Burton rides a wave of gold7 April 2014
SAILING: World No.1 sailor Tom Burton is fast emerging as London Olympics hero Tom Slingsby's natural successor after a brilliant come-from-behind win at the latest ISAF World Cup regatta.
Burton slumped to 24th on the opening day of the event off Palma, Mallorca but surged back to win the Laser class gold medal with victory in the final race.
The Sydneysider started the day in third overall and his race win was enough to snatch a narrow victory from silver medallist Frenchman, Jean-Baptise Bernanz.
Young Australians Ashley Brunning and Matthew Wearn both finished in the Laser class top 10.
"It was a good week all round for our whole squad having three in the medal race and in most races an Australian was representing at the front of the fleet," Burton said.
The performance underlines Australia's continuing dominance of the division, following Tom Slingsby's Laser class gold medal at the London Olympics.
And in Burton the country appears to have found the perfect man to repeat Slingsby's 2012 heroics, after the NSW Central Coast sailor announced in December he was concentrating on his America's Cup career and will likely not compete at the 2016 Rio Games.
"We've got some really strong young guys in that fleet and there's a good succession of sailors coming through - which is outstanding," said Australian Sailing Team performance director Peter Conde.
World Sailor of the Year Mathew Belcher and his crewmate Will Ryan finished third in the men's 470 dinghy off Palma.
Ryan and Belcher - who was recently named as captain of Australia's new America's Cup team - faced an uphill battle after a disqualification on the first day of the regatta.
"There's certainly a lot of things this week that we could have done better but a medal's a medal and we're happy with how it ended up," Belcher added.
Two-time Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock and London Games silver medallist Nina Curtis took the bronze medal in the new Nacra 17 catamaran class.
It was just their third regatta together and the pair are also fast emerging as exciting prospects for the Rio Games.