Percy’s hopes of world title crash as mast fails

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson

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The recent strong winds across the UK were also evident in the Dutch leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series, and scuppered the medal hopes of Hampshire’s Olympic star Iain Percy and regular crew Andrew Simpson.

The Star class Olympic and world champions had not been out of a medal place since the start of the regatta in Medemblik – until their mast came crashing down on the penultimate day.

Their’s was one of four rig failures in shorts seas and 28 knots of breeze on the final downwind leg of the race.

They managed to finish the race – holding their sail at arm’s length in the air – but the mast damage forced them to sit out Sunday’s double points-scoring medal race and they consequently ended their regatta in fifth.

But there was better news for a slimmed down Skandia Team GBR squad at the six-day Delta Lloyd Regatta.

Beijing Olympians Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes captured a confidence-boosting win in the 49er event, as did world champion Ed Wright in the Finn class.

Megan Pascoe claimed her third straight World Cup podium spot of the year – a silver – in the 2.4mR Paralympic event.

Former world champions Morrison and Rhodes picked up their first Grade 1 regatta victory in three years, having struggled to find form at the European circuit events this season in Palma and Hyeres where they finished ninth and 11th respectively.

‘We won here back in 2008 and we haven’t won an event since then,’ said Rhodes.

‘We like it here, we’ve done well here in the past and it’s nice to do well here again.’

Unlike Morrison and Rhodes, who were defending their overall lead, Wright had it all to do in his medal race.

And his win means a British Finn sailor has taken gold for the fifth time in five World Cup events so far this season.

‘It was nice to see Stevie and Ben winning,’ said the 33-year-old Wright.

‘It inspired me a little bit and it was great to be able to go out there and do my thing as well.’

The seven-boat Skandia Team GBR contingent opted to sail the Delta Lloyd Regatta instead of remaining in Weymouth ahead of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta – the next leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series – which starts on the 2012 waters on Monday.