December 18, 2016 - January 7, 2017: Issue 294

2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships

Local girls and RPAYC sailors Annie and Tash, currently placed well in the girls 29er after day 2 -  photo ©Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Traditional and respectful opening to the 2016 Aon Youth Worlds

Thursday 15 December 2016

The 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships has been declared open in a ceremony that focussed on tradition and youth in Auckland, New Zealand. 

With the theme of 'youth welcoming youth' running throughout, the 389 sailors from 65 nations were welcomed to New Zealand with energy and culture at the ANZ Viaduct Event Centre in downtown Auckland.  

Olympic gold medallist Blair Tuke led the parade of nations out of Silo Park and into Wynward Quarter with the sailors waving their flags high, the route lined with onlookers from the local bars and restaurants. Following the parade there were three Maori challenges laid down to Tuke and the competing sailors. Tuke duly accepted the challenges on behalf of every sailor.

In a break from tradition where an elder of the Maori tribe would lay down the challenge – the Wero, to find out if the visitors come in peace or in war, a younger member of the tribe - Ko Nga Matatahi, was this time given the honour to ensure that the youth were front and centre in every aspect.

An event in New Zealand would not be complete without the world famous Haka, and the Youth Worlds duly obliged with the Kapa Haka teenagers performing the iconic tribal war dance to greet the incoming sailors. It is not the first time the Kapa Haka teenagers have been involved in the sailing world as many have attended the Learn to Sail course at the Royal Akarana Club.

Sailors from the five classes were introduced before the mixing of the waters, a Youth Worlds tradition, where sea water from each country, brought by the sailors, is mixed and later poured in to the sea. In Auckland's twist, and in keeping with the theme, the waters were mixed in a P class boat, synonymous with youth sailing in New Zealand, called 'Black Magic' – the name of the successful America's Cup challenge in 1995.

The sailors, representatives and volunteers were welcomed in to the Events Centre by Kiwi sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie and the speeches were delivered by Yachting New Zealand CEO, David Abercrombie, and World Sailing Vice-President Jan Dawson. 

Aleh remembered the late Paul Elvstrom and passed on his sentiments of respect and honour in sailing. Aleh encouraged the sailors to embrace friendship at the event and take heed of the Elvstrom's most famous quote, 'you haven't won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.' 

Abercrombie and Dawson thanked the sponsors, Aon and Volvo, and all the boat manufacturers that have made the event possible - Maclaren, Nacra Racing, Nautivela, Neil Pryde and Ovington before Dawson declared the event opening with the raising of the World Sailing flag. 

Just before the sailors could enjoy dinner that would close proceedings they were treated to a mixture of Maori and contemporary dancing in an upbeat performance from three Auckland teens in a fun and frantic finale.

Attention will now turn to the first day of racing which is scheduled to start at 09:55 local time on Friday 16 December. Racing continues through to 20 December 2016 where nine Youth Sailing World Champions will be crowned.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing

A full list of sailors registered to sail in Auckland is available to view here Results are available via the results centre here -

