Amazing Days

Ed Gorman takes a first look back at a very special two weeks for British sailing
The greatest Olympic Games for British sailing in the modern era is over with three gold medals and two silvers on their way back home. We all knew that there were chances for glory in Sydney, but the experience of Savannah had left us cautious about going too far. But no-one, not the RYA coaches, the media or the sailors themselves could have predicted a result such as this, which has propelled Britain to the top of the rankings in Olympic sailing, and has done more for the sport in Britain than any other single event in recent times. Much has been made of the critical importance of National Lottery funding over the past four years. This has certainly made a huge impact, enabling sailors to compete with the best equipment and at the highest level throughout the Olympic cycle. But sailing is not the only sport to have benefitted in this way and some - notably equestrianism for example - have failed to deliver at the Games. This underlines that money alone cannot buy success. In my view, the RYA already had the right basis and the right approach before the injection of cash, and the funding has simply helped things develop more effectively and quickly than before. The team led by Rod Carr, formerly Racing Manager and now Secretary General, John Derbyshire, Olympic Team Manager, and his coaching staff - all deserve as much credit for this as the sailors themselves, and they have all acknowledged that. There have been so many highpoints, it is difficult to pick the best. On the water, the duel between Ben Ainslie and Robert Scheidt at the end of the Laser series will live in the memory as one of the most dramatic and skillful episodes. Listening to the Olympic venue manager,