Great Britain won their third gold of the World Championships, in the men's lightweight four on a day of thrilling finals in Karapiro, New Zealand.
GB men's pair Andy Hodge and Pete Reed were closer than ever - 0.32 seconds - to their New Zealand rivals, taking silver despite a 12th successive loss.
There was silver for Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the women's pair.
Single sculler Alan Campbell had to settle for bronze behind Czech Ondrej Synek and Kiwi Mahe Drysdale.
An elated Richard Chambers and Paul Mattick regained the world crown they won in the lightweight men's four in 2007, with Rob Williams and Chris Bartley now sitting in front of them.
If the finale were not exciting enough, with three boats neck-and-neck at the 1500m mark, China burst from a length down to join a blanket finish.
GB pair claim silver behind NZ nemeses
After a photo review, just 0.56 seconds separated Great Britain in first place and world champions Germany, pushed out of the medals.
"We're used to it," said Bartley of the close finish. "We had one that was the same margin in Lucerne. It's always going to be tight in the lightweight four and we're just pleased we came out on top. It's the best feeling ever."
Mattick added: "It's always been a competitive boat and this boat is going to be better in the long term. We'll be there in 2012 and I'll be there to win."
A year after a breathtaking world final in Poland left the top men's pairs barely able to stand on the medal podium, Hodge and Reed were even closer to Eric Murray and Hamish Bond on Lake Karipiro.
The Brits had a slight advantage through the early stages and were a third of a boat length ahead with 500m to go but their arch-rivals raised their stroke rate to 43 per minute to reverse that gap by the finish.
The duo - ranked Great Britain's top heavyweight men - had a longer stroke and looked more relaxed than in the past and their clear improvement may still convince chief coach Jurgen Grobler they can win Olympic gold in that combination in 2012.
"That was a top race today," said Hodge. "It was one of the best races we've put together this year. "We really brought it onto the water today but all credit to the New Zealanders, they had a stroke more than us, which I'm gutted about.
"Immediately after the race I was really happy but the more I think about it the more I'm quite annoyed, but that's what rowing's all about.
"I'm looking forward to the next 18 months now, as I have done the last two years. We've stepped on a hell of a lot and the challenge continues."
Women's pair Glover and Stanning - ranked the ninth and 10th sweep rowers in the GB women's squad - secured their silver with an assured performance.
It put them a length ahead of world champions the United States, who snatched bronze, while a raucous home crowd cheered Kiwis Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown to gold.
GB women storm to surprise silver
"I definitely think we came to the final thinking we needed to be on the podium. I suppose other people probably didn't think that but we knew we had it within us," said Stanning.
The home crowd were roaring again for Drysdale in the final event of the day but he could not secure a fifth successive world crown in the single sculls, and only just held a late charge from Coleraine sculler Campbell, whose starting sprint had seen him lead early.
Synek took charge by the half-way mark and had built his advantage to a length by the finish as he finally added world gold to his collection of four bronzes, a world silver in 2007 and Olympic silver in 2008.
"I so wanted to catch Ondrej and make everyone proud," said Drysdale. "That was the toughest race of my life. I had absolutely nothing left. But I heard the crowd and had to keep pushing."
Campbell said: "It was a great race and it was great to be part of it. Obviously I'd love to have got the gold but the aim was to get a medal. Mission one achieved, mission two not quite, but we've still got time between now and London.
Campbell battles to bronze as Synek cruises home
"Ondrej's a class act, he showed us the gold medal standard and that's what we've got to come up to."
In the women's single sculls - the only event without a GB entrant in the final - Sweden's Frida Svensson held off a ferocious surge from defending champion Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus.
GB's Katie Solesbury was third in the B final earlier in the day to take ninth place overall.
On Sunday from 0135 GMT, Scot Katherine Grainger continues her quest for gold in 2012 - after three successive Olympic silver medals - in the double scull with Anna Watkins, with Poland and the United States their nearest rivals.
Then Greg Searle, 38, takes part in his first World Championship final for a decade, a year after deciding to come out of retirement for a shot at 2012.
If the GB men's eight win a medal it will be Searle's first since 1997. A world title would be the first since he, brother Jonny and cox Garry Herbert - now the BBC TV commentator - won in their Olympic champion coxed pair in 1993.
Also on Sunday, the men's double scull of Olympic bronze medallist Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman - his new partner this season - look set for a nail-biting battle for medals in an event where favourites France barely qualified from Friday's semi-finals.
And GB's women's eight - coxed by Caroline O'Connor - also face a fight for medals, despite winning the World Cup series as several top crews missed much of the European season.
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