Australian Youth Team 2016

Helm John  Cooley
Crew Simon Hoffman

Helm Nicholas Sharman
Crew James Grogan

Finnian Alexander Accepted

Alexander Halank

Helm Natasha Bryant
Crew Annie Wilmot

Helm Sophie McIntosh
Crew Emily Summerell

Zoe Thomson

Courtney Schoutrop

Helm Kyle Fortier
Crew Bonnie Butler

Dazzling debut for Nacra 15

Friday 16 December 2016
It was a dazzling debut for the Nacra 15 at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as sailors got their feet, and everything else, wet on day one of racing in Auckland New Zealand.
With plenty of thrills and spills, the youth multihull sailors had to get to grips with the new class and had a baptism of fire on a gusty and shifty Hauraki Gulf on the north shores of Auckland. The 389 sailors from 65 nations racing across the nine fleets were greeted with winds in the high teens, sometimes touching 20 knots, coming in from the south west which tested all, especially the multihull novices.
After winning the 2015 SL16 gold medal, France's Charles Dorange has had to change the class of boat and sailing partner. Now sailing with new helm, Tim Mourniac, Dorange is one of the most qualified in the Youth Worlds field and gave his assessment of the new multihull, "It was great,” he exclaimed, "and for us we are first in the class at the moment so we are very happy.”
Leading the fleet will leave any sailor happy, so was it the fact he was leading or was it the Nacra 15 itself? Dorange explained the differences between last year's and this year's Multihull, "The Nacra 15 is more speedy because of the dagger boards. I much prefer it.
"I think it's better for the Olympic pathway to have the Nacra 15 so you can progress to the [Nacra] 17.”
Another experienced multihull sailor is Guillaume Rol who, in his home land of Switzerland,  has raced on the Flying Phantom and F18. Compared to his partner, Rol has experience in abundance, "I sail lots of multihulls but Max just finished sailing the Optimist and we have only been sailing together for two months now.”
The Max that Rol refers to is helm, Max Wallenberg. With little experience and moving into the Nacra 15 from the Optimist, Rol is far more qualified of the two.
Rol and Wallenberg currently sit 13th in the 20 boat fleet and that is down to simple decision making for Rol, "It was really nice wind and some waves out there today and we were pretty fast, but we made more mistakes than our rivals.”
As Rol put it, his rivals have been making better decisions, but he highlighted another reason why they were not further up the leader board after day one, "There are many sailors I have already met in other fleets and I know they are good and the level is high. We are quite light for the boat in these types of winds compared to the other guys and when the level is high that counts.”
Sitting in fifth overall are Great Britain's Jack Butters and James King. For crew King the introduction of the Nacra 15 and the diversity of fleet and conditions made for good viewing, "It was really good and really windy today. It was lots of fun and there were lots of boats going over and I think everyone had different results in each race.
"It's not the usual people at the top of the fleet so it makes for really good racing.”
Like many in the Youth Worlds Nacra 15 fleet, the British team haven't quite had the time on the water that they have had in other classes. King explained, "We have been training on it for a couple of months now but it is our first regatta with other boats.”
Among those other boats are Dorange and Mourniac who lead the way, New Zealand's Jackson Keon and Tom Fyfe in second and Belgium's Henri Demesmaeker and Isaura Maenhaut in third.
From a fleet making its first outing to the more established, the 29er boy's from Denmark, Marcus Piron Kirketerp and Sebastian Olsen continued the theme of mixed results, but did it in a wider range of ways.
As his crew was fixing a ripped mainsail back on shore, helm Kirketerp explained what had happened, "We went back to our coach to get some water and the wind died completely, like nothing, and we tipped over.”
It had begun well for the pair with a top end finish to the first race. From there a UFD and that ripped sheet, "That UFD is a bummer. We only have one discard for the regatta and we have that already. I don't think it will affect our performance but maybe our decision making and being a bit more conservative from now on.”
Sharing the secret to the first race result Kirketerp said, "It was pretty much just boat speed. We made safe calls and it looked like others were taking some risks, but we just did what we practiced and it paid off.”
With mixed fortunes the Danes are in 11th overall. The podium is made up of Alexander Gronblom and Martin Mikkola (FIN) in first, John Colley and Simon Hoffman (AUS) in second and Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier (FRA) in third.

John Colley and Simon Hoffman ©Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing
With two bullets, followed with a second, Great Britain's Hannah Bristow and Emily Covell are holding off the 2015 girl's 29er champions from Finland, Sirre Kronlof and Veera Hokka. Australia's Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot are currently in the final podium position.
Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin (USA) began the 2016 Aon Youth Worlds with a win in the boy's 420 and Rogers said what every sailor in Auckland was thinking, "It was pretty breeze on out there with tight and super competitive racing. We are right there in it, and as the saying goes, 'you can't win it on the first day but you can lose it'.”
The Americans are just on the podium at the end of day one. Argentina's Fausto Peralta and Martin Arroyo Verdi top of the fleet and Italy's Edoardo Ferraro and Francesco Orlando are in second.
Sitting top of the girl's 420 are Poland's Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik, the returning champions. They are top but also share a points tally of six with Kathryn Hall and Ashton Borcherding (USA) and Alexandra Stalder and Silvia Speri (ITA).
Youth Olympic Games competitor Mack van den Eerenbeemt (ARU) holds top spot in the boy's RS:X but is closely followed by Israel's Yoav Omer. Even at such an early stage the top two have a bit of daylight with Sil Hoekstra (NED) eight points back from Omer and nine from van den Eerenbeemt in third.
Looking to upgrade a 2015 Youth Worlds RS:X silver medal is Great Britain's Emma Wilson. The Briton has started well and is joint on points at the top of the girl's fleet with Maria Belen Bozo (PER). Aimee Hoff (NED) rounds up the podium in third.
From one sailor trying to upgrade a medal to one trying to defend hers, Hungary's Maria Erdi has started her defence of the girl's Laser Radial with a second and bullet to lead the fleet. The 2015 silver medallist Hannah Anderssohn (GER) also began well and is third. Sandwiched between the returning medallists in second overall is Croatia's Sandra Luli.
Kiwi hopes are with George Gautrey in the boy's Laser Radial, and he isn't disappointing. Gautrey holds on to second tied on points with Poland's Jakub Rodziewicz. Patrick Doepping (DEN) is ahead in first.
Racing will continue for the nine fleets at the Torbay Sailing Club on Saturday 17 December beginning at 09:55 local time.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing

