It’s been another great day on the water for the Team GB sailors. Not one but two more Tokyo2020 Olympic medals have been secured.
Much has been made about Giles Scott and how his America’s Cup campaign might affect his Finn Olympic title defence. It was a reasonable question after taking a six-month sabbatical.
Even after the first day of racing when he posted two ninth place finishes the murmurings were getting a little bit stronger. But this is Giles Scott. Olympic champion. Multiple Finn world champion.
He said he was going to come out swinging from then on and boy has he done it. He’s won six out of the ten fleet races – take out the first day that’s six from eight. Surely his doubters have to admit that’s impressive.
That stellar run has led to a guaranteed medal, but everyone knows that Giles wants another gold.
If Giles has come out fighting for a medal then so has John Gimson. His Olympic journey has been 20 years in the making. After falling just short of an Olympic appearance in numerous cycles, John finally has his shot – and he’s showing what he can do.
With the ever-impressive Anna Burnet as crew, the team have shown great speed all week to secure at least a bronze in the Nacra 17. Three top-five race finishes from today has clinched it. Now it’s the final fight for gold to come.
What can we say? Tuesday morning. If you haven’t already, set the alarm! It’s going to be a good one.
Ali Young has been on a bit of a journey of her own. At her third Olympic Games she finished tenth overall from the largest fleet at Tokyo 2020.
An eighth-place medal race finish is how she signed off from the regatta. But will it be the way she signs out of the Laser Radial? Ali says she is done and her journey has come to an end – could it be the last we see of her in Olympic classes?
If it is, she’s enjoyed every minute of it. She will leave with the memories from three Olympics, a world title and numerous other accolades from down the years. She is Britain’s greatest ever Laser Radial sailor. And it is the last time we write about her at an event, then Ali Young: we salute you.
Heading into the final day of fleet racing, Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre are now top of the women’s 470. Another race win, backed up with a third, has now put them ahead of their Polish rivals by one point.
Over in the men’s 470, Luke Patience and Chris Grube are fourth with two top ten finishes for the day. They are where they want to be, at the pointy end of things and staying in contention.
Tomorrow’s racing will see the 49erFX medal race at 6:33am BST and the 49er medal race at 7.33am BST. And there is British interest in both as Charlotte Dobson & Saskia Tidey and Dylan Fletcher & Stu Bithell fight for places on the podium. Make sure you tune in, because there could be more medals coming our way.
The Finns and Nacra 17 have a rest day ahead of their all-important medal races on Tuesday.
WHAT THEY SAID
Luke Patience, 34, from Rhu, Scotland, said:
“It wasn’t our best day but it was good enough to keep our eye on the prize. We are still in the fight and we can go to our beds knowing we can fight for any colour of medal still which is all you can hope for. To be able to say that is vital.
“Conditions have been hard today actually. The wind strength in our boat, she’s never flowing quite beautifully. You are fighting for the speed, there’s not much flow. Just fighting, fighting, fighting for the speed. Our class is very dynamic because we are able to use our kinetics and bodies to pump the sails so it was a full battle. The heart rates were high.
“Downwinds were nice though because there was good waves, but upwind, that was a war. A war all day.”
Chris Grube, 36, from Chester, Cheshire, said:
“There’s still a long way to go. There’s two fleet races and a medal race. I kind of feel like we made a few mistakes today but ultimately if we can pick up from there and tighten the screws a little bit we will be in good shape.”
Hannah Mills, 33, from Cardiff, Wales, said:
“Obviously happy with our position but a lot can change. We have two more races but we are happy with how we have put together the regatta so far. We are trying to be consistent, keep chomping away, get points back. It’s super tight but we will see how it goes tomorrow”
Eilidh McIntyre, 27, from Hayling Island, Hants, said:
“We had a good day today, but so did the Polish team. They are sailing amazingly well. It’s really tight on points, it’s really close. We have to see what tomorrow brings and go out there and get two good results.”
Ali Young, 34, from Bewdley, Worcestershire, said:
“It was good fun. It’s just cool to be racing some of these girls that I have been racing with for 14-15 years. To see some of your mates get an Olympic medal is pretty cool.
“This week my sailing has just not been good enough. It’s my last [Olympics] and I’m just really grateful for the support that I’ve got on the British Sailing Team. It’s a privilege to race for your country, but it’s a massive privilege to work with those guys.
“Positives? Well I’ve got a sun tan and a new t-shirt…look it’s just a massive privilege to work with the guys and with a wonderful support team here and elsewhere. I’m just super grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m just going to go home, get a hug from my boyfriend and go back to my happy place on Chesil Beach. That’s my last race in a Laser Radial, and it’s pretty cool.”
Giles Scott, 34, from Huntingdon, Cambs, said:
“It was good; 10-12 knots, great racing, certainly no complaints from me.
“There’s been a few of us that have put together really a great series this week and it hasn’t really opened itself up for any shenanigans, so to speak, at the end of the week. So I’m just focussed on my own racing.
“I won a race and got a seventh which, I think, failing any catastrophe, guarantees me a medal which is an amazing place to be. But it’s not over. I just have to try and go and win the final race.
“I had to put in a good showing today. The guys are stacked up behind me and I am not the only one putting together an amazing series. I think go back four years I think there was three people who could have won the regatta with a day to spare so I’m happy leading them out going into the medal race after putting together an amazing week and grateful I’ve managed to do that.
“I’ve probably sailed the best week of my life I think and hopefully I can finish it off.
“I think I have nine points [ahead of second], which is a little buffer, but in a double points medal race it’s not a done deal. I have to bring my A game again and try and go out and win the race. Everyone is going to be looking over their shoulder.
“Every day is super stressful. In sailing we deal with so many variables, it’s such a complex sport and I’m sure the viewers will find it tricky to follow sometimes. It’s been a stressful week. I’m happy with what I have put together and I’m sure in two days time it’s going to be another stressful day.”
John Gimson, 38, from Congleton, Cheshire, said:
“Today was one of those days when it was completely make-or-break for the regatta. We were really happy with some solid counters and how we performed. We really need to do that.
“We’ve put a lot of days in on the water over the past four years focussing on speed. That discipline goes a long way.
“We train with the Italians and today it kind of felt like a training day at the front battling it out between each other. We enjoy it and I know the Italians enjoy the rivalry. We are good friends and they have sailed very well this week.
“Obviously I want to win gold but I will admit I shed a tear when I heard the results of a protest that confirmed our medal. For me it has been a 20-year journey and it’s a big relief to show myself that I can actually do it. Words can’t describe it, honestly.”