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Finn fleet together at the Finn Gold Cup for the first time since 2019

by US Sailing Team 5 May 06:43 BST May 8-12, 2021
US Sailing Team Finn athlete, Luke Muller © Sailing Energy / US Sailing

Known globally for its grand bridges and port wine production, Porto will soon be canvassed with 59 of the world's top Finn sailors from 33 countries, including Luke Muller, US Sailing Team member and Tokyo 2020 Finn Representative. Racing begins May 8 and continues through May 12 for the 65th edition of the Finn Gold Cup, one of sailing's most iconic regattas.

Two tickets to Tokyo are up for grabs at this week's event for the European and African qualification system. The regatta will welcome four previous world champions, including the current Gold Cup defender, Josh Junior (New Zealand) who just contributed to New Zealand's America's Cup win.

Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) is coming off about a month's stay in Portugal that kicked off with the Finn European Championship in Vilamoura where he placed 23 of 49. The European Championship provided Muller with the opportunity to stack up against other sailors after a limited schedule throughout the pandemic.

"In Vilamoura I was unfortunately just slow downwind so that made it difficult to compete even though I was doing quite well upwind," said Muller. "So my coach and I did a full debrief and spent a lot of time on the water with the people who performed better than me downwind. Thankfully we've had a lot of success during the training before the Gold Cup and now we have to apply that to this week's racing."

Following Vilamoura, Muller and his coach Mark Andrews made their way to Porto to start logging hours on the water at the venue for this week's Gold Cup. They maximized their opportunity to train with Giles Scott (Great Britain) (four-time winner of the Finn Gold Cup, Rio 2016 Finn gold medalist, and recent tactician for Ineos Team UK), Nils Theuninck (Switzerland), and Jake Lilley (Australia) who will sail at the Tokyo Games this summer.

Muller and the rest of the Finn fleet were last together at the 2019 Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne, Australia where Muller placed 17 out of 60. The Finn fleet is stacked with talented sailors worldwide who regularly find success in other disciplines, making the Gold Cup a particularly challenging lineup.

"The tacticians, controllers, and other people tasked with making major decisions at the America's Cup are here and we get to line up with them," continued Muller. "I'm excited to race against them- both the exclusive professional Finn sailors and the folks who have just come back from New Zealand for the America's Cup."

Muller and Andrews have seen great results already from their time on European waters. "We're progressing quite quickly on the water, so every day is quite valuable to us," said Muller. "A week of racing against some of the best in the world is really going to help us. So I'm excited to keep the progress and enjoy it."

When asked about the focus for the Finn Gold Cup ahead, taking Vilamoura's lessons into account, Muller commented "we're just pushing everything to the limit right now. We're trying to find every bit of boat speed, every place to shed seconds around the race course, and trying to maximize the performance of my body and my boat. Every day is super valuable and the biggest thing is just time on the water with the best sailors in the world."

Schedule:

Weds 5 - Fri 7 May - Measurement/Registration
Sat 8 May - Racing (2 races scheduled)
Sun 9 May - Racing (2 races scheduled)
Mon 10 May - Racing (2 races scheduled)
Tues 11 May - Racing (2 races scheduled)
Weds 12 May - Racing (2 races scheduled)

For more information visit the event website at 2021.finngoldcup.org and/or the Finn Gold Cup Event Facebook Page.

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