Alexandra Rickham & Niki Birrell have won the 2012 SKUD competition at Sail For Gold
The storm was building to its peak as the athletes left Skandia Sail for Gold on Thursday afternoon, and overnight it blasted Weymouth and Portland with winds in excess of fifty knots.
Waves broke over the famous Chesil Bank, the rain poured down and the venue was cleared in case of flooding. Welcome to the British summer.
By Friday morning the wind had not abated calling an early end to the Paralympic regatta. The other classes had longer to wait, but at 14:30 racing was called off for the day for everyone. The silver fleets and those that didn’t make the gold fleet cut for the medal race joined the Paralympians in packing up.
The Paralympic regatta was always due to finish on Friday. All three classes were completed with six races and one discard. In the SKUD 18, the British four-time world champions of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell dominated with a string of five consecutive wins, to take the gold medal with a five point advantage from the Qingdao bronze medallists, John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (CAN). The 2008 silver medallist Daniel Fitzgibbon and his new crew, Liesl Tesch (AUS) took the bronze, another three points behind.
The British SKUD duo had never won the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta, Niki Birrell commented, “It feels fantastic to finish the regatta with a gold medal here in Weymouth and Portland. We came here wanting to win this event and we have done so, that’s great! Obviously we want to win the Paralympics in September so the overall result here wasn’t as important as the Games, but it’s still great to have won!”