Six medals for Brits at Palma regatta

39th Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE 2008

Nick Dempsey and Paul Goodison added to Ben Ainslie’s earlier triumph to make it a hat trick of gold medals for Great Britain at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Majorca, on Friday. Britain’s sailors held fast amid big waves and wind speeds in excess of 20 knots sweeping across Palma Bay, with the final Skandia Team GBR medal tally for this major European circuit event standing at three golds, two silvers and one bronze.

Triple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie had already got the British team off to a flying start on Thursday, gaining an unassailable lead in the Finn class prior to sailing the final medal race on Good Friday. But it was Athens bronze medallist Dempsey and three-times European Champion Paul Goodison who had the golden touch today, clinching respective victories in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event and the men’s single-handed Laser class after strong performances right from the start of the regatta.

Goodison’s teammate and training partner, the 2007 European bronze medallist Nick Thompson ensured it was a British 1-2 in the Laser event, maintaining his silver medal position with a third in the medal race, with Goodison crossing in fourth.

For both Dempsey and Goodison, the Palma event was a key milestone in their preparations for the Olympic Games. Said the 30-year-old Goodison: 'For me this event was almost like a test run for Beijing – this event and Hyeres – so in that sense it was important for me to do well here.

'I’ve had a really good series which meant that I only needed to finish top five in the medal race to win overall, regardless of how the others did.'

The Rotherham sailor was also quick to congratulate training partner Thompson on his podium finish: 'We’ve had a really good two weeks training together out here and it’s great that we can keep the pressure up on each other and hopefully keep raising our standards higher.'

Nick Dempsey capped off a stellar week, securing gold in the RS:X men’s event with the help of a third from the final medal race to finish 13 points ahead of nearest rival Przemyslaw Miarczynski of Poland.

'It was really important for me to do well at this event,' the 27-year-old explained. 'The Worlds was not a focus event for me – it was more like a winter warm-up – so this is really the first event of the season and is one of two target events before Beijing,

'I’ve been working really hard out here for the past six weeks, and my result just shows that the hard work is starting to pay off.'

World Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson prevented a Russian 1-2 in the Yngling women’s keelboat fleet, improving their position one place in the overall standings to clinch silver thanks to a third in the final medal race, while in the 470 women’s race Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark continued their late surge in the second half of the regatta to clinch bronze. They finished second in the final medal race.

Bryony Shaw just missed out on the medals in the women’s RS:X event in spite of an otherwise promising regatta – she was forced to retire from the medal race with a torn sail, while in the 49er event, Paul Campbell-James and Mark Asquith ended the regatta in ninth place.

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