Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark did all that was necessary to seal gold for Team GB in the women’s 470, which saw Britain top the medal table at the regatta.
Mills and Clark only needed to finish the medal race to secure gold, which they did with no issue, crossing in eighth place to finish ten points ahead of New Zealand in second.
It signified a reversal in the top two places from London 2012, when Mills and Clark finished second to the same Kiwi pair, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
“As a team we were really well prepared for that and we really nailed it – kept our heads about us, stayed in the present during the race and never got too far ahead of ourselves until we crossed the line,” said Clark, who admitted she had probably raced in her final competitive event.
Mills added: “It was emotional. We bounded up the beach [afterwards]. I just wanted to see my mum. She’s made it out here all the way to Rio and she’s been there the whole time supporting me. It’s an amazing moment to share with everyone. You’re out on the water on your own so it’s nice to come back and see everyone.”
Team GB top the medal table a the end of a tough week at the Marina da Gloria, which has seen several days’ racing rescheduled. The gold of Mills and Clark was added to that of Giles Scott, which along with the silver medal of windsurfer Nick Dempsey totalled three medals.
Had New Zealand won the final race of the day, in the 49er FX classification, they would have beaten Team GB to top spot, but the home crowd were given something to cheer as Martine Grael and Kahene Kunze brought Brazil its first sailing gold of the Games.
In that race, Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth finished off their regatta, ending in eighth place overall.
Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign went into the final race of the 49er classification with a chance of a medal, but two huge setbacks saw them finish last in the medal race.
First the pair ran into one of the gates, getting stuck for several seconds and having to push themselves off to get going again. Then, as they attempted to pick their way back through the fleet they almost capsized, striving for extra places.
“It’s been a week of two halves really,” Fletcher said. “The first two days were really hard and we weren’t sailing very well. But we turned it around for the last two days of fleet racing. We’re really happy how we did that to get ourselves back into contention.”
The men’s 470 pair Luke Patience and Ben Grube also finished outside of the medals, but given the short period that they had been sailing together before the Games, Patience was delighted with their performance.
“Chris and I teamed up eight months ago having both our previous partnerships end for one reason or another and our competitors have eight, ten, some of them 15 years together,” he said.
“We are but a grain of sand in the timescale of all of is. Of course we do it for medals but what we have pulled together is just something we can walk away with our heads help high.”