St Kilda's usual foreshore and beach buzz on a warm summer Sunday grew louder when the Sailing World Cup Melbourne reached its peak. Eight Olympic classes and kiteboarding peeled off their Medal Races one by one straight off the main beach, St Kilda Baths and pier, to the delight of visitors and sailors whose competition had already concluded.
Light morning northerlies moved around to the local sea breeze then tried to settle, swinging between south-east and south. By the time the men's 49er skiff teams went hunting gold at 14:30, 15 knots was the reading on the track, the most finals day would deliver.
World Sailing's Technical Delegate Antonio González de la Madrid Rodriguez agreed racing out of St Kilda put the sport front and centre. "We saw this today with St Kilda beach packed and the pier bustling. Melbourne is the start of the 2016 Sailing World Cup series and the journey to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is well and truly on!"
Like his inaugural Sailing World Cup Melbourne, Florian Gruber's (GER) fourth time ended with champagne spraying standing taller on the dais than his challengers. "I always enjoy the Australian lifestyle, pretty relaxed and super friendly people and I always have great experience at this event," the gold medal winner said.
He hopes today's win will be his last in the race board class and talked openly at the medal presentation of his vision for the foil board. "Foiling is the future; it's the fastest thing on the water. Let's see what the decision is for the 2020 Olympics, if it's the race board I'll be back in Melbourne on a race board."
Martin Dolenc (CRO) finished second and Ric Black (AUS) third.