Sunfish Worlds 2009 report

By Thierry S.Huguenin

Seventy-two sailors representing 14 countries competed in the 39rd Sunfish Worlds, which were hosted by the Nassau Yacht Club.

On Friday and Saturday multiple sailors had issues with broken goose-necks. Brent -SailFast13- Burrows (BAH): “I was one of the unlucky ones. After I sailed out of the harbor before the wind (3bft) and then lifted up, the thing broke off like a matchstick. With the halyard I then tied the boom to the mast and sailed back. Tonight new goose-necks will be flown in by plane, so everything should be in order for the practice race tomorrow.”

On Tuesday the jury decided that 21 rudder blades were not Class legal: they needed to be replaced. Because of shortage of new ones some blades of Nassau YC Sunfishes were used.

The Sunday practice race had 2 general recalls. Due to heavy wind and tricky waves many competitors decided not to finish. Marx Chirinos (VEN) won, Malcolm Smith (BMU) second, David Mendelblatt (USA) third.

The Bahamas has ended up being somewhat of a good luck charm for David Loring.

The Charleston, South Carolina native won his third Sunfish World Championships in Nassau with a net total of 28.6 points. He got his first championship title in 1995 in Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco, the last time the event was held in The Bahamas. And his second in 2006 on home waters.

The grueling championship came down to the final moments of the last regatta.

“Physically it was as tough as it got. I’ve never been through a Worlds or any regatta at this level where it’s come
down to the last 200 yards,” Loring said, “I was actually losing the regatta as I rounded the last mark. As I made it into the home stretch, I was sixth and I needed to be fourth in order to win overall.
I managed to pass three boats in a fight to the finish and ended up coming third in that race to win overall.”

His last minute rally put fellow Americans Paul-Jon Patin (30 points) in second place and David Mendelblatt (32 points) in third. Three-time Sunfish World Champion Donnie Martinborough was the Bahamas’ top finisher, coming in 13th overall (156 points). Charles Kelly was the second best Bahamian finisher in 2rd place (224 points) and Bahamian junior nationals champion Christopher Sands finished 27th overall (234 points).

“The wind conditions were tough, it blew in excess of 20 knots all week long and it’s ironic, but those kinds of wind conditions aren’t what Bahamian sailors are used to,” said Martinborough, “We all trained really hard in the usual conditions experienced here, so it was really disappointing for us to be so prepared, but end up with such different wind conditions.”

“These things happen, you can’t predict the weather, and you have to be able to sail in all conditions in order to be the best and that proved to be more than the case this week,” he said, adding, “I think another week it could have been a whole different outcome because the level of sailing was that good.”

“The level of the competition was really good. The top five competitors were fighting until the very last race, which made the regatta really exciting. The hosts did a wonderful job of putting on this event,” said Andres Santana, International Sunfish Class president.

The top 10 finishers as well as the first female overall and top finishers in the master divisions were all presented with one-of-a-kind driftwood with bronze sea life sculpture trophies created by Pete Johnston’s Foundry in Abaco. The Ministries of Tourism and Youth, Sports and Culture and a number of corporate sponsors including Pictet Bank Sc Trust, Atlantis and Fun Foods Wholesale (Nestle Ice Cream) lent much needed logistical and financial support.

In addition to the race winners, special trophies were awarded to:

Youngest sailorDavid Lorshbaugh (USA)
Oldest sailorPedro Wassitsch (AUT)
Top Master
Top WomanPhilipine van Aanholt (AHO)
Top Youth Art van Aanholt (AHO)
Marco Polo Award
Sportsmanship AwardAlyson Myers (USA)
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