Great Britain’s 49er and Nacra 17 crews topped the world this weekend as the nation’s sailors reeled in six medals at the first World Cup event of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves claimed gold in the Nacra 17 on Saturday, in Biscayne Bay, Miami, leading home Tom Phipps and Nikki Boniface in a British one-two, while Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell also took gold in the 49er.
And Sunday produced another hat-trick of medals for Great Britain as Lorenzo Chiavarini won bronze in the Laser, while Ben Cornish took silver in the Finn class and Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre did likewise in the 470 women’s.
The Nacra 17 gold was a first for Bithell and Fletcher, who only teamed up as a partnership in the autumn, and were making their first World Cup appearance in the class.
Bithell and Fletcher had already secured gold before heading into the medal races, with a total of five race wins and ten top-five finishes in the 13 races.
“I think the stand-out for me was that when we were sailing well we actually put together some unbelievable results,” said 2015 European bronze medallist Bithell.
“I’ve not done that in the past in the 49er as it’s quite a tricky class to do that in, so I’m really happy with that.
“We obviously made some mistakes and picked up some bigger results, but we’re new and we’re still learning. We’re happy in general.”
Saxton and Groves’ win came after a tricky opening few days, but they fought their way through the field to enter the medal race as leaders.
Phipps and Boniface went into the race second overall and that was how they finished, with fellow Brits John Gimson and Anna Burnet taking victory in the medal race, with Saxton and Groves second over the line before Phipps and Boniface rounded out a 1-2-3 in the final race.
“We started off a little rusty this week, but by the end of it we were on form,” admitted Groves afterwards.
“We had an absolutely amazing day on Friday and we rounded it all off on Saturday with a second in the medal race, which got us the win.”
In the Finn class Cornish battled testing conditions to clinch silver, after successfully defending her second position in Sunday’s medal race.
Weguelin and McIntyre nearly made it a hat-trick of gold medals for Britain, but were pipped by Dutch pair Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen in the 470 medal race.
And Chiavarini snared bronze in the Laser, leapfrogging compatriot and two-time World Champion Nick Thompson onto the bottom step of the podium in their medal race.