YATE sailor Mark Austen said it was like a dream come true to take a silver medal from his debut at the Blind Fleet Racing Open World Sailing Championships.

But his runner-up spot in the United States could have been an actual golden moment as he missed winning his category by just a matter of metres – from his own team-mates!

Austen was at the helm of the Great Britain Three yacht in the B3 fleet category at the Championships held on Lake Michigan.

The Yate man and his crew were so successful that they finished dead level with the GB Four yacht going into the final race of 17.

And, after a tremendous tussle between the two boats, the British Four crew just crossed the line by 15 feet to claim first place in the regatta.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing triumph for Austen with races in the Championships coming after two years of hard training and dedication after he took up sailing in 2015.

Austen said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. We lost by less than a boat length and it was just the wind which changed and they (GB4) got better wind than we did.

“We were neck-and-neck and equal on points before the last race against the other GB boat so it was GB one and two (on the podium at the end).

“I had expectations going into the Championships but to get a silver was incredible. It was one of the best days of my life.

“When I was selected to sail in this class of yacht two years ago, my ambition was to be good enough to sail for Great Britain and represent my country. Sailing at the World Championships was a dream. Now I’m part of a world class team and have a silver medal.”

And, said the Yate ace, it was a great experience to be able to help Great Britain beat the rest of the world to take top spots in the competition.

Teams from right across the globe – America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – competed for the title at Sheboygan.

Team GB, who were defending their title, also took a silver medal in the B1 fleet category and gold in the B2 fleet as well as the gold and silver in the B3 fleet. Each fleet raced over five days.

Meanwhile, Austen has not put his feet up since returning from the competition. He has been out to Greece racing and is now about to get onto the choppy waters of the Solent and back to winter training at Cowes next month.

It is then a break over Christmas before wrapping up for another bout of Cowes training in January with the national squad.