Three in a row for Goodison at Laser Europeans 12/6/07

A busy weekend of European Championship action across the Olympic classes has seen British sailor Paul Goodison top the podium at the Laser European Championship, clinching victory on the final day of racing in Hyeres, France.

In doing so, the 29-year-old from Rotherham has notched up his third consecutive European title, which comes as a timely confidence boost ahead of the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Cascais, Portugal, which get underway at the end of this month.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the world number one on the French Riviera – Goodison got the event off to a slow start in the extremely light wind conditions, and was the second Skandia Team GBR boat behind Lymington’s former Youth World Champion Nick Thompson for most of the week. Goodison dug deep, scoring three race wins in a row from the final three races in stronger breeze to haul him up the leaderboard and into the championship-winning position at the last gasp.

“I’m delighted but relieved at the same time, as it’s been an incredibly frustrating week,” explained Goodison.

“I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in preparation for what we expect to be a windy event in Cascais, so not really geared up for the light winds we’ve had – but to come back after such a bad start and to have won my third European title in a row is great for the confidence ahead of the worlds so I’m really, really pleased.”

Twenty-one-year-old Nick Thompson, who’d been courting his first major victory at senior level for the majority of the week, suffered a disappointing end to his regatta but still captured bronze after finishing as the third European in the fleet. He was shut out at the pin end of the start line at the beginning of the penultimate race leaving him unable to get across to the favoured right-hand side of the course, while in the final race he was last around the windward mark after infringing a German boat and having to take two penalty turns.

In other European championships which concluded this weekend, 2012 hopefuls Tom Mallindine and James Clark were the top British boat in the 470 Europeans in Thessaloniki, Greece, finishing a respectable 24th overall in the 73-boat men’s fleet. Athens silver medallists Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield opted not to compete in the event, instead preparing for the worlds in Cascais, while world champion Nic Asher and Elliot Willis were sidelined due to a shoulder injury for Willis. There were no British competitors in the 470 women’s event.

Neither double Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie nor defending European champion Ed Wright were present at the Finn Europeans at Lake Balaton, Hungary. Frensham Pond’s Nick Craig was the highest placed British sailor in 20th overall.