Brittania rules the waves on busy sailing day

Posted at 2:31 AM, Aug 03, 2021

British sailors took two gold medals and one silver on a beautiful day for Olympic sailing, one day after two medal races had to be postponed due to a lack of wind.

Great Britain came into the Olympics with 52 all-time medals, second to the USA's 59. The gap is rapidly closing.

One of the British medals was in the men's Finn class, which the country has dominated throughout this century, but the other two were in events in which the British had either never won a medal (men's 49er) or hadn't taken one since 1976 (mixed Nacra).

The sailing events conclude on Wednesday with the medal races in the men's and women's 470 classes.

Women's 49er FX: Brazilians keep gold


Defending champions Martine Grael and Kahene Kunze of Brazil defending their Olympic title in the skiff sailing class with a third-place finish in the medal race. Grael's father is Torben Grael, who won five medals in his Olympic sailing career.

Argentina's Victoria Travascio and Maria Sol Branz won the final race to move up to fifth, two point shy of the medals.

Germany's Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke moved up to silver ahead of the Netherlands' Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz, who entered the medal race tied for first with the Brazilian duo but finished ninth in the finale.

Men's 49er: Great Britain by a nose


In a thrilling finale, with British and German boats sailing toward each other at 45-degree angles from the finish line, Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell edged the German boat by two seconds to win both the final race and the gold medal.

Defending champions and recent America's Cup winners Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand finished only a few seconds back and took silver, matching their result from 2012. 

Fletcher and Bithell got exactly the result they needed. They came into the final race with 56 points to the New Zealanders' 52, meaning they need to finish two boats ahead of Burling and Tuke to take gold.

The Germany crew of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel helped themselves as well as the British, clinching their second straight bronze with their runner-up finish Tuesday morning.

Men's Finn: Scott hangs on for second gold


Hungary's Zsombor Berecz did his part to make things interesting in the one-person heavyweight dinghy class by winning Tuesday's medal race, but Great Britain's Giles Scott rallied in the last leg to take fourth to win his second straight gold in the event. Scott was in sixth place after the fourth mark, the last before the finish line.

Great Britain has long dominated this class thanks to Scott and Ben Ainslie, who has retired from Olympic competition but was Scott's teammate in recent America's Cup competition. Iain Percy won this event in 2000, Ainslie won the next three, and Scott has now won the next two.

Joan Cardona of Spain came into the race with a firm group on bronze and confirmed it with a sixth-place finish.

Mixed Nacra: Third British medal of the day


The leaders in the overall standings of the multihull boat class stayed out of the fray in the medal race, leaving the top three of Italy (Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti), Great Britain (John Gimson and Anna Burnet) and Germany (Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemme) set in the medal positions.

Tita and Banti also won the world championship in 2018.

The U.S. crew of Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis finished third in the medal race and ninth overall.