Australia's Olympic sailing medals four years in making

Australia took seven sailing crews to Rio; six made their medal races, and four won medals, in a strike rate that leaves other big squads in their wake. Only the swimming team won more medals from vastly more chances.

"If we can come to an environment like this and convert essentially four medal chances ... that's a pretty damn good outcome," Australian Sailing team leader Peter Conde said.

The medal run was four years in the making.

"We had our first trip here six months before the last Olympics," Conde said. "We started in April 2012; we had the first sailors training here in November 2012."

All four of Australia's expected medal chances finished in the top two in Rio.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who won silver in the men's 470, made 10 trips to Rio to learn the complex conditions.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, who won silver in the Nacra 17, told a similar story.

"We've spent almost six months in Rio sailing in these waters just to get acclimatised to the conditions," Waterhouse said.

Rio's complex weather and water patterns meant some Australian favourites faced a fight just to stay in touch with the leaders, however.

Tom Burton won gold in the Laser but only after a "one in 10" tactical move on the starting line came off to perfection.

And Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er were unable to get in front of the New Zealand crew, who claimed gold ahead of Australia's silver.

But the medals weren't the only measure of success.

Jake Lilley and Ashley Stoddart made the Finn and Laser Radial medal race, respectively, and both 23-year-olds showed the potential to push for better results in future Games.

If they are selected for Tokyo 2020, they will know the Australian Sailing Team has already put in the work to see them succeed.

"That started again in April. Our first trip to Tokyo [was] in April," Conde said.