WEYMOUTH’S Luke Patience admitted any disappointment at missing out on an Olympic gold medal was “very short-lived” after he and Stuart Bithell won a debut silver yesterday.

Patience and team-mate Stuart Bithell, competing in the 470 men’s class, went into yesterday’s medal race sitting second overall, four points behind Australian leaders Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, but the gold medal eluded them in a close-fought final race.

Patience said: “We came close and we are here standing with a silver. Finally we can open up a little bit and enjoy that euphoric feeling of something we have just worked so, so hard for. The small disappointment of not having won the gold was very short-lived.”

In the early stages of the medal race, it was advantage Patience and Bithell as they rounded the top mark in pole position, and with that vital boat in the form of Croatia between themselves and the Aussies.

But the Australians started to take control in the light winds on the first downwind leg and rounded the second mark in the lead. before consolidating their hold on gold as they crossed in second and Britain fourth.

Bithell said: “The Aussies sailed a fantastic race. We tried to attack but they are worthy champions. We’re happy with second, it’s our first Games.”

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, meanwhile, insisted they would leave London 2012 with their “heads held high” after claiming a silver medal in the women’s 470 class yesterday.

Just like Patience and Bithell earlier in the afternoon, the duo were thwarted by their Antipodean opponents and forced to settle for silver – Britain’s fifth and final sailing medal of the Games.

“No gold post box for us then,” Clark said after coming off the water.

“Ah, and no stamp,” Mills added with a smile.

Clark continued: “The thing I am most gutted about is that it wasn’t a really good scrap for the gold medal.

“The race was over two-thirds up the first beat. They had a huge distance on us.

“In the pre-start we were fighting for a boat-length gain, which we got, but then they had a 200-metre lead and they were never going to let us in.”

Clark added: “If we walked away with the gold medal, if we walked away with nothing, we walked away with our heads held high at what we achieved.”