They looked back and counted as the rest of the boats finished. A few minutes later, as the favoured British team crossed in eighth, it was clear — the Swedes had won the gold and they began to celebrate.
Loof and Salminen became the first champions of the London Olympics sailing regatta by shocking defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Britain.
Sailing in front of thousands of partisan fans watching from the Nothe Fort and Weymouth waterfront on a sunny Sunday, the British crew lost the gold in the last 200 metres on the difficult Nothe Course.
They were in fourth at one point, but had picked the wrong side of the course. In light, notoriously tricky winds, they limped painfully toward the realization that gold could slip away.
With Sweden winning, the British needed to finish sixth or better to win the gold. They crossed in eighth and settled for silver, leaving the crowd hushed.
Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada finished seventh and got the bronze.
Percy was trying for his third Olympic gold medal.
Scheidt has five Olympic medals — two gold, two silver and now a bronze.