The final four heats for the gold fleet commenced in a steady south-westerly that increased 10 to15 knots during the program. The tidal stream increased from 0.5 to 1.5 knots.
The anticipated battle between the two top ranked competitors Joshua MCKENZIE-BROWN and Andrew MAY, both from New Zealand, lived up to expectations. After yesterday's racing, MCKENZIE-BROWN held a one point lead over MAY and there was a seven point gap back to Barry COATES (AUS) in third.
In the first race of the day, Australian Duncan MACGREGOR led at the first mark. On the next windward, the two young Kiwis were fighting it out and swapping places, allowing the Aussie trio of MACGREGOR, Chris COOK and Genevieve WICKHAM to cross the line ahead.
It was the seasoned Australian, Barry COATES, who took maximum advantage of the Kiwi match race going on in race two. COATES took the win from MCKENZIE-BROWN and MAY. Chris COOK, who had also been in the mix right around the course, finished fourth.
MCKENZIE-BROWN was buried at the start of heat three and MAY made the most of his opportunity. The Aussie pair of COATES and COOK, who regularly race each other either side of the New South Wales and Queensland border, revived their old rivalry and MCKENZIE-BROWN could not get past. He finished fourth.
The final warning signal of the day was made with just seconds to go before the time limit expired - Principal Race Officer, Peter CARR (NZL), was intent on completing the full programme.
After the gun, MAY was the first of the young Kiwis to get right and out of the tide and built a small gap on MCKENZIE-BROWN and COATES. But the young Aucklander hadn't given up. There was a tacking duel on the second beat and MCKENZIE-BROWN slipped ahead of MAY, but the new leader clipped the final top mark and made his penalty turn on the downwind perilously close to his challenger. It was MCKENZIE-BROWN, MAY and COATES in close order across the finish, and it seemed MCKENZIE-BROWN had won the series with a point in hand.
Following the last couple of races, both COATES and MAY had paid a visit to committee boat to advise their intent to protest MCKENZIE-BROWN for separate incidents. Back at the ex-Team New Zealand base in Viaduct Harbour, the onshore venue for the Championships, both sailors lodged formal protests and the presentations were delayed pending the outcome.
The International Jury heard the protest from COATES first and disqualified MCKENZIE-BROWN from race three for tacking and failing to give COATES opportunity to keep clear. MCKENZIE-BROWN was visibly upset at the decision that moved him from first to second place, and did not remain at the venue for the subsequent hearing. MAY's protest, for interfering with another boat when taking a penalty, was heard in MCKENZIE-BROWN's absence and he was scored DSQ for race four as well, moving him further down the order.
After results were re-calculated, Andrew MAY won the Access Liberty Open World Championship with an eight-point margin to Barry COATES, who was another 10 points clear of Chris COOK. May also won the Inaugural Kiwi Cup and IFDS Championship for sailors with a disability. Chris COOK was second in this competition and MCKENZIE-BROWN third.
MAY, a seasoned campaigner in the 2.4mR class, is fairly new to the Liberty. "I really enjoyed sailing the Liberty and hope to do more racing in the class", he said. "The racing was great and it is good to have such close competition out on the water each day".
The Access Liberty Servo World Championship, for sailors using full servo control of sheets and helm, was won by Canadian David COOK. COOK, a Paralympic Sailing silver medallist from Atlanta, and who just dipped out on representing Canada in Qingdao this year, was very enthusiastic about the event. "The standard of racing in the Liberty has lifted over the past few years, and it is great to see so many young sailors and women on the race course", he said.
The silver fleet trophies were presented by Louis Vuitton's Bruno TROUBLÉ, in Auckland for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in AC Class Yachts. First placed was Krista BAILEY (AUS) with Angus MACGREGOR (AUS) second and Michael JONES (NZL) third. Best sailor using full servo was Bill BRADLEY (AUS). To round out the prizegiving, TROUBLÉ presented a bottle of champagne to the highest placed female overall, Annabelle TYE (NZL).
Sailability Auckland organized the inaugural Glenn Family Foundation Kiwi Cup with racing conducted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. It is hoped that the next Kiwi Cup will be held in Wellington in two years time.
Find out more at http://www.sailabilityauckland.org.nz/kiwicup.html
ISAF Disabled Sailing microsite - www.sailing.org/disabled