Aspire crowned 2023 World Champion in International 5.5 Metre Class

The event marks the conclusion of the 2023 sporting season for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Porto Cervo, 29 September 2023. The World Championship for the 5.5 Metre Class concluded today with a single race held. The event, running from 24 September until today, was organised by the YCCS in collaboration with the International 5.5 Metre Class and with the support of Technical Partner Quantum Sails. At the conclusion of nine races, the title of World Champion of the International 5.5 Metre Class was claimed by Aspire, helmed by double Olympic medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz, alongside Edward Wright, 2023 Finn World Champion, and Przemysław Gacek. Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) took second place, while Ku Ring Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) secured the final podium place.

This morning’s start had been brought forward to 11 a.m. based on the weather forecast. Around 40 minutes into the first race, however, the November flag was hoisted on the Race Committee boat, signalling cancellation due to a drastic drop in the breeze. Racing seemed to be over, and with it all final attempts to claim a World Championship victory, but patience proved to be a virtue, and after a two-hour wait on the water, the breeze filled in to 8-9 knots and the final race of the event was able to get underway.
The last race would be decisive in determining the winner of the World Championship, as the teams at the top of the classification, Aspire and Artemis, were well aware. Aspire sought to put Artemis in difficulty during the pre-start phase, but to no avail. Artemis nailed an excellent start, allowing them to round the first windward mark in second place behind Ku Ring Gai III. The Polish team, meanwhile, was left back in 10th place after the first leg, but their determination to bring home the title was a crucial driving factor. At the leeward gate, performing fantastically on the downwind legs, Aspire had already clawed back four places, only to lose a few vital metres at the second windward mark. Victory in the International 5.5 Metre Class World Championship 2023 came down to the very last leg in the very last race of the event. While Ku Ring Gai calmly led throughout to cross the finish line in first, Artemis claimed second place, all the while watching the progress of the Polish team. Once again, Aspire were at their best downwind, and a fifth-place finish clinched the World Championship title for them, just a single point clear of Artemis. Third place went to the Australian team on Ku Ring Gai III, winner of the day's race.
In the Evolution fleet Criollo 30 (GER 30, Andreas Christiansen, Felix Christiansen, Moritz Christiansen) triumphed, while among the Classic boats Cibele (ITA 72, Fabrizio Cavazza, Vittorio Zaoli, Duccio Colombi) took the win.

The team on Aspire, 2023 World Champions in the International 5.5 Metre Class. Photo credit: Robert Deaves

"It’s an incredible feeling to be World Champions of the 5.5 Metre Class. I have to admit that it was difficult, but we had a lot of fun. We put in a lot of hard work and gave it our all. Dedication was probably the key to our success: never giving up, trying to improve every day. Congratulations to Artemis and the Australian team Ku Ring Gai III led by John Bacon. Racing in this fleet was fantastic, we really enjoyed Porto Cervo and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Thank you very much." commented Aspire's helmsman, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, also winner of the Star Class World Championship in Porto Cervo in 2019.  

Przemysław Gacek, crew member on Aspire: "I am super excited, this is my first World title. We’ve had a fantastic few days in Porto Cervo, an ideal location for sailing. Today was a surprising day, after the wind dropped in the first race which was cancelled, we thought we’d be going back to the docks. Instead, the final decisive race was still to come, and we gave it our all, hanging on to our first place in the ranking practically in the last 200 to 300 metres. It was an extraordinary moment. My thanks go to Mateusz [Kusznierewicz] and Ed [Wright], I am proud to be part of this team."

Edward Wright, crew member on Aspire: "It was an incredible regatta, really. Porto Cervo is a unique location, it offers a variety of conditions to test every kind of technical skill. Being part of the Aspire crew was fantastic, I am really happy to have won the Worlds. It’s been a long and challenging path, with ups and downs, but in the end we came out on top. Thanks guys, for the win and for this fantastic experience, I’m really happy."

YCCS Commodore, Michael Illbruck: “We are really pleased to have hosted the Scandinavian Gold Cup and the World Championship for the International 5.5 Metre Class, it has been an incredible 10 days. Classes with a history such as the 5.5 Metre Class fully reflect the spirit of the YCCS, where sportsmanship, innovation and tradition come together perfectly. I would like to thank the 5.5 Metre Class and all the participants, who were so competitive on the water and so friendly when back ashore. Congratulations to the team on Aspire, whose perseverance and determination, right up to the final and decisive race held today, won them the World Championship title. The YCCS sporting season draws to a close with these events, but we are already focusing on next year's activities and plans.”

Video recap of the final day of the International 5.5 Metre Class World Championship

The YCCS used MarkSetBot robotic buoys during the International 5.5 Metre Class World Championship, which hold their position thanks to an electric motor combined with a GPS system, eliminating the need to be anchored to the seabed.

Racing can be followed on the YCCS Instagram account. For further information, results, entry list, programme, news, photos, please visit the section dedicated to the event or contact the YCCS Press Office.
YCCS Press Office

Marialisa Panu/Giuliano Luzzatto
Tel. +39 345 7938513 - +39 348 5966160