by Rob Burn
Taylor Burn, 2011 Splash Worlds
Rob Burn reports from the final day's racing in the Splash Worlds:
Taylor Burn is the latest New Zealand Sailing World Champion.
Taylor sailed hard and consistently over a wide range of conditions experienced in the eight races of the 12th Splash Class World Championship. His points tally was just 15 including one discard which gave him a 54 point lead on his closest competitor.
Wind was promised today and wind we woke up to. The first race got away at 10.00 am but due to a huge windshift, the race was frustratingly abandoned, O'Shea was only 100 meters from the Finish, Taylor was right behind him with quite a gap back to the fleet.
It took more than an hour for the wind to change, drop, develop again and settle into a nice breeze and the next attempt underway. It was shifty though, and us fathers, sitting on the deck on a little restaurant overlooking the course, continually had kittens as our sailors had great starts and tragic ones, went from the front of the fleet to the back after missing major shifts, or in Taylor's case, falling out of the boat completely while in second place after being hit by a strong gust.
Four races were run back to back, the last started with 30 minutes to spare, there were some very tired sailors who had really sailed in five races taking around an hour per race.
Taylor's job was to sail conservatively today, nothing flash, just get the job done. O'Shea had a point to prove and sailed out of his skin with a 1st and 2nd as well as a couple in the early teens. The last race was a thriller with the Dutch sailor getting a huge lead but Taylor and O'Shea swapping 2nd and 3rd while closing in on the leader at the finish, Our Dutch friend stayed in front but only just, O'Shea lee-bow tacked Taylor right on the finish and slowed him enough to sneak past, a great finale.
Harris had a consistent day, 10th, 11th, 21st and 13th, considering his relative lack of big fleet experience, a very good day. Evangeline struggled to put good races together but hooked into a great left hand shift, 3rd at the top mark, finishing 7th, one of her best of the regatta.
Eight races were better than four, we had our World Championship series and a bonus four races after no wind for two days which could have been longer. The conditions were certainly challenging and the Czech hospitality fantastic.
The heavens opened just before the outdoor prizegiving, a good excuse to have a drink and a recap of the days racing.
The Closing ceremony ended up being sunny and warm, plenty of trophies, speeches and a great Haka from the Kiwi Team. It was a very proud moment seeing my Kiwi standing at the top of the dias, the New Zealand Flag aloft behind him and the World Champion Trophies in his arms.
The young sailors are out celebrating all together, some of us are about to pack ready for a 6am start tomorrow, off to Munich ready for the long trip home.....can't wait to get back now.
A huge thank you to all our Sponsors, to our Yacht Clubs, our friends, family and everyone who wished the Team well over the last week or two and helped us compete at the Splash Worlds 2011.