Conor Clarke and Embarr team win Melges 24 World Championship trophy in Miami
Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor’s team dominates 12-race series
Embarr began Saturday’s race with a massive 30-point lead in the 74-boat fleet in Miami. Photograph: Getty Images
The 12-race series was dominated by the Clarke’s team from early in the regatta thanks to a clear advantage in boatspeed.
However, before the series started, Clarke had been aiming to be in the hunt for the overall title by the final day but result proved unexpectedly emphatic as Embarr began Saturday’s race with a massive 30-point lead in the 74-boat fleet.
Their worst result of the series was 15th place on the penultimate day, a hint that perhaps the championship could go all the way to the final race.
But a second place on Saturday morning sealed victory and they could afford to sail home early and miss race 12 entirely: their overall winning margin even increased by one point as the runner-up, Italy’s Gian Luca Perego had a 15th in the final race.
“Never in my wildest, most private dreams did I ever think that we could win by such a big margin - the competition is red hot,” admitted Clarke yesterday.
The Embarr crew delivered mostly top three results across the series including three race wins. After a shaky start, American favourite Brian Porter on Full Throttle delivered a sixth and two race wins on day two leading Clarke to expect a resurgent challenge.
However, the American’s form proved inconsistent and he placed third overall in the end.
While the Melges 24 fleet includes an amateur-only Corinthian division, Clarke’s win on Embarr is the overall world title and his crew included Aoife “Bearla” English and professional sailors Maurice “Prof” O’Connell in addition to American Olympic 470 sailors David Hughes and Stuart McNay.