhus and the continental, as well keeping up with the paperwork for the visas and stuff. “

“I want to sail full time and keep improving in the Finn and sailing fast, so I am really looking forward to having good progress in the coming months.”

Racing is scheduled to restart at 10.00 on Saturday. Three races are scheduled before the final race and medal race on Sunday.

Check out the links below to follow the racing on Twitter and Facebook. Most mark roundings and finishes are broadcast on Facebook Live through the Finn Class page.

Results after seven races
1 SWE 33 Max Salminen 31
2 GBR 11 Ed Wright 38
3 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 38
4 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 48
5 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 49
6 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 53
7 POL 17 Piotr Kula 60
8 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 65
9 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 81
10 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 84
Rockal Evans
Highlights from Day 3
Highlights from Day 4



Max Salminen

Max Salminen maintains lead at Opel Finn Gold Cup after one late race on Day 4

Max Salminen, from Sweden, extended his lead at the Opel Finn Gold Cup to seven points after placing fifth in the only race possible on Day 4. Ed Wright, from Britain, remains in second, while Jonathan Lobert, from France moves up one place to third, on equal points with Wright. The race was won by the 2013 World Champion, Jorge Zarif, from Brazil.

Salminen is the only sailor so far to retain his overnight lead, while most of the top ten remain the same, apart from Anders Pedersen, from Norway, who placed ninth today, and moves into the top ten.

Credit also to Gerardo Seeliger, who celebrated his 70th birthday today with his best result of the series so far, finishing 86th and beating several sailors less than half his age.
Jorge Zarif
After six hours waiting for a stable wind, which shifted through almost 180 degrees during the morning and early afternoon, one late race was sailed in a slowly building breeze, topping out at 13-16 knots. Lobert made the best of the wet upwind as the wind increased past 10 knots and Oscar was raised at the top mark. He was followed round by Zarif and Nenad Bugarin, from Croatia.

Bugarin has sailed an excellent series and would be a title contender but for two letter scores that have left him carrying 114 points, a very high price in a fleet of this size and quality.

Zarif took the lead on the downwind and never really looked threatened for the remainder of the race. Lobert then came under pressure from Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, on the second upwind, but just managed to stay in front. However Berecz went wider on the downwind and came into the final mark just ahead to finish second ahead of Lobert.

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