Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have won the 2009 49er World Championships in Riva del Garda, Italy, taking victory by a comfortable 15 points over Great Britain's John Pink and Rick Peacock.
The Australian Sailing Team pair went into the final day of the regatta with a slender lead and had a consistent day on the water, keeping their competition in check and bringing home the Gold medal.
Outteridge, skipper and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games representative, said the victory was the perfect way to start the pair's campaign as the World Championships was just their second regatta together.
“It's pretty hard to win your first two regattas together but to have the Worlds as one of them is awesome,” said Outteridge. “I couldn't be any happier at this stage, we had a good range of conditions here and we performed well in all of them.”
“The key to our win was being consistent and at the end of the regatta we only dropped 18 points while others around us were dropping 30 odd,” he said. “We came here thinking that a finish in the top five or top ten would be good but to take the victory it couldn't have gone any better.”
Jensen was just as pleased, with the hard work the pair has been putting in on and off the water paying off.
“We've been doing a lot of training in the last few months, working on some areas where we weren't quite as quick as we'd like to be,” said Jensen. “In Holland in May we were quick in the light winds and we knew we had a bit of work to do in the heavier stuff we'd face here in Italy so we've worked hard at that and it's paid off.”
“It's great to be successful so early in the partnership,” he said.
The final day of racing featured two heats and the medal race with the early races held in winds of 17 to 19 knots. The Australian Sailing Team crew went into the medal race with a five point lead of local sailors Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello with racing held in eight to 12 knot winds.
In the medal race the Australians had a slow start and were in eighth place half way up the first beat. By exploiting one shift of gust near the top mark they rounded the first mark in sixth.
“Then the real good stuff begun to happen,” said 49er coach Emmett Lazich. “The boys were blessed with a good burst of pressure down the early part of this run, and got the inside line on most boats ahead.”
“Perfect gybe timing and execution allowed a pass on three of those boats which put them into third position. If they could hold third, then no matter where anyone else placed, they would be the champions. But they went one better and moved into second place, passing the Sibello brothers,” said Lazich.
Outteridge and Jensen held onto second place for a fairly comfortable overall win.
Elsewhere in the gold fleet the Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Will and Sam Phillips finished 15th overall, a great performance given it was Sam's second ever 49er regatta outside Australia while fellow Australian's Euan McNicol and Sam Newton finished 19th, another strong result in their first European summer campaign together.
In the silver fleet Chris Nicholson and Ben Austin finished the regatta seventh, ahead of David O'Conner and Robert Bell in 10th and Steven Thomas and Kyle Langford in 16th.
Brothers Clint and Ty Marshall finished fifth in the bronze fleet, with Sean O'Rourke and Harry Bethwaite 15th and Robert Gibbs and James Garnaut 17th.
For more information go to www.australiansailingteam.com.au
– Craig Heydon, YA.