Mixed fortunes at the Aon Youth Worlds

Saturday 17 December 2016
It's tight at the top of the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships Laser Radial fleets as the discard came into play, allowing a chosen few to start forming breakaways from the rest of the field.
Conditions were mixed on the Hauraki Gulf as a light 4-6 knot breeze dialled up later in the day to the mid-teens. The mixed breeze brought mixed results as light wind specialists excelled one minute and suffered the next, and vice versa for the sailors who thrive in strong breeze.
Laser Radial leader Patrick Doepping (DEN) had mixed fortunes. Doepping finished day one with two bullets but in Saturday's racing the Dane fell right to the back of the fleet finishing a lowly 37th, "I think the difference is I am a full rig sailor,” explained Doepping.  "I am 80-82 kilos so for me in the light breeze it's very hard to keep the speed. In the strong breeze I don't have the disadvantage I have in the light breeze and that's why I didn't do well today.”
Doepping followed up with a seventh as the conditions fell in his favour enabling him to discard his 37th. Despite a self-proclaimed disappointing day, Doepping remains ahead of the fleet and isn't letting this affect his mentality, "I have been very calm and haven't been in any situations so far. I will keep doing what I've done over the last couple of days and avoid any mistakes.”
Only four points separate the top five and Doepping's discard could play a big role at the end of the week if he does get in to any situations. Doepping will have to keep watch as Great Britain's Daniel Whiteley is ready to pounce, looking to move up from fifth. Whiteley has been sailing near the top of the fleet in every race so far, but it's not good enough, or great enough for the Briton, "It was pretty challenging out there today. I got a sixth in the first race and a 13th in the last race so I'm not too happy, but it leaves me in contention.
"Tomorrow I can go out and do a bit better and climb the leaderboard. I haven't properly messed up yet. I'm consistent and hopefully I can make it consistently great rather than consistently good.”
Whiteley's discarded 13th is better than those around him and that gives him a little breathing space, "Maybe I have a little less pressure, but you can't think like that. We've got another three days, another five races and that's over half the championship so we will have to see how it shapes up.”
Sandwiched between Doepping on top and Whiteley in fifth is George Gautrey (NZL) in second, Dominik Perkovic (CRO) in third and Finnian Alexander (AUS) fourth.
It was Sandra Luli's day in the girl's Laser Radial and the Croatian remains on top. Talking through her day Luli said, "Today it was light winds. Compared to yesterday, tactics and speed was more important as the wind was always changing. In the first race I finished eighth and second race I finished first.”
Luli can discard her eighth place finish which gives her a nice six point cushion over Rio 2016 Olympian Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) who discards her 17th and counts her second.
Sitting in third is Germany's Anderssohn who summed up the day for just about every Laser Radial sailor in Auckland, "For me I think it wasn't such a good day. The first race was okay but the second wasn't very good. I think it changed a lot and everyone had a bad race. It was very shifty so you don't know where to go and there was less wind. It was hard conditions.”
Of the day one frontrunners defending champion and Rio 2016 sailor Maria Erdi (HUN) dropped down to fifth after a 15th and a UFD, which she discards.

