British Sailing Team news release: Hanson back with a bang as Brits excel at Medemblik
WORDS – RYA | PHOTO – Sander van der Borch
Elliot Hanson marked his return from injury to international competition with gold at Medemblik Regatta, Netherlands, helping the British Sailing Team to a four-medal haul.
The promising Laser Standard sailor was forced to miss most of the first quarter of 2018 after having surgery on his ankle, and only got back into a boat a few weeks ago.
But the 24-year-old from Macclesfield, Cheshire, dominated the 43-boat fleet, winning three of the eight fleet races and counting an 8th as his worst score.
He was so far ahead of his rivals that he won the regatta with a day to spare.
Hanson said the victory was a timely boost as he gears up for the 2018 season highlight, the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, in August.
“It’s been a real stop-start 12 months for me with setbacks and other sailing commitments, most recently with my ankle surgery post Miami,” Hanson said.
“It’s a great boost to see I’m able to jump back in the boat after no training and still win. I’m still very rusty and there’s plenty to improve upon before performing at the World Championships in Aarhus. That’s said, I’m confident there’s time and the right plan is in place.”
Gold also went to 49er FX crew Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey, who clinched the top spot in thrilling style with a win in the medal race.
The pair went into the final race in silver, but a third place for Dutch rivals and regatta leaders Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz saw Dobson and Tidey win by just one point.
“The medal race was a key opportunity to upgrade from silver to gold position by trying to force a boat in between us and the Dutch girls,” said Tidey, who lives in Portland, Dorset.
“Three laps, decisive execution and solid speed along with powerful team work prevailed as the winning move.
“We are thrilled to come away with gold after a week of challenging conditions. Medemblik was very much a process regatta for us but we feel satisfied with our progress in the build up to World Championships.”
Bronze medals went to Nacra 17 duo John Gimson and Anna Burnet, and RS:X windsurfer Kieran Holmes-Martin.
“We came to Medemblik to work on some specific areas of our racing, but it’s always nice to come away with a medal,” said Burnet, 25, from Rhu, Scotland.
“Our sights are firmly set on the Aarhus worlds in August so at the moment we’re just taking these opportunities as training, but we’re feeling good with the progress we’ve made this week.”
Holmes-Martin, 23, from Cheadle, Staffs, added: “Medemblik was very physical with 11 light wind races so I’m all the more pleased to come away with bronze.
“This regatta was just a good place to see how everything is shaping up in the lead up to the Worlds, checking in with what we’ve been doing in training in planing conditions.
“My highlight was winning the one planing race we had which is great as that’s a key area I’ve been working on.”
Although the British Sailing Team didn’t come away with a medal in the women’s RS:X competition, three of its athletes finished in the top ten.
Emma Wilson, 19, from Christchurch, Dorset, led the way in fifth, with Bryony Shaw, 35, from Weymouth, Dorset, in sixth and Saskia Sills, 21, from Plymouth, Devon, in tenth.
Full results from Medemblik can be found here.
The British Sailing Team will now turn its attentions to the World Cup Series final in Marseille from June 3-10, Kiel Week from June 16-24 and the 49er/49er FX European Championships from July 8-13.
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