Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre doubled the British Sailing Team’s medal tally at the World Cup Series in Hyeres, France, in the final race of the week-long Olympic classes regatta claimed a silver medal in the final race.
The pair began the women’s 470 medal race finale safe in the knowledge that they had second place sown up, but wanting to steal gold from France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz.
With nine points to make up on the home nation rivals Mills and McIntyre knew they had a big task ahead – but with nothing to lose they targeted their French counterparts from the start of the double points-scoring race
Rio 2016 gold medallist Mills and crew McIntyre crossed the line in eighth position, two places ahead of their rivals, but it wasn’t enough to usurp Lecointre and Retornaz from the top spot.
They finished the regatta just five points behind the French pair and 11 ahead of third-placed Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka.
“I feel good,” said Mills, 30, from Cardiff. “It was a really exciting race. It was nice to have the confidence of having the silver medal and being able to attack, attack, attack. But we were frustrated we couldn’t quite pull it off.”
Despite Mills’ disappointment she and McIntyre have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with since teaming up in early 2017.
Their success in Hyeres brings their tally to one gold and four silvers as they build toward a tilt at a world championships in Aarhus, Denmark, in August.
“We made a few mistakes but with that comes a huge amount of learning,” said McIntyre, 23, from Hayling Island, Hants. “Because we knew we had nothing to lose we attacked right off the start line, and we have never tried those tactics before together. In hindsight we should have waited a bit but now we have a new experience and a new lesson we can learn from.
“It’s all really positive really and we are really happy because we come away with a silver.”
Mills and McIntyre’s medal adds to the silver the British Sailing Team won on the penultimate day by Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface in the Nacra 17.
Other British interest on the final day in Hyeres came in the Laser Standard and Laser Radial medal races as Lorenzo Chiavarini and Georgina Povall looked to climb the final leader boards.
Chiavarini finished eighth in the medal race to confirm fifth position overall while Povall’s attempts to attack the fleet saw her cross the start line early and was disqualified from the race. Nevertheless she ended her campaign in ninth overall, her best ever World Cup Series result
World Cup Series Hyeres was the third and final round of the international series. The final will take place in Marseille from June 3-10.
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Full results are available on the Manage2Sail website on behalf of World Sailing.