RHU sailor Luke Patience is looking forward to a strong finish in his bid to win his first World Sailing Championships gold medal.

Patience scored a ‘birthday bullet’ on Saturday to stay in the hunt for his first world championships title.

Patience, who turned 32 on Saturday, has two 470 world championship silver medals to his name from 2009 and 2011 alongside Stuart Bithell in the lead-up to their silver medal at London 2012.

But as the Sailing World Championships reached its halfway point for the men’s 470 fleet, Patience said his quest for gold with crew Chris Grube was firmly on track.

Patience and Grube, who represented Great Britain at Rio 2016, sat in fifth after three days of qualifying races at the regatta in Aarhus, Denmark, just seven points off the top spot.

The pair spent the early part of this week racing against all the top crews for a place in the 10-boat, double-points medal race scheduled for Thursday.

“We feel in control – a lot of boats have been up and down and in these long weeks where the weather in unpredictable it’s steadiness that is king,” Patience said.

“I got a birthday bullet which was a nice present to myself. The last race today wasn’t so great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad for us as it was for some of our competitors.”

Patience and Grube had a strong start to 2018, winning the North American championships and the Miami round of the World Cup Series.

They have since teamed up with Andrea Manini, who coached the 470 gold medal winners at Rio 2016, to supercharge their campaign as the two-year countdown to Tokyo 2020 begins.

“I’m feeling pretty good – we’ve not set the world on fire yet but we’re ready to pounce on any mistakes our rivals make,” Patience added.

“There’s a time and a place in a regatta to really push and it’s not there for us yet. We will wait for that moment and surprise our competitors when we do it.”