Sailing: Percy wins revered title to boost British hopes

By Stuart Alexander
Thursday 16 January 2014 04:10

Having frightened all the opposition into submission on his way to Olympic gold in the Finn class in Sydney, Iain Percy, now teamed up with Steve Mitchell, won the Star World Championship in Los Angeles at the weekend. He won the last race convincingly to post a best five results – from his six races – of fourth, first, third, second and first.

In doing so, he became the first British competitor to win the Star Worlds, although Mike McIntyre and Bryn Vaile won gold at the 1988 Olympics. He also qualified Britain for a place in the class start at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Percy and Mitchell have added a title to their CVs which, unlike many world championships which are soon forgotten, tends, like an Olympic medal, to be revered for a lifetime. He was up against nine former Star World champions so, as Percy and Mitchell have only been racing in the two-man keelboat for 10 months, it bodes well for further success in a class in which Ian Walker and Mark Covell won silver in 2000.

At a pre-Olympic test event in Athens the man who has taken over from Percy in the Finn, the gold and silver medallist in the smaller Laser, Ben Ainslie, added his third major regatta in a row to the European and world championships to take the British Olympic squad's only gold. But it was made better because the silver went to another British contender, Andrew Simpson.

Also taking silver was Ainslie's successor Paul Goodison in the Laser, while bronze medals went to the 2000 gold medallist Shirley Robertson, now in the three-woman Yngling with Inga Leask and Sarah Ayton, and Chris Draper, paired with the 2000 49er silver medallist Simon Hiscocks.

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