Chris Brittle, Junior World Champion. It came down to the last day of racing to decide on the 2001 Finn Gold Cup Winner (World Champion) and Junior World Champion.
With only 4 points separating the top 3 yesterday, today promised some interesting action. After a very close battle, Sebastien Godefroid won the first race, Mateusz finished in 3rd place just in front of early leader Emilios Papathanasiou. The championship would have to be decided on the last race!
The conditions were equally as testing as yesterday. The wind that was averaging 18 knots when the first race started, increased to a steady 25 knots with gusts reaching 28 knots in the second race. The sea was a 2 meters steep swell.
Race one started on time with an individual recall that disqualified American sailor, Russ Silvestri for the second time in the regatta.
"Like yesterday, I was planning on a conservative start," explained Sebastien Godefroid, the new World Champion, " I stayed with the others on the first start and decided not to push too hard." Sebastien rounded the top mark in 8th places, then gained a lot of ground on the reaches to place 3rd at the bottom mark behind Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Ali Enver Adakan, still in the lead of the race since the start. "I was fresh on the second beat, as I had not hiked too much on the first one, and was then able to pass Mateusz" commented Sebastien. On the second downwind leg, Mateusz started to catch up on the Belg who had begun to be very fired up and started to pump the sail on one to one. Once in second position again, Sebastien started to go for Ali, while still controlling Mateusz. "I was getting closer to Ali, when I got a 30 seconds gap without waves. That was enough for me to pass him, 50 meters before the finishing line."
Behind Ali Enver Adakan, came Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Emilios Papathanasiou. Sebastien Godefroid had only a few points over his rivals and anything was still possible. In the Junior contest, Chris Brittle got the advantage over Charlie Cumbley by scoring 7 points, while Charlie collected 23.
The wind increased to 25 knots by the second race and 10 boats headed home!
Mateusz Kusznierewicz gave it all on the second race, knowing it was his last chance to make it providing Sebastien would finish 6 places behind. The current World Champion and 1996 Gold medallist led the fleet to the top mark and conserved his lead until the second beat. In the meantime, Sebastien, 6th at the top mark, was gaining ground on the Pole to place 3rd at the leeward mark. Emilios Papathanasiou was 7th at the top mark and getting closer as well. On the second beat, Sebastien went more to the right of the course than Mateusz and Ali, in second position, to round the top mark ahead. The second downwind was a hard call between speed and control of the boat. The two leaders were often on the verge of capsizing. "When I passed Mateusz at the second top mark, I knew that I would have to try hard to stay in front of him on the run, we kept pushing each other to our limit until I decided it was better to come second in the race and win the Championship than risking to capsize and lose everything" commented Sebastien after the race.
The last race of the championship went to Mateusz Kusznierewicz. The Pole could not add a third World title to his collection and had to be satisfied with a Silver. Sebastien Godefroid in second position was declared World Champion! Emilios Papathanasiou, 2001 European Champion, finished in 7th place to get Bronze. "I am satisfied with my result as I know that I have tried my best" declared Emilios. "With a bad race early in the regatta, I couldn't take too many risks. Also I didn't have my own boats and the feelings were very different."
Chris Brittle finished in 11th place in this last race. The young British sailor not only won the Finn Junior World Championship title but also performed by taking 4th place overall. First master is Canadian Larry Lemieux in 16th place.
Tonight, the Gold Cup and many prizes will be awarded at Eastern Yacht Club.
Thank you to Eastern Yacht Club for a great Championship. We had a hard start with some sad events and two days without racing. Luckily we had a very efficient Racing Committee who made the most of a wide range of conditions. The work of the Jury and measurers was first class and all the sailors were happy with their decision to come and race in America.
1 Sebastien Godefroid BEL
2 Mateusz Kusznierewicz POL
3 Emilios Papathanasiou GRE
14 Russ Silvestri USA
18 Greg Skidmore USA
24 Geoff Ewenson USA
Finn Junior World Championship
1 Chris Brittle GBR
2 Charlie Cumbley GBR
3 Stefan de Vries NED