The last day of racing at the Artemis International 14 World Championship at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy provided a nail biting finish to the regatta.
David Campbell-James, the Principal Race Officer did a fantastic job to squeeze in Races 6 and 7 before the 14:00 time limit, especially considering the fleet arrived out in Weymouth bay to be greeted by a fickle and shifting south-easterly breeze and a postponement.
The World title was still up for grabs with Roger Gilbert and Ben McCrane two points ahead of Archie Massey and Dan Wilsdon. Only two firsts would ensure victory for Archie and Dan. Roger and Ben required a sixth or better and to beat Archie and Dan in either race.
Meanwhile the third place boat Katie Nurton and Nigel Ash could not be discounted being just six points off first.
The sixth race got underway on the second start under the black flag and in 8 knots of wind. Roger and Ben footed out right to cover Massey and Wilsdon, who were trying to recover from a punchy start at the committee boat end. Gilbert rounded the first mark sixth and Massey 12th.
Meanwhile Nurton and Ash had wiped out any deficit by leading the race early on. By the end of the race Glen Truswell and Chris Blackburn had pulled out a large lead to take first, followed by Nurton and Ash and Sam Pascoe and Alex Knight.
Unfortunately Nurton was called OCS. The title contenders continued their battle with Gilbert and McCrace keeping a loose cover over Massey and Wilsdon, and both finishing with their worst results of the regatta a seventh and a tenth.
The final race loomed with Massey and Wilsdon requiring a win and Gilbert and McCrane seventh or below - a tall order considering their consistent top three scores throughout the regatta. After one general recall, the black flag was pulled out and the warning signal sounded ten minutes before the last start cut off time.
The wind had now built to 13 knots. The two contenders shot out the line, neck and neck, with Massey and Wilsdon just squeezing out Gilbert and McCrane on the port lay into the top mark. The positions remained the same, never more than ten yards apart for the three lap race.
Gilbert and McCrane took the lead on the final beat, when Massey and Wilsdon undercooked the starboard layline. The Canadian pairing of Billy Gooderham and Ian Hogan in their Killing 3 were running a solid third. The drama was not over as Gilbert and McCrane crossed the finish line to no sound signal, they were unfortunately black-flagged at the start and in doing so lost the race, and handing the race win and World Championship title to Massey and Wilsdon.
Massey and Wilsdon were crowned World Champions for an unprecedented 3rd time, Gilbert and McCrane finished second overall with Nurton and Ash third. British, Australian and German boats made up the remaining top ten positions. A full set of results and be found on the event website www.i14worlds.com