PORTO, PORTUGAL (May 12, 2021) – Team USA Tokyo 2020 Finn Class Representative Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) placed 6th out of 59 boats at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup, the class’s World Championship event. The 2021 Gold Cup was the final major test for all medal hopefuls in the men’s heavyweight dinghy before the Olympic regatta begins in late July in Enoshima, Japan.
Muller’s 6th overall finish is a career-best at the highest level of Finn competition, and comes on the heels of a 34-day training and racing session in Europe. Muller’s impactful trip started with the Finn Europeans in Vilamoura, Portugal, and continued with multiple high–quality training sessions with many of the same athletes he will compete against in Enoshima. However, early May’s Gold Cup regatta in Porto represented another step up in both pressure and competitive level.
Muller’s finish represents not only a positive step forward in his development as a competitor, but a successful effort to safely train and compete against the world’s best during the global pandemic. Due to COVID-19, the previous Gold Cup was held in December 2019, where Muller finished 17th out of 60 in Melbourne, Australia.
The Finn class has been a part of the Olympic Games since its debut in Helsinki 1952, and the fleet is stocked with some of the biggest names in world sailing. This year’s Finn Gold Cup was won by New Zealand’s Andy Maloney, who was coming off a win at the 36th America’s Cup as part of Emirates Team New Zealand. Second place on the podium went to Spanish sailor Joan Cardona, and 2019 Finn Gold Cup champion, Josh Junior, also of New Zealand, claimed third.
“It feels wonderful to have a successful week,” said Muller. “It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work after staying home, staying determined, working closely with a new coach, and trying new things.”
A year of training in the U.S., much of that while international travel restrictions were in place, enabled Muller to maximize time on the water with his training group in Florida.
“I couldn’t have done it without the team around me, especially US Sailing Team Head Coach Luther Carpenter and my training partner, Eric Anderson,” continued Muller. “Our careful and continued work during COVID allowed us to make the most of the months stateside. This was essential to staying sharp through the unexpected final year leading up to the Games. I’m just so grateful for the people who pushed me and continue to support me.”
Muller will now head home to Florida for two weeks of rest before returning to Porto. He will then train for 20 days with his Finn coach, Mark Andrews, taking the opportunity to log a final round of training before the fleet moves to Japan for Tokyo 2020.
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Will Ricketson, US Sailing Team Tokyo 2020 Press Officer, email@example.com
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PORTO, PORTUGAL (May 4, 2021) – 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.”
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)
Allison Chenard, US Sailing Team Media & Communications