British 470 women win world championships in Barcelona

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark
secured the first ever British World Champions in the 470 women’s class in

Mills and Clark, who claimed
silver at the 2011 World Championships in Perth in December, went one step
further at this 2012 edition, fighting back from a difficult start to the week
with a first race disqualification to claim the world title after a nail-biting
final medal race.

Their win comes off the back of
Ben Ainslie’s record sixth Finn Gold Cup crown on his home waters of Falmouth

The Skandia Team GBR duo could
take no risks after a suffering a black flag penalty for being over the
startline early in the very first race of the 13-race regatta.

They managed to hold their nerve
through a range of conditions during the week to gradually climb the
leaderboard and end up in the top spot heading into the final day, but
perilously close on points with three other boats and with gold or no medal a possibility.

Mills and Clark finished
Saturday’s medal race third and kept their closest Dutch rivals Lisa Westerhof
and Lobke Berkhout behind them to secure the world title.

“Thank god!” was the 24-year-old
Mills’s reaction. “It’s been a long week – a day longer than our events
usually are, and made to feel even longer when we got our black flag right at
the start, so there was no real room for error after that.

“It was really cool to cross the
finish line and know we had done enough – I don’t it has really sunk in
yet for me but Sas is super happy, she’s so excited.

“We knew we had the potential to
win here, and it’s a huge thing to be World Champion but at the same time I
can’t stop thinking about this summer and the Olympics which is what this year
is really about for us.

Mills continued: “We’ve learnt a
whole lot this week, on how we need to sail to win, our strengths and
weaknesses and about staying consistent and we’ve sailed a really, really solid

“It’s a fantastic result,” added
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park. “Hannah and Saskia have made steady
progress to put them in a position where they were able to maintain their
confidence after a disappointing Palma World Cup event, and go on to win the
World Championship even in the face of a black flag in their first race of the

“Now everything will be focussed
on delivering at the Games Weymouth, but they should definitely take a moment
to reflect on what they have achieved in becoming Britain’s first women’s 470
World Champions.”

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