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Nic has the title knack

PUBLISHED: 10:13 08 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:41 05 July 2010

THE champagne corks were popping at a special welcome home celebration for Carlton Colville sailing star Nic Asher.

The double world champion touched down in England in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a whirlwind few days in which he and crew Elliot Willis had won the 470 World Championships for the second time in Australia.

THE champagne corks were popping at a special welcome home celebration for Carlton Colville sailing star Nic Asher.

The double world champion touched down in England in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a whirlwind few days in which he and crew Elliot Willis had won the 470 World Championships for the second time in Australia.

And after the sailing on home waters at Oulton Broad, family and friends toasted Asher's success - while Willis was made an honorary life member by the club.

“A packed clubhouse gave them a great reception at which Elliott was made an honorary life member to join Nic who already held that honour,” a spokesman for the Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club said.

And for Asher, the past year has been a mixture of emotions.

From aiming for selection in the 2008 Olympics GB team, missing on four months of training and regattas after an injury to Willis, being overlooked on a place in the GB team for Beijing by Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield to bouncing back in the best possible style - and winning the world title for the second time, following their previous victory in 2006.

“Over the summer I got back to why I started sailing in the first place,” Asher said. “I did a few local regattas and really just had fun sailing again. “I'm not sure how to describe it, but with no disrespect to Nick and Joe - as they did everything they had to do to qualify - I felt that our chance to go to the Olympics had been robbed.

“We had got a Bronze medal at the Pre Olympics in 2006 and had won the World Championships, then Elliot's injury took us out of the running. This gives you a surprising amount of motivation!”

After missing out on selection, Asher, Willis and their coach decided to plan their 2012 campaign. “We all agreed in a second that winning the 2008 Worlds was a must. Not only to right what had happened, but to stamp our authority on the fleet and keep the momentum going for the next Olympiad,” Asher said.

But then Nic was struck down with Glandular fever, and the pair had to contemplate sailing a World Championships not fully fit. This was remedied by a great start in qualifying - but was nearly ruined by a collision with the Australian pair Belcher and Behrens, which capsized the boat and led to Willis being taken to hospital.

But they overcame all the odds and delivered another world title in amazing style - with the Olympic chosen pair of Glanfield and Rogers well behind.

So how does it feel to be the best British 470 sailors ever?

“It's really nice to have won two 470 world championships and be the most successful British 470 sailors ever. But the record is three world titles, so we want four!” Asher revealed.

Attributing their success in Australia to “good all round boatspeed, keeping it simple, focusing on the correct things at the correct time - a good start, clear lane and trusting your numbers,” the pair now have a month off before helping their Olympic colleagues in their program for the Games.

And will there be any rueful thoughts about the selection as they help the others out?

“No, its just unfortunate,” Asher said. “Its just sailing at the end of the day, the world goes on.

“Nick and Joe did everything they needed to do, they are silver medallists from Athens and they will do a good job. “We have just got to make sure we are ready for next time - I'm not missing out again!”

With this in mind and the London Olympics in 2012 - what is the major goal for the pair? “We would like four 470 world titles but the main goal is 2012 for sure.”

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