McHardie and McKenzie claim another world title
Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie stamped their class on the 49er junior world championships in Risor, virtually leading from start to finish in the five-day event.
The young pair are among the world's best 49er sailors, finishing in the top 10 at Kiel Week recently, and went into the event as one of the favourites. They won five of the 14 races and finished outside the top five only twice as they handled everything thrown at them from light winds up to 25 knots.
They actually had their worst series of scores on the final day with a 10th (their discard), sixth and second but still finished 18 points ahead of Great Britain's James Grummet and Daniel Budden with a fast-finishing Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Ireland third.
"We are both extremely stoked to take out the junior 49er world championships here in Risør," McKenzie said. "We had a tough week of racing with a large range of conditions but we managed to string together some nice and consistent results which put us at the top of the leaderboard."
It's a second world title for McHardie and McKenzie, who are members of the Aon Fast Track programme, after they won last year's Red Bull Foiling Generation world final. They also belong to New Zealand's strong 49er programme headed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and it's not uncommon to see four Kiwi boats inside the top 20 at major regattas.
Sam Bacon and Henry Gautrey showed glimpses of their potential with three top-five results to finish 15th overall and Jackson Keon and Scott McKenzie were 18th after a fast start that included a race win.
Former 29er world champions Crystal Sun and Olivia Hobbs were 25th in the 49erFX as they transition from the youth class into the Olympic class boat.
The 49er junior world championships were held at Risor, an historic seaside town of only 3500 residents.
The community opened up their town and homes to the sailors, emptying out the town centre and surrounding streets to act as a boat park. Even the police department vacated their parking spots to allow boats to park right beside the launching ramps.
It will be a little different when McHardie and McKenzie venture to Japan later this month to train and race at the Olympic venue.
Results and standings after the final day of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 junior world championships in Risor, Norway, today:
49er (53 boats)
1st: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 5 1 4 1 2 1 2 1 1 4 3 (10) 6 2 - 33 points
2nd: James Grummet / Daniel Budden (GBR) 2 6 (21) 8 1 4 4 4 5 1 1 7 2 6 - 51 pts
3rd: Robert Dickson / Sean Waddilove (IRL) (21) 14 7 2 6 2 3 2 3 11 4 5 1 3 - 63 pts
15th: Sam Bacon / Henry Gautrey (NZL) (DNF) 4 23 7 4 4 7 12 20 8 16 22 7 15 - 149 pts
18th: Jackson Keon / Scott McKenzie (NZL) 5 1 2 8 19 16 (UFD) 12 4 24 6 14 17 DSQ - 155 pts
49erFX (37 boats)
25th: Crystal Sun / Olivia Hobbs (NZL) 28 19 20 (DNF) DNC DNC 28 22 18 25 12 3 24 6 24 - 305