Australian, British and Brazilian competitors secured gold medals at the Para World Sailing Championships as the regatta drew to a close at Sheboygan in Wisconsin.
After five days of competition in variable breeze, Matt Bugg of Australia won the first ever 2.4 Norlin OD medal race and Britan’s Will Street and Jonathan Currell won a close final n the new RS Venture Connect class.
In the Hansa 303 category Christopher Symonds of Australia and Ana Paula Marques of Brazil were the respective men’s and women’s winners.
The final day played out in variable breeze that ranged from three to five knots early on and ended with up to 10 knots.
After winning the final RS Venture Connect qualification race earlier in the day, Spain’s Enrique Vives and Gabriel Barroso de Maria joined Street and Currell, their British compatriots Alexandra Rickham and Hannah Stodel, and Canada’s John McRoberts and Scott Lutes on the start line for the final.
The format of the race was simple - first past the line would claim gold.
In a fickle breeze Street and Currell hit the first mark and were forced to do a 360 degree penalty turn and dropped to the back of the pack.
But they got themselves back into contention and they found some breeze to propel themselves to the front of the fleet once again.
"We had a lot of catching up to do after we hit the mark but we kept cool and sailed fast," commented Currell.
"We knew there was plenty of time left in the race and we kept a level head.
"The wind kept dropping off and it would come in from different angles.
"We played it tactically and we went to the side that we thought the wind would come in from and it paid off."
Vives and Barroso de Maria narrowly beat McRoberts and Lutes to silver and the second British pairing completed the podium.
Marques dominated her Hansa 303 final against Violeta del Reino of Spain, Austria’s Marina Peterer and Australia’s Genevieve Wickham.
It was tight in the top three, so placing highest in the Medal Race was crucial.— Para World Sailing (@parawsailing) September 22, 2018
Matt Bugg 🇦🇺 finished third to clinch gold! 🥇
Damien Seguin 🇫🇷 got silver 🥈 and Dee Smith 🇺🇸 won bronze 🥇#ParaWorlds18 pic.twitter.com/8lRZEQHTbj
"For me, the most difficult thing this week was sailing in the light wind," said Marques.
"In Brazil, I trained in stronger winds."
Wickham narrowly beat del Reino to the silver medal.
Following the cancellation of the previous day’s racing because of high winds, the top ten in the men’s Hansa 303 sailed a semi-final to decide which four would advance to the final.
Symonds progressed along wth Wademar Wozniak of Poland, Jens Kroker of Germany and Poland’s 2017 world champion Piotr Cichocki.
The Australian won the deciding race convincingly but the remaining three were split by less than 20 centimetres.
Wozniak did enough to pick up silver ahead of Cichocki.
Just two points separated Bugg, France’s Damien Seguin and Dee Smith of the United States going as they led into the first ever 2.4 Norlin OD medal race, meaning that whichever of the three did best would take gold.
The trio were tight at the start, keeping each other within reach but Bugg managed to jump ahead and hold position to finish the medal race in third to seal gold.
"It was a really tough, short race and really close. I managed to get ahead of them both midway through the race and I managed to hold on to my lead and take the championship," Bugg said.
"“Five or six years ago I thought that winning a world championship was a possibility and it’s taken this long for me to get the job done.
"It means the world to me."
Sequin beat Smith to silver.
The next Para World Sailing Championships are due to be held in Puerto Sherry in Spain next June.