Max Salminen from Sweden claimed his first Finn world title in a close and intense medal race between the top 10 sailors yesterday, one that sailed despite a persisting light breeze.
For the Irish, however, the competition was decided by day four, with lack of wind seeing racing cancelled on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 September.
McClelland, who was competing in his second Finn Gold Cup, is one of three sailors receiving support through the Finn Class Development Programme (FIDeS), which includes part-funding to train at the Dinghy Academy in Valencia.
The Northern Irish prospect has already spent most of 2017 training in Valencia with the new group that has formed there.
“We got some pretty good training in over the summer,” he told the Finn class’ Robert Deaves. “After the European Championship [in Marseille, in May] I felt that I had made a big step forwards in boat speed and set up.”
Though he fell short of his goal of a top 30 placing in Hungary, McClelland is confident that continued training and experience in big events with tricky conditions, such as those the fleet dealt with last week, will see the desired results.
“There has definitely been glimpses of speed and getting where I’d like to be,” he said, noting one highlight was leading the fleet round the first mark in the first race of the series.
“The FIDEs funding has been a big help this season, giving me a more stress-free time to train and not worry about the money.”
Next for McClelland is a solid winter of training in Valencia. “I think this season was a lot of building,” he said. “I learnt a lot, made some steps and next year I just have to put it all together and move forward.
“Obviously the goals are a bit higher next year, but the progress is still there. I am still making progress every day I am on the water.”
McClellan also spoke highly of his rival Lyden, who came into the Finn Gold Cup on the back of a bronze ay the U23 Worlds at the same venue on Balaton.
“With another competitor from the same country, it’s going to make you wake up better in the morning. When you are feeling a bit groggy in the morning it’s definitely great motivation.
“We get along well and we are making plans to train together next season as well.”