It was tight at the top as the final day of racing commenced at the Seawind F18 World Championship, being sailed in the waters off Rydges Capricorn Resort, in Yeppoon, Queensland. Going into the final three races on Sunday, there was just a single point between the triple World Champions BOOTH and the double World Champion BUNDOCK. However the Australian pair, who are also the current World Champions and the world #1 crew in the Tornado Olympic Class, held the better discards and therefore the advantage. Whilst BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS put the pressure on with a second place and a bullet in the day's first two races, the Aussies were able to respond and raced their Dutch rivals down the fleet in the final race to secure the title.
Back on the shore, BUNDOCK was smiling. 'It's been fantastic racing against Mitch, when he is hot he is hot, and it's been a fantastic battle this week.
'It came down the last race, if we had the opportunity; the plan was to drive him down the fleet, as we had a better pair of discards. Luckily we chased Mitch down to the pin and we were able to start above him and press him down and then we covered him on the tacks. We rounded the first mark fourth last and Mitch was never going to get back to third in the fleet from there, so we had mission accomplished.
'It's great to win our third F18 Worlds, my tenth Worlds Championship; we've had a tremendous year. We have two weeks before the European Tornado season starts now, its going to be a giant year with the Olympics 18 months away.'
BOOTH commented, 'Darren and Glenn sailed really well. We are just happy that we can mix it up with these guys, they are a seasoned team, they are two times F18 World Champions, Tornado World Champions, A Class Champions, ISAF World Champions....and it seems they've won just about everything they've sailed in the last 12 months. 'We had a costly incident in the first race today. We were comfortably leading when we touched the mark in the first race and had to do a 360 that cost us two places, we fought back but it cost us the win. Then in the final and deciding race, they had a one place better discard; they did a good job match racing us out of that last race.
'We are a new combination, we have a lot of training to do and we'll be keen to have another crack at them.'
Sunday was yet another beautiful day in Yeppoon - the sun was bright and the sky blue, the breeze about 14-16 knots.
Thirteen seems to have been unlucky for the Race Officials with two general recalls at the start of race 13. There was a strong possibility that the fleet could be Black Flagged.
After the third General Recall BUNDOCK and ASHBY started on the pin end, covered by BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS one up. BUNDOCK and ASHBY had been getting the best of the false starts in the tussle with BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS.
A big squall appeared over North Keppel Island, which 'sucked air' for quite a while, and the left hand side of the course was favoured.
The Black Flag appeared. There was a clean start and as expected with a Black Flag raised, the fleet 'hung back'. BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS had the pin from BUNDOCK and ASHBY, who were back in the second row, but sailed up almost on the shoulder of BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS.
Around the first mark it was Billy BESSON and Arnaud JARLEGAN (FRA) ahead of Jean-Christophe MOURNIAC and Franck CITEAU (FRA). BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS were third, about a boat length back. Hugh STYLES and Tom PEEL (GBR) were fourth, then Carolijn BROUWER, sailing with her replacement crew of Jeroen VAN LEEUWEN (BEL), was sixth. BUNDOCK and ASHBY were back in ninth.
At the next mark, BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS had taken the lead, rivals BUNDOCK and ASHBY were back in seventh. There was a gap to BESSON and JARLEGAN who were second, then MOURNIAC and CITEAU a boat length back in third.
The answer, for these two teams at least, was the left....just.
BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS rounded the mark in third place and BUNDOCK and ASHBY did not improve on seventh place. BESSON and JARLEGAN made up ground and rounded in first place, then STYLES and PEEL made up two places to round in second, with BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS dropping back to third.
Coming down the run, both BOOTH and BUNDOCK went right. Out on the left BESSON and JARLEGAN banged the corner hard and crossed the line first from BOOTH, who made up one place from the last mark to second. STYLES and PEEL fell back to third, with MOURNIAC and CITEAU in fourth. BUNDOCK and ASHBY finished fifth. This is their worst result so far and should be their drop.
At the next mark, the top two remained the same, with the Aussies making up ground on BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS. BOOTH underlayed the mark and had to put in an extra tack, BUNDOCK took advantage and closed the gap.
A possible scenario for BUNDOCK going into race 15, was for him to take BOOTH off the course so that BOOTH scored five or worse. BOOTH would then lose his five discard. But if BOOTH got a clean start, then it was game over.
So, it all came down to the last race!
BOOTH ran down the line towards the pin, but BUNDOCK caught him and at the start forced him low and starboard. BOOTH was pinned, BUNDOCK was sailing BOOTH off the course and towards the rear of the fleet.
BUNDOCK and ASHBY headed back to the beach, they did not finishing the race. With discards, the Aussies had taken the championship by one point from BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS. BESSON and JARLEGAN took the bronze medal.
Paul Effeny, Commodore of Keppel Bay Sailing Club and Principal Race Officer for the Championship said, 'The windy start to the Championship was tough. The weather has been glorious the last few days, the sailors have been pushing hard on the starts, so that's had us on our toes, but it's been a great week. I am very proud of our great team of volunteers.'
Mark LARUFFA, the Event Coordinator, was all smiles. 'Darren's on top of the world right now and Mitch gave it to him, right to the last, and a great effort. We had 15 races, it was windy, but after all, we sail F18s to go fast and we sure did!
'For me, sailing was not too successful, had flashes of my old self but event organizing and then racing at our best is just too demanding.
'The best part of today for me was down on the beach; I was talking to a Dutch sailor and asked him what he thought of the regatta. He smiled at me and said 'Not bad.'
'I said 'Not Bad!' Was it better than France? He said..'oh yes!' Was it better than Holland?, 'oh yes!' Was it better than Italy? 'Oh yes!' So this has been the best of the last four Worlds? 'Easily' said the Dutchman.
'Well that is good enough for me' said LARUFFA.
Top Ten Results
|1||AUS||Darren BUNDOCK||Glenn ASHBY||1||1||2||2||1||2||2||3||2||1||1||2||(5)||2||(78) DNF||22|
|2||NED||Mitch BOOTH||Pim NIEUWENHUIS||2||(5)||1||1||2||1||4||1||1||3||3||1||2||1||(18)||23|
|3||FRA||Billy BESSON||Arnaud JARLEGAN||4||(13)||(7)||5||5||5||1||2||4||2||5||4||1||4||4||46|
|4||GBR||Hugh STYLES||Tom PEEL||(78) DNF||(10)||4||6||6||3||5 RDG||6||6||4||2||5||3||3||1||54|
|5||NED||Mischa HEEMSKERK||Cristopher RASLEY||8||2||3||4||(78) DNF||6||3||4||5||6||4||3||7||(10)||9||64|
|6||FRA||Jean-Christophe MOURNIAC||Franck CITEAU||3||7||10||3||10||4||7||10||(78) DNF||(17)||7||9||4||6||2||82|
|7||BEL||Carolijn BROUWER||Jeroen VAN LEEUWEN||7||8||6||9||3||10||(78) DNF||9||8||8||(13)||10||6||7||5||96|
|8||AUS||Steve BREWIN||Andrew WILLIAMS||6||4||9||8||4||8||8||(28)||10||5||12||6||15||12||(16)||107|
|9||ESP||Fernando ECHAVARRI||Anton PAZ||5||3||5||(17)||8||18||11||16||3||11||(20)||16||8||14||6||123|
|10||AUS||Brad COLLETT||Taylor BOOTH||(78) DNF||19||(78) DNF||7||11||15||6||5||9||10||8||8||11||9||12||130|