MELBOURNE - Australia's Olympic gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell recorded a shock victory at the ISAF Sailing World Cup on Saturday, comprehensively winning the event less than a month after being paired together in the women's 470 boat.
The duo sent a strong message to would-be rivals at the 2012 London Olympics, leading the Melbourne regatta medal race from start to finish.
Rechichi and Stowell are now targeting at least a bronze medal from next year's Games, though they warned there's plenty of work to do bedding down their new partnership.
"We wouldn't be going again as tourists, just to see it," Rechichi said of the London Games.
"I think it's realistic we could be on the podium in London but first and foremost our focus is on qualifying."
Rechichi, who won a gold medal in the 470 boat at Beijing and Stowell, who took gold at Sydney in 2000, were only paired together for the World Cup regatta in October.
But the partnership gelled instantly in changeable conditions over six days of racing at Port Phillip Bay.
"We won six races out of the ten during the qualifying and then to win the medal race as well was a nice icing on the cake," Rechichi added.
Australia's other elite sailors enjoyed strong results from the first World Cup event of the season.