Erdi came ashore after racing and was left confused about her performance, "There are some pretty good people here, but I just wasn't expecting myself to do this bad in shifty winds.” The Hungarian will have to sail smarter for the rest of the championship to stay in contention.
Unlike the Laser Radial sailors, France's Tim Mourniac and Charles Dorange seem to flourish in any conditions in the Nacra 15 and proved it on day two with a bullet and two second places. They have a ten-point advantage over Romain Screve and Ian Brill (USA).
If the French were fantastic then Israel's Yoav Omer was truly magnificent in the boy's RS:X. Omer was unbeatable, won three out of three on day two and now holds a healthy 16 point advantage over Mack van den Eerenbeemt (ARU) in second. After the Aruban, it's tight back to fifth before a ten point separation from the rest of the fleet.
Not quite hitting the heights that Omer reached, but coming pretty close, was Great Britain's Emma Wilson. Wilson took two bullets and a fourth place and sits top of the girl's RS:X. Maria Belen Bazo (PER) scored two seconds and a discarded tenth for second place followed by Israel's Katy Spychakov in third.
Another French team on top is Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier in the boy's 29er. The French pair started the day with a ninth but followed it up with a bullet and second to enable them to drop the earlier score. They sit just one point ahead of second placed John Cooley and Simon Hoffman (AUS).
The girl's 29er is led by Australia's Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot who scored a bullet and two thirds. They have a four point advantage over second placed Aleksandra Melzacka and Maja Micinska (POL) and a 14 point advantage over last year's champions Sirre Kronlof and Veera Hokka (FIN) who are in third.
Kathryn Hall and Ashton Borcherding (USA) lead a tight group of four teams at the top of the girl's 420 fleet despite a discarded 14th. They scored a second place in the last race of the day to hold a one point advantage over Isabel Davies and Gemma Keers (GBR). 2015 champions from Poland, Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik are in third and Alexandra Stalder and Silvia Speri (ITA) are fourth.
There is a tie at the top of the boy's 420 with USA's Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin and Italy's Edoardo Ferraro and Francesco Orlando both on six points.
Australia's 420 fleet crew - Nicholas Sharman and James Grogan - photo © Georgia Schofield/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Day three is scheduled to begin racing at 09:55 local time at the Torbay Sailing Club on Sunday 18 December.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing
Local girls and RPAYC sailors Annie and Tash, currently placed well in the girls 29er  -  photos ©Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Running away with the RS:X

Sunday 18 December 2016
There could be some early winners at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as Great Britain and Israel begin to run away with the RS:X gold medals on day three.
It was a day of opposites on the Hauraki Gulf as light north winds replaced the strong southerly winds that have been a feature of the first two race days, but that change didn't seem to disrupt Israel's Yaov Omer or Great Britain's Emma Wilson as they continued to take a strangle hold on the Youth Worlds RS:X fleets in Auckland, New Zealand.
Extending his lead at the top of the boy's competition, Yoav Omer knows that consistency is key when it comes to a top international regatta, "The most important thing is to be stable in your results and that's what I have been doing the past few days, and I want that to continue.”
Omer certainly has been stable and that is evident as his day three results of 4-3-1 are his worst run of scores at this year's Youth Worlds. Explaining why his results had dropped from previous day's, Omer said, "It was light winds today and it was also from a different direction to the first two days. That was a little difficult for me. I think I have improved a lot though.”
With a lead of 19 points and with four races to go you could think that the gold is all but wrapped up for the Israeli windsurfer, but Omer knows better than that, "No. No way is it over. Everything is open at competitions like this. Conditions can change and it takes just one bad race you know. Focus is the main thing.”
The nearest competitor to Omer is Sil Hoekstra (NED) who scored two seconds and a third to move up to second overall. Third place is China's Chen Hao Chen.
Over in the girl's RS:X fleet the wins keep on coming for Great Britain's Emma Wilson. The Briton took two bullets and a second on day three and there is one simple reason why the results keep flowing, "I really like these conditions,” said Wilson with a smile, "and I like this weather. I was really fast on the downwinds today.”
Despite being in a fleet of 18, Wilson is adamant that only one person can affect how she sails, and that is her, "I sail how I want to sail and won't let anyone control me. I'm the only one that can dictate how I race.”
It's that steely determination and focus that has given Wilson a 13 point lead over second placed Katy Spychakov (ISR), but the British windsurfer doesn't always get it right, "We had the RS:X Youth Worlds in Cyprus recently and I was fifth. I want to rectify that here.”
Peruvian Maria Belen Bazo holds on to third behind Wilson and Spychakov with a 3-6-7 for the day.
Another team with daylight over the fleet are Tim Mourniac and Charles Dorange (FRA). Although the French duo are top after scoring a second and two thirds, they are now facing a comeback by Italy's Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei who took performance of the day with three bullets from three races. The Italians are in second, 15 points behind their European rivals.
There is a Trans-Tasman battle shaping up at the top of the girl's 29er fleet as Australia and New Zealand move up to first and second respectively. Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot (AUS) are top but have Kiwi sisters, Greta and Kate Stewart, hunting them down. The Stewart sisters made the best of a day when their rivals were making mistakes around them to move up in to medal contention.
Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier (FRA) sit top of the boy's 29er fleet despite a 12th place finish in the final race of the day. The French team discard that result to hold a five point lead over Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling (GBR) who are second.
Poland's 2015 Youth Worlds 420 champions Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik moved themselves up in to a great position to defend their title. The Polish team are top thanks to their consistent form. On day three they bagged themselves a bullet before slipping to 15th, which they now discard. Italy's Alexandra Stalder and Silvia Speri are their nearest rivals just four points back in second. Isabel Davies and Gemma Keers (GBR) are third.
A bullet and a discarded seventh keep USA's Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin at the top of the boy's 420 fleet. The top three are close on points though as Israel's Ido Bilik and Ofek Shalgi are just two points back. Italy's Edoardo Ferraro and Francesco Orlando are three points behind the Americans.
Australia's Finnian Alexander took two bullets to open up an 18 point gap back to Denmark's Patrick Doepping and New Zealand's George Gautrey who both have 33 in the boy's Laser Radial. Alexander however will tread with caution in the coming days as he has a disqualification on his scorecard from the very first race of the Youth Worlds. So far, so good for the Aussie sailor since then though.

