10 Aug 2012

Antipodeans sail past Team GB to take two golds

Team GB miss out on two sailing gold medals to the Antipodeans, as Australia and New Zealand push the male and female 470 class teams into second place.

The 470 medal race follows 10 previous races. The teams are awarded one point for winning the race, two for coming second, and so on. After 10 races the teams are allowed to drop their worst score and the other scores are added together – giving them their points tally.

Going into the final of the men’s and women’s races, Team GB was in a gold medal battle with Australia and New Zealand respectively.

At the start of the men’s medal race Team GB, comprising Stuart bithell and Luke Patience, was in second place behind Australia. For Australia to win the gold, all they had to do was beat Team GB. For Team GB to win, they had to beat Australia with another boat finishing between Team GB and Australia.


This meant Team GB had to play a tactical race in which they tried to slow the Australians down – speeding into the lead would make it easier for the Australians to snatch gold. In the women’s race Team GB was in joint first place with New Zealand.

However, the Australia produced a dominant performance to finish the race ahead of Team GB. Battling hard to stay in the race the Team GB sailors were then penalised for “pumping” the sils – rocks the boat too hard with their bodies to put wind in the sails.

In the women’s race Team GB, comprising Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, were on equal points with New Zealand at the start of the race – meaning a win over the Kiwis guaranteed gold.

However, the British team failed to find the amount of breeze that the New Zealand team did, and were at the back throughout the medal race while the New Zealand team led. Unable to catch their rivals, the female team finished last in the race, but took home silver thanks to their points score.

What part of Team GB would you be in? Try our athlete calculator…

The silver medal follows a Ben Ainslie’s fourth gold in his career, in the Finn class on Sunday.