Kiran Badloe and Tom Squires are following in the footsteps of the most successful Olympic windsurfers of all time, continuing the Dutch and British Men's RS:X battle at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover.
Badloe holds the lead in the men's windsurfer after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. The pair, and the sailors across the ten Olympic and Open Kiteboarding fleets battled against a south westerly wind in excess of 20 knots coupled with a big sea state.
Sailors were pushed to their limits and will be left nursing aches and pains after a gruelling day of competition. The 49erFXs remained ashore and all other fleets completed at least one race with the Men's RS:X first out onto Port Phillip.
Badloe's 19 points sees him lead the World Cup Final being sailed out of the St Kilda Sailing Precinct. Ivan Pastor (ESP) follows on 28 and Squires on 31 ahead of Saturday's Medal Race.
Badloe and Squires trained with and competed against Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), two-time Olympic gold medallist, and three-time medallist Nick Dempsey (GBR) as they prepared for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Van Rijsselberge went on to win gold in Rio and Dempsey silver. The veterans of Olympic windsurfing passed on their knowledge, competitive nature and know-how to their young compatriots and it's starting to show by their success so far in Melbourne.
"The last cycle I was Dorian's training partner and it helped me grow a lot,” explained Badloe. "It made me a better sailor and I hope Dorian continues so I can grow further.
"When we trained together we never wanted to give in. We're both fast, we're both smart and everything we do is a race. When we were training in New Zealand we raced back to the beach, then ran with our gear to the grass and then we were even so we had a race to derig. It's good to have him around. It pushed me and it pushed him.”
Badloe has won four of nine races this week but Friday's competition saw him cross the start line early, resulting in a disqualification. He managed to hold his lead and takes a small advantage into Saturday's Medal Race. He concluded, "Everybody is fast and quick. They're all smart enough to sail at the front and it's a challenge. I made it difficult for myself after today; it's going to be tight and interesting racing tomorrow.”
Squires propelled himself into a podium spot for the first time this week after his best performance so far. Much like Badloe, Squires owes his progression to his experienced compatriot, "Nick really helped because he's older and had done so many regattas so he showed me how to prepare.
"He was almost like a fatherly figure, although he could be a nightmare as well. He was super helpful and I learnt so much from him.
"I wouldn't be here without him, that's for sure.”
Dempsey's future now lies within photography and Van Rijsselberge's future is to be confirmed. One thing for certain is Badloe and Squires will continue the traditional Dutch versus British rivalry.
Zofia Klepacka (POL) held on to top spot in the Women's division following a 1-6-2 scoreline. Klepacka leads on 20 points. Manjia Zheng (CHN) trails on 26 and Spain's Marina Alabau occupies the final podium spot on 28 points, one clear of China's Yunxiu Lu.
Oliver Bridge (GBR) holds the advantage in the Formula Kite competition having won 18 of 21 races in the qualifying and final series. Bridge was dominant over the series and takes a 14-point lead over his brother Guy into Saturday's three Medal Races.
The final day will consist of three single point Medal Races that feature the top ten from the final series. The scores are non-discardable. Two top results from Bridge will ensure he walks away as victor.
There is a new leader in the Laser, Australia's Matt Wearn taking the top spot from Pavlos Kontides (CYP) after a delayed start and two more races on a wild and choppy Port Phillip. Wearn's two race wins has moved him into top billing with two days remaining. Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic sits in third overall.
Laser Radial gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Marit Bouwmeester (NED), stretched her advantage over the top women's field after adding two wins. Rio bronze medallist Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is the nearest challenger to the Dutch, seven points behind, and Italy's Silvia Zennaro holds third overall.
It was inevitable that the day would present the skiffs with the greatest challenge. Four broken rigs later the 49ers paid the highest price for their time on the bay off the St Kilda Sailing Precinct.
Australian brothers Sam and Will Phillips not only stayed upright but won the class' only race of the day against a diminished field, with just seven out of the 19 entries making the start line or not finishing. Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra are second by one point and Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT) are third by four points after their third in the race.
After winning the day's opening Nacra 17 race, Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin overcame an equipment malfunction that resulted in them charging back to St Kilda beach midway through the middle race for a quick fix. They discard their DNF and came back to finish second to Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson (NZL) in the last race of the day.
The Kiwis enjoyed the best of the racing with a 3-1-1 scoreline but the Australians still lead on ten points, six clear.
Jake Lilley thrived in the Melbourne breeze, winning both Finn races. He leads on six points followed by Ed Wright (GBR) and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Caleb Paine (USA).
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) continued their dominance winning both races in the Men's 470 to extend their lead. In the Women's 470, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) and Australia's Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan shared a bullet and a second apiece. The Austrians lead on six points.
The RS:X, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and Formula Kite fleets will conclude their competition on Saturday 10 December with Medal Races to be broadcast live on World Sailing's YouTube Channel and Facebook.
The remaining fleets will sail their final races ahead of Medal Races on Sunday 11 December.
By Daniel Smith - World Sailing