Finnian Alexander - photo by Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Sandra Luli (CRO) is still top of the girl's Laser Radial, but Rio 2016 Olympian Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) is chasing hard. The Uruguayan took a bullet and a 10th compared to the sixth and discarded 20th Luli scored. The Croatian still leads by two points overall. Germany's Hannah Anderssohn rounds out the podium in third.
Racing continues at the Youth Worlds and is scheduled to begin at 09:55 local time at the Torbay Sailing Club on Monday 19 December.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing
Annie and Tash - still on top after Day 3 -  - photo by Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Golds galore at 2016 Aon Youth Worlds

Monday 19 December 2016
Gold medals tumbled in Auckland at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as five winners were confirmed with a race to spare.
The French multihull sailors secured the inaugural Nacra 15 gold, the Australian 29er girl's won their first ever regatta, USA's 420 boys dieting and dedication paid off and both Israel and Great Britain took the RS:X titles.
USA's Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin guaranteed themselves a gold medal with two wins from two races on day four. Explaining the key to the success Rogers said, "It took a lot of dedication, dieting and it hasn't really set in yet.”
Rogers and Parkin have been in tune all week and are definitely in sync when it comes to the celebration, as Parkin excitedly says, "Eating! We have had to stay light for the boat so we have been dieting pretty hard but now we get to eat whatever we eat. Pancakes, waffles. Whatever we can get our hands on.”
In second placed and with a 2-8 for the day, Israel's Ido Bilik and Ofek Shalgi will now have to take on Argentina's third placed sailors, Fausto Peralta and Martin Arroyo Verdi for the silver medal.
Nacra 15 pair, Tim Mourniac and Charles Dorange (FRA) lead the fleet by 23 points, enough of an advantage to win gold. The victory also handed crew Dorange his third Youth Worlds gold medal having won in the SL16 with Louis Flament in 2014 and 2015.
After coming ashore to congratulations from their team mates waiting to launch for the afternoon session, both boys had the same word to sum up the win, "It's amazing,” said Mourniac before Dorange echoed, "Yes. It's amazing.”
Mourniac continued, "We managed to win this regatta as we were good at all the things we could control like tactics and speed.”
Talking of his third gold medal Doranage said, "I'm so very happy to win every medal I can.”
Italy's Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei, USA's Romain Screve and Ian Brill and Belgium's Henri Demesmaeker and Isaura Maenhaut will have a three way shoot out on the final day to claim the other two medals.
The French were understandably excited by their win but Australia's Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot were still focussed and business like ashore, "We have had a pretty solid and consistent regatta,” said Wilmot.
Despite the focus, when it finally hit home that they would walk away from Auckland with a Youth Worlds gold medal the relief was evident, "We are still pretty shocked actually,” said Wilmot, "we haven't ever had a regatta win in the two and half years we have been sailing together.
"We have had a lot of seconds and thirds so it's nice to finally get a win.”
The 29er girl's have secured their gold with an unassailable 22 point margin back to the second placed Aleksandra Melzacka and Maja Micinska of Poland. New Zealand's Greta and Kate Stewart will fight it out with the Polish girls for who will take home silver and bronze.

