Lymington sailor Nick Thompson retains Laser World Championship
Congratulations to Nick Thompson who has claimed a second consecutive World Championship at the Laser Worlds in Vallarta, Mexico.
The Lymington sailor led the seven-day regatta from day one, when he secured two important race victories, and never looked back.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little bit of extra pressure on me,” said Nick. “It’s something I try not to think about at all but I really tried very hard just to focus on each race. I kind of knew that we were going to get most of the race in so it was going to be a long old slog. Once I nailed the double bullet I was like ‘oh blimey, the pressure is definitely on me’. But I think I managed to cope with it pretty well.”
The 30-year-old sailor was forced to work hard on the final day of the competition, defending a 19 point lead. He discarded a 41st place finish in the first race of the day before sealing victory with a 9th place in the final race.
“I actually sailed a good first race up until the second beat where I was in the position I needed to be in and there was a big shift which let JB, the French guy, go from nearly last to top five at the next mark. Suddenly it was all back on again and I was on the other side of the course having lost quite a few places. That was really frustrating, but I regrouped and focused on the next one.”
Overall he clinched victory by 12 points over French rival Jean Baptiste Bernaz to add a second world title to his maiden victory in 2015. Bronze went to the Netherlands’ Rutger Van Schaardenburg.
Afterwards, Nick said he was especially pleased to have won in Mexico given the added pressures that a defending champion encounters.
“It was a pretty tricky event,” Thompson said. “We managed to get all the races in and I was leading from day one and so I was a little bit stressed with that, being the defending World Champion. But I’m over the moon to have finished on top.”
Nick’s success in Mexico means that the British Sailing Team approach the 2016 Games with no fewer than three World Champions among their ranks.
"It's pleasing to have done this because it shows we're moving in the right direction and the things I've been needing to work on have been covered. Rio's a very tricky venue and is different to what we've had here so I think there's still some work to do, but pretty much I just need to maintain the hard work we've done already and I think we should be in a good place."
Nick Thompson is the third British World Champion to be crowned this year in the ten Olympic sailing classes with just 79 days to go until the Rio 2016 Games, joining Laser Radial Alison Young and four-time Finn Worlds winner Giles Scott on top of the Worlds podium and seeing the British Sailing Team top the 2016 World Championship medal table across the Olympic disciplines.
“I’m absolutely stoked to see Giles win his fourth Worlds and Ali win her first Worlds,” said Thompson of his teammates.“I’m so pleased for them and they both work so hard. It puts us in a great place going into Rio and we’re looking like one of the teams to beat which is fantastic. I’m really pleased to have joined the other two.”
Nick will next be in action at the Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland from 6-12 June, the final major event for the British Sailing Team before the Rio Games.
Images: BBC, Telegraph and Getty Images.