by Lindsey Bell
At the 470 European Championships in Formia, Italy, on Saturday June 15th, Britain’s 470 sailors wrapped up with a double podium celebration, claiming silver in the men’s division through Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield, and with bronze for Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre in the women’s event.
Luke Patience and Jo Glanfield GBR - 2013 470 European Championships
Patience, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist, and double silver medallist Glanfield picked up a second medal from their third event together since joining forces at the beginning of this season, with Glanfield having come out of retirement for another shot at Olympic gold in 2016.
The duo went into the final day’s racing in Formia in the silver medal position behind France’s Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion, and Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (ineligible for the European crown). The British pair consolidated their podium position with a sixth place in the medal race, with Patience delighted with the team’s progress in the early days of their new partnership.
'We’ve had a great week – I’m really pleased with how we’ve been sailing, and I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in such a short time together,' the 26-year-old Helensburgh helmsman explained.
'We’ve laid down the foundations of exactly who we are and what we are as a team and from there you can see the little gaps and improvements that can be made.'
Overall event victory at these Open Championships went to the Australia pair, with Bouvet and Mion securing the European title. Argentina’s Olympic bronze medallists Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente prevented Patience and Glanfield from the event’s overall third position, which Patience confessed ‘stung a bit’.
Eilidh Mcintyre and Sophie Weguelin GBR 2013 470 European Championships
But the Scot and his Exmouth-based crew believe they are exactly where they want to be in terms of the big picture for Rio 2016.
'I don’t think we could be asking for anything more than to be challenging for the podium at every regatta we’ve done,' said Patience.
'Sure, there are things on a micro scale that we need to look at and a number of scenarios this week have presented themselves to us on the racecourse that we haven’t come across before, and we’ll learn from.
'But we can’t ask for much more – after time out of the boat, Joe’s adapted really quickly to the new style of racing and the new pumping rules and it’s great to see him enjoying it!'
Two-time Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers and his new crew – double World Champion Elliot Willis – finished seventh overall and as fifth European boat in what was only the second event for the new team.
Sophie Weguelin, the defending European women’s titleholder, and her new partner Eilidh McIntyre, 19, went into the final medal race day on Saturday knowing they had bronze already in the bag and with silver out of reach, meaning they could sail their last day pressure-free.
470 Europeans Women Medalists
They finished their eight-boat double points medal race in fourth to leave them fourth overall and the third European boat at these Open Championships, with the French pairing of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron taking gold and the regatta victory. New Zealand’s Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were in overall second, with the Austrian duo of Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar third overall and the European silver medallists.
Lymington’s Weguelin admitted she was ‘really excited’ by their Europeans success at such an early stage in their campaign for Rio 2016.
'It’s been unexpected,' the 24-year-old said of their podium run this season, which has seen them claim silver and bronze at the Palma and Hyeres World Cup events – their first two events together – in April.
'It’s great to be able to keep that momentum going, especially when we have the Worlds coming up quite soon, but for us it’s really important that we keep on learning and improving as we’re still a young team with lots to learn.'
The duo have been coached up until the Europeans by double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling (nee Webb), who Weguelin says has been instrumental in helping them lay the foundations for their new partnership.
'Sarah has been brilliant. She’s got so much experience to share and has really helped us in these early days to settle into our roles and routines, and learn how to campaign.'
470 Europeans Mens Medalists
Men Medal Race 2 -2013 470 European Championships
470 Women Medal Race-1 2013 470 -European Championships
470 Open European Championships, Formia, Italy Men overall (European positions in brackets)
1 (-) Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, AUS 18pts
2 (1) Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion, FRA 28pts
3 (-) Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente, ARG 40pts
4 (2) Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield, GBR 41pts
5 (3) Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, CRO 48pts
7 (5) Nick Rogers and Elliot Willis, GBR 54pts
26 (20) Mike Wood and Hugh Brayshaw, GBR 101pts
Women overall (European positions in brackets)
1 (1) Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron, FRA 30pts
2 (-) Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, NZL 35pts
3 (2) Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar, AUT 40pts
4 (3) Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre, GBR 52pts
15 (11) Jo Freeman and Katie Tomsett, GBR 107pts
16 (12) Anna Burnet and Flora Stewart, GBR 113pts
18 (13) Amy Seabright and Claire Cumming, GBR 123pts
470 European Championship website