British sailors secured a hat-trick of golds on a nail-biting final day of World Cup racing in Weymouth and Portland, with Giles Scott, Nick Dempsey and the 470 duo of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark all closing out event victories.
Silver medals also went to Tom Squires and Bryony Shaw in the men’s and women’s RS:X windsurfing events, and bronze to the 49er duo of John Pink and Stuart Bithell as Great Britain topped the Olympic classes medal standings at this fourth leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
The British Sailing Team’s total tally, including the Paralympic classes, was five gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Giles Scott’s was the first British gold of the day, with the World Champion admitting it was a ‘stressful race’ as he had to fight back from a difficult start and a yellow flag penalty on the first upwind leg amid the light wind conditions.
“I got a bit caught at the start in all honesty. I wanted to protect the right hand side, which I managed to do, but I just didn’t give myself enough run in time to get to the line. The only good thing about that is that it did give me an option out to the right which put me ahead again. So it worked out alright.”
Although Scott’s winning streak now extends to 18 months in the heavyweight Finn event, he’s not prepared to take his foot off the gas with just over a year to go until Rio 2016.
“Everyone’s getting better all the time, and there’s still a long time to go to the Games so I certainly can’t rest on my laurels at all.
470 women’s duo Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark turned the tables on their New Zealand rivals Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie – the London 2012 gold medallists – in another gripping medal race.
The 2012 silver medallists Mills and Clark took an aggressive approach and got a great start in a bid to overturn their Kiwi rivals’ two point margin ahead of the race.
The British duo held on to fourth around every mark, with the Kiwi pairing moving up from eighth to fifth during the race to finish on equal points overall. But with Mills and Clark having the superior medal race score to break the tie, they could celebrate gold on their home waters.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre were also in 470 Women’s medal race action for the British Sailing Team, finishing fifth overall and seventh in the final race.
Nick Dempsey secured the golden hat-trick for the home team, beating his younger rival Tom Squires to gold in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event. The double Olympic medallist sailed his own race to finish fourth in the ten-boat final, and take the event win by 18 points over the silver medallist Squires.
Squires, who finished the medal race in ninth, was happy with his silver medal and back to back podium finishes after claiming bronze at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in the Netherlands last month.
Bryony Shaw won the RS:X women’s medal race to claim overall silver, but an otherwise fantastic week for Izzy Hamilton, who went into the day leading, ended in disappointment after she sailed the wrong course at the final turning mark and had to retire from the race. She finished fourth.
John Pink and Stuart Bithell scooped the final medal of the day for home team – a bronze in the 49er class – amid a British 1-2 in the race.
Local knowledge appeared to prevail today as Pink-Bithell and Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign led the race from start to finish, with Pink and Bithell elevating themselves onto the third step of the podium as a result. Fletcher and Sign ended their week in fifth.
Elsewhere in medal race action, Alison Young finished fourth overall in the Laser Radial event, John Gimson-Hannah Diamond and Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves finished fifth and eighth in the Nacra 17.
Luke Patience-Elliot Willis were sixth in the 470 Men’s event and Nick Thompson rounded off his week in tenth in the Laser.
“We’ve had a great World Cup regatta, and it’s great to see the event continue to innovate and move forward,” said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.
British medallists at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland:
Giles Scott (Finn)
Hannah Mills-Saskia Clark (470 Women)
Nick Dempsey (RS:X Men)
Helena Lucas (2.4mR)
Alexandra Rickham-Niki Birrell (SKUD)
Bryony Shaw (RS:X Women)
Tom Squires (RS:X Men)
John Robertson-Hannah Stodel-Steve Thomas (Sonar)
John Pink-Stuart Bithell (49er)
Will Street-Megan Pascoe (SKUD)
John Brooker (2.4mR)
The ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland is part of UK Sport’s #EveryRoadtoRio events series, which will feature over 30 world class sports events the length and breadth of the UK, with over 900,000 tickets available to the British public to support their athletes.
For all the latest news and updates from the British Sailing Team: www.britishsailingteam.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @BritishSailing.