Master Sunfish sailor, Malcolm SMITH of Bermuda outdistanced a distinguished international field, including three other former world champions, to win the 2003 Sunfish World Championships that concluded Saturday in St. Maarten.
Smith, a very focused and experienced sailor played the varying - occasionally nonexistent - winds off Little Bay to take the nine race series: Leading the Gold Fleet he took first place in three races, second place in two races, third in two and fourth in one race. This is Smith's third world championship.
In Sunfish sailing the racers win by accumulating the least number of points, the Low Point System. One point is awarded for a first place finish, two points for a second place, and so on to the last place sailor with the most number of points. They're allowed to discard one race in the scoring.
Hank SAURAGE of the USA, a very strong early favourite, finished second, with nineteen year old prodigy Diego ZIMMERMAN of Peru taking the hard-fought third place. Closely behind were Cor Van AANHOLT of Curacao and Erwin VELDMAN of Holland rounding out the top five. Posy SIEFERT of the USA was the top female finisher at 21 place just ahead of USA teammate Leslie DANE in 23. The top junior was Michael COLLINS, finishing in 14 position overall.
The Silver Fleet contest was in many ways as interesting as the top racers' Gold Fleet. From the start of the series Team USA dominated the standings and in the end taking the first three spots. Tony ELLIOTT won first place, followed by Dan KARNOVSKY in second and veteran female racer Jean BERGMAN in third. Junior racer, 17 year-old Alberto ABREU of the Dominican Republic came fourth, with Jaap 't HOEN of Curacao filling out the top five. As in previous races, Team USA's battery of Grand Masters figured heavily taking places 6-12 in the final standings.
At the closing ceremony at the Divi Little Bay Resort The Honorable Franklyn RICHARDS, Lt. Governor of Sint Maarten, presented the Sunfish Perpetual Trophy to World Champion Malcolm SMITH. Other dignitaries including Mr. Theo HEYLIGER, Commissioner of Tourism were in attendance. Race Organizers Robbie FERRON of Budget Marine and his wife Cary BYERLEY received well-deserved plaques of appreciation for their work and on behalf of the 33 volunteers that kept the week long event on track. St. Maarten Yacht Club Commodore Jerry BLAKESLEE was awarded a plaque from the Sunfish Class Association's President Grand Master Dick TILLMAN.
Complete final standings in the 2003 Sunfish World Championships can be seen at the St. Maarten Yacht Club website at the address below.