Andy Triggs Hodge, Peter Reed and Alex Gregory experienced the opposite emotion of last summer, when they were part of the Olympic winning mens's four, after finishing fourth in Switzerland.
The crew won the last World Cup at Eton Dorney, just edging out Poland, and also broke the course record at last weekend's Henley Royal Regatta.
But with cox Phelan Hill calling the shots, the powerful looking crew were overshadowed as the USA got the better of Germany, unbeaten since 2009, while Holland completed the podium.
"We knew that medals would be hard to come by here", said Sir David Tanner, British Rowing's performance director.
"Now we know what work we need to do. Getting such a good representation of boats in the A finals is a strong result in the first year of the Olympiad, with many new crews at this stage of the Olympiad."
Earlier, Helen Glover and Polly Swann won women's pair gold while Peter and Richard Chambers took bronze in the lightweight double sculls.
"It would be really disrespectful to think that we can come into a new event this season and win it," said Ricahrd Chambers.
"I think British Rowing has done a really good job getting into the medals at all three World Cups. Now we know where we are at and what work we need to do."
- Sports & Recreation
- Peter Reed
- Eton Dorney