At the Hempel World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, the weather threw everything at more than 1,000 Olympic champions and hopefuls, but only a dozen gold medals would be doled here. Here's who took home the haul.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho YoshiokaSailing Energy/World Sailing

Japan’s Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka underlined Japan’s strength in the Women’s 470 class by winning gold. They started the medal-race day on top and finished fifth, but they had done their math and kept France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz, bronze medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics ahead of the Japanese crew in fifth, behind them. The French slipped to seventh – in the end, sixth would have been enough for bronze, so close were the margins. "We were very nervous at the beginning of today because we were in first place," said Yoshida. "I felt a lot of pressure, but finally I got a gold. The medal race was the hardest of the week, it was very close, but we weren’t worried when the British passed us because we had worked out the mathematics."

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Zsomber BereczSailing Energy/World Sailing

Zsomber Berecz, of Denmark, won the Finn class to net Hungary’s first-ever medal in the World Sailing Championships. Berecz’s emotions were heightened by the fact that it has been a long time coming, for him and his country. “If you would’ve said at the start of the Championship that I will win it, I wouldn’t believe you,” said Berecz. “I had four months off, and it was a tough four months. I only had one and half months of training before these worlds, but I spent it really well and it worked out."

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Kevin Peponnet and Jermie MionSailing Energy/World Sailing

Having started the medal day third overall, France’s Kevin Peponnet and Jermie Mion finished third in the medal race and that was enough for gold in the Men’s 470. “It was so intense. My heart is still beating so hard. That was the hardest race I’ve ever sailed in my life," said Peponnet. "The hardest bit of the race for me was to catch the other guy. To focus on your speed, with all the waves and chaos around you, it’s very hard. The goal (this week) was to be less than 10 points from the leader, for a chance to win the title. We managed to keep that distance between the first place and us all week long. When an opportunity comes, you can grab it and that is what we’ve done, and we’ve won the title."

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Emma PlasschaertSailing Energy/World Sailing

Emma Plasschaert won Belgium’s first world championship gold in the Laser Radial at the Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018. Along the way she proved that Marit Bouwmeester is human. On a bright and breezy day in Denmark’s Bay of Aarhus, winds gusting through the buildings and trees provided perfect stadium racing conditions close to shore for the thousands lining the harbor promenade. Plasschaert started the day 11 points clear and only needed to finish sixth or better in the 10-boat field to make gold hers. In the end, she was fifth, but Bouwmeester was fourth and had never been able to put enough boats between them. "I knew Marit was so good in these conditions, so I was a little bit afraid she would jump over me," said Plasschaert. "I’m feeling amazing and overwhelmed to win. It’s my first big win, it’s my first gold in a championship.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Pavlos KontidesSailing Energy/World Sailing

In the Laser, victory had looked far from certain and Cyprus’s Pavlos Kontides. He appeared to be in trouble in the big winds at the top mark. The fleet were doing their best to keep the boats flat, and as he rounded in ninth he nearly capsized. Australia’s Matt Wearn was sixth, 19 seconds ahead and looked like he might get away. Wearn, 22, had trailed by 4 points going into the medal race and just needed to put a boat between them. But the wind dropped down to 12 knots on the first downwind (from 25 at the start) and Kontides, who became the first-ever Olympic medalist for Cyprus (in any sport) with his silver at the London 2012 Olympics, kept chipping his way back. He was last at the bottom, but 13 seconds behind Wearn in eighth. The wind increased and by the second upwind the gap was just 2 seconds and they were into the match racing situation expected from the start. Wearn had Great Britain’s Michael Beckett in front all the way to the line but could not get past him. "I feel amazing," says Kontides. "It’s hard having to keep someone like Matt Wearn behind you. The quality of this fleet is so high and so deep that you always have to be at the top of your game."

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Annemiek Bekkering and Annette DeutzSailing Energy/World Sailing

Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Deutz won a dramatic 49erFX medal race at the Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 after the Austrian pair of Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht capsized in an unexpected and dramatic wind shift. “There were light winds in front of us and we decided to tack out and that’s when we noticed that the wind was building up,” said Bekkering. “After 20 seconds we saw so much pressure coming, so we decided to take the risk and stay away from the fleet. In the end, we didn’t know that the shift was so big, but it paid out big time. We’ve been saying together for five years. We won in Palma this year and now the World Championships – this is our year.”

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Šime & Mihovil FantelaSailing Energy/World Sailing

In the 49er medal race the men had enjoyed steady winds and the Croatian brothers, Šime & Mihovil Fantela made sure there were no surprises for the gold - the battle for silver was another matter entirely - as they controlled their opponents from start to finish. “It’s been an amazing last year sailing with my brother,” says Šime. “It’s been a challenge some days coming from the 470, so winning the World Championships is beyond my dreams." The Fantelas went into their medal race 13 points clear of the young German pair, Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf, in second. Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel, the bronze medalists in Rio were third, 18 points behind.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Men's KiteboardSailing Energy/World Sailing

Gusts over 30 knots and thunder and lightning meant that the medal races for the men’s and women’s kiteboard – making their debut at the World Championships – was abandoned before starting. The men’s kite had promised to be tight with the top seven separated by 21 points, with 30 points up for grabs in the three medal-race format. Nicolas Parlier and Theo de Ramecourt took gold and bronze for France respectively, Britain’s Guy Bridge took silver.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Daniela MorozSailing Energy/World Sailing

Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Daniela Moroz led Russia's Elena Kalinina by 13 points before medal races were cancelled, securing gold again for the young kiter from California. "I'm so stoked! All the hard work has paid off. It's been a great year thanks to my parents, friends and all those who supported me," she said. "Competing in a championship like this is feels different. Winning here feels more significant and I think that is because we have all these other classes here too.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna BantiSailing Energy/World Sailing

Italian’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti secured gold in the Nacra 17 fleet after medal racing was abandoned for lack of wind. “We’re so happy! It’s been an incredible season. We’ve won so many events,” said Tita. “I personally really like the new foiling Nacra and I think Banti can say the same. The speed and new discoveries of sailing is really interesting and the more interest I have in the boat, the better I can sail it. It’s about training hard but most importantly, good communication between the team. You must be able to read each other.”

The top four boats in this mixed crew foiling cat class were separated by just six points. The pre-race favorites, Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti were just one point clear of the exciting newcomers, Australia’s brother and sister Team Outteridge, Nathan and Haylee. Argentina’s Rio 2016 Olympic champions, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, were two points further back. And that’s they finished.

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Dorian Van RijsselbergheSailing Energy/World Sailing

The men’s RS:X gold was all Dorian Van Rijsselberghe, who has been a class apart among the windsurfers recently. Van Rijsselberghe, who won gold before the start of the medal race, does things his own way and he does not leave things to chance Like many of his would-be rivals, the 29-year-old double Olympic champion has only won two races, but his consistency was unmatched. Only once in the 12 races leading to this medal race did he finish out of the top 10. “I’m super proud for my nation and myself, and also Kiran [Badloe] who secured silver,” Van Rijsselberghe said. “We train everywhere and anywhere. I spend more time with Kiran than my wife.”

Hempel World Sailing Championships

2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships

Lilian de GeusSailing Energy/World Sailing

Lilian de Geus, of the Netherlands, added to the country’s medal haul with no finish lower than ninth in their 12 races. The 26-year-old De Geus was 30 points clear of China’s Yunxiu Lu in second. “I was so disappointed after Rio, so it’s an amazing feeling to be world champion,” said De Geus. ‘We trained a lot in these conditions and you could see the results on Friday – with two bullets. I could see every shift and every gust.”