The weather had the final say at the Laser world championships in Croatia with racing cancelled because of thunder and lightning.

It was a disappointing way to end for Tauranga's Tom Saunders and Sam Meech, who were both aiming for a strong finish to the regatta in the final two races. Saunders, who was in with a chance of picking up a medal, finished eighth overall and Meech was 12th.

The world title went to Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus with Olympic champion Tom Burton winning silver and fellow Australian Matthew Wearn in third.

The second electrical storm to pass through Split this week destroyed the gradient wind, leaving behind a light and unstable breeze that didn't build sufficiently before the cut-off time.


"It was a bit disappointing we couldn't get out there today but I'm happy with the result and how far I have come this year," Saunders said. "But you always want more. I just need to keep working hard and push forward.

"I was a bit slow to start but I was happy with my composure and ability to climb the leaderboard as the event went on. I'm excited for what's ahead."

Saunders is a member of Yachting New Zealand's Olympic development squad but is pushing for inclusion in the top-tier NZL Sailing Team. On top of his result in Split, he also finished fourth at last month's world championships test event in Aarhus.

Meech was third in Aarhus and started his week in Croatia very strongly, coming through qualifying only two points off the lead on the back of six top-four results. But the Olympic bronze medallist struggled on the final two days in gold fleet and slipped out of contention.

"I'm a bit disappointed, really, with my result although I was really happy with the first half of the regatta," he said. "In the second half I let myself down a bit. That's sailing, and you don't always have great days, but it's disappointing because I felt I was sailing really well at the start.

"The next event for me is in Japan in October when it will be another chance for me to put together a regatta before the end of the year."

The conditions also scuppered the chance of racing in silver fleet, meaning Andrew McKenzie finished second overall and George Gautrey 11th.