Spain's Martinez And Fernandez Win 49er Worlds Title
[Source: ISAF] The Spanish team of Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez completed their dominance of this year's 49er Worlds held in the Bahamas by winning the Medal Race to secure their third World Championship gold medal.
Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez of Spain won their third 49er World Championship (the others came in 2002 and 2004) adding to their Olympic gold medal from Athens in 2004 and silver medal from Beijing in 2008. In true champion fashion, Martinez and Fernandez also won Saturday’s Medal Race, held in 8-10 knots. Defending champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen from Australia made a strong push by winning both the morning races moving them into second which they held through the final results. Pietro Sibello and Gianfranco Sibello of Italy, the world ranked #1 crew, won the bronze.
49er Worlds medal race. Grand Bahama Island, 10 January 2009. Video copyright 49er World Championship
The 25-boat gold fleet sailed two races in 16-23 knots which increased to 20-25 for the silver fleet’s two races amidst tropical showers. The Medal Race sailors anticipated the heavy breeze, but unexpectedly the wind dropped to a manageable 10 knots.
Martinez and Fernandez dominated this year’s Worlds, ending the end with a huge 27-point victory margin. After slow start, with the Spaniard posting a 17th in the first race of the championship, they experienced duo never looked back. A string of two three finishes put them top of the leaderboard at the end of day three and from they just extended away from the chasing pack. Behind the top three the biggest disappointment will be amongst the British teams, who despite having five crews competing in the Medal Race failed finish on the podium. Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign were the top British crew in fifth, just behind the French team of Emmanuel Dyen and Stéphane Christidis.
Young Bahamian sailors from the Grand Bahama Sailing Club Optimist and Laser programme were able to view world class sailing up close and experience the camaraderie that international sailing affords.