Megan Pascoe

British crews poised for Palma medal deciders

Written by RYA | 03 April 2015

Scott and Pascoe lead heading into final day of Princess Sofia Trophy

Giles Scott extended his lead at the top of the Finn fleet in Palma on Good Friday, with six other British crews poised in medal positions heading in to the final day of the Princess Sofia Trophy on Saturday (4 April).  

Megan Pascoe and Helena Lucas are tied at the top of the Paralympic 2.4mR class leaderboard, where two single-points fleet races will conclude their regatta tomorrow, with the Olympic classes taking on their double-points medal races to determine the podium spots across Palma Bay.  

470 duo Luke Patience-Elliot Willis, Nacra 17 pairing John Gimson-Hannah Diamond and Alison Young in the Laser Radial are in silver medal position going in to the final day, with Hannah Mills-Saskia Clark improving to third overall in the 470 Women’s event.

A change of conditions saw a shake up across the fleets on Friday’s penultimate day of the regatta, which is the first stage of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup and a qualifier for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres taking place later this month.

Classic light Palma sea breeze conditions returned across the bay, providing a tricky test for many sailors.  

Scott, sailing teammate Pete McCoy’s Finn after seriously damaging his own earlier in the week, struggled with upwind speed in his borrowed boat in the first race of the day where he finished a frustrated 20th.

After effecting a few setting changes before the second race, Scott’s pace improved with him ending his day with a ninth.  The fact that New Zealander Josh Junior, the British sailor’s nearest rival heading into Friday, had a day to forget with 45,50 on the board eased the pressure on Scott a little, and he goes into the medal race with an 11 point cushion over Croatia’s Ivan Kjlakovic Gaspic.

“Stressful is what it was!” exclaimed Scott when asked about his day.  “I was definitely struggling for upwind pace but managed sort that out a bit in between races.”

“If you’d offered me an 11 point lead going in to the medal race when I had the crash with my boat on Tuesday, then I would have taken it for sure,” concluded the World and European Champion.  

It’s an expectedly tight battle between the British Sailing Team’s Megan Pascoe and Helena Lucas at the top of the 2.4mR table with the sailors on 10 points each with two races to go.

But they were both upstaged by their Podium Potential squad teammate Will Street who stole the show in the first race of the day on Friday.  He led from start to finish to take his first race win at a major international event, and is poised in fourth place overall.

John Gimson and Hannah Diamond, racing in just their second major event together in the Nacra 17, have eyes on a podium finish on Saturday. The duo are poised in silver medal position, 15 points ahead of the third placed Dutch crew and with gold already assured for France’s Billy Besson-Marie Riou.

It’s a pleasing position for the pair, with Gimson also finding his way as a helm once again, having previously been crewing alongside Pippa Wilson.

“Everything up until the summer for us is training.  I’m really happy we’re in a medal position, but I feel there’s so much more to go,” Gimson explained.

“Our sailing is a lot better than our ability in the boat still – hopefully in a few more months we might level it out a bit.”

As well as a learning opportunity for the new team, Gimson and Diamond also had eyes on qualification for the upcoming World Cup regatta in Hyeres, which they have now achieved through their Palma result. 

Although they would have both pre-qualified through the world ranking system in their previous partnerships with Wilson and Ben Saxton respectively, ISAF has stated that the amassed world ranking points remain with the helm and not the crew, leaving the duo starting again from zero.

Diamond is putting a positive spin on it: “We’re pleased to have finally qualified for the Hyeres World Cup.  It feels a bit of a shame that we can’t qualify automatically from our world rankings, but the racing is perfect practice for us. 

“We’ve got a big programme of racing coming up, because we just need to keep learning those lessons before the big summer events.  We’re really pleased that we’ll be going to Hyeres to line up against the top guys in the world again, and hopefully get some more good results on the board.”

In the 470 Men’s event, Luke Patience and Elliot Willis were left ruing a false start penalty from their second race of the day, which now sees them heading into the medal race in silver medal position, 11 points behind Argentina’s Olympic bronze medallists Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente and 18 points ahead of the Spanish duo.

“It’s a bit gutting really because we were in control of the points and in control of the regatta until that,” said a frustrated Patience.

“But it’s the nature of the sport – we’re looking to push everything all the time, and we just got it slightly wrong this time.”  

“We’ve just got to go in [tomorrow] as the opportunists that we are, guns a-blazing, ignite the afterburners and get the girl lit and going.  Hopefully we might see the Argentinians have a slightly hard time of it and maybe we’ll be in a position to put some damage on.  But it’s a big ask for points and we can only do so much.

“I’m looking forward to the scrap, I know Elliot is too,” Patience continued.  “It’s just a different perspective now.  We’ll go from maybe looking back and a defensive medal race to all-out attack.  So we’ll see where we get to – bring it on!”

Alison Young sits in second place in the Laser Radial event behind Belgium’s Evi Van Acker, who’s sailed an indomitable final series to win the regatta with a day to spare.  The Bewdley Olympian has a 16 point cushion ahead of overall third, so will go all out to protect her blue jersey in Saturday’s medal race.

In the 470 Women’s event, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark advanced in to the medal positions on this penultimate day thanks to a race win and a fifth, with Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre going into the final day in fifth place.

Great Britain will also be represented in the 49er, 49erFX and RS:X Men’s and Women’s medal races through Dave Evans-Ed Powys, Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth, Tom Squires and Izzy Hamilton.

The medal deciders are scheduled to start from 1100hrs (local) on Saturday 4 April.

Full event results can be found at 

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