The 470 Men and Women Medal Races wrapped up the 2012 470 European Championship with five nations claiming the podium places - Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Slovenia.
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) already secured their 2012 470 European Championship title before the final day, after winning race 12 which put them in an unassailable position.
Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) joined them as 470 Women European Championship winners today in a tense Medal Race sail off with four teams gunning for the podium slots.
Light winds were the order of the day, in what was to prove testing for athletes and the Race Committee.
With a night to sleep on their achievement of securing the 470 European Championship title for a second successive year, Sime Fantela was reflective on the final day, "It is great. Yesterday was a bit strange to secure gold ahead of the Medal Race. We have never secured a medal ahead of the Championship finish at senior level. It was a different feeling than other wins."
The Croatians had no pressure to deliver a top result in the Medal Race, but they always sail every race to win, so it was no different today.
There were two attempts from the Race Committee to get the 470 Men Medal Race completed, but the wind was just not going to play ball. In the first attempt, with the wind disappearing and the teams just about to round the downwind gate, the Race Committee signalled abandonment. Fantela and Marenic were leading.
A 180 degree change of wind direction and the second attempt to start the Medal Race also saw the lead in the hands of the Croatians during the second upwind, when again the race had to be abandoned.
In the dying wind the Race Committee had absolutely no option than to abandon racing, and comfort perhaps that at the point each of the races was abandoned, the positions of the teams in the race would not have changed the eventual outcome of medallists.
At the start of the first Medal Race attempt, the eventual silver medallists, Ben Saxton and Richard Mason (GBR) looked as though they had blown it. A boat-to-boat infringement on the start line forced them to take two penalty turns and start well after the rest of the fleet who took the left side up the windward leg, with the British taking off to the right.
Saxton said, "The wind was fairly light, it looked difficult, we got a race off fairly quickly. We made a bad start, but we made a great beat and were winning. Then we were still winning at the bottom of the first race when the wind died and it was abandoned," before concluding, "We are happy and we would have been whatever the scenario today."
The European bronze medallists, Russia's Mikhail and Maxim Sheremetyev were thrilled with their result, which ranks as their best to date. Maxim said, "We are happy. I wanted second place, but we are happy. It is our best result ever."
Next stop for the brothers, as it is for eight of the 470 Men teams competing in the Europeans, is the Olympic Games.
470 Men - Top 10 Overall
1. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) - 44 pts
2. Ben Saxton/Richard Mason (GBR) - 66 pts
3. Mikhail Sheremetyev/Maxim Sheremetyev (RUS) - 69 pts
4. Panagiotis Kampouridis/Efstathios Papadopoulos (GRE) - 80 pts
5. Philip Sparks/David Kohler (GBR) - 92 pts
6. Luke Ramsay/Mike Leigh (CAN) - 94 pts
7. Antonis Tsimpoukelis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) - 94 pts
8. Yannick Brauchli/Romuald Hausser (SUI) - 97 pts
9. Vianney Guilbaud/Mathieu Fountaine (FRA) - 104 pts
10. Vladimir Chaus/Denis Gribanov (RUS) - 111 pts
With the top four teams going into the Medal Race all in contention for medals the pressure was intense. With a four point separation between the top three teams from Great Britain, Germany and Slovenia, and Croatia just slightly behind, there were quite a few scenarios which could have unfolded
he British win was by no means easy and at one point during the Medal Race, the Slovenians had the gold medal in their hands ahead of Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth.
Ainsworth said, "We had a bit of a tense race, we didn't have the best start and we were playing catch up from then on. But we knew the Slovenians were winning around the first windward mark and we managed to rein them in downwind. We knew we had the Germans behind us, and then on the last downwind the whole fleet came together and we had to get round before them and luckily we did. The Slovenians beat us in the race, but we had enough of a points margin that we won."
Slovenia's Tina Mrak and Teja Cerne sailed a stunning race to claim the silver. "It is a nice result, we are happy. For us the silver medal is like gold,"
said Cerne. "Just a bit more and we could have beaten the British girls, but it is fine we are satisfied with our result. It was a good race for us in very difficult conditions, light wind and shifty so we had to be very patient and concentrate all through the race. This is the best result we have ever achieved and has given us a lot of self-confidence that we can sail well and improve places during an event. We are very optimistic going into the Olympics."
Annika Bochmann and Elisabeth Panuschka (GER) struggled in the conditions to finish fifth and claim the bronze medal. Bochmann was frustrated with their start but delighted with the outcome, saying, "The start was very strange because of the current. Then the shift went to the right and the left end was favoured, so everyone wanted to start there. So we decided not to go left because there were too many boats and maybe a chance of OCS, so we tacked immediately after the start, but there was no shift on the right so we had no chance. Our goal here was fifth, and now we are third. This is our first medal at a senior event. Today we will celebrate with the team, but we fly home early tomorrow morning, so perhaps a bit more celebrating at home!"
470 Women - Top 10 Overall
1. Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) - 40 pts
2. Tina Mrak/Teja Cerne (SLO) - 42 pts
3. Annika Bochmann/Elisabeth Panuschka (GER) - 44 pts
4. Enia Nincevic/Romana Zupan (CRO) - 53 pts
5. Joanna Freeman/Katie Tomsett (GBR) - 70 pts
6. Anna Burnett/Flora Stewart (GBR) - 80 pts
7. Amy Seabright/Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR) - 104 pts
8. Alisa Kirilyuk/Lyudmila Dmitrieva (RUS) - 104 pts
9. Fiona Testuz/Anne-Sophie Thilo (SUI) - 106 pts
10. Maelenn Lemaître/Aloise Retornaz (FRA) - 113 pts
470 Europeans Website