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Finn Gold Cup - Hempel Sailing World Chamionships Aarhus


Finn Focus at the Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018


Historic and emotional win as Zsombor Berecz takes Finn Gold Cup for Hungary

Max Salminen, Zsombor Berecz and Pieter-Jan Postma

  An emotional and immensely proud Zsombor Berecz crossed the finish line of the 2018 Finn Gold Cup medal race at the Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 in Aarhus, Denmark in first place to make history. He becomes the first Hungarian to ever win a major Finn championship. Defending champion Max Salminen took the silver while Pieter-Jan Postma won bronze. The fleet had been tight all week and going into the medal race any of eight boats could still win and everyone had a shot at a medal. They all had a lot on. However the weather cooperated with hot sunshine returning and a reasonably stable 9-12 knots onshore breeze. Berecz tried to put how he felt into words, “It’s amazing. I know what it means for me and I know what it means to my team and my country and I tell you it’s a big thing. Everybody who sails the Finn dreams about winning this. Now it came true. It’s amazing.”

Zsombor Berecz
Replay the full day in Aarhus
He had started the day in joint second place with Josh Junior and eight points back from Salminen.

He explained, “I chose the race committee boat end. The Canadian and the Dutch were squeezing me out a bit. I went about 10 metres more to the right and I tacked back because I wanted to keep going further away from the shore, because the closer you were the less wind there was. And then I was just playing with the shifts and I had two great shifts and it was enough to be first at the upwind mark. Then on the second upwind I just followed the fleet. It sounds easy but it was not.”

Berecz led all the way round the course to cross the line first, head in hands, unable to comprehend what he had just achieved. He was finally world champion. He had been the favourite of many before the regatta, but now it was reality and his emotions took over as it began to sink in.

On the final few days: “There was definitely one turning point in my sailing this week when we moved to the gold fleet. As you can see on the results, I was the most consistent. This is what really paid off in the end.”

“If someone told me I would win this event, I would not have believed them, because I had four months off because I broke my thumb, and it was a tough four months. I only had one and half months training before these worlds, but I spent it really well and it worked out.”
Out of the start
Fleet still tight at the finish
Salminen never really found his feet in the medal race and trailed round, to finally cross seventh, just enough to win the silver.

“I got a bit out of tune with the wind on the first upwind and it was all about trying to fight my way back from that and I felt had a chance all the way round the course and time just ran out for me and I fell just short.”

But he never gave up. “I was trying to go for the win the whole race today. I was not thinking about any second place until the last reach to the finish, so in that sense it feels like a defeat but I guess that’s some sort of sign of strength, to be able to be not satisfied with the silver medal.”

“It’s only winners that lift the Finn Gold Cup, and it really had a good place on my bookshelf and could have stayed there for one more year, but that wasn’t the case.”
Pieter-Jan Postma
Postma pulled up from sixth to bronze on the medal race. He seems to have found new power and new energy, and while his comeback surprised many, his success since then is also turning heads, finishing ahead of his main rival Nicholas Heiner.

Postma explained, “I have a lot of experience but I always lacked in peaking at the right moment.”

Since the Rio Olympics, “I did a lot of work in teams, I did a lot of match racing, and you learn more skills, how to handle and how to cope and I never had that before. I went to Olympics quite a number of times, always as one of the favourites and it never showed. And that’s my growth as a person, which is nice. It took me some time, more than other people, but that’s what I am happy with.”

On going for the medal, “You give everything for a medal, you give it all, but you don’t know, but of these guys anyone who was in the top 10 had the right, and had trained for a medal. The level is high, and I would have been pleased to see any of them with a medal. Today it’s me; next time it’s somebody else. I feel I was also a bit lucky today.”

Postma revealed some of how his comeback was motivated. “I originally wanted to coach Nick [Heiner]. I gave him my sails, I gave him some tips. I wanted to coach him because I had the feeling I wanted to give something back. But he said no.”

“It woke a little bit of fire in me,” he said with a chuckle.

“I love the Finn. It’s a great class.”
Berecz leads through the gate
Berecz’s victory could be called poetic justice. He became the most successful Hungarian Finn sailor in 2016 with a silver medal at the Europeans, so perhaps it was just a matter of time before he took the world title. He is well loved within the Finn class, and a great champion. However this year has been hard for him. He broke his thumb just before the Europeans in Cádiz in March, while trying to do someone else a good deed.

“I had had a great day training in Cadiz. I was so pumped up. On the way home, I saw some hiking pants fall off the van in front of me. I stopped with my bike, I grabbed it and then I saw they stopped at the next roundabout, so I was going full speed to reach them to give it back, but the leg of the wetsuit got caught in the front wheel and stopped it completely and I made a front-flip, and I broke my thumb.” He was out of sailing for four months recovering. His win in Aarhus is therefore not only a massive achievement, but also sweet justice.

Berecz may not yet have fully absorbed the idea that he is 2018 Finn World Champion, but he’d better get used to it as it will stay with him for longer than usual. The next Finn Gold Cup, in Melbourne, Australia, is not taking place until December 2019.
Results after medal race (medal race in brackets)
1 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 70 (1)
2 SWE 33 Max Salminen 74 (7)
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 76 (2)
4 NZL 24 Josh Junior 76 (4)
5 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 83 (6)
6 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 85 (8)
7 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 87 (5)
8 GBR 11 Edward Wright 89 (3)
9 TUR 21 Alican Kaynar 96 (9)
10 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 102 (10)
Full results: https://aarhus2018.sailing.org/results
Image galleries: https://www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos/
Berecz celebrating after the finish
Still trying to take it in
Squall hits fleet in Race 10

Event website • Results • Tracking • Watch


Finn sailing – unique moments of sport and nature

The final race of the opening series of the 2018 Finn Gold Cup in Aarhus will go down in Finn Class legend, like all the other epic races that have happened before. These photos are a testimony of the incredible forces of nature, and the Finn sailors' constant battle to use the technologically advanced and reliable equipment together with their sportive ambitions to become at one with the boat and the wind, sailing in perfect harmony.

