As far as ways to miss out on a world championship medal go, they don't come much crueler than the set of circumstances faced by New Zealand sailor Andrew Murdoch today.
A poor finish in the medal race of the Finn Gold Cup off Takapuna saw Murdoch pipped for a podium spot, missing out on a bronze medal on countback to Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar after the pair finished on equal points.
With British sailor Giles Scott already assured of a third straight world title heading into today's medal race with a 53-point lead over the fleet, and Jonathan Lobert of France looking pretty comfortable in the silver medal position, the key battle was for bronze.
Murdoch, the only local competitor to advance to the 10-boat medal race, had a slight edge in the tussle, heading into the final race in bronze medal position five points ahead of Max Salminen of Sweden and six in front of Zbogar in fifth position.
However, with the medal race carrying double points, Murdoch didn't have a lot of room for error. But err he did and his chance to collect his world championship medal in the class after switching from the Laser in early 2013 went begging.
"I'm bloody disappointed," Murdoch said of the result.
Things did not look promising for the Kiwi early on in the race with Zbogar having a handy lead over the fleet by the end of the second beat and Murdoch well back in the pack.
But, on a snakes and ladders day out on the race course, it ended up being closer than anticipated. The positions were shaken up over the final run and the Slovenian slipped back to sixth to finish on equal points with Murdoch, who crossed the line in ninth.
The bronze medal was awarded to Zbogar, however, as he had the better placing in the medal race.
Murdoch couldn't quite pinpoint where he went wrong in the race.
"I felt a little bit sticky upwind, a little bit slow at times. In saying that it was quite patchy and quite light so it's hard to know if it was speed or where you are on the race course. It was a really difficult one, it wasn't straight forward," he said.
After the day he'd had on the racecourse, it was difficult for Murdoch to highlight any positives, but he said he pleased to have got himself into medal contention after being placed ninth at the mid-point of the regatta.
The top four placing will have also strengthened his case for Olympic selection, after Murdoch's rival for New Zealand's berth at next year's Games, Josh Junior, failed to make the medal round, finishing 14th overall.
Whoever gets the nod for Rio will have a tough battle trying to rein in the impressive Scott, who over the weekend underlined his status as favourite for gold next year. The British sailor's consistency is unrivalled, finishing in the top five in all but three of the 11 races sailed over the course of the regatta to win the event by 45 points.
But Murdoch believes it is still possible to overhaul Scott before Rio.
"I've just got to keep pushing hard from here. There is still plenty of time for me to make some improvements and cut down that gap that Giles has got on us all at the moment. He's sailed really well this regatta."
Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma won the medal race to improve his final placing to sixth overall, with Brit Edward Wright second and Greece's Ioannis Mitakis in third.