Hanson holds head high after challenging worlds

British Laser sailor Elliot Hanson said he would walk away with his head held high from the Laser world championships in Sandringham, Melbourne, after narrowly missing out on bronze.

Sitting in fourth overall and with only one medal on offer going into the final race of the regatta, Hanson had to put boats between himself and Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz to step on to the Laser podium.

As gold medallist Phillip Buhl of Germany and Australian silver medallist Matt Wearn had already confirmed their positions, a worlds bronze was the prize the Macclesfield sailor had in his sights.

Although Hanson finished ahead of Bernaz it was the disqualified sailors who then came in to play as Rio 2016 silver medallist, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic snuck in to overtake both and claim the final place on the podium.

“Going in to the final race I had a pretty good discard and I was close to a medal,” said 26-year-old Hanson. “And actually, on the water I had enough to take a bronze, but unfortunately a lot of people were over [the line].

“But that’s the way it works in Laser sailing, you never know until everyone is finished. Having said that it’s been a good week and I will walk away with my head held high.”

Even with his head high, Hanson also couldn’t help but reflect on what could have been his own downfall from a brutal week of racing.

“Overall it’s been a pretty tough week with a lot of hiking. And then we finished off with two days of three races in gold fleet which is a pretty savage way to finish. I’ve tried to play it consistent and in the end I’ve probably been a victim of my own consistency. Maybe playing it a bit too safe. But overall I’m happy.”

In another moment of self-reflection, Pembrokeshire’s Michael Beckett also found himself wondering on the way back in from the racecourse.

“Going into finals series I was seventh, but that’s when everything ramps up. It’s a smaller fleet with such intense racing and to be honest I struggled a bit. I especially struggled getting off the start line.

“I finished 13th overall which I’m disappointed with, but sailing in by myself I did think that this event is so hard that people have gone through adversity and come back and done well. And that’s what I want to do. I’ll just keep coming back until it works.”

Beckett can come back with some positives and a platform to work from going forward.

“I started the worlds really well winning a race which for me is a massive confidence boost right at the beginning. I’ve always struggled with shaky starts. I’ve got this habit of disqualifications in the first race so that is a habit I’m trying to shake, so that was good.”

Former world champion Nick Thompson had a tough final day with a seventh place sandwiched between two high counting scores of 26 and 31. Those results meant Thompson finished in 19th overall.

For European champion Lorenzo Chiavarini the whole event was a test of endurance following an injury just weeks before the championships began. The Scottish sailor finished in 25th overall.

“It was hard pre worlds trying to just get fit for this event after I had a little accident in Vilamoura. It’s been strong conditions most days and even for a fully fit athlete the recovery is key and the conditions were very testing. I just wasn’t 100% fit for what we had.”

Other British sailors in Melbourne included Sam Whaley who finished 22nd in the silver fleet and Jacob Farren-Price who finished 15th in bronze fleet.


Results for the Laser Worlds will be published here