The Red Bull Foiling Generation Trophy will stay in New Zealand after Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie won this morning’s final in Miami.
The pair dominated the three-day event, winning every race they sailed, and their speed edge was noticeable in the four-boat final sailed in 10-12 knot winds.
As many as 16 teams from around the world converged on Miami for the Red Bull Foiling Generation finals sailed in Flying Phantoms, 5.5m-long foiling catamarans capable of speeds of 35 knots. McHardie and McKenzie earned their ticket by winning the New Zealand leg of the qualifying series in Auckland in February.
“It was special to win,” McHardie said. “It’s cool to be able to bring the trophy back to New Zealand. We hope that it stays there for a while.”
New Zealand’s Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson won the inaugural world final in 2016 and that victory opened a number of doors for the pair. They have sailed in some regattas on the Flying Phantom circuit, Mackay has helmed GC32s and M32s and been involved in the Magenta Project and Wilkinson was recently added to the Red Bull Sailing roster for the Extreme Sailing Series.
McHardie and McKenzie can expect similar opportunities but their main focus is on campaigning together in a 49er and the pair have a busy summer of training planned in Auckland before February’s Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta and another season of racing in Europe and Asia.
The 22-year-olds went into the Red Bull Foiling Generation finals as one of the favourites, especially after McHardie teamed up with Wilkinson to win a recent round of the Flying Phantom series in China, but they weren’t the only ones with experience in the catamarans.
“There are some extremely talented sailors here and people who sail the boats fulltime so it wasn’t a massive advantage to have sailed it before,” McHardie said. “But it definitely helped.
“The first two days were also our weakest conditions, or what we thought were our weakest, with light winds. Today we had a little more breeze and we had a speed advantage.”
The win is the second world title for McHardie, who the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in the SL16 with Wilkinson, and McKenzie's first.
The Belgian crew of Henri Demesmaeker and Morgan Wirtz were second with Hugo Christensson and Emil Jarudd from Sweden third.
McHardie and McKenzie felt a little pressure going into the final, having won all of their races, and took to the race course in front of a sizeable spectator fleet and host of cameras.
“It was winner-take-all but we took our previous races as a confidence booster,” McHardie said. “We went into the regatta to have some fun so took the same approach to the final and it worked well for us. The results proved that.”