After the penultimate day of racing Alex Taylor and Bryan Mobbs (GBR) had already done enough to seal their win of the Magic Marine RS500 World Championships and so stayed ashore today to watch the rest of the fleet battle it out to position themselves as high as possible on the overall leader board. Finishing the week with a silver medal were 2010 World Champions GBR Tim Wilkins and Heather Martin who posted consistent results in the top six all week. They were closely followed by Dutch team Barend Hilternann and Max Blom in bronze position who were virtually untouchable in high winds. Their incredibly effective and fast sailing style got everybody talking at the bar!
A truly mixed week of sailing conditions meant that Taylor / Mobbs had to perform well at all ends of the sailing spectrum, and they proved worthy winners, never dropping below fourth place in a fleet of nearly 60 boats. The win was all the more sweet for crew Mobbs who has, in a long sailing career, scored a fourth, third and two seconds at various World Championships – but never before the overall title. Helm Taylor gave a heart-warming speech on the podium as he thanked his crew and the huge team of organisers. He also acknowledged the friendly spirit of the RS500 class that went a long way to making the event such a success.
The last day of racing was perhaps the trickiest and resulted in 13 competitors being disqualified under the black flag and the race was sailed in a very light and dying breeze; it was French team Nico Honor and Olivia Maincent who delivered their first bullet. GBR Mike Saul and Meg Fletcher posted a second, putting them fourth overall in the competition. GBR Allan and Linda Fraser got their best result of the week with a third, putting their light wind sailing abilities to the test.
The prize-giving was hosted by RS500 International Chairman Michiel Geerling who handed out prizes from the generous sponsor Magic Marine, many to people who had entertained the fleet both on and off the water. Michiel and his team of sailors from Holland had worked hard behind the scenes to make the World Championships one to remember, yet again!
The first amongst a total of seven all-female crews were Dutch Olympic Laser Radial sailors Marit Bouwmeester and Claire Blom, who were closely followed by GBR sisters Jeni and Kate Tod placing 13th and 15th overall respectively. Forming the other teams were 11 female helms and 25 female crews.
Hong Kong team Cosmas Grelon and Will Stephens were the highest positioned youth team (under 18) placing an impressive fifth overall with a consistent set of results. The masters prize went to GBR Jeremy Bickerton and Derek Ness who sailed their RS500 for the first time at Cowes Dinghy Week on the Isle of Wight just two weeks ago – their results improved impressively throughout the week…one to watch for next year?
RS500 sailors proved they can lead the way both on the water and on the dance floor after enjoying a black tie ball in the decked out hangar at the venue last night. Perhaps our ‘Dutch’ party earlier in the week was good practice for this!
Sailors leave the Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth not just as fellow competitors, but many also as friends. People are already talking about the next World Championships, which are due to be held at Lake Garda in July 2012, as well as an exciting European series of major events across Holland, Sweden and the UK in 2012. Can’t wait to see you all again and to welcome new members to the class!