Right: Trophy photo by Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Both RS:X titles were wrapped up in Auckland as Great Britain's Emma Wilson took the girl's title and Israel's Yoav Omer took the boys.
Wilson claimed a bullet in the final race of the day, to go with her third and fourth to clinch the gold medal. For the Briton there was always a driving force in the background, a score she had to settle, "When I came fifth at the [RS:X} Worlds I was so upset, but this makes up for it. I always wanted a win, and to do it is amazing.”
With gold out of sight, Israel's Katy Spychakov will concentrate on keeping hold of silver with a seven point cushion over Yue Tan (CHN) and Maria Belen Bazo (PER) heading in to the final day.
While Spychakov will go for silver, her male counterpart has got his gold in the bag. Yoav Omer has been an example of consistency, taking a stylish victory on the penultimate day with three wins from three races to give him an impressive 29 point lead.
On his win Omer said, "It's an incredible feeling and I am so happy to win before the last day. I can't really describe how I feel now. For sure my friends and family will be happy.”
Sil Hoekstra (NED) is in second place and will look to hold on to a ten point lead over Mack van den Eerenbeemt (ARU) who pulled himself back in to contention with three second places.
Australia's Finnian Alexander has the boy's Laser Radial in his sights barring a complete final day meltdown and Germany's Hannah Anderssohn takes the initiative in a tight girl's Laser Radial battle.
The 2015 girl's 420 champions, Poland's Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik have an eight point lead over Alexandra Stalder and Silvia Speri (ITA) to help them defend their title in the final race. Also in contention for a medal are Olivia Belda and Marina Arndt (BRA), Violette Dorange and Camille Orion (FRA) and Kathryn Hall and Ashton Borcherding (USA).
France's Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier take a four point advantage over second placed Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling (GBR) in to the final race in the 29er boy's. Australia's John Colley and Simon Hoffman are third.
The final races are scheduled for 09:55 local time on Tuesday 20 December out of the Torbay Sailing Club.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing

Esctasy and despair at Aon Youth Worlds

Tuesday 20 December 2016
Racing came to a thrilling climax in Auckland, New Zealand as all medals were confirmed in the finale of the 2016 Aon Youth World Sailing Championships.
Five gold medals had already been decided with a race to spare but there were still four golds on offer as well as silver and bronze to fight for in every fleet.
In the girl's Laser Radial it was anyone's guess who would claim the title. In contention was Germany's 2015 Youth Worlds silver medallist Hannah Anderssohn, Uruguay's Rio 2016 flag bearer, Dolores Moreira Fraschini and the reigning champion Maria Erdi (HUN). Sandra Luli (CRO) and Carolina Albano (ITA) were a little further back, but still in reach of a podium place.
Coming home in fifth ahead of her main rivals was Fraschini. The Uruguayan had completed her game plan, "I just knew I had to beat Germany, Hungary and Croatia. I was looking for them all through the race,” explained the new Youth Worlds champion.
When the win had sunk in Fraschini said, "I feel super happy. I had a good start but then a bad upwind, so I had to just focus on recovering. I kept gaining and then I crossed the line, it was like a dream come true.”
The dream was helped by Erdi finishing 13th and Anderssohn 19th. Those results also opened the door for Luli and Albano and dropped last year's medallists off the podium altogether.
It was Albano who came out fighting and headed straight for the front of the pack to win the final race. The Italian had done all she could and just had to sit and wait to see where her rivals would finish. Luli came home in sixth to give her 45 points to tie with Albano. Luli was awarded silver on countback.
With a lead of 27 points, Australia's Finnian Alexander just had to avoid a final day disaster to take the boy's Laser Radial title.
A smiling Alexander returned to shore after finishing 20th, enough to secure him the gold, "It feels so good and such a sense of relief after skating on thin ice all week,” said Alexander.
That 'thin ice' was a disqualification from the very first race. A score that could have derailed his ambitions, "It took a lot to come back from that,” said the relieved Aussie, "but crucial that I did. It's not the ideal start but it feels really good to know that I can carry myself through a regatta like I did from there.”

