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GBR's Lawrie Smith takes Dragon World title by closest of margins

by John Curnow on 15 Jan 2011
Lawrie Smith, Ossie Stewart and Tim Tavinor were thoroughly delighted with their win. - Dragon World Championship © Alex McKinnon http://www.alexmckinnonphotography.com

Apparently, not since 1978, when he was sailing a Fireball, has Britain’s Lawrie Smith won a World Championship, well that's according to a very reliable English sailing authority, and who are we to argue?.

Today on Melbourne’s Port Phillip, the sun came out finally with enough of a Southerly breeze and the crews were very much ready for the last on-water action of their World Championship. It is little surprise then that there was no one taking bets on whether there would be a clean start, but rather, the idea was it will be a general recall and then black flag, which is exactly what occurred.

Many of the favourites did not do as well as they had hoped, but Smith was virtually always in the top ten at the roundings to walk away with a sixth on the day and the championship as a result of better aggregate numbers once the drop had been included.

In the end Lawrie Smith, won on a countback, with a vital place saved right on the finish line - and with it his first world title in 32 years. That's a long time between drinks!

In second place is Markus Wieser (UKR) and crew on Bunker Queen, who sailed extremely consistently throughout the series with a best placing in the six race series of a fourth in Race 4, and were the only crew in the fleet with no placings outside the top ten.

The first of the Corinthian teams, Denmark’s My Way, (Frank Berg, Soren Holm and Saren Kastel) took third place after their win today.

The winning skipper, Lawrie Smith has not been sailing since the 1999 Volvo Ocean Race - and that’s 12 years ago!

Speaking at the clubhouse after the great win, Lawrie said, ‘Having four young kids took care of sailing for a while. The twins are now 13 years old, so it makes doing something like this possible. It really is such a joyous way to come back. I honestly did not think we’d get the win. Then again, I also thought it was going to blow 25 knots each day!’

Crewmember Tim Tavinor and owner of the boat builder Petticrows, was also on board Alfie. ‘I’m exhausted is all I can say. It is my first Dragon Worlds win too. Also, first and second overall were brand new boats delivered directly to the regatta. We had a really great time here and the on-water team were very, very professional.’

The third member of the team is Ossie Stewart, who said, ‘Tim’s boat is fantastic. We put a few new ideas into it and they really seemed to work.’

Tonight it is the gala reception for the awarding of trophies and the auction of the six regatta flags to benefit the recent Queensland flood victims.

For further information, please go to http://www.dragonworlds2011.com.au/
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