At the 470 World Championships in La Rochelle, the British crews of Luke Patience-Joe Glanfield and Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre both secured fifth place finishes at the conclusion on Saturday (10 August).
470 World Championship 2013
Exactly one year to the day since Helensburgh’s Patience claimed Olympic sailing silver, the 27-year-old was in major Championship medal race once action again, this time with new crew Joe Glanfield with whom he teamed up at the beginning of this year in a quest for Rio gold.
The duo went into the final eight-boat medal race in fifth place, and with an uphill battle to secure an outside chance of bronze after a difficult penultimate day on Friday.
Thirteen points from the podium spots, Patience and Glanfield’s fate was out of their own hands in Saturday’s final race, but they sailed an impressive finale to finish second in the medal race, and consolidate their overall fifth place at this first World Championship for the new pairing.
'We finished on a high – our medal race today was great,' explained Patience. 'We were on fire and the boat was flying. Everything felt gorgeous and we raced well, so that’s something to take away and we can use those sorts of skills into the next regatta.'
'Right now it’s a bit of an anti-climax but as ever with these things, give it a few days and it will be a bit more philosophical for us. We’ve had a great season and we have sailed really well this week – it was just a couple of errors yesterday that made the difference. It is frustrating but that is sport.'
'We couldn’t have asked for much more [from our first season], we couldn’t be in a much better place, and certainly what has been apparent this year is that me and Joe have been in a group of five boats that have been consistently the five that are scratching it out for medals, and it’s good percentages to be in that so soon.'
Exmouth’s 34-year-old double Olympic silver medallist Glanfield agreed that they’ve made great progress in their inaugural season, which has seen them claim four podium finishes including Kiel Week gold and a European Championship silver.
'Every event we’ve done we’ve gone into the medal race in contention for a medal, and at the majority events we’ve come away from a medal and that’s in a multitude of conditions, some predominantly strong winds, some predominantly light winds.
'That’s more than I think either of us expected this year – certainly more than I expected to have that consistency at every event.'
Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan claimed the World Championship title – Belcher’s fourth – with the host’s Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre stealing silver from the Greek pairing Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis with a medal race victory.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre, also a new pairing for this season, went into the final day in fifth place in the women’s fleet, also with an outside chance of a medal at their first World Championship together.
The 24-year-old Weguelin and 19-year-old McIntyre placed fourth in the medal race to consolidate their overall fifth place, but with four podium finishes this season for the young team, they’re happy with their World Championship performance and their progress to date.
'We’ve had a tough week of racing and we’re very happy to finish fifth given that we’ve only been sailing together for eight months now. It’s been really positive,' explained Lymington’s Weguelin.
McIntyre agreed: 'We were saying on the sail in after the race in that if someone had said to us in January when we first started sailing together that we were going to come fifth at the Worlds, then we probably wouldn’t have believed them, so we can’t really ask for much more than that.
'It’s been a really tough week, really tough racing and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, so just knowing that we can pull through and that even on our worst day we can still work together and take away a good result I think is what we can take away from this week.'
New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie added the women’s world title to their 2012 Olympic gold, with silver going to Austria’s Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar, and China’s Wang Xiaoli and Huang Xufeng taking bronze.
From five of the ten Olympic Classes World Championships held so far this season, British Sailing Team sailors have picked up three medals, with Nick Dempsey taking the RS:X Windsurfing World title, his female counterpart Bryony Shaw taking silver and Nacra 17 multihull pairing Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond winning world silver last month in Holland.
British Sailing Team