THE VOICE of the BBC’s Olympic sailing coverage Leigh McMillan believes Emsworth’s Iain Percy is in with a fine chance of claiming Olympic gold in Weymouth.
The two-time Olympian, who will co-commentate for the BBC at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy for the duration of the sailing event, is convinced 36-year-old Percy and Star-class partner Andrew Simpson can top the podium.
The duo claimed a dramatic gold in Beijing four years ago to go with Percy’s earlier individual gold in Sydney in the Finn class.
McMillan, who sailed on the now defunct Olympic catamaran tornado class at Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years ago, said: “Percy and Simpson will be right up there hunting gold.
“They’re the reigning champions and are still right up there in the top three consistently in the mix.
“It is a very competitive class and they will have a big battle on their hands because the star class has some incredible talent competing in it. But there is no doubt that Percy and Simpson are very strong.”
McMillan was speaking as he took part in the 81st JP Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race, a 53-mile sail around the Isle of Wight that attracted 16,000 sailors.
McMillan is equally as confident about a number of other British sailors.
He said: “When you look all the way through the team, we have huge experience.
“We have people performing in every single discipline. There is an incredible amount of talent throughout the whole squad.
“The problem with sailing is that anything can happen as the sport has so many variables. Percy and Simpson must make sure they are meticulous with their equipment. It has to be in absolutely top condition with no possibility of breaking.
“But they’re in an incredibly good situation going into the Games and I really think we’re going to have a lot of success.”
The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is the fourth largest participation sport event in the UK. Organised by the Island Sailing Club, it is dubbed Britain’s favourite yacht race, attracting over 1,800 yachts and 16,000 competitors. See more at www.roundtheisland.org.uk