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Belcher and Ryan continue winning streak in 470 class 50th anniversary

by Mat Belcher & Will Ryan on 13 Aug 2013
2013 World Champions Mat Belcher & Will Ryan
Australia's 470 sailors Mat Belcher and Will Ryan discuss the amazing year they've had so far, including their winning streak.

Well what a year. The 2013 470 World Championships marked the 50th anniversary of the 470, with many past, present and future champions present during the championships. La Rochelle, played host to the junior, masters and open world championships over two consecutive weeks.

It was a special venue for me, as it was the birth place of my sailing career, winning the 420 World Championships back in 2000. It was a great feeling to go back to the venue where things started for myself. We were kept busy during the lead up to the championships with an extensive onshore program to celebrate the achievements of many past champions.

We can't tell you how happy we are to take this title. The added pressure of our 'winning streak' this year and last meant we were undefeated coming into this event since team up. Something that is slightly unusual being a new team in the class but extremely rewarding. The championship chose a modified racing format to that of the Europeans. So your qualifying scores only counted as one race. We started the championships in great form with a one, one, two, one. However, unlike all previous world championships we were not allowed to carry to these scores through. Our qualifying scores were totalled to count as one final race only, we therefore decided to miss the last qualifying race to rest before the final series.

It was a close fought battle with many top teams, and the racing was intense. In what was our highest scoring event in almost two years, consistency was the key. Multiple sailing course areas were used which made it difficult to get accustomed to the conditions. Significant current also played havoc on the course producing some big scores if you got the timing wrong. With no more than 10 points separating the leaders the championship was always going to come down to the medal race. Keeping things simple we stayed with our main competitor and crossed the line just in front to secure the title. This title marked the fourth consecutive world championship win for myself and the first as a new team, adding to the Open European championships win a few months back.

As most of you know, this year has been extremely busy for us. Having competed in nine events this season, we are looking forward to some rest. This win keeps our winning streak alive now at nine events, and another eight events prior with Malcolm, a total of 17 events in a row. The racing and results have been extremely close in these events as many of you know, so we are very humbled to come out on top. In a touch of coincidence, we won this championship on exactly the one year anniversary of my Olympic games medal race. So maybe it was fate?

Thank you all for your kind words of support, on our Facebook page. We are very lucky to have such a big team around us, pushing and guiding us in the right direction. To our amazing coach now having won 16 470 world championships, to our amazing partners to tolerating our travels this year, friends and families thank you for your support. We will enjoy this moment, as things are just getting a whole lot harder come next year.

Hopefully see you all in a few months, when my wife and I re-surface after the birth. Belcher Ryan 2016

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