NOTTEN & BURN CROWNED 2021 ICF OCEAN RACING WORLD CHAMPIONS
They were unable to send their full team but South Africa has still reigned supreme at the 2021 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships, with Nick Notten and Michelle Burn claiming victory.
The pair were among seven South African athletes able to travel to Lanzarote for the race, using dual passports to circumvent Spain’s tightened border restriction – and their commitment paid dividends.
Notten prevailed in a tight battle over Germany’s Gordan Harbrecht, who claimed silver.
The pair blasted off the start line, quickly forming a race in two.
The South African appeared to edge ahead some 10 kilometres into the 26 kilometre course – although he did have to fend off a number of surges from Harbrecht until the closing stages.
South African Uli Hart looks to have rounded out the podium in third place, however the final results are yet to be made official.
Michelle Burn entered the women’s race as the red-hot favourite, but she was pushed all the way by American Ana Swetish and Spain’s Judit Verges.
Verges now lives on the Canary Islands and used her local’s knowledge to set an optimal line down the course.
The trio appeared to dice for the lead throughout the opening half of the race, but gradually, Burn kicked clear.
She entered the harbour for the final few kilometres with a comfortable lead and didn’t look like being caught.
Swetish claimed silver while Verges took home bronze.
Burns’ title caps off an impressive return to racing for the mother-of-two, who has been dominating surfski races in South Africa over the past 18 months.
For the local organising committee who has worked tirelessly to make the event happen, today produced dream conditions.
A north easterly wind blew at a strength of 25 to 30 knots backed by a groundswell of around 2 metres.
Given the natural curvature of the coastline, this meant runs were blowing slightly across the boat, over the left shoulder, for the first half of the 26 kilometre course before lining up perfectly for the second.
The Paddler will bring you in-depth coverage of the race, including all of the reactions from the two new World Champions, over the coming days.