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Tornado Worlds: Australia takes world title at a canter

by Richard Gladwell 10 Jan 2019 05:51 PST 11 January 2019

Brett Burvill and Max Puttman (AUS) are the new Int Tornado class world champions, bringing to an end the string of seven consecutive titles won by Greek crew Iordanis Paschalidis and Konstantinos Trigkonis (GRE) who but did not defend in Auckland.

Burvill and Puttman placed second overall in the 2018 World Championships sailed in La Grande Motte, France, and stepped up to win the 2019 world title after dominating the series - winning six of the ten races sailed.

Jorg Steiner and Michael Gloor (SUI) took second overall a comfortable 13pts behind the Australians, and 16pts ahead of third.

The real race on the final day of the World Championship presented by Candida, was for third overall, with 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Rex Sellers crewed by his son Brett making a late charge for the final podium place.

Equally determined to hold out the Kiwis was the Youth Mixed crew of Estela Jentsch and Daniel Brown (GER).

The Takapuna seabreeze arrived earlier than yesterday and at start time was a pleasant 12kts increasing to 15kts. The breeze was well round to the north, prompting plenty of discussion as to which side of the course would pay. As with yesterday the tide was running strongly in the Rangitoto Channel where the course was set. Without getting into a discussion about tidal effect, both sides of the course were equally favoured by the tide - with the real test coming on the three downwind legs bucking into the ebb.

There was no obvious answer as to the favoured side and the fleet split into two groups - with one heading to the right, or Rangitoto side of the course, with the rest opting to head up the East Coast Bays.

Sellers went right, and came out of it OK being in the top three at the windward mark.

Burvill and Puttman took the left, but were the first crew to break away and close down the group on the Rangitoto shore who looked to have made a very good gain with the tide and a shift, but most hung on too long and lost the advantage.

The Australians rounded with a handy lead and were never really challenged for the race win. The rest of the fleet battled in their wake - with most choosing to work a loose middle course rather than banging a corner.

The Youth Mixed crew of Jentsch and Brown finished second getting what proved to be a vital point over the Sellers, in third.

For the second and final race of the day and series, the cloud moved over the course, softening the breeze.

Rex and Brett Sellers hit the leeward end of the start at pace, and with their game faces on - knowing they had to win the race if they were to make the podium, and then see what happened astern with Jentsch and Brown.

The Kiwi crew led around the first mark closely pursued by Steiner and Gloos (SUI), with Burvill and Puttman in third.

Jentsch and Brown looked to be a lost cause at Mark 1 being well back in the fleet, as the front three battled without really changing places.

The Sellers did what they had to, winning the race, and holding on impressively to stay ahead of the top two crews.

Behind Jentsch and Brown sailed impressively to work their way through the fleet getting into seventh place - enough to secure them third place by a point. Had they tied on points with the Sellers, the Kiwis with two race wins would have won the tiebreak.

Ashore the Australians, and Brett Burvill, in particular, was pleased to have finally won the world title after many attempts with various crews, however the combination with Puttman was slick and almost error free combined with excellent and consistent boatspeed. They looked their best under pressure being able to push hard and usually sorting out a clear lane clear of traffic sailing hard and fast.

It was a similar story for the Swiss crew of Steiner and Gloor, but they were not as consistent as the new world champions.

The battle for third was a game of the experience of the two Sellers, versus the ability and practice of Jentsch and Brown.

Rex Sellers claimed after the race that he and Brett had only sailed together on six days for the last two years - being at the Tornado Nationals. Their improved boatspeed on the final day he put down to changing a couple of battens.

The 68-year-old was pleased and philosophical about his performance. On reflection, it was a very good effort - marred by a premature start in Race 4 and a gear breakage in Race 3 which meant they had to count a maximum points score in their final points. But for that their battle would have been for second place rather than third.

Most outstanding feature of the regatta was the performance of the Mixed crews, particularly those with female helms, with one 14year old turning in a most impressive regatta helmimg an almost 30 year old boat, that was well overweight, and with a combined crew weight of just 110kg.

For final reults click here

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