Michael Maier takes lead at Finn Worlds

There were lots of changes at the top of the Finn World Masters in La Rochellewith several favourites picking up high scores after the only race sailed. Michael Maier (CZE) sailed a flawless race to claim his second race win and take the overall lead. Andre Budzien (GER) sailed one he would probably prefer to forget and dropped to second, while Erik Lidecis (USA) placed seventh to end the day one point behind Budzien.

In the Yellow fleet, Rainer Wolff (GER) was first round the top mark from Thomas Schmidt (GER). The chasing pack included Fergus Allan (GBR), Michael Staal (D) and Allen Burrell (GBR). However Schmidt had taken the lead by the next leg and extended on the fleet for a nice win.

With Wolff maintained second place, Burrell had made the best of the start on the right side and immediately tacked out to the right to come back well placed into the top mark, and then moved through to take third at the bottom of the second downwind and held it until the finish.

Michael Maier dominated Blue fleet, leading from start to finish after also starting on the right and benefiting from a sizeable right shift that left those further right footing off to lay the mark. Second placed Neil Robinson (GBR) rounded the top mark about fifth and worked through the boats while the French battle for third was won by Laurent Hay (FRA) from Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA).

Second overall Erik Lidesic (USA) lost some places on the final downwind to cross in seventh. This now means that Maier has taken the lead from Budzien (who finished 29th in Yellow fleet) and Lidecis.

Gus Miller, the oldest sailor at this event at 78 made a few astute observations about the sailors in La Rochelle, “A number of things are striking about this Masters Finn fleet. The number of coaches / minders, the good gear, the fitness level for the age, the joy at being here and the up to date techniques being used.”

Several of the sailors are working with top international sailors to improve their game. He continued, “Ed Wright and Lauri Vainsalu are here along with other very good Finnsters acting as coaches. Many masters have done well in life, are used to hiring and managing expert people and expect results from themselves. Out on the water these coaches act as rescue in case the old boy gets into trouble. Most of the Masters are very aware of their limitations and have developed ways of compensating.”

At the Masters Meeting in the morning, the President Fons van Gent (NED) announced he was stepping down and presented Andy Denison (GBR) as his replacement. Then van Gent was presented with a half Finn model and received a standing ovation from the several hundred sailors present. Fons said, “It is not difficult to do something well when you like doing it and I liked doing this job very much.”

Finn - Masters Worlds - Results after 5 races
1 CZE 1 MAIER Michael 8.00
2 GER 711 BUDZIEN Andrea 11.00
3 USA 505 LIDESIC Erik 12.00
4 LTU 7 RYMONIS Tauras 15.00
5 GER 193 SCHMIDT Thomas 18.00
6 FRA 75 HAY Laurent 24.00
7 GBR 2 BURRELL Allen 26.00
8 DEN 80 STAAL Michael 29.00
9 NED 41 VAN HELLEMOND Karel 30.00
10 GBR 642 BRUNTON Adrian 39.00
11 ITA 2 BUGLIELLI Marco 40.00
13 NZL 2 HALL Raymond 43.00
14 SWE 22 FAGERLUND Stefan 44.00
15 GBR 679 ROBINSON Neil 45.00
16 SUI 85 ECKERT Jan 46.00
17 NZL 10 HODGENBOOM David 46.00
18 NED 881 VAN VIERSSEN Thierry 49.00
19 GER 65 KREISS Stefan 51.00
20 GBR 665 SMITH Julian 52.00