British pair settle for bronze
After six races at the Audi Star class world championship Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy and crewman Steve Mitchell left Italy with a bronze medal.
They went into the final race of the championship in second place overall with European champions Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden one point ahead.
Percy and Mitchell started well and were leading up the first beat, but sailed into a small hole in the wind which allowed Loof/Ekstrom to overtake them. For the remainder of the race the Swedish team did everything they could not to let the British pairing through, covering their every move and sailing them down the fleet. The two boats eventually crossed the finish line 27th and 28th which was good enough for Loof/Ekstrom to take the gold medal and their second Star world championship title.
For Percy and Mitchell it was disappointment, Loof/Ekstrom only needed to sail them out of the top eight to beat them and instead by sailing them down the fleet much further, they had to count their 22nd place from race two and lose a medal place to the Swiss pairing of Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria.
Mitchell summed up his thoughts on the final race and the event: “We are a bit disappointed as we didn’t think Freddie [Loof] needed to do as much damage as he did, we both went from first and second to 31st and 32nd. Unfortunately as we had a 22nd place from race two we had no fall back position going into the final day whereas he could discard whatever he got.
However despite our disappointment we are pleased as we have been one of the most consistent boats over the last three years, medalling at every world championship, and we are now starting better and going well in light airs, which before was not our strongest point.”
Mitchell concluded: “It is not the biggest event of the year and although it would have been nice to have won it, it is important not to lose sight of what is our focus – the Olympics in three months time.”
Team Percy and Mitchell will now enjoy a few weeks off before heading onto their next event, SPA Regatta, in Holland from the 26-30 May.
1, Fredrik Loof/Anders Ekstrom, SWE (3,2,7,3,8,(27)) 23 pts
2, Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria, SUI (4,(56),8,13,3,4) 32 pts
3, Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell, GBR (1,22,2,9,4,(28)) 38 pts
4, Mark Neeleman/Peter Van Nieherk, NED (10,1,1,19,11,(29)) 42 pts
5, Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, USA ((DNF),8,14,15,2,3) 42 pts
57, Ante Razmilovic/Edmund Peel (48,48,(DNF),61,53,59) 269 pts