Saskia Clark admits she is preparing herself to relinquish her crown at the 470 World Championships as she and Olympic silver medal winning partner Hannah Mills finally return to the water.
Clark and Mills, who won silver in the 470 at the London 2012 Olympics last summer, took a ten-month break after the Games and only resumed on-water training a month ago ahead of the worlds in La Rochelle.
The British pair upgraded the 470 silver they claimed at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth at the end of 2011 to gold in Barcelona in May last year before placing second at the Olympics.
However, given their break after the Games and a lack of time on the water, Clark insists she and Mills will have hand to over their world title in order to win it back as they begin to build to Rio 2016.
“We’ve only done a few days in the boat, so we’re basically going to have to take it as it is,” said Clark.
“We probably feel a bit gutted that we’re going in as defending world champions and are probably not in any fit state – in terms of hours we’ve done in the boat – to defend our title. But it is what it is.
“We’ve taken the time off because we felt it was the best thing long-term so we’ll have to take the short-term hit!”
Clark and Mills will be joined in the women’s fleet by European bronze medallists Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre while their old coach Joe Glanfield will be on the water with Luke Patience, who won silver at London 2012 with Stuart Bithell.
Four-time Portuguese Olympian Alvaro Marinho will guide Mills and Clark as Glanfield returns to the campaign trail and Patience, the helm in the partnership, is excited by what they can achieve in La Rochelle.
“It’s been a great season for us,” said Patience, who will be joined in the men’s fleet by fellow British pair Nick Rogers and Elliot Willis, also competing at their first World Championships together.
“I think Joe and I have managed to establish a nice foundation and we’re getting towards that point of learning each other and understanding each other and what makes us tick.
“We’ve stood on the podium in all bar one of our opportunities this year and that’s a fantastic bit of confidence for us to take into the World Championships.
“I really thrive and enjoy the bigger regattas of our sport, I look forward to them. I like the expectation and pressure that’s behind these big ones. I wish it was the worlds or the Olympics every day!”
© Sportsbeat 2013