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Patience hoping for happy return to Athens for Euro Champs

July 9, 2014 16:38 pm

Luke Patience is hopeful lightning can strike twice as he eyes up a medal-winning return to Athens for this week’s 470 European Championships.

Almost a decade before Patience won silver at the London 2012 Olympics, he was highlighting his potential as he claimed silver at the 420 class European Championships in Athens as a youth sailor in 2003.

Fast forward 11 years and the 27-year-old will be back at the Greek venue for this year’s 470 European Championships, from 10-15 July, once again eyeing up the podium, this time alongside Elliot Willis.

Willis is also no stranger to the Greek waters, having travelled there as a training partner for Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

And Patience is keeping his fingers crossed that he can once again return home from Athens with a medal around his neck.

“I was here 11 years ago for the 420 Europeans when I was a much younger lad.  It’s been a long time!” said Patience, who claimed silver at last year’s European Championships in Italy with former crew Glanfield prior to his retirement.

“Elliot has been out here as well as a training partner for Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield around the Athens Olympics so I think we’re all quite pleased to be back.

“Conditions-wise it’s a fairly radical change to what we’ve been sailing in all year, especially with the heat, so the few days of build-up have been all about feeling comfortable and sailing the boat well in the very light and fickle conditions that Athens produces. 

“We’ve been getting used to the heat, getting used to how soft everything feels and tuning our minds and bodies into a bit more finesse than we’ve perhaps been used to in the last few months of sailing.

“It will more be about testing for Elliot and I in these light and fickle conditions, which you can almost say are a bit Rio-like from what we know so far.

“That will be a nice thing to learn through the regatta, and take away moments that will help us in Rio. 

“Elliot and I feel we have a good bit of finesse in the boat in these conditions and we really enjoy the tricky, choppy and soft winds and finding those little millimetres that make the boat go quicker.

“We feel in a good place going in to the event, and like always, we’ll be gloves off and going out there to win those races.  To go out there and be the best in those sorts of conditions by the end of the week is something I feel we’re more than capable of doing.

“We’ve done a lot of hours this summer now. I don’t think me and Elliot ever go into any of these regattas with any excuses of having not been in the boat very long together. 

“Both of us are feeling great about the team, great about what we’ve done with our coach Steve [Lovegrove] in the last couple of months having pulled some good things together, and I think we’re feeling in a good place right now.

“I’m looking forward to it and I think we’ll be dangerous!”

Patience and Willis will be joined in the men’s fleet by British Sailing teammates and Podium Potential sailors Mike Wood and David Kohler, while Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and 2013 European bronze medallists Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre will be among the four British Sailing Team crews vying for European honours in the women’s 470 event.

© Sportsbeat 2014