IAIN PERCY saw the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta title slip through his fingers at the death, but he insists he is well on track for London 2012 glory.
The 36-year-old headed to the Olympic venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, alongside Star class partner Andrew Simpson looking to deal an early blow to their Games rivals with Sail for Gold the last regatta before the Olympics.
And it looked like they would do just that as they led the fleet by one point heading into Saturday’s all-important medal race.
However, a collision with Brazilian world champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada meant they finished the event with bronze, allowing Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and David Burrows to take the gold.
But despite slipping down the leaderboard on the final day, Percy believes he and Simpson are that much closer to retaining their Olympic crown after testing the Weymouth waters.
“Despite missing out on the gold medal nothing has happened that has knocked our belief that we can win gold at the Olympics,” he said.
“On the contrary, things are coming together. We had good speed which has been our issue for while, so that’s what matters, we’ll keep working on it. You always enter a competition to try to win. But the notebook was out every night and we’re trying to make improvements and it’s all irrelevant, it’s what happens in a month.
“Learning was a big part of this regatta but I won’t say we didn’t go in there trying to win, and we didn’t win, so we’re obviously disappointed - but it’s fine, there’s something somewhat more important this year to start worrying about now.”
With O’Leary and Burrows winning the gold, they head into London 2012 full of confidence that they can pull it out of the bag at the Olympic venue.
But with Scheidt and Prada, who finished Sail for Gold second, having claimed victory in Weymouth at the Olympic test event, Percy is readying himself for a battle later this summer.
“The Irish did a great job this week, they were going fast, going the right way and they got it right,” he added.
“In the fleet, any one of the top ten can probably win a race or win the event at times, if they get it right, so that’s the nature of it.
“We know what to expect and will be ready.”
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com