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British, Dutch sailors shine as Worlds conclude
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Muscat: The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships, organised by Oman Sail, concluded with a double for the Dutch, and with the British defending title.


Odile van Aanholt and Elise de Ruyter (NED) won the 49erFX world title, while countrymen Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken took matching golds in the 49er fleet. Both teams are new pairings since this summer, both teams made it hard on themselves on the last day, and both teams came through in the medal race when they needed to.


“It’s been a few years away from the 49er but it’s great to be back,” said Floris van der Werken, who didn’t have confirmation of the win until most of the fleet had finished.


“Bart did an amazing job of putting the boat in the right place.”


In the 49erFX, the Dutch pairing proved that a new team can take on the world. Van Aanholt’s and deRuyter’s respective partners were injured leading up to the worlds. But the strong training community in Holland proved that sailors were interchangeable.


Happy and loose on shore throughout the week, and with the support of both their parents on shore, the pair made the win look easy. “We’re so happy with what we’ve done here,” said de Ruyter. “It’s great to be out here in Oman with my father, and Odile with her parents, to celebrate together. But I’m looking forward to going back home, even if the weather is cold, just to do normal things again.”


Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen (NOR) kept their gold medal hopes alive by gaining six points on the Dutch in the last fleet race. In the medal race, the Norwegians sailed brilliantly, smoothly gybing into the top three downwind, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Dutch.


Double Olympic gold medalists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), were also unable to mount a real challenge, despite passing half the fleet in the last downwind leg and ended up in third.


Too Close To Call in 49er


In the 49er, the points were exceedingly close as the flying Dutchmen won by only two points in the end. In the final fleet race of the series this morning, the Dutch lost a number of points to the Germans, Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf (GER). A protest was lodged against the Dutch by the Danish team of Frederick Rask and Jacob Precht Jensen, who were sitting in third overall. After considerable deliberation over the port/starboard incident, the Dutch were disqualified from the final fleet race, and went into the medal race having dropped to second.


This is the first time any nation has ever won both the 49er and 49erFX titles simultaneously. The Dutch sailing federation went all-in with the 49erFX squad in 2012, bringing all their high performance teams together, continuously rotating the sailors around. They had initial success in the 49erFX, and now, a decade later, it’s paying off in the 49er as well.


Brits Double World Champs, While Young Italians Join Party


John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) have won the 2021 Nacra 17 World Championship, the British successfully defending the title they won in Australia back in early 2020. They started the day in the lead, with Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER) sitting a few points behind and ended up confidently foiling down the last run of the medal race, finishing third, winning the event by nine points. “I think that’s one of our big strengths is resetting in the race to stay focused,” said a visibly relieved Gimson as he hosed down his catamaran in the setting Omani sun. “Identifying what’s paid and getting back on to that. That’s what we spent our whole lives working on.”


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