Image: Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic classes sailing begins a new foiling chapter next week with Britain’s Nacra 17 crews among those set to race in the European Championships (30 July – 4 August) marking the mixed multihull’s transition to full foiling for the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
Four National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team Nacra crews will contest the regatta – held in Kiel (GER) at the same time as the Europeans in the 49er and 49erFX events – as the new design, newly-delivered catamarans and their crews are put to the test for the first time in major competition.
British multihull pairings have seen a strong start to the Tokyo cycle in the old-style boats, with Rio Olympian Ben Saxton enjoying podium finishes with both Nicola Groves in Miami and current crew Katie Dabson at the World Cup Final, Santander.
John Gimson and Anna Burnet have picked up a hat-trick of international regatta medals this season, with a silver most recently at the Santander World Cup finale, while Tom Phipps and Nikki Boniface have also tasted podium success with silver at the Miami World Cup in January.
Podium Potential squad duo Rupert White and Kirstie Urwin complete the four British Sailing Team crews taking on the rest of the foiling Nacra fleet, with Chris Rashley-Laura Marimon also flying the Union flag.
British Sailing Team crews will be pushing for the podium spots in the 49er and 49erFX European Championships which are being held concurrently in Kiel.
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell will have high hopes for the regatta after a string of podium finishes to kick off their Tokyo campaign. Both have enjoyed Europeans success previously, with Fletcher a two-time winner alongside Alain Sign, and Bithell picking up bronze at the 2016 edition and silver in 2015 with John Pink.
Rising stars James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will also be looking to build on their early season form which yielded gold medals at the Princess Sofia Trophy and at the World Cup Final in Santander.
Chris Taylor and Sam Batten are back in 49er action after their Red Bull Youth America’s Cup-winning exploits in Bermuda, while four other British Sailing Team crews will be looking to make their mark in the 98-boat men’s skiff event.
Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey will hope to continue where they left off in the 49erFX, having picked up three podium finishes in their last three events which culminated in gold at the same venue during Kiel Week two months ago.
They’re joined in the women’s skiff event by Kate Macgregor and Sophie Ainsworth, who narrowly missed out on the podium spots in Santander, Sophie Weguelin and Steph Orton, and Megan Brickwood and Ellie Aldridge who complete the British Sailing Team line-up.
Racing in all three events will get underway on 30 July, with the final medal races scheduled for 4 August.
British Sailing Team entrants for the Nacra 17, 49er & 49erFX European Championships 2017:
Ben Saxton-Katie Dabson
Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface
John Gimson-Anna Burnet
Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin
Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell
James Peters-Fynn Sterritt
Chris Taylor-Sam Batten
Jack Hawkins-Chris Thomas
Morgan Peach-Rhos Hawes
Gillies Munro-Daniel Harris
James Grummett-Daniel Budden
Charlotte Dobson-Saskia Tidey
Kate Macgregor-Sophie Ainsworth
Sophie Weguelin-Steph Orton
Megan Brickwood-Eleanor Aldridge
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