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Royal Lymington Yacht Club's Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr win bronze at 470 European Championships

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ROYAL Lymington YC sailors Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr put their world championship heartbreak firmly behind them by claiming 470 European Championships bronze in Villamoura, Portugal.

The duo, who teamed up in 2019, suffered two false starts at the 420 World Championships in March to miss out on the chance to fight for gold.

However, there was no repeat of this as they finished 11 nett points ahead of French pair Marina Lefort and Paco Lepoutre to seal a podium place.

Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr at 470 European Championships (Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira) (47050768)
Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr at 470 European Championships (Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira) (47050768)

After the final race, 23-year-old Orr said: "Mental toughness is a massive part of sailing at the top level, and we had to rebuild our confidence on the start line after the double disqualifications at the worlds.

"We worked hard with our coach Jonny and the rest of the British Sailing Team mixed squad to tackle this in training and pre-events. We knew it would be crucial in this event where the mixed fleet would be bigger and tougher than ever. Mistakes became more punishing in this bigger fleet, so consistency around the racecourse was everything.

"After disappointment at the worlds, we are proud to make a statement in the mixed fleet – hopefully, it's the first of many."

Their best results at the six-day event, which concludes with the medal race on the final day, was a second-place finish in the seventh race and a third-place finish in the third race.

Heathcote and Orr, who have affectionately amalgamated their first names to 'RyVita', were racing in the mixed fleet. This new format will make its debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Israeli pair Nitai Hasson and Saar Tamir lifted gold while Theres Dahnke and Matti Cipra took silver for Germany.

Great Britain also took silver in the women's fleet with Olympic champion Hannah Mills and teammate Eilidh McIntyre looking to do one better at the Tokyo Olympics, which start in just 10 weeks.

For full results from the 470 European Championships, visit bit.ly/3hc9yaj

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