SHANDON’S Anna Burnet and her sailing partner John Gimson have been crowned Nacra 17 world champions in Australia – just weeks after securing their place in Team GB for this summer’s Olympic Games.

And Burnet wasn’t the only local sailor to be among the medals in the waters of Port Philip Bay, off the Australian city of Geelong, as Charlotte Dobson partnered Saskia Tidey to a silver in the 49erFX category.

Heading into the final double points medal race, Gimson and Burnet had to overcome a 16-point deficit to leaders Nathan and Haylee Outteridge of Australia, but could also have fallen out of the medals altogether.

But with the Australians caught up in a battle with rivals Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, Gimson and Burnet took full advantage and streaked ahead to win the medal race, with their rivals from the host nation stuck back in the pack in seventh and ninth.

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All the pair could do then was sit and wait to see where both Australian teams would cross the line. And with their rivals back in the pack in seventh and ninth, the championship was theirs by a single point.

Victory more than made up for the pair's disappointment at their fourth place finish in the last world championships, held in Auckland last year.

“The points were tight and we were just looking at the team in front and the team behind us,” said 26-year-old Burnet.

“We did what we could and won the race and just had to sit and wait to see where the Aussies crossed the line. When they finally crossed someone shouted over to us that we had won, and that was that.”

READ MORE: Near miss for Anna at Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland

In the penultimate race of the championships a broken tiller extension just moments before the start meant a quick fix and an alternative sailing technique. But cool heads and strong sailing kept them within a shot of a medal going into the final race, and the rest is history.

Gimson, 36, from Congleton, Cheshire, said: “I’m a bit speechless to be honest. We had to go out and win the final race to give ourselves a chance and in the end all the cards just fell in to place for us.”

The win caps an incredible few weeks for the pair as they became the latest additions to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics following an intense selection battle with compatriots Ben Saxton and Nikki Boniface.

In the 49erFX class, Dobson and Tidey were a model of consistency throughout the week with a string of top three finishes, before an untimely error and capsize meant the gold medal went to the Spanish pair of Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo.

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Dobson said: “We are a little disappointed we couldn’t have taken it to the Spanish a little better in the medal race. But on the whole we have sailed a really good regatta.

“What’s really encouraging for us is the day we separated ourselves from the fleet was on a sub-max power day which has been our real weakness.

“It’s something we have been focusing on and it’s a real highlight to see our improvement in those conditions. But today, it was close but no cigar.”

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