SCENES of jubilation quickly overturned disappointment for missed golds into delight for Olympic silvers secured on home waters for Team GB.
Team GB’s Men’s and Women’s 470 dinghy teams both claimed a place on their respective podiums yesterday and brought Britain’s 2012 Olympic Sailing medal haul to five.
The duo put on a brave fight in the first medal race of the day but their hopes of gold slipped away after they had to take a penalty turn for pumping the sails in the light winds.
The duo, who are both from Weston, had been guaranteed at least silver going into yesterday’s final double-point race.
After crossing the finishing line in front of thousands of spectators on the Nothe and along the shoreline, they celebrated sailing ‘the regatta of their lives’ by jumping into the sea with their fellow medal winners.
There were tears of disappointment for the duo, who came so close to the top step of the podium, but were overtaken by their New Zealand rivals Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie who benefited from a ‘huge wind shift’ early in the race.
Mills and Clark, like their Team GB counterparts, had also raced so well earlier in the regatta they were guaranteed at least silver.
They went into the final race tied on equal points with the Kiwis but a dominant start cost them when they got caught in the pack of boats, while Aleh and Powrie tacked away and found clean air.
Helm Patience said their achievements on home waters outweighed any initial disappointment.
He said: “You’ve spent so many years thinking and dreaming of winning, you don’t dream of being in second or third place.
“This sport is so vast and variable you don’t know how you’ll be feeling when you cross the finishing line. One thing’s for certain, me and Stu, Sas and Han have changed our lives going forward.
“We’ve gone and achieved so much as youngsters, with all the help and support that’s gone in, on the world circuit and as first-time Olympic medallists.
“I can’t describe what’s that like. Those dreams in our head have been made concrete and while initially there’s hurt, it’s short-lived.”
The 470 teams silver medals follow Ben Ainslie ’s Finn gold and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson’s Star silver on Sunday and Weymouth’s Nick Dempsey ’s RS:X Windsurfing silver on Tuesday, across the 10 Olympic classes.
British Sailing Team leader Stephen Park said while they had lost the title of best sailing nation to Australia, who had also won gold medals in the Laser and 49er Skiff classes, Britain had exceeded their target of four medals and won more medals overall.