Paul Goodison grasps second straight European title 13/7/06

British Laser sailor Paul Goodison successfully defended his European Championship crown today (Wednesday 12 July), although he was made to work hard for the title on the final day of racing in Gdynia, Poland.

The world number one from Rotherham led from day one of the six-day championship, posting a string of solid results to head into Wednesday’s final two races with a 16-point lead over closest rival Maciej Grabowski of Poland.

Goodison started out conservatively on the last day, determined to protect the lead he’d established over the rest of the field, but it was a strategy not without its risks.

“I changed my style of sailing to become much more defensive,” the 28-year-old explained. “But I became too safe, started slowly, and got punished for that.”

Goodison’s penultimate race saw him cross in 21st place, but Grabowski had an equally disappointing result, finishing in 32nd, to allow the British sailor to keep his nose in front heading into the tenth and final race.

Another England-Portugal sporting battle ensued in race ten – Goodison and the third-placed Gustavo Lima became embroiled in a tacking duel which allowed Grabowski to disappear away from the Skandia Team GBR sailor up the fleet. Goodison needed to finish within 12 places of the Pole to reclaim his European title, and saw good speed to work his way back through the fleet, maintain sufficient distance between himself and Grabowski to cross in 16th to the local hero’s sixth.

It was enough for Goodison to clinch victory and his second consecutive European title, with the delighted British enthusing: “They gave me the biggest trophy I’ve ever had in my life! It was waist height!”

This European victory adds to Goodison’s clutch two gold medals from 2006 Grade 1 regattas at Miami and Kiel Week, and two silvers from the Palma and Holland events earlier this year.

Lymington’s Nick Thompson was the second Brit overall, finishing 16th in the European fleet with a second and third as high points from his race series, while Huntingdon’s Giles Scott posted his best result of the week – a ninth – to finish the event on a good note.

Overall Results

1. Paul Goodison, GBR, (1,2,(5),3,5,3,8,2,(21),16) 40pts

2. Maciej Grabowski, POL, (13),4,13,2,4,12,1,1,(32),6) 43pts

3. Gustavo Lima, POR, (8,4,(28),4,12,5,2,9,4,(29) 48pts

Other GBR (gold fleet)

16. Nick Thompson (10,2,27,(dnf),3,19,34,24,(41),20) 139pts

39. Giles Scott (24,35,35,(bfd),23,30,46,(bfd),36,9) 238pts