Spain won the gold medal in the Olympic women's Elliott 6m competition, edging the previously undefeated Australian trio 3-2 in Saturday's final.

The sailing team of skipper Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega surpassed all pre-Games expectations to take the title and win the Iberian nation's second sailing gold in London, following windsurfer Marina Alabau's victory in the women's RS:X competition.

Spain and Australia split the first two races of the best-of-five final at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

In the third race, in which the sailors were forced to cope with gusts of up to 24 knots, a boat-handling error by Australia sent skipper Olivia Price into the water and turned a close contest into an easy victory for the Spaniards.

Australia came back strong in the fourth race, however, to force a dramatic finish.

Spain jumped out to an early lead in the fifth and deciding race, reaching the first mark with a five-second advantage.

Australia made up ground quickly on the downwind second leg and the two boats were virtually even, but a right-of-way penalty cost the Australians valuable seconds down the stretch.

Spain had an 8-3 record in the round-robin phase and then qualified for the final with victories over France and Russia in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Australia went undefeated in the round-robin portion of the event and outraced the Netherlands and Finland in the first two rounds of the knockout phase. Finland, meanwhile, topped Russia for the bronze 3-1 in Saturday's petite final.

The Spanish sailing trio took gold in their first Olympic showing. The Elliott 6m, meanwhile, made its first-ever Olympic appearance in London but will not be included as an event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Echegoyen, Toro and Pumariega won Spain's third gold medal of these Olympics, joining Alabau and taekwondo practitioner Joel Gonzalez Bonilla. EFE