Weymouth proves to be good sailing venue

The last day of racing at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta saw fantastic conditions for the medal races at Weymouth and Portland’s National Sailing Academy. As of next year, all eyes will be on Weymouth and Portland, the venue for the 2012 Olympics, as it becomes part of the newly introduced ISAF Sailing World Cup Series.

With sailors from fifteen different countries competing, the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is a truly international event. The British team, six of which recently represented Great Britain at the Beijing Olympics, won four out of the nine classes after the final day’s medal races.

Giles Scott proved his credentials as a potential Olympic star of the future by winning the Finn medal race by two boat lengths, Scott, who secured his place in the Skandia Team GBR performance squad earlier this year, has dominated the heavyweight dinghy racing all week but explains it’ll be a big task competing against triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie for the Finn spot at the London 2012 Olympics.

In the men’s 470 class Nic Asher and Elliot Willis (GBR) had to finish within four places of nearest rivals Pablo Santurde arco and Arco Abelardo (ESP) to guarantee gold.

The 470s women had an international feel in the medal race with Swedish pair Lisa Ericsson and Astrid Gabrielsson winning to secure a silver medal, the 470s title however went to Spain’s Berta Betanzos and Tara Pacheco who, thanks to a superb performance all week, only had to finish the medal race to secure the title. There was disappointment for Skandia Team GBR pairing of Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes, they had been in the top three positions all week but due to a poor medal race (finishing seventh) ended the week in fifth place overall.

The 49er fleet has been dominated by Skandia Team GBR sailors throughout the regatta and the medal race was no different.

In the Laser Radial class Chinese sailor Lijia Xu had reasons to be relaxed ahead of the medal race as she had already wrapped up the title yesterday, however she showed no signs of this and dominated the race to take another victory, she finished twenty seven points ahead of silver medal winner Charlotte Dobson.

In the Laser class Lymington-based sailor Nick Thompson put in a cautious display in the medal race, eventually finishing in eight place, however due to a dominating the fleet during the rest of the week Thompson only had to finish today’s race to claim gold. He now has his sights firmly set on representing his country in the 2012 Olympics.

The closest class of the week was the RS:X 8.5 with the top three positions only separated by one point heading into today’s medal race. In near perfect windsurfing conditions sixteen year old Ali Masters (GBR) took all the plaudits claiming silver after finishing second in the medal race one place ahead of Bryony Shaw (GBR), Spain’s Blanca Manchon took gold after crossing the line first in a tight finish.

Completing the day’s racing was the RS: X 9.5 class. Britain’s Nick Dempsey had to finish first and hope that Israel’s Shahar Zubari didn’t get better than an eighth position. Zubari stayed close to Dempsey all the way round the course eventually finishing in fourth place with Dempsey one place ahead in third. This assured the Israeli gold, with Chinese windsurfer Aichen Wang claiming bronze to complete the podium places.

Complete results at: www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk