Sailing World Champs: it’s a wrap
Published on August 20th, 2023
The Hague, Netherlands (August 20, 2023) – Hungary’s Maria Erdi came through an exceptionally tight medal race to claim the final gold of the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague.
The 25-year-old went into the ILCA 6 medal race in third spot, but was able to step up in the medal race, finishing third, which was enough to clinch a maiden world title.
Earlier in the day, Matt Wearn (AUS) confirmed his own global crown in the ILCA 7, safely negotiating the medal race to add a world title to his Olympic gold won in Tokyo.
And it was the host nation, the Netherlands, who finished these Allianz Sailing World Championships as the most successful nation. Gold medals for Luuc van Opzeeland in the iQFOiL and Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken in the 49er, ensuring they retain the IOC President’s Trophy for the best nation.
In addition to gold medals for Opzeeland, Lambriex and van de Werken, the Netherlands also took silver in the 49erFX courtesy of Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz. That saw them finish ahead of Israel who were second nation thanks to gold and silver in the iQFOiL Women, with Australia, France, Italy, Japan and Sweden all level in third.
USA has qualified for Paris 2024 in the following classes:
49er, achieved by Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid and Ian Barrows & Hans Henken
49er FX, achieved by Steph Roble & Maggie Shea
Women’s Formula Kite, achieved by Daniela Moroz
ILCA 6, achieved by Charlotte Rose and Erika Reineke
The next opportunity to qualify the United States in the remaining classes is the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile October 28 – November 5.
Entering the medal race four points behind leader Maud Jayet (SUI), Maria Erdi knew she had the chance to take a first gold medal of these Championships for Hungary.
And when the Swiss sailor picked up a penalty on the second leg, it opened the door for Erdi. She needed no second invitation, coming home in third to finish on 75 points, four clear of Jayet, who took a second consecutive world silver, with 2022 champion Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) taking bronze.
For Erdi, it has been a long journey, with early success hard to back up, but the 25-year-old has now achieved her dream of winning the world title. She said, “I’m a world champion, which sounds pretty amazing.
“I’m very happy for my family, my friends and for my small support staff that I have back in Hungary. I’m just very proud of the work we have been doing with my coach. I was hoping and believing that I will get here one day. The day has finally arrived and I’m just over the moon.
“It hasn’t been easy. I became quite good in the senior fleet when I was quite young. When I was 18, I was able to deliver top 10 results and things were happening for me quite easily in the early stages of my career but it all started getting real, I got an injury and I realized that you need to put in a lot of work to deliver a World Championship title in the senior fleet.”
US Sailing Team’s Charlotte Rose secured 5th overall, a personal career best in the Olympic class ILCA 6. Rose had nothing to lose going into the Medal Race. Entering in 5th overall, she’d managed to put enough points between her and 6th place Emma Plasschaert of Belgium, so the only way she could go was up the leaderboard.
With all points in play above her, Rose sailed an aggressive final race in very light conditions on the North Sea. She rounded the leeward gate in 5th and ultimately dropped back to 9th to close out the race, but stood by her decisions to try mostly anything and give it her all.
“My main goal was to make the medal race, so to finish 5th means the world to me. This is a new personal best,” said Rose, the two-time Youth Worlds Gold Medalist in the ILCA 6 now making her way up the Olympic class circuit.
“It feels really great to qualify the United States for the Olympic Games and to represent the US on the world stage here. The best part of Worlds was being able to close my season on a good note and handle all the conditions I faced this week. It was stressful for sure. I’m happy to have some time off now to reset for the 2024 Worlds in January and the Olympic Trials in Miami.”
Matt Wearn (AUS) had all but wrapped up gold on Saturday, entering the medal race 20 points clear and needing only to avoid a penalty to take victory.
His sixth place clinched a gold medal on the world stage after three previous silvers, a particularly satisfying result having spent much of the last couple of years trying to get over Long COVID-19.
He said, “It feels great. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. Not that I started to doubt that the performance was there but it’s always a shame to just miss out on the top step. So there is a bit of relief, I’m ecstatic to have won a World Championship now.
“We have been so close so many times. I probably haven’t grabbed every opportunity that I’ve had on the water and other people have been better on the week. I can’t say I’ve been unlucky. But it feels great to finally get it.”
The bigger question in the ILCA 7 was over who would take silver and bronze, George Gautrey (NZL) went into the race with a precarious one-point lead over Mickey Beckett (GBR).
Beckett had led the competition all week, before dropping to third in the final race of the opening series. He recovered from that disappointment to finish second in the medal race behind 2020 world champion Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA).
That was enough to overhaul Gautrey and take silver, with the Kiwi settling for bronze.
The Sailing World Championships are typically held every four years and serve as the primary qualification event for the upcoming Olympic Games along with hosting the Class World Championships. All 10 Olympic events and four Para Sailing classes will compete August 11-20 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Source: World Sailing
Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11