April has been a busy month for the British Sailing Team as they continue their preparation for the next Olympic Games in just over 2 years time.
At the beginning of the month, the team were out in Palma, Mallorca for the Prestigious Princess Sofia Regatta. After 7 years apart, SSW Ambassador Sophie Ainsworth was back sailing with her old friend and fellow Exeter University graduate Sophie Weguelin for this event, and they were competing against the world's best in the 49erFX class.
The conditions throughout the week were challenging, with days of relatively clam breezes, before the wind and waves picked up towards the end of the week. 'Team Sophie' had a tricky start, but got better and better throughout the week, finally achieving their first win since reuniting in the final full fleet race. After the medal race, the girls managed to finish a creditable 8th overall, beating British rivals Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey who were down in 10th.
Other British highlights in Palma, were the performances of reigning Olympic Champion, Giles Scott who won the Finn class, and Hannah Mills & Eilidh McIntyre who finished 2nd in the Women's 470 class. Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell also took 2nd in the 49er class, as did Ali Young in the Laser Radial and Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface in the Nacra 17 - Nicola was actually a last minute replacement for Katie Dabson who was injured in training just days before the start of the regatta.
Next up, the team headed for Hyeres, France for Round 3 of the 2018 World Cup Series. Again, the conditions were light, presenting a significant challenge for all the sailors. The team's highlight in France were the performances of the ever consistent Hannah Mills & Eilidh McIntyre who once again finished 2nd in the 470 class, and Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface who took another 2nd place in the Nacra 17 class.
Elsewhere, 5th was the order of the day for many of the Brits, with Charlotte Dobson & Saskia Tidey (49erFX), Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini (Laser) and John Gimson & Anna Burnet (Nacra 17) all finishing 5th in their respective classes. Dylan Fletcher-Scott & Stuart Bithell (49er) finished 6th, Sophie Weguelin & Sophie Ainsworth took another 8th in the 49erFX class after a real mixed bag of results that ranged from 3rd to 22nd, and Georgina Povall finished 9th in the Laser Radial.
At the end of the month, the world rankings are updated for this Olympic cycle, and British Sailors are at the top in 3 of the Olympic Classes...
British World No. 1's as of 30th April 2018:
49erFX - Charlotte Dobson & Saksia Tidey
49er - Dylan Fletcher-Scott & Stuart Bithell
Nacra 17 - Ben Saxton & Katie Dabson / Nicola Boniface / Stephanie Orton