British sailors made a strong start to their preparations for this summer’s Olympics at Weymouth with a hatful of medals at the Miami World Cup regatta – three of them gold.
While there are several other Olympic classes regattas – and world championships in most of them – ahead of the Games, building momentum is vital at this stage.
In total, Skandia Team GBR sailors collected eight medals, with top spot on the podium going to Nick Dempsey (RS:X), Paul Goodison (laser) and the women’s match-racing trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor.
All of those winners will be in action in home waters this August.
Team MacLush, as the match-racing trio are becoming known, were able to go one better than their silver at the World Championships after a tough battle through the quarter-and-semi-finals.
In the final, they took an early lead to go two up in the best-of-five, before being pegged back by Australia’s Olivia Price. The fourth race proved decisive.
‘We were leading and then we picked up some weed around our keel which really slowed us down,’ said Lush.
‘The Australians managed to get about half a leg ahead of us. I think Olivia then picked up some weed as well so we were able to catch up a bit, but then she got stopped by some big chop from all the boats that were around and so we were able to overtake her to get the win.
‘It’s a great start to 2012 for us,’ said Lush, adding: ‘You can see from the results just how tight the fleet has become – everyone is pushing hard so there’s plenty of hard work still ahead of us.’
It was a straight head-to-head in the contest between Britain’s Olympic champion Goodison and Brazil’s Bruno Fontes.
Mastering the light wind racing, Goodison ground out a second in the double-pointed medal race to Fontes’ fifth, handing him the gold.
Dempsey, meanwhile, had recorded a string of bullets which saw him heading into the final medal race with an almost unassailable 18-point lead, and clinched gold in style with another race win.
Dempsey’s training partner Elliot Carney also made it a British one-two and bagged his first World Cup regatta medal when he claimed silver after a hard-fought medal race.
Carney’s fellow development squad sailors, Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth, also claimed their first World Cup regatta success, joining Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark on the 470 women’s podium.
Mills and Clark continued their medal-winning run with a silver to add to their growing collection, while Weguelin and Ainsworth picked up bronze thanks to a win in the medal race.