by Craig Heydon
Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have kept their winning run alive with their biggest victory yet, claiming the 2013 470 World Championship in France overnight.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan after crossing the 470 Worlds finish line
On the one-year anniversary of Belcher’s gold medal win with Malcolm Page at the London 2012 Olympic Games the 30-year-old added another major title to his name, winning the World Championship alongside new crew Will Ryan.
The victory extends Belcher’s winning run to 17 straight regattas, stretching back to November 2011, with the last nine being alongside Ryan.
Belcher also became the first sailor to win four straight 470 World Championships, with 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of the class.
'It’s a bit surreal to win four World Championships in a row and wasn’t something that I had thought too much about before,' said Belcher. 'It’s unbelievable how quickly Will and I have stepped up to the level that Mal and I had.
'It’s a real credit to Will, I was quite relaxed this week having been in this position a number of times before but this is his first World Championship win,' he said. 'He was very calm during the critical moments on the water and I’m really happy that I can share this moment with him.'
The pair went into the eight-boat medal race seven points ahead of the second placed Greek team with the final race held in moderate conditions in La Rochelle.
'It was a good day on the water for us, to be honest there was a bit of relief at the end of it,' said Belcher. 'We needed to stay near the Greeks throughout the race to make sure we won and fortunately they made a slight error at the start and we just followed them out there.
'We both ended up towards the back of the fleet which was ideal for us as we crossed the line sixth to take the title,' he said. 'We had some really difficult conditions this week and we didn’t perform at our best the entire time but a lot of the top crews were in the same position.
'With the pressure of a World Championship and the 50th anniversary of the class there was a lot on this week and Will, Victor and I are very happy to have come away with the win,' said Belcher.
After a busy year the pair are now looking forward to some time off, with Belcher and wife Rike expecting their first child next month, before getting back into the boat to prepare for the Australian season.
In the women’s fleet Elise Rechichi and Sarah Cook finished eighth overall, an impressive result in their first World Championship together.
The pair headed into the medal race in sixth position following a great penultimate day on the water where they recorded a first and a second.
Rechichi and Cook crossed the line seventh in a tight final, to finish the event eighth overall.
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