16 August 2018
Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan find it hard to comprehend what they have achieved after winning the 420 world championships in Newport this morning.
Not only did they win their first world title little more than a year after jumping in the boat together but they also won by a whopping 48 points over Spain’s Elias Leonard Aretz Queck and Pablo Garcia Cranfield.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” McGlashan said on his way to the prizegiving. “We haven’t been in the class that long so we’re pretty new to it. We didn’t really think we could get this far this quickly.”
What is also remarkable is their age – Menzies is 13 and McGlashan 15 – and they did it in the open division. They sailed consistently well all week, winning five of their 12 races, including two in gold fleet, and only once finished outside the top six.
It was after the first day that they reassessed their ambitions.
“As soon as we had that first race, we knew we could get off the start line [well] and had good speed,” McGlashan said. “It was a great confidence booster.”
What will also add to their confidence is a look through past winners of the 420 world championships.
On that list is Carl Evans and Peter Burling, who won in both 2006 and 2007 before going on to represent New Zealand in the men’s 470 at the 2008 Olympics. Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (2007) and Alex Maloney and Bianca Babrich-Bacher (2009) were first females in their respective years.
“[Burling] is probably the best sailor New Zealand has ever had and to follow in his footsteps is a bit crazy,” McGlashan admitted.
An illustration of their progress is the fact Menzies and McGlashan were 41st – and fifth of the New Zealand teams – at the 2017 420 world championships in Perth over the New Year. They then won selection as New Zealand’s entry at last month’s youth sailing world championships in Corpus Christi, finishing a very credible fifth.
“That was a big confidence booster,” McGlashan said. “We figured out then we could start in a competitive fleet and that our fleet tactics were pretty good.”