This is exciting sailing, that inspires sailors worldwide, and which people fall in love with the world over. The competition and desire to overcome fellow competitors and nature is intense, and a lifetime opportunity to excel in something that is both easy and tantalizingly difficult. Seize the opportunity; seize the moment.
Full gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos/



Max Salminen

Max Salminen dominates Aarhus squall to lead into Finn medal race

The first eight nations have qualified at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after two more races at Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus. The only thing left to decide now is who will win the 2018 Finn Gold Cup in Thursday’s medal race.

After winning the epic final race, with a 35 knots squall coming through, Max Salminen, takes an eight-point lead into the medal race from Zsombor Berecz and Josh Junior. Realistically any of the first six boats can win the Finn Gold Cup, while all ten boats have a shot at one of the silver or bronze medals.

With eight nations in the 10-boat medal race, all nations have qualified. These are: Argentina, Canada, Hungary, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Turkey. The next qualification opportunity will be at the 2019 European Championship in Marsala, Sicily.

Zsombor Berecz
Highlights of Day 6 at the 2018 Finn Gold Cup
The conditions did not get easier on the final day of the opening series, with a long delay on shore waiting for the wind to develop. The fleets were finally released after 15.00 and it took another two hours before the first race got away in a very nice 10-12 knots from the south.

In Race 9, Pieter-Jan Postma was the early leader, but it wasn’t long before Alican Kaynar, who has had a lacklustre week so far popped out in front and took the race win.

The second race of the day and the final race of the opening series was a crazy and fascinating race that ended with a battle-of-the-fittest survival downwind leg to the finish as a 35 knot (some sailors exaggerate at 40 knot) squall arrived at the end of the second upwind. There were lots of place changes with the big shift, with capsizes and wrong navigation. Early leader Ioannis Mitakis led round the final mark only to capsize and end up 34th. Salminen was in the leading pack and steered a perfect course downwind to take his second race win of the week.

Sailors gained and lost all over the course, but it has set up a fascinating medal race battle with the points remaining close as they have done all week long. Overnight leader Ed Wright had a high scoring day and just managed to stay in the top 10, while Josip Olujic, who sailed an exceptional week, missed out by just six points. Many other top sailors also failed to qualify for Tokyo and will have to wait until next May for another chance.

Meanwhile, Berecz climbed from seventh to second after two seventh places, while Nicholas Heiner has had a rocky few days with several high score, before finally finding some form to place fifth in the final race and hold a three point lead over Pieter-Jan Postma in their national selection trials.
Squall hits fleet in Race 10
Alican Kaynar
Andy Maloney just scraped into the top 10. “It’s been a really competitive week in Aarhus, and really tricky. It was always going to be a super tricky venue and a shifty venue no matter where the wind was coming from. So the key has been to try and be consistent, and there has been a lot of guys sailing really well so it’s been a good fight all week.”

“In that last race today we had about 35 knots come in at the top of the beat and it was quite an exciting downwind to the finish. It was never over until the end of the last race, that’s for sure and it will be an exciting medal race tomorrow.”

Ramshaw, who entered the class in 2016 and qualified Canada for Rio 216 at the Continental qualifier stage, was elated to have qualified the nation early for Tokyo.

When the squall came in I knew just to keep the boat balanced. I have been training a lot on san Francisco so I was able to put that to work and make gains and bear away and finish 11th so now I am fifth overall, which is enough to qualify the country for Tokyo, and that was the goal coming hear so I am pretty stoked.”

“I was second going into the day and had a pretty rough first race and that ended up being my drop. Going into the second race I knew I had to put a good one together and I was behind, and when the big puff came in I was able to sail straight to the mark where a lot of guys got a little lots or capsized or got stuck in the breeze so I took advantage.  I was a little but lucky but that’s what you need sometimes.”
Start of Race 9
Salminen will go in the medal race as defending champion and a useful eight-point lead.

I went into the day in fourth and it was tight with the points, as it has been the whole week. I knew I had a really important day ahead of me. It was a tricky first race, and everyone knew that the wind was going to go right the whole day and it did a bit in the first race. I didn’t do my best race but then in the second race, dark clouds had started to build on the right even more and everyone started heading to the right.”

“But it didn’t really strike until the last top mark rounding when we got a big gust. From there it very important take care of your boat and bring it safely to the finishing line. With the big gusts and the rain it was really hard to see where you were going so you had to know course configuration and trust on your compass to get back to the gate and the finishing line.”

“So now I have an eight-point buffer on two guys in second and third and nine points to third. So it will be me just having to do a good medal race tomorrow to hold on to the Gold Cup.”

The medal race is scheduled for a 14.07 warning signal and will be streamed live on the World Sailing YouTube channel here.
Results after 10 races
1 SWE 33 Max Salminen 60
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 68
3 NZL 24 Josh Junior 68
4 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 69
5 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 71
6 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 72
7 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 77
8 TUR 21 Alican Kaynar 78
9 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 82
10 GBR 11 Edward Wright 83  
Squall hits fleet in Race 10

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