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Newest World Champion: Mitch Kennedy

  • Fully loaded on the Laser to celebrate Mitch Kennedy's Under-21 Laser Standard World Championship win (Photo by 993647_347155338749276_1900873341_n)
Newest World Champion: Mitch Kennedy

Youth sailor Mitch Kennedy has won his first world title taking out the Under-21 Laser Standard World Championship on Lake Balaton in Hungary on the weekend.

After placing second overall in the Under-19 Laser Radial World Championship in La Rochelle, France, two years ago, this win is confirmation of his development as a high performance athlete as he aims for Australian Sailing Team and 2016 Olympic Games selection.

It was a late, sleepless night for his parents, Mark and Denise Kennedy, before they received confirmation of their son’s win. “We sat up to the early hours of the morning reading the Tweets from the event, trying to follow what was happening,” Mark said.

Mitch went into the final day of the event after a frustrating five days where the sailors were held on shore to late afternoon most days waiting for the breeze to build enough to race.

Mitch reported earlier on in the regatta, “unfortunately the last three days have been unproductive, with both days being spent on shore under postponement due to the lack of breeze. With glass out conditions on the water we have been forced to stay on shore and wait for something to happen, with the final call to go home not being made till 5pm. It’s been slightly frustrating sitting around all day, but I guess that’s part of sailing and you just have to deal with it.”

So it was a job well done for Mitch to be placed second overall at the end of the qualification series.

There were two races scheduled for the last day and the breeze was very light, just on minimum allowable limit of five knots. The first race was started only after a postponement keeping the anxious sailors onshore.

Mark reported Mitch said he knew he had only one shot at the title going into the final day. “He said he felt as though he owned that title. He then had his worst start of the regatta, but went left to the lay line and the breeze went left with him which gave him third around the top mark. He then finished the race second across the line and first overall.”

It was then an anxious wait by everyone to see if a second race could be started. The breeze softened and the Kennedy parents, bleary-eyed by this stage, followed the race organiser’s reports on the Twitter. Reading ‘the wind is shifting between 150-170° the RC has one more hour to start the fleets!’ and ‘the wind dropped down a bit 3-4 knots only!’ was tough for all of Mitch’s supporters.

When the final Tweet came in ‘AP is up! one os the Australians capsized his boat and jumped into the water is that a way of celebration? We’ll see at the prize giving’ was enough to send Mark and Denise Kennedy jumping out of their skins. They still had no formal confirmation as the results were not posted to the event website.

Finally at about 4am, Mark was able to get Mitch on phone and he confirmed he had won his first world title.
Sister Madi started the Under-21 Laser Radial World Championship brilliantly with two third places. She then won race five, but afterwards found she was disqualified with a Black Flag result due to an early start. From there it was tough for the young sailor make up that lost ground. She finished 30th out of 91 competitors.

For full regatta results, go http://www.balatonlaserworlds2013.com/regatta-information/results/

By Tracey Johnstone