Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan led the gold rush as the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final reached its conclusion in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, adding another chapter to one of the sport’s biggest success stories.
The defending champions underlined their dominance of two-man dinghy Olympic class sailing by winning the medal race to score a comprehensive second successive Men’s 470 World Cup triumph at Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.
On this occasion, Belcher and Ryan got home by just a second from the young Spanish pairing of Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp to finish 11 pts ahead of Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström who were 3rd on the last day of the regatta.
The result underlines the Aussies’ position as firm favourites to strike gold at next year’s Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and adds to Belcher’s haul of six world titles, three won in tandem with Ryan.
It also added to the reputation of their Ukrainian-born coach, Victor Kovalenko, known as “The Medal Maker,” who has guided the winners of nine Olympic medals – six golds – and 18 world championships. Americans Stuart McNay and David Hughes, 6th on the day, took the 470 bronze.
Third position in the Women’s 470 medal race was enough to leave Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark celebrating gold after a 6pts victory from last year’s World Cup winners in Abu Dhabi, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar.
The Austrians were second on the day in a race won by Akiyo Yamaguchi and Eri Hatayama, although it was another Japanese combination, that of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka, who collected bronze medals.
There was consolation for Austria in the 49er Men’s class, as Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch won the medal race following back-to-back race victories the previous day to land the gold with 6pts to spare over Stefano Cherin and Andrea Tesei.
Finishing second on the day, just ahead of the Italian silver medallists, Frenchmen Gabriel Skoczek and Yann Rocherieux won bronze.
Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic is the new World Cup champion in the Finn Men’s class, clinching gold with a 4th place in the medal race. Turkey’s Alican Kaynar finished third to claim silver, while victory on the day saw Spain’s Pablo Guitian Sarria edge ahead of Britain’s Edward Wright to take bronze.