Lorenzo Chiavarini was pipped to Laser bronze on a rain and wind-affected final day of World Cup racing in Gamagori on Sunday (22 October).
49er crews Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell and James Peters-Fynn Sterritt had opened the medal tally for the British Sailing Team on Saturday
, but with Typhoon Lan approaching the Japanese coast, the second of the medal race days had to be curtailed with just three of the scheduled five races able to take place.
The building breeze varied greatly in both strength and direction, making it a challenging day for both sailors and race officials.
The women’s Laser Radial fleet was the first to get underway after several attempted starts. Alison Young was in action for Great Britain, albeit out of contention for the medal positions, and finished her regatta on a high with the medal race victory elevating her to eighth in the overall final standings.
Chiavarini had gone into the final day in bronze medal position in the Laser class, but with Australia’s Olympic Champion Tom Burton breathing down this neck.
Just one point separated them in the standings with a gap to fifth place, and with whichever sailor finishing ahead of the other likely to take the final podium position.
As with the Laser Radials, big wind shifts also saw delays to the medal race start, but once it got underway, Chiavarini and Burton separated to different sides of the course on the first upwind leg, with the Australian’s choice proving the favourable one.
He led at the first mark and every mark thereafter, and although Chiavarini fought back he couldn’t reel in his Australian rival. He finished sixth in the medal race, with Burton’s race win sealing him the bronze medal.
Rio Olympian and double World Champion Nick Thompson finished his regatta in fifth, with a third place in the medal race, while Michael Beckett was sixth overall and eighth in the medal race.
Luke Patience-Chris Grube, competing at their first major event since Rio 2016, fell foul of a jury disqualification on Saturday night which relegated them into ninth place going into the 470 Men’s finale on Sunday, having been in third place prior to the protest.
Ultimately, their medal race was called off leaving them no opportunity to improve on their overall position.
“We came here really to kick off what is our Tokyo 2020 programme. It’s the first time we’ve really been back in the boat since the Olympics,” Patience explained.
“It’s actually been a good week. It’s been horrible weather-wise with the rain, but it’s been good racing and we’ve been pleased to just get a series in.”
“We’re really, really excited and more importantly very energised for what’s ahead. We took a year off, and I needed that as it’s been 12 years without a break of doing the same. I’ve gained some great perspective, but more than anything else it’s about the hunger. I’m more mad for it than I’ve ever been I think, which is a cool thing to say at 31 years old.
“There’s less than three years to go, but having had that time away, I think I can compress a lot of work in a short space of time.”
The eighteen British Sailing Team athletes to compete at the World Cup Gamagori will now make their way to the 2020 Olympic Games venue for Enoshima Olympic Week (27-29 October), where they’ll be joined by Finn sailors Ben Cornish and Giles Scott, who is racing in his first Finn regatta since claiming gold in Rio.
Full results from World Cup Gamagori