PORTLAND-BASED sailors clinched gold with a day to spare at the Sail For Gold Regatta.
The fourth day of racing in Weymouth and Portland brought perfect sailing conditions from the outset, with Finn sailor Giles Scott and 470 sailors Luke Patience and Elliot Willis clinching event honours on the penultimate day of the event.
Scott sealed the deal in the heavyweight Finn class with another impressive display of racing.
Scott, who similarly bagged the Finn European Championship title with a day to spare in La Rochelle, France, last month, has dominated these championships with 10 race wins from his 14 races so far.
He will still sail in today’s medal race, but takes an unassailable 13-point lead into the finale, despite retiring from yesterday’s third and final race. The 26-year-old said: “It’s good to win Sail for Gold for sure, to win any regatta is always a great achievement.
“It’s been good to get out there on home water and do some good quality racing, we had some fantastic conditions out there in the bay.”
Maintaining his unbeaten reg-atta run since returning to full-time Olympic classes sailing in September, Scott admits there is still work to be done between now and the World Champion-ships this summer.
“I’m always trying to improve and get better and I still feel there are things I need to do to get better. So far I have managed to win the regattas but there have certainly been some close calls in there so it’s by no means a time to rest up, that’s for sure.”
The battle for silver and bronze will be tight on the final day with one point dividing Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews, who took the race 14 victory.
ANOTHER dominant display across yesterday’s three races by Patience, who is also based on the island, and Willis has handed them their second consecutive EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup medal, this time upgrading their Delta Lloyd silver to gold at this week’s regatta.
The pair clinched the top spot on the podium with a clean sweep of race wins, and enter the final medal race with a 23-point cushion over Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre in second.
Patience said: “It was important to keep our concentration and try to sail the boat as accurately as we can throughout all the races this week.
“I am pleased with how we are sailing, we have been starting well, the boat felt absolutely gorgeous up wind and we were in a nice groove.
“Weymouth has delivered some nice conditions this week with the sunshine and some good breeze which are the exciting kind of conditions which we love in our sport.”
This week’s Sail for Gold victory is the first of the pairs blossoming partnership, with Pat-ience confirming the 470 duo are in a good place ahead of a busy summer of key international regattas.
“Even though it’s been a domestic competition this week in our fleet, it’s always nice to win and dominate but really it’s all about building our skillsets for when we get put into an international fleet with the intention of delivering at the World Championships.
“Me and Elliot have definitely hit the ground running since teaming up, we have known each other for years and when we got in the boat together it just felt right and there has been nothing standing out which has felt unusual or that needs work on.”
CHAMPION Helena Lucas remains in control in the 2.4mR but as always faces stiff competition from Portland’s Megan Pascoe who won two races yesterday, but was disqualified from the opening race after falling the wrong side of a protest decision.
Two points off the top spot with two races still to go, Pascoe said: “I am looking forward to today, it has been tight racing all the way through the regatta and I’m pleased to be showing promising signs as we head into the Worlds.
“I seem to like the breeze at the moment, if you look at my past results in the breeze I seem to have done alright, so more breeze today should suit me nicely and hopefully I can finish the day on top of the podium.”
John Robertson, Hannah Stod-el and Steve Thomas continue their dominance in the three-person Sonar class with an unblemished scorecard from the 12-race series.
OLYMPIANS Nick Dempsey, from Weymouth, and Bryony Shaw continue to govern the RS:X 9.5 and 8.5 fleets.
Dempsey holds a 16-point lead at the top of the table after a 1-1-2-1 for yesterday’s efforts, while Shaw posted once again a clean sweep of race wins from the four races completed.
Shaw is yet to drop any points after the 12-race series and will also enter today’s medal race decider with a 16-point cushion over Blanca Manchon from Spain.
The final medal races are scheduled to start at 10am today with a 18-22 knot forecast.