Dutch crew crowned World F18 sailing champions

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After 14 years of competing in F18 World Championships, Gunnar Larsen was finally crowned champion of the World with Ferdinand van West.

The event was held at Bangor and hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Belfast Lough offered a minefield on Friday’s final day for the competitors to make their way through in light variable wind, and unfortunately the young Americans were the first to falter.

Race 1 (13) saw Glenn Ashby and Brett Goodall power away from the pin end of the line while the committee boat side had little breeze.

Those that tacked off to clear air or try the right hand side of the course got left behind and this included USA team Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead. Girvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot rounded the windward mark in the top five while Larsen and Ferdinand got caught up in the traffic behind.

Ashby/Goodall went on to secure the first of three bullets for the final day, it could have been more with the overall position might have been without the hull damage on Day Three. Bontemps/ Amiot closed the gap on Larsen/ van West but Reiss/ Whitehead were now looking at third place.

Race Two (14) saw Bontemps/ Amiot again get in front of Larsen/ van West until the last downward leg but Gunnar somehow got in front before the finish.

In the final race (15), a shift at the start and light winds on the left hand course stranded half of the fleet. Simon (Nobby) Northrop/Josh O’Brien and Grant Piggot/Simon Farren restored a bit of pride for GBR leading into the windward mark. Larsen/ van West emerged from the middle of the fleet and worked their way into second place behind Ashby/Goodall with Bontemps/ Amiot back in the fleet with Reiss/ Whitehead.

This was the first time all 15 races were sailed in the World Championship with great racing, weather and race management, the hospitality was second to none and the welcome from Northern Ireland surpassed previous World Championships.

Results: 1.Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West NED; 2.Girvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot FRA; 3.Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead USA (1st Junior); 4.Morgan La Graviere and Armaud Jarlegan FRA.; 5.Tim Mourniac and Jean Christophe Mourniac FRA.