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Golden pairing strike gold

PUBLISHED: 13:03 18 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:42 06 July 2010

AFTER striking gold in their most recent international race, Carlton Colville sailing sensation Nic Asher is now aiming for further success at next month's World Championships.

AFTER striking gold in their most recent international race, Carlton Colville sailing sensation Nic Asher is now aiming for further success at next month's World Championships.

Asher and crew Elliot Willis, took gold for Great Britain at the ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Holland as they won the men's 470 title on the Ijsselmeer waters.

And after triumphing at the Dutch venue, the pairing were soon back in training at Scheveningen on the Dutch coast - as they prepare at the venue for the World Championships on July 12-18.

“We have just returned from there having completed a week training camp and everything went well as the conditions are very similar to Lowestoft," Asher told The Journal. “We have another camp on June 22-28 and then we go back out on July 7 for the Worlds.

“Our goal for the event is a medal, to secure our top level of funding for the next two years and to put as in the best position for Olympic selection next year,” Asher admitted.

The Oulton Broad pair took gold in Great Britain's first medal opportunity at the ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Holland on Saturday, May 30, winning the men's 470 title on the Ijsselmeer waters.

Although Skandia Team GBR's two-time World Champions went into the last day of racing for the double-handed fleet with a 20 point lead at the top of the table, it wasn't all plain sailing with their lead severely dented after picking up a disqualification for a premature start in the first of their two fleet races earlier in the day.

This dropped them to second overall, but the duo bounced back with a fifth in the second fleet race to see them back in pole position with a margin of seven points ahead of the final ten-boat medal decider held on Saturday evening.

Shifty wind conditions and rain showers provided the backdrop for the medal race with Asher and Willis gaining a good start but struggling with the fickle wind on the third lap before finding a surge of breeze to see them through to the finish the race in fourth place, which was enough to hand them gold over Australia's Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page. Bronze went to the Croatian medal race winners Simo Fantela and Igor Marenic.

“The first couple of laps were pretty standard really,” explained Willis of their medal race. “We had good boat speed, the boat felt nice. Up at the end of the last weather leg, just before all the rain came in, the wind started to go wacky and we got a little bit caught out in the middle.”

“Two boats overtook us and we went round the windward mark in a big group and had seen that the Croatian guy had gybed out of the windward mark and was reaching down towards the finish in a load of breeze that had come in ahead of the cloud. We gybed just after the mark and then just reached to the finish!”

Asher added: “Our conservative day didn't go to plan, picking up an OCS in the first race but then we pulled it back with a fifth, so it wasn't a great day - we made it hard for ourselves when we shouldn't have really.

“But it was a good win - we've had a barren spell so it's good to be back on winning form and hopefully it'll continue in July for our World Championships.”

Nearer to home there were 12 entries for Gt Yarmouth and Gorleston Sailing Club's passage race to Lowestoft and back on Sunday.

The south-westerly breeze provided straightforward conditions, giving a very close reach on the southward leg and a broader reach on the return. This clearly suited the three Hobie Tiger F18 catamarans which soon pulled well clear of the rest of the fleet and Daffy Holmes and Steve Knight in the leading cat completed the course in less than an hour and this was good enough for them to win on handicap.

Behind them, the dinghies were led by the RS400 of Martin Browne and Di Holmes but they were not far enough ahead of Phil Highfield and Jamie Freeman in a RS500 to beat them on corrected time; the RS500 took second place overall with Browne and Holmes having to be content with third.

The breeze had faded slightly during the course of the race and when the fleet launched again for the afternoon race it briefly died away completely before suddenly swinging to the south and building to a force 4 which, with a choppy sea, gave some exciting sailing conditions. Dave Abbott and Julia Faulkner established a good lead in their F18 cat and nearly won on handicap but Highfield and Freeman in the RS500 did just enough to win overall, with Rollesby visitors Roger Wilson and Dennis Manning taking third place in their Albacore.

Next weekend is the Gorleston Beach Regatta with sailing on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. For more information see www.gygsc.co.uk.

Gorleston, Results

Lowestoft Race F18 955 D. Holmes/S Knight; RS500 665 P Highfield /J Freeman; RS400 1129 M Browne/D Holmes.

Afternoon race RS500 665 P Highfield/J Freeman; F18 1551 D Abbott and J Faulkner; Albacore 8066 R Wilson/D Manning.


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