Penarth’s champion helmswoman Hannah Mills and her sailing partner Saskia Clark have done so well in the series of women’s 470 class races at the Rio Olympics they are virtually guaranteed to receive the gold medal for the event .
On the ninth day of the regatta Hannah and Saskia finished third in the eighth race, second in the ninth, and third in the tenth and have accumulated a 20 point lead over their nearest rivals – the New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
Provided they get to the finish line today in a contest which – in terms of duration is one of the longest in the Olympics stretching over several days – Hannah and Saskia are certain to win gold for Team GB.
Hannah Mills – who last month launched Penarth lifeboat’s new-boat appeal in a special event on Penarth Esplanade – said she still couldn’t get over the fact that they were in such a convincing lead .
She said “I’m absolutely shocked, stunned and so relieved. We’ve sailed out of our skin in a marathon event… sailing for what feels like forever . I still can’t believe it ”.
The only thing that could stop them getting those gold medals is getting disqualified today – or sinking. Some teams have already been disqualified and with large objects like floating sofas being found on the course, the risk of sinking is not theoretical.
Hannah comes from Dinas Powys but did sail earlier in her career at Penarth . Tonight residents of both communities will have to keep their combined fingers crossed for gold and glory.