|AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND-(9-1-2007) Carl Evans and Peter Burling have successfully defended their title winning the 420 World Championships for 2007 being sailed off Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore.
They took the title with one race to spare, needing to place fourth or better in today's first race to seal the Championship. They finished third and then sailed ashore leaving the remainder of the fleet to fight it out in the final race of the regatta.
The New Zealand team has dominated the event from start to finish in the Open and the Women's events, both fleets stacked with top class international competition. 17 nations and five continents are represented at the World Championships event staged in New Zealand for the first time.
President of the International 420 Association, Nino Shueli was in Takapuna for the regatta. 'Great event, great weather and good all-round conditions,' said Nino. 'We had 17 countries with a very strong fleet, but the New Zealanders in their home waters gave us a first… top three in both fleets.'
'Takapuna Boating Club and the facilities have been great. A big thanks to New Zealand and we look forward to seeing everyone in Greece in 2008.'
Gold, silver and bronze in both the Open and the Women's will be presented to New Zealanders at tonight's prize-giving ceremony.
Simon Cooke and Scott Illingworth from Auckland took second place in the Open fleet, as they did six months ago in Spain's Canary Islands at the 2006 event. The pair had four race wins in the twelve race series and sailed exceptionally well in the blustery conditions of the final two days.
Rowan Swanson and Bruce Kennedy, from Wellington and Tauranga respectively rounded out the regatta with a 5th and a 7th in today's racing and win bronze.
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie are now officially named Women's 420 World Champions for 2007, having established an unassailable lead at the finish of yesterday's racing. They were on the water today as spectators watching closely the tight battle between two kiwi crews for silver and bronze, both starting the day with equal points.
Shelley Hesson and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher won the first race of the day and created a four point buffer over team mates Sarah Bilkey and Rosie Sargisson who placed fourth. A second in the final race sealed the silver medal for Hesson and 14 year-old Barbarich-Bacher, who finished with 40 points.
Sarah Bilkey and Rosie Sargisson were not far behind finishing with 48 points and winning the bronze.
Tonight's prize-giving ceremony is set to be a fitting closing to the event with a sold out crowd of well over 500 people attending.