by Lindsey Bell
Britain’s sailors topped the medals table and picked up the best nation prize at the latest leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series in Holland, picking up six podium spots on Sunday including a hat-trick of golds for Ed Wright, Paul Goodison and the women’s match racing team of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ali Martin.
It was Wright who opened up the batting for Skandia Team GBR on the final day of the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, picking up from a poor start in the medal race for the Finn class to take gold over teammate and overnight leader Giles Scott, who had to settle for silver.
Wright, who strengthens his lead in the ISAF World Cup standings having been on the podium at the past four consecutive events, was left behind after a premature start meant he had to re-cross the startline. But the 31-year-old systematically picked his way back through the fleet until he eventually finished the ten-boat medal race in second.
That handed him gold by 11 points over Palma World Cup winner Giles Scott, who was frustrated with his silver after leading the Finn fleet for the duration of the regatta.
A delighted Wright said: 'I was really surprised [to have won] because I started so badly – both in the race today and the whole week in fact! I made it hard on myself throughout the week – I got a couple of bad scores on the second day, but just have been slowly coming back and I’m really surprised that I managed to get the gold in the end.'
Olympic Champion Paul Goodison was firmly in control in the Laser fleet, closely covering the Croatian Tonci Stipanovic as the only man who could wrest the gold from him. Goodison finished the medal race in ninth, and Stipanovic in tenth which was enough to secure the Yorkshireman with his second straight World Cup series victory in only his second event back since the Beijing Olympic Games.
'It’s fantastic to come here and win in Holland,' said Goodison. This is the one that’s eluded me – I think I’ve won everything else apart from the Worlds and Holland Regatta. [I got] gold here today, so that just leaves one for later in the year!
'It’s a good feeling that I am sailing well after the break after the Olympics. The real focus now is going to be on to the Worlds and working on a few key things before we have the Worlds in Canada in August.'
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ali Martin secured the hat-trick of golds for Skandia Team GBR in the women’s match racing event – the last of the medals to be decided on Sunday. They had a close battle with the German boat helmed by Ulrike Schuemann, but emerged 3-2 winners overall in only the second appearance for the new Olympic discipline is this ISAF World Cup series.
Megan Pascoe finished second the in the 2.4mR medal race to collect silver in the Paralympic class – a first medal World Cup medal for her at the first appearance for the 2.4mR class at this Dutch event.
Megan Pascoe finished second the in the 2.4mR medal race to collect silver in the Paralympic class
'I was a bit nervous to start with, as I could have dropped as low as fourth,' Pascoe explained. 'I go quite well in this light stuff, and I started well – then everyone else started making the mistakes and made life easy for me! I’ve had a bit of bad year to start with so it’s nice to get that medal and now look forward to Kiel.'
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes delivered British bronze in the 49er class. Competition for the podium spots came not least from teammates Paul Campbell James-Mark Asquith, and Chris Draper-Peter Greenhalgh, who were third and fourth overall to Morrison-Rhodes’ fifth heading into the final showdown. But Morrison and Rhodes took control to win the medal race and elevate themselves onto the podium.
'We feel we’ve got a lot improving to do, just on basics, let alone on any clever stuff but we’re really happy to come away from it with a medal,' said Morrison. 'I guess in the game we play it’s all about the medals and the more accustomed you become to winning those medals you become, the better that is in the long run so it’s great to be winning again.'
'It’s been a pleasing performance with some solid medal race performances by those who ultimately picked up the medals today,' said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park after picking up the top nation prize on behalf of Skandia Team GBR.
'It’s great to see Paul Goodison continue his good form after only his second international regatta back since the Games, and Ed Wright recovered well to sail a good race in the Finn fleet. It was also pleasing to have Megan Pascoe up on the podium in the 2.4mR, although with that being the only Paralympic fleet here and still low in numbers it’s disappointing that the Paralympic classes seem yet to have grasped the World Cup series.
'Lucy, Annie and Ali performed well in the women’s match racing event, although the real test will come at the next World Cup event in Kiel when the new Elliot 6m Olympic boats make their first outing, so that will be interesting to see.'