Article by Robert Deaves, Finn Class
Finn World Champion Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, has secured the Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic Test Event, with a day to spare after sealing victory on Wednesday in Enoshima, Japan. Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands, move up to second, while Giles Scott, from Britain drops to third to set up a three way fght for bronze and silver with Andy Maloney from New Zealand. The race wins on Wednesday went to Alican Kaynar, from Turkey, and Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic.
The forecast for the day was generally for a light onshore wind, with a lot of low cloud around all morning. The wind remained fairly light and unstable all day with frequent position changes throughout the fleet.
Kaynar made the best of the first upwind in Race 9 to lead throughout for a comfortable victory from Berecz who rounded in sixth and Maloney, who made the comeback of the day from 20th at the first mark.
The final opening series race, Race 10, got even harder with some big swings. Teply rounded first and led all the way. Berecz had the opportunity to close the series there and then and had worked his way up to fourth, before a rare mistake left him on the wrong side of a big shift. Fortunately for him Scott was still behind him.
Teply went on to win from Anders Pedersen, from Norway and Heiner. Berecz crossed in 12th and with Scott back in 16th, Berecz had won the regatta with a race to spare.
Kaynar has made hard work of this week, so the race win was something of a relief after a high scoring week.
“I started the week very badly. I had quite big results in the first four races and after that I tried to do better and I had some problems with the downwinds, so lost some points there, but then I found my rhythm and moved up to seventh position. I am not so happy with my results, but I think it is positive to have some good results.”
“Today, in the first race I was on the right side and I got some good pressure and finally I had a good downwind and could extend, and I managed to finish first. I was also on the right in the second race, but it didn’t pay off. There was a big shift in the left and I came up quite last.”
“It’s a tricky venue. There is a lot of current and one day we had an offshore wind, so I think it is going to be hard at the Games.”
It has been a challenging week for all sailors, not least because of the heat but also the wind conditions. This is obvious when looking at the results with most sailors having results up and down the fleet. One thing is sure about Enoshima – finding anything resembling consistency is going to be hard, even for the best sailors. To win here you are going to have to be your best, every day. That is what is remarkable about Berecz’s performance, only two results outside the top three.
Berecz has hardly put a foot wrong this week. He was almost lost for words at the magnitude of his victory.
“Today it was classic sea breeze conditions. In the first race we had 7-8 knots. I had good start and good tactics and I managed to finish second. In the second race I was also there but there was a huge left shift which mixed up the game a bit, but not enough and I secured my first place before tomorrow.”
“I am thrilled with my performance this week and it’s good to know, because this was my big regatta, that we can do very good preparation by ourselves, so we are on a good track and I am very happy for us.”
“Definitely the best regatta I had was last year when I won the worlds, but this one is over that. I had such a great week, such great days, I was sharp all week and this is probably the best regatta of my life that I could manage to put together. I am speechless actually because I am very surprised and very happy that we can achieve this.”
Ready Steady Tokyo will conclude on Thursday with the medal race. It will be a fight between Heiner, Scott and Maloney – three of the best performers all year – for the other medals.
Results after Day 5
1 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 24
2 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 47
3 GBR 41 Giles Scott 48
4 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 57
5 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 73
6 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 75
7 TUR 21 Alican Kaynar 81
8 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 86
9 ESP 26 Joan Cardona Mendez 88
10 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 88
Ready Steady Tokyo, the Olympic test event is a series of 10 opening series races from Saturday 17, August to Wednesday 21, August. The top 10 will then sail the medal race on Thursday 22 August.
Many more photos can be found here: www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos