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Sailing - 15. February 2008.

Yngling girls clinch world title with day to spare



The trio, which earned the nod for Olympics after winning both the 2007 World Championships in Cascais and the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao, dominated the 28-boat fleet since the first day of the regatta and secured gold after gaining an unassailable lead on the penultimate day of racing (14 February) in Biscayne Bay.

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Their world title is Skandia Team GBR’s third of the year, adding to Ben Ainslie’s gold at the Finn Gold Cup, and Nic Asher and Elliot Willis’s win at the 470 Worlds in Melbourne last month.

Wilson described the trio’s victory as “amazing – it hasn’t quite sunk in yet!” and admitted that they were fully fired up to defend their world title after missing out on the medals at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta at the same venue two weeks ago.

“Going into the OCR we hadn’t really raced since China, as we’d been working on a lot of equipment stuff,” the 22-year Lymington sailor explained. “We didn’t finish quite where we wanted to be at that event, which meant we were even more ready for the Worlds.”

And as defending champions and among the favourites heading into the event, ‘Team Mirabaud’ weren’t prepared to let the title slip from their grasp.

“In the past we’ve been in the same position, but have made a few mistakes. This time, I think our experience helped pull us through.

“We just sailed really consistently throughout the week – we had some pretty tricky conditions and some big breezes and so our teamwork has really shone through.”

Ayton, Webb and Wilson count all scores within the top five heading into the final day of racing, but are safe in the knowledge that, even with the double-points scoring medal race still to run, the gold is theirs.

It’s a huge confidence boost ahead of the Olympic regatta, but Wilson insists the girls are not about to get complacent in their Games preparation.

“It’s great to be in the position we’re in, but we’re always moving forward and this is just a stepping stone on the way.”

The other British crew at the Yngling Worlds, Shirley Robertson, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor, are in tenth place heading in to the final day of racing (15 February).

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