Top spot - but it’s ‘must do better’ for the Brits

Portsmouth's John Pink
Portsmouth's John Pink
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Taking top spot on the nations’ league table could not disguise the fact that Britain’s Olympic sailors had a disappointing Palma World Cup regatta.

Reigning Olympic champions Paul Goodison, in the laser, and the star duo of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson both took silver medals on the final day of the first European World Cup of the season.

That added to Ben Ainslie’s gold in the finn, won with a day to spare, and Helena Lucas’s silver in the Paralympic 2.4mR class.

The overall medal tally lifted Skandia Team GBR to the top of the table ahead of the USA and Australia.

However, performances elsewhere were mixed, with other sailors either failing to capitalise on their medal race opportunities or missing the cut altogether.

‘It’s pleasing to be top nation here at the first European World Cup of the season, but it hasn’t been plain sailing for any of our sailors this week,’ said RYA Olympic manager Stephen Park.

‘We’ve seen over the past few years that our international competition is getting tougher, and I’d say this is the first regatta where a few things have not gone our way – especially at the beginning of the week – for some of our selected Olympians.’  

Though missing out on a podium finish, Portsmouth 49er racer John Pink and crew Rick Peacock ended the regatta as the highest-placed British pairing in fourth, ahead of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, who won the medal race to boost their standings to seventh, with Dave Evans and Ed Powys sixth.

The ferociously-competitive 49er class is one of only two Olympic classes still to be decided for this summer, and at the least Pink has strengthened his case.

The likelihood is, however, that the spot will not be decided until after the next World Cup event in Hyeres later this month and the class’ world championships in Croatia in May.

In the laser radial, the other class to be decided, Charlotte Dobson was sixth and Alison Young 10th after finishing their medal races in fifth and 10th respectively.