Great Britain's 2.4mR sailor Helena Lucas and the Canadian Sonar team led by Paul Tingley snapped up gold in their respective fleets as Paralympic racing concluded at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella.
Tingley and his team of Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes wrapped up gold with a race to spare after a strong series of races. Meanwhile, Lucas asserted herself in the 2.4mR with a trio of victories that ensured she took her first gold at World Cup Miami after five previous attempts.
Lucas had a shaky start, retiring from the first race of the series, but came back dominant, winning seven of ten races over the week.
A perfect final day of three race victories sealed her fate as she ended well clear of Bruce Millar from Canada in silver and USA's Charles Rosenfield in bronze.
“It's been a really good regatta,” said Lucas. “We have had some great winds and some good conditions in different directions. It's made it a good regatta and we had 20 knots yesterday so it's been great. Miami is always a really nice one to win so it's great to start 2016 off with a win.”
Lucas won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and was the first British athlete in any sport to be selected for Rio 2016. No one has been able to defend the 2.4mR gold medal at the Paralympic Games but Lucas has a full schedule this year as she attempts to do exactly that.
“This is a good stepping stone for my preparations in September. It's busy from now on until the Paralympic Games. I have some stuff planned in the UK in February and then from March onwards I will be at the World Cup and EUROSAF events. It's a busy calendar from now on.”
In a Paralympic year, sailors are looking to peak and lay down a marker in the build up regattas. Those winning medals now, will be winning medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Canadian Sonar team came off the water buoyed by their performance over a strong pack of racers. Their week featured three consecutive race wins midway through that put them in a good spot leading into the final day that featured three races.
A third and a fourth in the opening two was enough to seal gold and with the pressure off they completed the regatta with a seventh.
“It feels like the work is starting to pay off,” explained Tingley, a Beijing 2008 2.4mR gold medallist. “We are committed to the process and it takes time as a team. We have worked hard on our communication and as a result, we executed really well this week.
“The very best in the world are here and we beat the best. Gold is the reassurance we needed going into Rio.”
Australia's Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden took second followed by Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).
Paralympic racers have a relatively quiet period before a full on period in April and May that includes Sailing World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth & Portland as well as the Para World Sailing Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands.
From 11:00 (EST), 16:00 (UTC) on Saturday 30 January, the Medal Races from Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella will be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel as well as ESPN3 in the USA.
– World Sailing Media