Great race with French rivals end in World Cup Series silver show for sailing stars Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre collected silver at the World Cup Series final following an epic battle with French rivals Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz.
Mills, 31, the reigning Olympic champion, and Hayling Island-based sailing talent McIntyre, 25, led the women’s 470 fleet for the entirety of the week-long regatta in Marseille, France, the sailing venue for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
They headed into Sunday’s final medal race – a double points battle for the top-10 teams – expecting a fight for gold with France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz.
With one point splitting the two teams but a healthy 21-point gap to third-placed Silvia Mas Depares and Patricia Cantero Reina of Spain, it was a simple case of whichever team beat the other would take the top spot.
With light winds plaguing the waters off Marseille, the women’s 470 fleet was forced to wait more than two hours.
When the action started, defending champions Mills and crew McIntyre launched into an intense match race with their French rivals.
A better start for Lecointre and Retornaz saw them get ahead of the British duo, and despite throwing everything they had at their adversaries they couldn’t pass them over the two-lap race.
‘We were really excited for this medal race – it’s not often you get a full-on match race with another boat so we were desperate to get the race in and the practice,’ said Cardiff’s Mills, who won 470 silver at London 2012 with Saskia Clark.
‘We made a few mistakes around the start but then from that moment on we raced hard and took the fight to the French girls.
‘They sailed a great race and even though we couldn’t quite do enough to get past them, it really did come down to the wire and we are proud of that.’
It is the pair’s third consecutive medal, having taken the top spot at the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Mallorca in April and silver at the 470 class European Championships in San Reimo, Italy, in May.
Last week McIntyre and Mills were named in a 17-strong team to represent Great Britain at the Tokyo 2020 test event which takes place this summer in Enoshima from August 15 to 22.