Blair McLay from New Zealand wins Laser Radial Youth World Championship in Fortaleza, Brazil
Fortaleza, Brazil turned on its best conditions for the final day of the Laser Radial Youth World Championships. A complete absence of cloud meant that the 18 knot winds were the most stable they have been for all the championship only swinging through 10 degrees instead of the more normal 20.
Overnight leader, Frederico Melo had the luxury of still being able to discard a final series race provided he could stay ahead of second place Blair McLay NZL with a top five place in at least one of today’s races.
At the start both boats went off near the port end with Mclay covering the left hand side of the course. At the first mark the Portuguese rounded first, with Mclay a boat length behind. In the slightly lighter winds than previous days Blair got through Melo on the reach and then stepped on the gas downwind. On the next upwind leg he stayed on top and then again extended his lead downwind to win by 40 seconds.
They were now both tied on 11 points for the lead. Mclay still had to get 2nd or better in the last race. McLay said: “I knew he would try to attack me at the start and then sail me down the fleet.” In the pre-start Melo got to leeward of Mclay but Mclay broke free with Melo coming again to start directly underneath him. At the first opportunity McLay tacked away behind a number boats with Melo in hot pursuit and the jury not far behind. As they continued on port tack the wind slowly veered with Mclay further into the knock than Melo. Mclay tacked and had the psychological advantage of crossing Melo who said “after that I seemed to run out of speed.”
Out in front Antonis Tzortis GRE was leading Daniel Jacobsson BRA at the first mark with McLay back in 8th and Melo around 30th. McLay relayed his thoughts: “I have Frederico out of the way but there is still a huge amount of work to be done.” At the start of the last downwind he was lying fifth. He was fourth at the end of the downwind and was still fourth at the beginning of the short upwind leg to the finish.
With a cool head he picked off Jacobsson and Igor Lisovenko RUS on the last leg to finish second to Tzortis and take a well earned championship by a single point.
Talking about his thoughts before the race McLay said: “I knew I pretty much had to win both races. I had to nail every part the race. Nail the starts and do a good first beat and see what happens from there.” Looking back – “It was a great competition and, of course, I am pleased to win. I am now going to concentrate on the standard rig and try for a place at the next Olympics.”
Overall Results (after 12 races and two discards)
1 Blair McLay, Male, NZL, 18Y, 13 pts
2 Frederico Melo, Male, POR, 18Y, 14 pts
3 Ivan Taritas, Male, CRO, 18Y, 29 pts
4 Antonios Tzortzis, Male, GRE, 18Y, 32 pts
5 James Burman, Male, AUS, 16Y, 37 pts
6 Daniel Jakobsson, Male, BRA, 18Y, 58 pts
7 Jorge Jover Garcia, Male, ESP, 18Y, 60 pts
8 Kyle Rogachenko, Male, USA, 17Y, 61 pts
9 Igor Lisovenko, Male, RUS, 17Y, 63 pts
10 Ryan Seaton, Male, IRL, 18Y, 69 pts