Team GB’s sailors warmed up for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in style by picking up five gold medals at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing World Cup.
In the final major competition before the Games – which are now just 54 days away – the home sailors were unstoppable as they laid down a marker to the rest of the world.
Four-time world champion Giles Scott took gold in the Finn class, Nick Thompson did likewise in the Laser and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves prevailed in the Nacra 17.
London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark topped an all-British podium in the women’s 470 while Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth claimed a maiden World Cup gold in the 49erFX.
Following a week of light winds causing a heavily reduced race schedule, Sunday finally saw stiffer breezes at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy for the medal races.
In the second race of the day, Scott finished second to convert his overnight one-point lead into a gold medal and the 28-year-old claims he couldn’t have asked for better preparation for Rio than the tricky week on the south coast.
“We’ve had a really tough week but today was the conditions in Weymouth that if you asked the foreign sailors, they would expect it to be,” he explained.
“It was a great race – 12 knots, flat water, free pumping and we were all more or less at max heart rate for the entire race.
“It was an incredibly hard-fought week and although everyone was a bit disappointed with the winds we had earlier on in the week that’s potentially what we could see in Rio so in that regard it’s good preparation.
“It’s nice to finish a week and not do every single race in the same conditions.”
The hefty medal haul at the World Cup suggests Team GB’s proud Olympic sailing tradition is set to continue at Rio 2016
In addition to the five gold medal winners, two further Rio-bound British pairs climbed the podium in Weymouth as Alain Sign and Dylan Fletcher won 49er silver with Luke Patience and Chris Grube clinching men’s 470 bronze.
The latter result was one of the most remarkable of the week with the duo only having been together for six months after Patience’s former partner Elliot Willis was unfortunately diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year.
By the time the Olympic Games roll around, the duo will have had to cram four years worth of preparation into just eight months but Patience claims the recognition they are getting from their rivals suggests they are on the right track.
“This week was about executing stuff we had recognised we needed to work on,” said Patience.
“We did that really well and I’m so proud of what we’ve done. We’ve had all our competitors coming up and saying ‘wow, you’re going really well this week guys’.
“That doesn’t happen often in sport and what that says to me is we already thought we were going well but now it’s recognised by our competitors.
“That’s so important for confidence with the lack of time we’ve had together. We’re really happy with that.
“We’re doing big things right now. This is going to be a feat of precision and timing – hopefully we’ve been thrown every curveball there is to come!”