Pink leads the charge

Portsmouth sailor John Pink
Portsmouth sailor John Pink
Sir Francis Chichester on Gipsy Moth IV.

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There’s still a long road ahead to next year’s Olympic Games but British sailors put down a sizeable marker with a hatful of medals at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta.

The charge was led by Portsmouth 49er sailor John Pink who, with crew Rick Peacock, won his class with a day to spare.

His gold was one of four gained by the Team GBR sailors at the competitive Florida event, part of a 14-medal haul.

Despite their unassailable 23-point lead, the two went in to the final medal race determined not to take their foot off the gas, finishing third behind winners and fellow Brits Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith, who took silver.

‘We thought, like most medal races, it’s good to go to try and attack them because if you try to defend it never really works out,’ said Pink.

‘We thought we’d attack it and use it as a bit of practice and we did quite well.

‘It’s good to start the year by winning the first event. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season and trying to keep up the good work.’

In the 470 Women, Lee-on-the-Solent’s Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes missed out on the gold by a mere point but were able to claim their first podium spot together – and 21-year-old Hughes’ first at a senior event.

‘It’s certainly been our goal this year to make our way on to the podium,’ said Clark.

‘It’s been knocking on the door for a few regattas now and to finally put a really good series together and then convert it in the medal race means a lot to us.’

Success followed a difficult 2010 season for the pair, with illness to Clark and injury to Hughes disrupting their key winter training period.

‘It was quite hard last year – expecting things and having not been able to put the training in place made it quite hard to put it all into practice,’ said Hughes.

‘But we’ve had a good few months under our belt now. We’re feeling good and looking forward to a few more months of training before the European season and the key events this summer kick in.’

Along with the 49er class, the Brits took a clean sweep of the podium spots in the Finn.