Finn World Champion Giles Scott is hoping to round off a long 2015 season with a successful title defence at the Finn Gold Cup, which gets underway in Takapuna, New Zealand today.
Scott will be aiming for a third world title to add to his 2014 and 2011 victories, but with national and individual Olympic qualifying berths at stake across the 28 nations set to compete, the Briton knows he’ll face a tough battle if he’s to keep his hands on the coveted Gold Cup when the regatta draws to a close on 29 November.
Scott’s own 2016 Olympic berth was confirmed in September, and the 28-year-old wants to build on his winning run by way of preparation towards the Rio Games.
“The Gold Cup is the event that any Finn sailor wants to win every year and this year is certainly no different, especially being a year out from the Games,” Scott remarked.
“It will arguably be the strongest fleet of the cycle and will be a very tough-fought week for sure. I’m excited to get the racing underway and hopefully Takapuna can bring some good racing conditions for us.”
“There are a couple of very good Kiwis here who’ve done an awful lot of sailing here at Takapuna, and then there’s a group of ten or so guys who are certainly capable of winning the week. It’ll be incredibly hard fought – no different from any other regatta!”
Scott enjoyed a stint in Auckland in 2013 as part of his America’s Cup stint with Luna Rossa, and he knows if he can expect anything from the racing conditions in the New Zealand venue – it’s to expect anything!
“I’ve spent a long time sailing out on the race area, but I’ve done very little sailing there in Finns, so that’s a little different!” he explained.
“Typically I think it’s offshore, shifty, generally reasonably windy. But it’s a bit like the UK. You can get anything, it just depends what system is coming across. We’re probably expecting a bit of a mixed bag of a week.”
Also hoping to be in the chase next week are British Sailing Team Podium sailors Ed Wright and Ben Cornish.
The 38-year-old Wright is a Finn class veteran and five-time World Championship medallist, winning gold in 2010 and bronze at the most recent edition at Santander in 2014.
“It would be great to win the Finn Gold Cup again,” Wright admitted. “But there are many sailors that have the potential so as it’s Takapuna and pretty shifty, let’s hope it goes my way. I am fast enough. I just need to send it the right way.”
Conversely, for Exmouth’s Ben Cornish this year’s Finn Gold Cup will be his second, having transitioned into the class at the end of 2013.
He has high expectations of himself after a solid season which saw him as the ninth-placed European sailor at the Finn European Championships in May.
Podium Potential squad sailor James Hadden completes the British Sailing Team line-up at the event, which has returned to New Zealand shores for the first time since 1980.
Ten races are scheduled at the Finn Gold Cup from 24 to 28 November, with the final medal decider on 29 November.
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