Nick Thompson admitted he was ‘elated’ to capture a second consecutive World Championship crown as the Laser Worlds drew to a close in Vallarta, Mexico, on Wednesday (18 May).
The Lymington sailor clinched victory by 12 points over French rival Jean Baptiste Bernaz to add a second world title to his maiden victory in 2015, having led the seven-day regatta from the outset. Bronze went to the Netherlands’ Rutger Van Schaardenburg.
Thompson is the third British World Champion to be crowned this year in the ten Olympic 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.
“It was a pretty tricky event,” Thompson explained. “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.”
Thompson got his regatta off to a flying start, picking up two race wins on the first day of the event, and never looked back. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little bit of extra pressure on me,” the Rio-bound sailor continued.
“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.”
In spite of Thompson taking a 19 point lead into the final day, the last two races provided a tough test for the 30-year-old, who had to discard a 41st in the first race of the day before sealing victory with a ninth 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.”
Thompson takes great confidence from this latest triumph as he heads towards his first Olympic Games, but is not about to take his foot off the gas in his quest for the Rio podium.
“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.”
“I’m absolutely stoked to see Giles win his fourth Worlds and Ali win her first Worlds,” said Thompson of his teammates’ achievements.
“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.”
Elsewhere at the Laser Worlds, British Sailing Team Podium Potential sailor Jack Wetherell finished his regatta in 23rd place, Michael Beckett was 24th, Lorenzo Chiavarini 25th, Elliot Hanson was 29th and Henry Wetherell 51st.
Full results are available at www.laserworlds2016.org
Thompson will next be in action at the Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland – the final major event before the Rio Games – from 6-12 June.
Written by RYA