Belfast Telegraph

The flying Dutchmen steer path to sailing triumph

By Ali Gordon

The penultimate day's racing at the F18 World Championship threw up some excitement yesterday as Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West sailed through to victory.

The Dutchmen claimed the top spot back after finishing second to Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead on Wednesday.

With the event coming to a climax today, there are only 10 points separating the top three of Larsen and van West, Reiss and Whitehead and Frenchmen Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot so there is all to play for.

Irishman Dermot McHugh revealed that the mixed weather that has hit the shores of Ballyholme over the last few days has made racing very challenging.

"There are World Championships with light winds and World Championships with hellish weather, high seas and low seas, and Ballyholme has thrown us all of the weather.

"There have probably been about nine World Championships rolled into one so it's been extremely enjoyable."

Light winds and sunshine in the east of Belfast Lough allowed for three races yesterday but, as the wind died, some competitors struggled. As a result, English crew Ben Lodge and Niall McLoughlin were forced to park on one of the gate marks, hulls either side, while the rest of the fleet sailed past.

"Belfast Lough is full of some hard tricks but it's been very enjoyable competitive racing with the whole fleet," McHugh said.

Entering the final day of racing in 47th position, McHugh is competing alongside Siobhan Keogh.

"At this stage in the championships, we're just going to go out and have a good time racing," McHugh said.

"Hopefully it (the weather) will pick up and we'll go out and have some fun," he added.

STANDINGS: 1. Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West NED 38pts

2. Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead (Junior) USA 42pts

3. Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot (FRA) 49pts

(Full results and live blog at 2014.f18worlds.com. Follow the racing on twitter @f18worlds2014)

Belfast Telegraph

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