Rudyard Lake Sailing Club is celebrating after cheering on its very own Olympian John Gimson and his crew Anna Burnet to silver medal success at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Family, friends and club members gathered for an early morning breakfast ‘watch party’ with a big screen in the club house showing live coverage of the medal race for the Nacra 17 high performance foiling catamaran class.
John and Anna claimed a sparkling silver after holding their nerve during the light winds on the racecourse at Enoshima to finish fifth in the final race and their Olympic regatta in second overall. Gold went to Italy with bronze claimed by Germany.
The silver medal for John and Anna was part of a ‘terrific Tuesday’ for the British Sailing Team, which also saw gold medals claimed on the same day by Giles Scott in the Finn and Dylan Fletcher/Stu Bithell in the 49er.
John, aged 38, grew up sailing at Rudyard Lake SC, where he is a life member, and has been campaigning in Olympic classes and keelboats since starting out on racing circuits as a youth and junior sailor.
Among those up in the early hours to share the day with friends at Rudyard Lake were parents Paul and Rozanne Gimson.
Dad Paul said: “It’s been so good to have the support of everyone at the club, especially the people who were here when John was sailing here. It’s been very nerve-racking, I’ve not slept a lot in the last week! We’re just elated. It’s been so many years in the coming and to go to his first Olympics and get a silver medal, brilliant! A huge well done to John and Anna. It’s awe-inspiring and it’s fantastic for Rudyard Lake Sailing Club. It raises the whole profile of the club and sailing as well.”
He added it had been “comms down” during the Olympics to let John and Anna focus on the job in hand. The family are now looking forward to being reunited with John on his return home after the Games, having not seen him in person since October 2020 due to Covid and the need to train in a bubble with fellow Nacra athletes in Sardinia and Sicily.
Also at the club were John’s sister and brother-in-law Loveday and Dan Godfrey with their children, baby Lamorna Rose and Harry, aged 6, who had just completed building a Lego catamaran, a present from his Uncle John, in time for the medal race!
Rose Mycock, who helped run the club’s junior section when John was an upcoming sailor and crewed for him for a season in a National 12 when he was aged 13-14, remembers him pulling off breezy gybes in tricky planing conditions and realised back then that he was a gifted sailor. John went on to become a youth national champion in the 29er class and won the 420 class national title, paving the way for a glittering senior career.
John and Anna’s sailing story leading up to the Games can be found on the British Sailing Team hub here and commenting on the medal race, Rose added: “We knew once he got over the startline he just needed to stay safe and sail carefully and he did it, we’re ecstatic and I’m just so proud of him.”
Rudyard Lake SC Commodore Ian Lee added: “We’ve had youngsters here watching John winning an Olympic medal and it’s absolutely fantastic for inspiring the next generation.”
The club was recently awarded British Youth Sailing Recognised Club status for its junior section and is an RYA Training Centre, running courses for all ages and abilities, with a warm welcome for anyone who would like to find out more about the sport or give it a go.
Find out more about Rudyard Lake Sailing Club at https://www.rudyardlakesc.org.uk.