Royal visit boosts Weymouth sailors

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:48 BST

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell continued their crusade for Olympic 470 Men debut gold.

After another impressive display on day nine of the London 2012 sailing regatta on Monday, 6 August at Weymouth and Portland, The British team sailors were joined by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Princess Royal.

And Patience and Bithell gave the Royal visitors a taste of what is still to come on the water for the rest of the week. The pair sit just one point behind the Australian leading team of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, with two series races and the final double points’ medal race to come on Thursday.

With the 470 Men enjoying a rest day on Sunday, Patience and Bithell were able to soak up the atmosphere of a historic day on the water for Britain, where Ben Ainslie became the most successful Olympic sailor of all time with a fourth successive gold medal, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson claimed Star class silver.

As first time Olympians, Patience admits he and Bithell couldn’t fail to be inspired by the success of their teammates.

Patience said: “It’s the stuff of goosebumps isn’t it? We have been watching the Olympic Games for years and years. I’m just a young lad and it still makes me well up and get that lump in my throat seeing folk on the podium. It really inspires you to push and do everything you can. Seeing Ben, Perce and Bart stand on the podium yesterday was really something to give you a kick and a boost. It’s great to see, great to be a part of that team and the boys are legends, what can we say, it’s great.”

The 470 Men are scheduled to resume at 1200 on Tuesday, 7 August. The Men’s 470 medal race is scheduled for 1300 on Thursday, 9 August.

Alison Young already has one eye on Rio 2016 after admitting her first Olympics had been a “great experience” after completing her London 2012 regatta in a hugely creditable fifth place. Debutant Ali came fourth in Monday’s final double points’ Laser Radial medal race to secure her top five overall placing in the 41-strong fleet.

Ali repeatedly proved her credentials throughout this event with a string of impressive results, including a hat-trick of second places midway through the regatta. Now the Trimpley Sailing Club woman is already looking ahead four years.

Young said: “I will definitely be going on to Rio. This Olympics has been a great experience and lots of lessons have been learnt to take forwards. It’s just cutting down a few of the errors and making every little bit count so I’ll be working on that. I’m disappointed with the end result but it has been a great experience.”

Paul Goodison joked he is now going to help orchestrate the team boat washing operation after he concluded his London 2012 sailing regatta on a high with a final race third. Goodison had his Laser title defence blighted by a back injury from day one of the event. But with a medal out of his grasp heading into Monday’s medal race, he secured third spot in that last race to finish in seventh place overall.

He said: “Going into today I wanted to give it my best just in respect for all the people who have helped me so much over the last four years and have put so much work into me. Me and Nick Dempsey sat down earlier watching the teams wash the boats and Nick said he’d charge £50 a session to wash them each day! I said I’d help orchestrate with my bad back and show them how to wash it! I’m gutted but watching the other Brits do well is something I’m very passionate about. I’ve got so many friends in this team. I really desperately want to feel the joy I did four years ago and whatever I can do to help I’m going to be there for the rest of the guys.”

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes remain firmly in contention for silverware despite a mixed day for the British 49er team on the spectator Nothe course. The boys scored a seventeenth and seventh from their two races on Monday to sit in fifth place overall, six points behind Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) in bronze medal position. The 49er medal race is scheduled for 1300 on Wednesday, 8 August and, with each point worth two in that race, Morrison and Rhodes still have a medal in their sights.

Morrison said: “We have now got a fantastic opportunity to go out there in the medal race and put in a great performance. Given how random that course is we should go in with a good chance of winning a bronze medal.”

The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday, 29 July to Saturday, 11 August.

Follow the British sailing team at London 2012 at www.rya.org.uk/london2012.