Panning for gold in San Francisco 

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They may be sailing in the shadow of one the World’s most iconic landmarks in the Golden Gate Bridge but Giles Scott insists it is his sailing he wants people to leave San Francisco in awe of as he bids to land his first ever Finn Gold Cup.

All eyes are set to be on the 23-year-old Brit when the Finn World Championships take place in San Francisco Bay between Friday 27 August – Saturday 4 September after Scott’s emphatic victory at Skandia Sail for Gold earlier this month, a victory which also saw him end triple Olympic champion Ben Ainslie’s six-year unbeaten run in the class.  

Scott admits that taking Skandia Sail for Gold glory had seen him tick off goal one for the season and as he prepares for the challenge of achieving goal number two a repeat performance of his podium-topping exploits at Weymouth and Portland is the top of his priorities.  

He said: “I sat down with my coach Matt Howard at the start of the year and we identified two outcome regattas for the season, Sail for Gold and the Worlds. It is good to have the first one out of the way and I can now concentrate on the second.  

“Going into Sail for Gold a medal would have been satisfactory but the regatta was all about winning for me really, if I’m going to be selected for London 2012 I’ve got to be winning, so my goal was to go there and win.  

“Winning the Finn Gold Cup at this stage of my career would be very, very nice. I won the Silver Cup two years in a row as an under 21 but the Gold Cup has an incredible history and it would be a fantastic one to win.”  

Scott actually came within a whisker of his first Gold Cup win in Denmark last year, when having headed into the medal race well in contention in third position, he ended up just outside of the medals in fourth – something he describes as “very disappointing”.  

And while he admits redressing that result is something of an incentive for him in California he will not be dwelling on it.  

“It was particularly annoying and I try not to think about those Worlds too much, you learn your lessons and you move on.”  

Scott and the rest of the Skandia Team GBR Finn squad, barring Ainslie who will not compete at the Worlds having returned as scheduled to America’s Cup duty after Sail for Gold, spent two weeks familiarising themselves with San Francisco Bay earlier this summer.  

Despite the area’s notoriety for fog, which falls and lifts like a bathroom blind, the Grafham Water man revealed they had experienced no problems with visibility during training but had learned valuable lessons about the venue’s wind habits.  

“The breeze came in like a sea breeze, but a lot stronger, early every afternoon. It is known as being a windy venue so since Sail for Gold I have been trying to put as much weight on as I can and I will also be sailing a different boat, with a different mast and a different sail to the boat I sailed at Sail for Gold so I feel prepared for it.  

“There seems to be quite a one-sided bias to the course and I think you are going to have to sail very fast, but not necessarily very smart, to do well there. It could be like a drag race and once you get to the front, providing you don’t do anything stupid downwind, you should stay there. Saying that, we could end up with a week with no breeze, you never really know and have to be prepared for that.”  

Reflecting on his performance at Sail for Gold, Scott admits that the close-knit nature of the Skandia Team GBR camp had served him well at the regatta but despite heading into the medal race with a 16-point advantage there are still things he will be looking to improve on at the Worlds.  

“Being part of the team at Sail for Gold was really good, I was in two minds whether to stay with the team or stay at home as I only live two minutes from the Academy but I am so glad I stayed with the team because it was good fun and you felt fully involved in everything.  

“Everyone is going through exactly the same things you are and because we are all such good mates it was great at the end of the day to have a bit of downtime and not dwell on how racing had been that day. Big regattas are pretty stressful so you have to make sure you put a certain amount of fun into it so you don’t get too stressed out and underperform."  

He added: “I didn’t sail the perfect regatta, I had few issues with starting and picking up an OCS in race three is never ideal as you know you have got that hanging over you for the rest of the regatta and you cannot afford to make any more mistakes.  

“But I actually think in this instance that additional pressure helped me focus my mind even more. Within 10 seconds of the medal race starting I felt really comfortable and never put myself in danger of losing the gold medal.”