Surprising few people, Brazil's Robert Scheidt confirmed his Laser World champion title yesterday at the Royal Cork Yacht Club when he extended his overall lead even further on the final day of racing. In the Silver fleet, Rory Fitzpatrick of the Royal Irish YC retained his second place overall.
As Scheidt's nearest rivals mounted 11th-hour charges to the front of the leaderboard, the outcome of the 11-race series was in little doubt as the Brazilian sailed a lonely regatta, at times posing a distant sight for the remainder of the tightly packed fleet behind. From the outset, the two times Olympic medallist was a model of consistency as he counted three firsts and a third in the first four races. Later, he added a further four wins in spite of testing light to moderate conditions.
The runner-up places thus became a contest within itself as second placed Karl Suneson gradually lost touch with Scheidt and concentrated on defending his position. Slippage for the Swede started on Monday when Portugal's Gustavo Lima moved up the top 10 and into second overall.
The rot continued on the final day when Norway's Peer Moburg and Britain's Paul Goodison ousted him to seventh place, in the middle of team-mates Rasmus Myrgren and Daniel Birgmark. Nevertheless, Sweden's record in this event produced an impressive result of five out eight team-members ending the championship in the top 20 - all made the Gold fleet.
Fitzpatrick continued his good form for the second day of finals. Tantalisingly close to the psychological barrier of qualifying for the Gold fleet, his second place in the Silver fleet can be taken as affirmation of his potential with three years remaining to the Athens Games.
Irish interest in the Laser class continues next Sunday at the RCYC when the 320 strong fleet of Class Masters gets underway in the biggest ever event for the popular single-hander.
Irish team officials are holding a collective breath this morning for the final day of the Mirror World Championship at Howth YC. Peter Bayly and William Atkinson have established an 11-point lead thanks to a 13th place and a second yesterday.
The Lough Derg pair's main rivals, Carrickfergus SC's Nick Meadow and Sam Trott, opened the day with an good first place but followed this with a discarded 34th. The northern duo will be pleased with this having earlier slipped to 78th.
Two races remain today and the event is still wide open. This is compounded by a forecast of continued light and shifting weather. Irish hopes have nevertheless extended to a suggestion that a hat-trick of top three results could emerge with Chris and Catherine Forristal of the Royal Cork YC building pressure on third placed Australians Torvar Mirsky and Justin Jacob.
Yesterday's second race saw widespread penalties implemented on the fleet after three restarts resulted in 17 disqualifications for premature starts. The two Skerries crews of Ian McGonigle with Simon Glynn and Nicholas Malone with Clodagh O'Sullivan were both obliged to use the single discard so far to prevent major slippage from their top 15 performances so far.