Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnet added the Nacra 17 European Championship title to their Tokyo 2020 silver in a commanding performance in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Whilst most other Olympic competitors have decided to take a break out of the boat following the Games, Gimson and Burnet opted for racing experience and secured the Euro title with a 30-point cushion.
Gimson and Burnet picked up where they left off from Tokyo with a string of first and second place race finishes to start their regatta and show they were the dominant force of the fleet. The pair continued their form to eventually claim the gold medal with a race to spare over second place duo Gianluigi Ugolini and Alice Cialfi from Italy.
Crew Burnet, 28, from Shandon, Scotland, said: “We wanted to get more experience in light wind racing and that’s exactly what Greece gave us. The result is a bonus and it’s pretty nice to add the European title to the 2020 World title. It’s great to be racing a number of younger teams who are all gunning for Paris 2024 and we had to fight hard in every race.”
The pair will now take some time off the water but still remain hungry for even more Olympic success.
“We will have some time off outside of doing this Europeans and the Worlds in November,” said Burnet. “It’s important to be rested because with less than three years to the next Olympics it’s going to be full on, but equally there haven’t been many opportunities to race in the last 18 months and we’re keen to focus our time on racing at this stage.”
British teammates Rupert White and Kirstie Urwin, making their return to competition after two years away due to injury and then the pandemic, narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium. A brilliant mid-regatta comeback saw them jump from tenth to go into the medal race in third, but a ninth place in the double-points medal race saw them slip agonisingly to fourth behind French bronze medallists Titouan Petard and Lou Berthomieu.
The top British finishers in the 49er and 49erFX both rued slow starts but were pleased with how they came back stronger as the racing went on. 49er sailors Chris Taylor and Rhos Hawes finished in 10th while Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton were 12th in the FX fleet.
Hawes, 24, from Cirencester, said: “It was not an easy week of light chop. I’m happy with how we recovered through the week climbing the scoreboard. Certainly not a week playing to our strengths but we are looking forward to learning and moving forwards.”
Echoing those thoughts, Brickwood, 26, from Portsmouth, said: “It’s been a really tough week of racing in very light choppy conditions. We struggled at the start of the week to get off the line but are proud of our determination to battle our way through the fleet and finish with a respectable result.
“We are looking forward to getting back to training, in hopefully a lot more breeze, and keep pushing towards Paris 2024.”
Nick Robins and Sam Batten were the next British Sailing Team representatives in the 49er finishing 14th. Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas finished in 19th with James Grummett and Dan Budden in 27th.
In the 49erFX Bella Fellows and Nikki Boniface finished in 14th and Hannah Bristow and Anna Carpenter were 21st.