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RS Feva Worlds: Kiwis win two medals on tense final day - Day 5

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 27 Jul 12:40 NZST 27 July 2019
Overall leaders Simon Cooke and Oskar Masfen (NZL) - Day 3 of the 2019 RS Feva World Championships, Follonica Bay, Italy © Elena Giolai / Fraglia Vela Riva

New Zealand crews won the Open World Championship for the RS Feva class, and won the Silver medal in the World Championship for sailors 18 year or younger.

Racing was again held in 7-8kt winds which have been typical for every day of the regatta sailed at Follonica, on the coats of Tuscany, Italy.

Going into the final day New Zealand crews were poised to take both the Open and U-18 World titles, however the pressure of the situation, plus the conditions were the undoing of many in the top ten overall, save for the series leader Simon Cooke and Oskar Masfen (NZL) and the top two female crews from UK. The performance of one crew Alice Taylor and Abby Hire (GBR) was sufficient to lift them into the Bronze Medal position in the U-18 Gold fleet.

Both female crews and the overall winner were the only boats in the 67-boat Gold fleet who did not score at least one double-digit or alphabet place on the final day - underlining the pressure of the competition for the youth sailors.

Former world 470 champion Simon Cooke (NZL) crewed by Oskar Masfen, finished the regatta in fine style with two wins from the final two races. They finished the Final seven race round with five wins and three seconds, and counted a win in the Qualifying Series to score just 10pts under the low points system. They were a massive 60pts ahead of the Silver medalists in the Open fleet and Gold medalists in the U-18 fleet, Rauf Berry and Olly Peters (GBR).

Current P-class national champion, Blake Hinsley (NZL) sailing with Nicholas Drummond was consistent on the final day - scoring two 28th places, which might have been able to be accommodated in their points score to give them the U-18 Gold medal. But they finished in 29th place on the first day of the Finals - which was really their undoing, and added to the pressure on the Final day. That result turned a 18pt lead in the U-18 event into a 12pt deficit in the final points score.

It was a similar but different story for the third New Zealand crew, Josh Hyde and Zach Fong who scored 24th and 14th on the Final day. Unfortunately they also had the legacy of some double digit places from earlier in the regatta and dropped down to 15th overall in the Open fleet.

Cooke/Masfen along with Hinsley/Drummond started at the pin end of the start line in the first race of the day, with Cooke/Masfen rounding the first mark in fifth place, working their way through to the lead. Hinsley/Drummond rounded in 35th and recovered only slightly. Hyde/Fong started at the Committee boat end, rounded the first mark in 20th place and slide back slightly for 24th at the finish.

The lessons of this regatta will no doubt hurt for a very long time - and will be a vital learning experience in both of their sailing careers.

The two Kiwi crews were not alone in making the final day difficult for themselves. Berry and Peters (GBR) the eventual Gold medalists in the U-18 fleet were caught under the Black Flag rule for being over the start line on the final minute of pre-start, scoring maximum points. Fortunately that was able to be their discard race, but they had to count a 27th from earlier in the series in their final score.

In the Silver fleet, Amelie Marseille and Daniel Brodie (Manly SC) had their best race of the series on the final day, finishing 6th in the penultimate race, but were unable to maintain that form in the final race of the day, finishing 27th in their 67 boat division.

The regatta was contested by 200 boats from 23 nations. The 2020 worlds will be held at Travemunde, Germany, with the 2021 Worlds set for Auckland, New Zealand coincident with the 36th America's Cup regatta.

Full results are at www.rsfeva.org

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