Australian World 49er champions add to the pot of gold

Perth, WA - December 17: Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen, 49er December 17 2011 off Fremantle, Australia.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) have confirmed their world number one ranking in the 49er skiff fleet, winning the gold medal at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on Sunday, 18 December.

The Australian pair finished with 91 points overall after the Medal Race, Peter Burling and Tuke Blair (NZL) took the silver while the bronze went to Denmark’s Toft Nielsen brothers, Emil and Simon.

The race started with Outteridge and Jensen heading left early on, while Trevor Moore and Erik Storck (USA) headed right, a move which paid off for the American pair, giving them an early advantage over the fleet.

Allan Noerregaard Christensen and Peter Lang (DEN) had a private battle against Moore and Storck for most of the race, until late in the fifth leg when the Americans nose-dived and capsized, breaking their rudder and giving the lead to Allan Noerregaard Christensen and Peter Lang (DEN), who finished the race first.

On how he felt after capsizing, Storck said: 'It was crushing. I was very upset and it's a tough time to have a breakdown.'

Third overall going into the race, John Pink and Rick Peacock (GBR) finished ninth in both the race and on points.

'It's obviously very disappointing,' Pink said. 'I think that being so close and doing so well all week, it's really disappointing not to come away with a medal. But until now, we kept on thinking just keep an eye on what we can kind of do to get the medal and it's not until now that it's kinda sinking in that we haven't got one.'

Outteridge and Jensen turned in a steady performance to finish fourth in the Medal Race, which was enough to give them a gold medal and qualify Australia for the London 2012 Olympics in the 49ers event.

'It’s amazing,' Jensen said. 'They haven’t had a world title for a couple of years now and in the last one we were second, so it’s good to not be the bridesmaids anymore I guess.'

On whether sailing close to the rocks during the race was risky, skipper Outteridge said: 'It was a little bit. We were just trying to get a better line than the Danish and we figured off the start if we could be to leeward and have the rights to call water to tack, then the gap would open up and we’d be clear.'

Burling and Tuke, who were 21 points behind the Australians with a score of 112, were happy with their result.

On how he felt about qualifying for the London Olympics, Burling said: 'Yeah, yeah that’s definitely the goal and I’m pretty sure our result here will really help that cause.'

Emil Toft Nielsen and Simon Toft Nielsen (DEN) took the bronze medal, finishing third place overall.

'We are very excited about securing the bronze medal,' Simon Toft Nielsen said. 'It's been a long, tough week for us and pulling it off in the end feels really, really good.'