Glenn Ashby hardly has time to savour his latest world title as he heads to Singapore tonight to launch the latest Team New Zealand mission.
Ashby showed the sense of Team New Zealand to re-sign their wing-trimmer as the Australian claimed his eighth world A-Class catamaran title off Auckland's Takapuna Beach yesterday.
A second placing to Australian America's Cup helmsman Nathan Outteridge in the final race was more than enough for Ashby to preserve his handsome lead.
He rated this title the toughest of his remarkable collection in a single-handed class known for its speed and development.
"This was a tough field, really classy. It was the toughest one I've had to win but also the most enjoyable," Ashby said.
Yesterday was all about covering off his major opponents for the title and he did that, leading to the final mark where a rare poor turn that allowed Outteridge to get past and storm away in a boat better suited for the light airs.
"I wasn't too worried ... I had it under control by then," Ashby said of cruising down the last leg to the title.
He was now looking forward to getting back into the team environment, joining Dean Barker, James Dagg and Jeremy Lomas for the opening event of the Extreme 40 series, an international catamaran championship contested over eight regattas throughout the year.
Team New Zealand, still in a holding pattern for their America's Cup future, are using the series to keep their sailing crew race-tuned in catamarans.
"It's going to be great to just catch up with the boys again and get sailing together," Ashby said of the team's first official sail since the gut-wrenching America's Cup loss to Oracle in San Francisco in late September.
Ashby is acknowledged as a multihull master and showed that throughout the week here, being on the podium for all but one of the nine races.
Ashby delivered Australia their 21st title in the 28 years of the A-Class worlds but it's his affiliation to Team New Zealand that drew the local interest here.
It was another outstanding showing by Team New Zealand yesterday. Veteran Ray Davies got up for third in the last race, followed by new young signings Blair Tuke and Peter Burling.
Overall, Tuke placed second on the points table behind Ashby with Burling third and Davies fifth. Outterdige finished sixth with fellow Aussie, veteran Andrew Landenberger, gaining a well-earned fourth amongst such top company.
"It's been a great week for the team, fantastic really," Ashby said.
"I'm really pleased for Ray. I always knew the youngsters would go well but this was Ray's first real go and to be up in the top five was a great effort."
Burling and Tuke represent the new wave of talent for New Zealand's showpiece professional team.
They will be involved in the Extreme 40 series as they juggle their new jobs with their build-up to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil where they are out to better their silver medal from London 2012.
A-Class catamaran world championships, Takapuna Beach, Auckland.
Race 9: Nathan Outteridge (Aus) 1, Glenn Ashby (Aus) 2, Ray Davies (NZ) 3, Blair Tuke (NZ) 4, Peter Burling (NZ) 5
Final points: 1 Ashby 13, 2 Tuke 30, 3 Burling 40.
Also 4 Andrew Landenberger (Aus), 5 Ray Davies (NZ), 6 Outteridge.
- © Fairfax NZ News