Finnian Alexander photo by  Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Italy's Paolo Giargia had a seven point cushion over USA's Carrson Pearce and Spain's Ismael Iess Falcon. That cushion was enough in the end to give the Italian a silver medal as he crossed the line in 11th and Pearce ninth. Pearce took the bronze medal from Falcon as the Spanish sailor could only finish in 26th place.
Great Britain's Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling took gold in the boy's 29er following a final race duel with France's Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier.
Starting the day four points behind their French rivals, the British team had to come out with a game plan. Beaumont explained, "We wanted to stay close to them and try and bounce them to the wrong side of the course because we knew there was a favoured side when we started.”
Even with a plan, any sailor knows that they can change on the fly when it comes to race time, "Once we were out there though it was made up as we went along as there is so much that goes on that you can never fully plan.”
Made up or not, Beaumont and Darling finished in third and had to sit and wait to see where the French team would finish. They crossed the line in tenth and the gold was there's.
Beaumont's immediate reaction to claiming a Youth Worlds was relief, "We feel pretty good. We had so much catching up to do in that race and things went our way and it happened.”
With gold and silver confirmed it was down to Australia's John Cooley and Simon Hoffman to complete the podium. With a comfortable lead over the fourth placed Finnish team, the Aussies crossed the line in fourth to rubber stamp their medal.
Australia's Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot knew they had a gold medal in the girl's 29er and it was down to Poland and New Zealand for silver and bronze.
Kiwi sisters Greta and Kate Stewart had to finish with two boats between them and Aleksandra Melzacka and Maja Micinska (POL) to move up in to second place, but it wasn't to be. The Polish girls covered the Kiwis and crossed the line just behind the sixth placed sisters. Silver to Poland and the bronze for the New Zealand girls.
Poland's Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik successfully defended their girl's 420 title. The Polish duo were top leading in to the final race and never looked like coming away with anything other than gold.
Winning for the second year in a row, the Polish girl's felt they had something to show the world, "We proved that we are good. We won last year and this year helped to prove we are good,” Szmit said emphasizing her point.
Alexandra Stalder and Silvia Speri (ITA) claimed silver when they crossed in sixth and finished on 38 points. Although France's Violette Dorange and Camille Orion finished above the Italians in fourth they could not overhaul the points deficit and had to settle for the bronze medal.
Israel and Argentina were fighting for silver in the boy's 420 as USA's Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin already had the gold in the bag from the previous day. It was Ido Bilik and Ofek Shalgi (ISR) who took the silver in style from their Argentinean rivals Fausto Peralta and Martin Arroyo Verdi with a bullet in the final race. Peralta and Verdi had to settle for bronze.
Great Britain's Emma Wilson and Israel's Yoav Omer had already confirmed gold before the final race so left the rest of the potential medallists to fight it out for podium spots.
Sil Hoekstra (NED) knew that if he finished near the top of the fleet he would have a boy's RS:X silver medal. The Dutch sailor duly obliged and finished fifth to secure second place. It was the fight for bronze that really was the story of the final race as China's Chen Hao Chen took a bullet and had to sit and wait to see where Aruba's Mack van den Eerenbeemt would come in behind him. Van den Eerenbeemt could only manage an 11th and was distraught as he crossed the line knowing he had slipped off the Youth Worlds podium.
In a carbon copy of the boy's fleet, the girl's RS:X had a fight for bronze as its centrepiece. Israel's Katy Spychakov was this time looking for a top order finish and took silver with a third. For bronze it was between China's Yue Tan and Peru's Maria Belen Bazo. This time the Chinese sailor missed out as she was disqualified handing Peruvian Bazo the bronze medal.
With Tim Mourniac and Charles Dorange (FRA) comfortably winning gold with a race to spare it was down to Italy, USA and Belgium to battle for the podium.
Three in two doesn't go and it was Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei (ITA) who were the unfortunate ones. They finished 12th which dropped them from second overnight to out of the medals entirely. Romain Screve and Ian Brill (USA) finished 14th but discarded that result to leave them on 55 points. Henri Demesmaeker and Isaura Maenhaut finished on the same points tally with a fifth place finish. Both sitting on the same overall score, it was USA who took silver and Belgium bronze on countback.
Italy won the Nations Trophy for the third time and will collect the award along with all the medal winners at the closing ceremony at the Auckland University of Technology City campus.

By Richard Aspland - World Sailing
Annie Wilmot and Natasha Bryant take GOLD! - photo by Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing