Interview with Saskia Clark 

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Saskia Clark has been Britain’s leading women’s 470 crew for the past five years, winning silver and bronze World Championship medals with Christina Bassadone in 2005 and 2007 before the pair finished sixth at Beijing 2008.Following Christina’s switch to the Radial, Clark sailed with Penny Clark and Pippa Wilson before pairing up with double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton at the start of this year. With an early campaign gold at Kiel, they compete at the Worlds in the Hague from 12-18 July.  

"Sarah and I sailed together for the first time at Miami in January and although we hadn’t expected to be paired together for the regatta only positives came out of it, which made us think the foundations for a good partnership were there. Sarah only had two days’ training in the 470 before the racing started and throughout the regatta we were amongst the middle of the pack in a really tight fleet.  

“Understandably pressured boat handling situations didn't necessarily go our way so by the end of the race we were often finishing at the back of the main pack, but generally we were encouraged and felt there was something to build on.  

“We’ve made big improvements over the past six months but we are still very new as a partnership and Sarah’s learning all the time about the 470. We’re bringing different things to the partnership; I have my strengths and experience in the 470 and Sarah has her areas of expertise from her Yngling campaigns, which she is now making 470 specific.  

“For someone who has two Olympic gold medals she is hugely open to learning and new ideas. We have Joe Glanfield (double Olympic silver medallist) coaching us which is great, we both have a great deal of respect for what Joe’s achieved in his career and have total faith in his knowledge of the 470.  

“It was great to win in Kiel, but more important were the lessons learnt. The extra space around the racecourse allowed us more time to make decisions, put things into practice and execute things the way we wanted to. In previous regattas the fleets have been tighter, we have sometimes been squeezed and have not been able to pull off certain moves.  

“The Worlds will be another learning regatta for us - we are not going with the aim of winning and our judgement of our success will not be based on our final position. Likewise with Skandia Sail for Gold.  

“The change in partners over the past couple of years has been a bit unsettling but I’ve also learned a lot about my own strengths over this time and my preferred way of doing things.  I feel Sarah and I are on the right road now and we have a focussed plan of the way forward. If we are selected for 2012, my aim would be to deliver my best performance on any given day and believe that that could end up with a gold medal.   

“I’ve never been outwardly competitive but I’ve always been quietly determined, I want to do things better and I’m enjoying going through the processes with Sarah and Joe of organising and prioritising what needs to be done and making the massive improvements that there have been.”  

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