Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign reflected on their pride at turning their event around to even be in medal contention after ending their Rio 2016 49er campaign sixth overall.
The Brits went into the double points Medal Race still harbouring hopes of finishing their Games debut on the podium before an ill-timed capsize at the fourth mark put paid to their medal ambitions.
After a tough start to their first ever Olympic regatta, Fletcher and Sign really began to find their feet from race six onwards, moving stealthily through the fleet day by day to engineer a medal shot on the final day of racing.
But having to put four boats between themselves and the Australian London 2012 champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, to stay in contention, and having edged themselves ahead of the Aussies approaching the second downwind mark, the Brits lost control of the boat dropping the kite and also had to do penalty turns.
Fletcher and Sign couldn’t hide their disappointment at not being to end their Games on a high, but were pleased to have been in the mix.
Fletcher said: “We picked out the start wrong, we went out left and got a bit stuck and that put us behind so we just wanted to nibble away at the leaders. We gained a lot on the next lap and got ourselves into a reasonable position but then capsized so that was game over.
“It’s been a week of two halves. The first two days were really bad, we weren’t sailing too good and then we turned it around in the last two days of fleet racing and we are really happy with how we did that to bring us back into contention. Ultimately it didn’t work out for us on the day.”
New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had already secured gold going into the Medal Race while Outteridge and Jensen wrapped up silver and Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) the bronze.
Fletcher and Sign have been sailing together for 10 years and were two of nine British sailors making their Games debuts in Brazil. The pair admit they have loved being part of the Rio Olympic experience.
Sign said: “It’s amazing to be part of the team, how we all muck in and help each other out. That spurs you on when you have a bad day, they pat you on the back and say ‘good job’ when you are struggling out there. It’s been a great experience to witness that.
Fletcher added: “We spent a lot of days here, and it’s made a massive difference to our campaign. The team did a really god job in preparing our sailors for such a difficult venue. But ultimately it was a really tricky venue and we didn’t quite manage to get it together.”