Hannah Mills from Dinas Powys got back to winning ways after returning to the 470 class after a brief time in the 49er FX class in the World Cup Series Final in Santander, Spain.
In a demonstration of 470 prowess, Hannah Mills and her new partner Eilidh McIntyre made it a second gold for the British Sailing Team. Having started the day in the top spot and with a 13-point cushion, the class act showed that despite being a scratch crew, they had what it took to leave the rest of the fleet in the dust.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing as a shift in the final race forced Mills-McIntyre to tack on to port coming off the start-line. The pair quickly locked into battle with Dutch duo Afrodite Zegers-Anneloes Van Veen, who started the day second, as they looked to defend gold.
Once round the first mark, their focus turned to securing the best medal race result, eventually crossing the line third, to see them the crowned runaway winners, an impressive 19 points ahead of the Dutch pair.
For Mills, this was her first 470 event since winning Rio Gold last summer, and despite training and competing in the 49er FX so far this season, the sailor proved unstoppable as the week went on.
Mills admits she’s feeling ‘relieved’ after securing gold: “Although we had a good points gap going into this medal race, I think that also adds pressure as everyone almost expects you to win so to come away and pull it off is a relief!”
With America’s Cup inspiration in full flow, there was motive behind a defensive first beat for the British pair.
“The conditions were so tricky, it felt the safest option was to actually take the Dutch girls and try and practice a bit of a match race. You don’t often get the opportunity when you’re far enough ahead to guarantee a silver so we thought we would see what we could do and it pulled off quite nicely!” Mills elaborated.
McIntyre reflected on their week: “We had no pressure coming into it [the event], a new team figuring things out, but we had a speed edge.”
“It’s pretty cool, we did three days training before the event, so it’s really good but sailing with a gold medallist helps though, doesn’t it?” laughed McIntyre.