There was drama to the last at the Optimist World Championship in Costa Brava, Spain, with the title going down to the final race.
The USA’s Travis Greenberg, who had led into the Gold Fleet racing tied on points with Sweden’s Henric Wigforss, started the finals superbly with a first and second place, but still had a 22nd place finish lurking in his scoreline from the qualifying series.
Wigforss, who’d collected a seventh and ninth in the first two Gold Fleet races, didn’t have a result outside the top ten, and knew that to beat Greenberg he was going to have to sail him down the fleet in the final race of the event.
In a superb display of boat handling and tactics, Wigforss went on the attack from the off, forcing both himself and Greenberg to the very back of the fleet, eventually finishing in last place himself, but crucially Greenberg was only a place above him in 60th.
This meant that Greenberg’s 22nd became part of his scoring series, giving him a nett total of 35 points, while Wigforss only had 30, which meant the young Swede was crowed 2023 Optimist World Champion.
Greenberg’s compatriot Wylder Smith finished third, just a point ahead of Italy’s Alberto Avanzini who won the final Gold Fleet race.
In the female category there was almost as much drama, with Spain’s Blanca Ferrando pulling a 25th out of the bag in the final race to overhaul Portugal’s Mariana Pinto who could only manage a 37th. This meant that Ferrando won the Female Optimist World Championship title by just two points from Pinto. Croatia’s Ema Gradbar finished third in the female category.
On Friday the highly coveted Optimist Team Racing Championship went down to a final race decider with Italy pipping Spain to the title.