Poole duo claim silver at GP14 World Championships

POOLE Yacht Club’s Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff returned home with a silver medal from the GP14 World Championships at Looe.

In a 127-boat fleet packed with world, national and European champions, the Dorset duo finished only four points behind the four-time world title-winners Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe.

The pair were leading at the halfway stage but knew they would be in for a difficult time in the stronger winds that were forecast.

Burge, a 28-year-old vet, said: “It was very tactical racing as all boats go the same speed.

“Our best results were in the lighter, shiftier, winds and we struggled a bit on the windy day (Thursday) as we couldn’t hike as hard as some of the other boats and used both our discards up that day.”

Burge lives in Colehill and learned to sail on a couple of Rockley and Hamworthy Outdoor Education Centre courses, followed by lessons on Wednesday evenings at the Poole club.

Nowadays, he and Wagstaff are no strangers to top competition and, after two years of being the bridesmaids, finally won the Fireball Worlds in Sligo last year.Wagstaff is a boat builder, partner of Winder Boats and built the duo’s GP14.

Poole Yacht Club has one of the largest fleets of GP14, 12 of which made the journey to Looe.

These harbour sailors admitted that, while the first few days were straightforward enough, the seas on Thursday were tough, if not impossible, to conquer.

One member told the Echo that, when surfing down a wave, he was able to look down several metres on to the heads of the crew in a boat below!

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