Home supporters were treated to the first Dutch gold medals of the Allianz Sailing World Championships as Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken celebrated 49er glory.
Having already assured themselves of a hat-trick of world titles even before the medal race, the Dutch pair eased their way to victory on a day where the wind limited the action in The Hague.
That meant that there was no medal race in the 49erFX, where Sweden’s Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler claimed a maiden world crown – with some last-minute supporters flying in to celebrate with them.
Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken (NED) were under no pressure heading into the medal race in the 49er category and were instead able to enjoy their third consecutive world title.
They did so, finishing ninth in the medal race, before reflecting on a brilliant week on home waters.
Lambriex said: “It’s great to sail at home with the crowds coming out to cheer us on.
“It was a big surprise on the last day of gold fleet racing when we suddenly had it sealed, we weren’t expecting that. Overall, we are very happy with our performance across the whole week.”
While top spot was known ahead of the medal race, everything else was up in the air. And it was the Swiss pair of Sebastien Schneiter and Arno de Planta who nipped into silver medal position thanks to an eighth in the medal race, enough to pip Spanish duo Diego Botin and Florian Trittel by 0.8 points.
Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) almost did not come to the Netherlands for this regatta, with Bobeck still recovering from a knee injury she suffered last month at the Paris 2024 Test Event.
In the end, it was a good job they did as they claimed a first world title, and there were emotional scenes as they celebrated their success, with Bobeck’s family flying in from Sweden to support her.
Even though a lack of wind meant that the medal race could not take place, it was a special moment for the duo – who had already assured themselves of top spot.
Netzler said: “We are so extremely proud of the week we managed to put together. After a very tough season with a lot of injuries, we are just so happy.
“With Vilma’s knee accident at the Test Event, we weren’t sure we were going to be able to sail this event at all, so to be here with the gold medal is just amazing.
Bobeck added: “The whole regatta, we have been so calm. We have been quite surprised by ourselves that we have been so calm and focused. It’s been really joyful sailing and we’ve loved the conditions that has been clear for everyone to see.
“My family flew in this morning, so it’s a shame they couldn’t see us sail live. But Rebecca’s family have been here for a couple of days cheering us on. It’s amazing the support we have behind us. There’s a lot of people contributing to this.
“It’s still a bit weird not going sailing and getting the medal but we are so happy and now we can finally breathe.”
With no medal race, it meant that Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz, the defending world champions, had to settle for silver. However, with Duetz still limited by a knee injury and forced to wear a brace, that was an impressive achievement in its own right.
“It’s extra special after the week we have had, it’s not easy and it felt a bit more like we had to fight for it this week,” said Van Aanholt, who was able to celebrate with boyfriend Lambriex after they both won medals.
“To come here and see all of our family, friends, dogs and boyfriends, it’s just amazing. That is what it is all about, connecting through sport and doing it together. That’s what these whole Championships were about for us.”
Completing the podium were Australian pair Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine.
With no racing possible in the iQFOiL, Emma Wilson (GBR) and Nicolo Renna (ITA) are both guaranteed medals in their respective events.
Wilson finished top of the iQFOiL Women standings and qualifies directly for the three-person final, while Israeli pair Shahar Tibi and Katy Spychakov are through to the semi-final.
Athletes from fourth to tenth will compete in the quarter-final to keep their own medal hopes alive, including defending champion Marta Maggetti (ITA).
In the iQFOiL Men, Renna is also straight through to the final, with Sebastian Kordel (GER) and Luuc van Opzeeland (NED) in the semis.
Among those having to go through the quarter-finals is Olympic RS:X silver medallist Thomas Goyard (FRA).
As with the iQFOiL, there was no Formula Kite action, meaning the standings remain as they were for the final series.
In the Formula Kite Women, Lauriane Nolot (FRA) is through to the final and will carry two of the three wins that she needs for gold.
Just behind her is Ellie Aldridge (GBR), who will carry one win into the final, while the next eight competitors, including six-time defending champion Daniela Moroz (USA), will have to go through the semi-finals.
In the Formula Kite Men, Toni Vodisek (SLO) takes two wins into the final, with Maximilian Maeder (SGP) just behind him with one victory.
The remaining eight competitors will compete in the semi-finals, among them Paris 2024 Test Event winner Axel Mazella (FRA).