by Richard Gladwell on 3 Aug 2012
August 1, 2012 - Weymouth, England - 470 Men - Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) lead the first race of the Mens 470 © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
They were recalled as a premature starter, had to return to restart and chase the fleet, and the odds of winning the expected Gold Medal looked to have lengthened considerably.
But the Australian pair sailed a phenomenal race in the fresh winds, big seas and spring tides to finish third.
The sight to cheer British hearts was the Union Jack spinnaker of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell leading the fleet down the first reach, but they lost their lead to Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstaedter of Austria.
Spare a thought for the young New Zealand crew of Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders, having their first race in an Olympic regatta - and lying second coming into the gybe mark. Unable to make the mark - they flogged their spinnaker in the 20kts plus breeze - looked to have got away with the move. But then Saunders slipped coming off the trapeze - and the dream looked to be over.
They recovered and finished in eighth place, and are lying fourth overall - just ahead of the current world champions.
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