(Miho Bay, Japan) After the two final races, held in perfect 10 to 12-knot winds, Tom Burton held on to his overnight lead to become the 2019 Laser Standard Men’s World Champion. This if the first world title for the 2016 Olympic gold medalist from Australia after two second place podium finishes in 2014 and 2017. Burton proved his championship form in a variety of conditions over the six-day event, and it was certainly his consistency that earned him the title.
Going into the day with an 18-point lead, it was essentially up to Burton to avoid making a critical error on the final day when each of his nearest rivals already had to discard a high score. In the day’s first race, Burton sailed a conservative race to finish 14th, a score that then became his discard. The pressure was off a bit after Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France, who was in second place going into the day posted an eight place finish. Burton was also helped by Germany’s Philip Buhl who scored a Black Flag disqualification for being over the starting line early. Buhl’s Black Flag pushed New Zealander’s Sam Meech and George Gautry in to first and second for the race and secured their spot near the top of the leaderboard.
Going into the final race, Burton still held a 13-point lead over Bernaz and fellow Australian, Matt Wearn, either of whom needed to win the final race and have Burton finish worse than 14th to secure the world championship title. As it turned out, Brazil’s Bruno Fontes led from start to finish in the final race, putting both Wearn and Bernaz out of contention to win. Burton thus claimed victory, while Bernaz’s 20th place dropped him to 6th overall. Wearn’s fifth place finish put him on the podium in second ahead of fellow Kiwi sailor, George Gautry, who’s ninth place in the final race moved him up to third place overall.
This event also served as a country qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were sailors work to secure one of five available berths for their respective countries to send a representative to the games. In the end, the five country qualifying spots go to Sweden in 13th place, Argentina in 14th place, Russia in 17th place, Hungary in 20th place and Guatemala in 22nd place overall.
Top-ten results after 12 races:
1. Tom Burton AUS 59 pts
2. Matthew Wearn AUS 63 pts
3. George Gautrey NZL 68 pts
4. Sam Meech NZL 72 pts
5. Nick Thompson GBR 73 pts
6. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 78 pts
7. Elliot Hanson GBR 92 pts
8. Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR 92 pts
9. Philip Buhl GER 96 pts
10. Thomas Saunders NZL 96 pts
For more information:
Event Website – https://2019worlds.laserjapan.org/standard/
Results – https://2019worlds.laserjapan.org/standard/results/
Photo Galleries – https://www.facebook.com/2019-Laser-Worlds-JAPAN-284629198769700/
Photos Attached: Tom Burton – AUS
Photo Credit: Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan