In the last world championship of their iconic careers, Austria’s sailing legends Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher led Red Bull Sailing to victory in Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy. The only world championship officially recognized for boat-sized foiling catamarans, which was also Act 3 of the GC32 Racing Tour, saw the Austrian team waging a battle for the ages against two-time America’s Cup winners Alinghi (SUI). The final score was deadlocked in a tie, with a decider based on race placement ultimately putting Red Bull Sailing on top.

This World Championship was especially meaningful for Hagara, 55, and Steinacher, 53, because 2021 marks their final competitive season. With two Olympic golds and numerous other world, European and national titles to their credit, they are Austria’s most successful summer sport athletes.

The regatta in Villasimius served up challenges including tricky, fickle winds. But it was the first time since Act 1 that Red Bull had all the members of their seasoned original team on board, and with Hagara back at the helm they came out fighting fit in a field of eight powerful contenders, the largest lineup of the season so far.

While other teams struggled with the feeble winds of the early races, Red Bull Sailing proved that they deserve their reputation as light-wind specialists. The Austrian boat took second in the only race of Day 1, and then won the opener on Day 2, an intense affair that saw only three points separating the top five boats as the afternoon’s three races concluded.

On Day 3, the double Olympic champions Hagara and Steinacher, together with teammates Julius Hallström (SWE), Mark Spearman (AUS) and Rhys Mara (AUS), proved that they have what it takes in windy conditions as well. With podiums in all five of the races, including two wins, they were the top-scoring boat of the day and headed into Sunday’s climactic action at the head of the leaderboard.

Sunday proved to be a nailbiting showdown between Red Bull Sailing and their respected rivals, the defending champions Alinghi.