Slingsby wins Laser Worlds with a race to spare
Going into today's races Slingsby had a comfortable 20 point lead on Tonči Stipanović (CRO) in second place and 14 to 18 knots of wind were ideal conditions for the defending World Champion. He finished ten places ahead of Stipanović and meant that there was no need for Slingsby to compete in the last race of the series.
Stipanović was also able to sit out the fourteenth race due to his 24 point lead over Juan Maegli from Guatemala after the first twelve races. Stipanović's silver is his first medal in a world championship. “I'm probably even more happy than Tom”, said the Croatian.
This was Slingsby’s fifth in six years, cementing his position at the top of the Laser class in the run-up to London 2012. “This could be my last Laser World Championship and it’s great to finish it so well,” said Slingsby. “I sailed my best this week in conditions that I traditionally haven’t done well in, so to win it like this feels really good. This is my fifth Laser world title but it’s my first in light conditions which is really satisfying.
“Hopefully this win sends the message that I’m definitely no light wind pushover. Heading into the Games I know that I still need to improve and that I still have work to do. The rest of the fleet is going to be trying to topple me so I’ve got to be on my game and keep pushing.”
Slingsby went into the final day with a 20-point lead over Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic knowing that a strong opening race would be enough to seal the title.
“I knew that I had to beat Tonci and have a few boats in between us to wrap it up, I went out and did that and was able to sit out the final race,” said Slingsby. “I rounded somewhere between 15th and 20th and had a good first downwind to get back to seventh or eighth at the bottom. I was fifth by the top mark and then pulled a few boats back on the downwind to get up to second. I saved my best till last today, this morning’s race was easily my best of the regatta and it was when it counted.”
While Slingsby was all smiles after his win his regatta nearly came to a grinding halt after injuring his ankle on Wednesday evening. “Last night after racing I rolled my ankle. It was pretty sore overnight so we went off to the hospital this morning to get it x-rayed,” he said. “Luckily there was no fracture so I got it heavily strapped and got back in time for racing, getting out to the course with about 35 minutes to spare. Things were a bit tight for a while there but everything came together in the end. Now it’s time for some rest and recuperation, get the ankle sorted out and do some training in Italy before heading to Weymouth for the final regatta there before the Games."
Slingsby led the event from start to finish, winning five of the 14 races and finishing in the top 10 in another six.
“I’ve been saying for a while now that if I sail well I know I can win, whether it’s a World Cup event, a World Championship or an Olympics,” said Slingsby. “I know that if I’m sailing well I’m the only person that can beat me. I’ve managed to beat all comers in the last few years. Heading into the Games everything’s on track and I’m preparing the best I can,” he said. “Winning here is a great build up for London, I wouldn’t want to be in any other position at this stage.”
British hope Paul Goodison concluded his Laser World Championships in 20th overall after being on the receiving end of three yellow flag penalties from the jury for adjudged illegal kinetics of the boat.
“It’s been a pretty frustrating regatta for me in terms of the yellow flags early on, which I have to say I’ve been a bit surprised at,” the 34-year-old Goodison explained. “I don’t feel that I’ve been doing anything differently in my sailing to justify them, but obviously the jury at these World Championships has seen that differently.
“In spite of those issues there were some positives to come out of the week, so I will have to take what lessons I can from this event forward into Skandia Sail for Gold and the Olympics.”
Full results here