James Peters and Fynn Sterritt rounded off a rollercoaster year with victory in the 49er class at World Cup Series Enoshima while Elliot Hanson cleaned up in the Laser class with a day to spare.
Peters and Sterritt sealed the win in the 49er class in style by coming home first in the double-points medal race on Saturday, rounding off a dominant performance on Olympic waters.
The result comes at the end of a tough season for Peters and Sterritt, who were forced to miss four months on the international circuit due to injury.
Sterritt damaged his knee at the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma in April and required surgery plus months of intensive rehab, dealing the pair’s bid to win a spot at Tokyo 2020 a blow.
But after marking their return with a fifth at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, in August, Peters and Sterritt set out to prove a point as the circuit took to Enoshima for the first time.
“We’re over the moon – ecstatic,” said Sterritt, 29, from Kingussie in Scotland. “It’s been an up and down week. We were really consistent early on in the regatta then struggled a bit, but to win like this is such a great feeling.”
The medal race started with Peters and Sterritt tied on points with Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski, and four points ahead of third-placed Kiwi duo Logan Dunning-Beck.
With less than 10 knots on the medal race course, the pair started strongly and coaxed their boat into the lead by the first mark.
From there they were able to comfortably defend their position, at times squeezing two knots more speed out of their 49er.
“We really found a groove today,” Sterritt said. “We knew it was going to be a tricky race but we stayed calm. We knew we could win under pressure, and we proved it today.”
Peters, 25, from Hayling Island, added: “This result shows we can perform in the venue that will host the Olympics in two years’ time, and that’s a real positive.”
Meanwhile Elliot Hanson ensured he will start the Laser class medal race with a massive 43 point-point lead on second-placed Thomas Saunders of New Zealand.
The huge points buffer means the Macclesfield sailor is uncatchable regardless of the result of Sunday’s medal race, guaranteeing him the gold with a day to spare.
For the 24-year-old it’s vindication for missing out on a medal at the Sailing World Championships in the final race of the regatta – and a welcome conclusion to a year disrupted by injury.
“It’s an amazing feeling to perform so dominantly on the Olympic waters,” said Hanson. “It didn’t sink in how disappointed I was to let my medal slip away at the world championships in Aarhus until I got home.
“After a bad performance there’s nothing better than another event to throw yourself into to bounce back, so I was really fired up for this one.”
A solid fifth from John Gimson and Anna Burnet wasn’t enough to move them up the Nacra 17 leaderboard, and they walk away with a fifth overall.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing in Enoshima though – a start line battle with China’s Peina Chen didn’t pay off for Bryony Shaw in the women’s RS:X, and a ninth saw her slip from second to fourth overall. Emma Wilson’s fourth in the medal race put her sixth overall.
A similar fate befell Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey, who crossed the 49er FX line in eighth. They too slipped from the silver medal position to end the regatta in fourth. Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth were sixth in the medal race, ending the regatta in eighth overall.
A pair of 22nds plus a 27th saw Ali Young, the leader of the Laser Radial class at the start of the day, slip to eighth overall and out of contention for a medal.
Britain’s Hannah Snellgrove fared better, posting a 17th and a 13th to start the medal race in fourth, three points off third-placed Emma Plasschaert and six off Josefin Olsson in second.
The Finn class medal race will feature Giles Scott, Ed Wright and Ben Cornish. Scott and Wright are both in with a shot at a medal, lying second and third overall.
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre are also in medal contention from fifth in the women’s 470. The men’s 470 medal race will not feature any British sailors after Martin Wrigley and James Taylor ended the regatta in 18th and Luke Patience and Chris Grube scored 22nd.
You can watch all of the medal races live at www.britishsailingteam.com from 1200 local time (GMT+9).