14 December 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Sailing: Glory for GBR sailors during their nine medal haul at Skandia Sail for Gold

June 13, 2011

Ben Ainslie and Nick Dempsey sealed victories in the Finn and RS:X windsurfing events on the final day of racing at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta on Saturday (11 June), with further podium glory for British sailors in the 470 women’s, 49er and women’s match racing events taking the GBR medal tally to nine from their home World Cup regatta.
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With a sixteen point margin over nearest rival Giles Scott in the race for gold, Ainslie had a comfortable cushion heading into the final ten-boat showdown in Portland Harbour.  With Scott the only man capable of taking gold from Ainslie’s grasp, the inevitable pre-start match race ensued, with the two Skandia Team GBR boats continuing their duelling at the back of the fleet for the remainder of the race.

Ainslie finished tenth in the medal race, but with Scott just ahead ninth it was more than enough to secure regatta gold by 14 points for the triple Olympic gold medallist and his fourth World Cup victory of the season.  Ed Wright pushed hard to make it three Brits in the podium spots with an emphatic medal race win, but Croatian Ivan Kjlakovic Gaspic managed to keep high enough in the fleet to prevent the British clean sweep.

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Read related features:

Sailing: Five top spots for GB after Weymouth’s ‘Big Wednesday’

Sailing: Tough day at the office on first day of gold fleet racing

Sailing: A Slow Start for the Skandia Sail for Gold

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“It’s been a really tough week physically with strong winds so I’m really pleased to have come out on top,” Ainslie commented.

“It’s been hard work, I won’t hide from that fact.  It was one of the toughest events I think I’ve ever done physically.”

Skandia Team GBR’s Elliot 6m trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor were guaranteed a silver heading in their women’s match racing final against USA’s Anna Tunnicliffe, but were unable to overcome the American crew, losing 3-0

Lush conceded that their silver medal was largely down to uncharacteristically bad starts in the final, but was feeling positive in defeat.

“We’re really pleased.  We’ve been working for the last six months with a new coach from Holland.  We feel like we’re really improving and feel like we’re close to getting it now, and we need to make sure we lay it down with a gold medal here in August at the Pre-Olympics.”

“We do always tend to have quite tight and difficult races with Anna,” she added of their rivalry with the American crew.  “I think we have quite different styles so we’ll be studying her and working out how to take her down on those small advantages she has at the moment.”

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark had it all on to keep hold of a medal position in the 470 women’s event.  Heading in the final in bronze medal position, they had the ability to improve to silver, but also to drop out of the podium spots altogether, which they looked like doing after a bad first windward leg.  But they held their nerve to pull back to third in the medal race and claim silver.

“The medal race was probably a little bit more exciting than we’d have wanted it to be,” Clark admitted.

“Contrary to what everyone might have thought on the shore, our tracker was working and we did go round the first windward mark with nothing.  We had a great downwind which put us right back in the fight and from there on we were under control slightly.”

“It feels amazing,” added Mills, who only started sailing with Clark in February after the retirement of Sarah Ayton.  “Obviously we’re a little bit gutted that we weren’t in the fight for gold, but we went into the medal race and achieved the best result we could, which was amazing.”

Monica Stott, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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