The final day of the 2004 Splash Worlds certainly didn't disappoint! The top three in the gold fleet seemed to have a secure lead but with only one discard anything was possible as they left the shore for the final two races of the championship.
With a moderate breeze and a nasty, choppy sea state, conditions, it was anyone's conditions!
First heat - one for the ladies!
The line seemed rather neutral with a slight advantage at the starting vessel as the race favourites choose middle of the line, Yannick LEFEBVRE (BEL), the major Belgian challenger, took the pin end and Laura MAES (BEL) started at the starting vessel. It proved to be a good choice and Laura sailed a perfect upwind leg, leading with the chasing pack by the smallest of margins.
The top three challengers were nowhere to be seen at the first mark and Laura had a fierce battle with Andy MALONEY (NZL), a battle that she eventually won! Only Jorne KNEGT (NED) kept up with the fleet finishing sixth - Scott MORRISON (NZL) and David JESSOP (GBR), the most consistent sailors in the first eight heats surprised; finishing only 28! No problem tough with the discard his lead was still very strong!
Race ten - the championship decided!
The pressure was on for the young sailors in the final race as a turning current was pushing the fleet over the line at the start. After a general recall the committee brought out the black flag for the second start of the day. Adrenalin was pumping and in total nine sailors were disqualified under the rule for being OCS. The most important victim was David JESSOP, who lost the championship as a result. In the ladies challenge Anneke BOUWMEESTER (NED) was also black flagged.
Yannick LEFEBVRE chose the pin end of the line and was soon off to battle for victory with Laura MAES just behind and Hielke DIJKSTRA (NED) following her- in the approach to the finish Hielke failed to control Yannick who took his second win out of the four gold fleet races! Jorne KNEGT took 10 and Scott MORRISON took 14.
So the final day proved that it's never in the bag and as calculations began, it became clear that the World Championship title was to be awarded to Jorne KNEGT (NED), followed by Yannick LEFEBVRE (FRA) and Scott MORISON (NZL). The unfortunate David JESSOP (GBR) finished fifth.
Laura MAES finished first girl in sixth place ahead of Anneke BOUWMEESTER (NED) in eighth place.
1. Jorne Knegt NED 1642 - 35 points (2,4,3,2,3,1,4,(17),6,10)
2. Yannick Lefebvre BEL 2061 41 points (10,4,4,4,4,3,5,(12),1,9,1)
3. Scott Morrison NZL 2136 45 points (1,1,1,1,12,9,1(15),14)
4. David Jessop GBR 1758 47 points (2,1,4,3,2,2,2,2,28,(bfd))
5. Rinse Ubbinck NED 2063 50 points ((12),4,3,10,1,1,8,4,7,12)
6. Laura Maes BEL 2072 63 points (6,5,2,5,(18),17,9,13,1,5)
7. Steyn Schildkamp NED 1247 63 points (5,13,4,5,6,9,(23),2,3,16)
8. Anneke Bouwmeester NED 73 points (1,5,10,4,7,12,13,9,12(bfd))
9. Xavier Seynaeve BEL 1651 80 points (7,11,5,6,11,13,(14),6,13,8)
10. Piotr Danielewicz POL 2146 81 points (3,3,10,(dsq),4,7,11,12,5,26)
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.