Disappointment for British duo at Star worlds in San Francisco 9/10/06

A disappointing World Championship for British Star sailors Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell saw them finish outside the medal standings for the first time since forming their partnership in the Olympic two-man keelboat following the Sydney Games.

Percy, 30 and the 2000 Olympic gold medallist in the Finn class, and 36-year-old Mitchell were gunning for their fifth consecutive podium finish at a World Championship at this 2006 edition (1-6 October in San Francisco, USA), but a testing and frustrating week saw them in 24th place at the end of the six-race regatta.

Team Percy-Mitchell, bronze medallists at the 2005 World Championship and silver medallists at the recent Olympic Test Event in Qingdao, saw a less than ideal start to their World Championship series, posting a 36,16 in their opening two races, opting for the wrong left track in the first race and being shut out by a 30 degree wind shift.

A premature start in race three saw things deteriorate for Winchester’s Percy and Cowes-based Mitchell, and while they upped their game to cross in third in the fourth race, they picked up a Z-flag penalty from the jury who deemed they had jumped the gun once again.

Thursday’s fifth race saw a strong start for the Skandia Team GBR pair, who were amongst the top five heading for the first mark before badly misjudging the tide at the resulting in a 42nd, but the pain was eased slightly in the sixth and final race of the regatta on Friday when Percy – a helmsman with the Italian 39 America’s Cup team – and Mitchell finished in second to boost them from 31st on the penultimate day to their finishing position of 24th.

New Zealand duo Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams took the World Championship crown, with Brazil’s former Laser supremo Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prada in second, and France’s 2005 World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau claiming bronze.

“It hasn’t been a good regatta for us,” stated a frustrated Mitchell.

“The first two races this week were hard and there were plenty of gold Stars getting low places. We should have had top results in the middle two races but they were taken away by jury.

“It’s hard when we have a big team supporting us, but in the end we were relieved to at least take home one good rac