Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Bryony Shaw scored a crucial race win on Monday to get her world championships bid back on track following a tricky start.
Three-time Olympian Shaw, 35, dominated the day’s only race in the RS:X windsurfing class after struggling to find her form on her opening day of competition.
Going into the second race day at the Sailing World Championships with scores of 26 and 15, Shaw hit the water determined to claw her way back up the leaderboard.
With a light, fickle breeze blowing through Denmark’s Bay of Aarhus – a stark contrast to the 20-knot baptism of fire that greeted the fleet on Sunday – she excelled, coming home ahead of China’s Xueling Jin and overall leader Zofia Noceti of Poland.
The Sailing World Championships is only the third regatta she has competed in since returning to the Olympic circuit in January following the birth of her son Jaddek in June last year.
Shaw said the victory, which moves her into 17th overall, was a big boost as she looks to kickstart her bid to reach Tokyo 2020.
“It was a good day for me – a win has helped me bounce back up the results so I’m feeling a bit better about the prospects of the week now,” said Shaw, who to date is the only British woman ever to have won an Olympic medal in windsurfing.
“I had a pretty bad day yesterday – I had a lot of tension and a few nerves crept in, plus I had some equipment issues. I was struggling to grip on the first day in the windier conditions but it seems to be fine in light winds, so more of that this week would be great!”
With the breeze swinging by up to 50 degrees and varying from seven knots to non-existent, the day was characterised by postponements and cancellations.
However there were some other success stories for British Sailing Team athletes in the few classes that did manage to compete.
In the 49er class reigning world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell also pulled off a crucial win to keep their hopes of defending their title alive.
The pair were caught out on their opening day by unpredictable winds and were disqualified from a race they finished second in on day two for crossing the start line prematurely.
Since then they have not finished outside of the podium places – and added another race win to their tally today.
“We’ve had a difficult start to our title defence – conditions on the first day were tough and our disqualification when we were coming second yesterday didn’t help, but we’re really happy with how we’re sailing,” Fletcher said.
“We’ve had a 3, 2, 1, 1 in our last four races and if we continue like that we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the week.”
As the top half of the men’s 470 fleet came together to fight for a place in the ten-boat medal race, British pair Martin Wrigley and James Taylor notched up their second-best result of the competition so far with a fourth.
“It was really tricky – the wind was really unstable but we were able to get the top third of the fleet,” Taylor said.
“Downwind we were in the front group of five, and from there it was just about protecting our position.”
Luke Patience and Chris Grube remain in touch of the podium despite finishing 28th in the only race for the men’s 470.