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Brits targeting top spots at super-competitive Finn Europeans

by Will Carson, RYA 9 Mar 2018 10:34 GMT 12-17 March 2018
Ed Wright © Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The British Sailing Team's Finn sailors will be out in force at the class's European Championship in Cadiz, Spain, as they attempt to better last year's impressive medal haul.

The 2017 event saw British sailors dominate the action with Ed Wright finishing runner up, Ben Cornish completing the podium in third and rising star Henry Wetherell claiming the Under 23 crown.

The trio will be among the favourites for the 2018 top spot when racing gets underway on Monday but they will face stiff competition – the 96-strong fleet includes world champion Max Salminen (SWE), Rio 2016 bronze medallist Caleb Paine (USA), reigning European champion Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and America's Cup 'cyclors' Andy Maloney and Josh Junior (NZL).

Wright, 40, from Bournemouth, will start the European Championship as the world's top ranked sailor with Exeter's Cornish, 26, nipping at his heels in second.

Both will be out to claim Great Britain's first European gold since Giles Scott took the top spot in 2014 – and get the measure of their international rivals ahead of the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, this summer.

Wright, who boasts five European Championship medals including a gold from 2006, said: "It would be great to win the title again and I will do my best to achieve that.

"I have been training in Australia this winter but I came to Cadiz a couple of weeks early to get to know the place. Looking forward to the year ahead, the regatta will be a good opportunity to see what progress everyone has made over the winter."

Wetherell, 21, from Doncaster, will be looking to repeat his 2017 success but he too will be challenged by a host of talented young sailors including British Sailing Team compatriot Hector Simpson, 22.

The duo will be hoping the training they have done in Cadiz over the past two winters will put them in good stead.

"We have a tight training group so I'm sure you will see some Brits near the top of the leader board at the end of the week," said Wetherell, currently ranked eighth on the season scoreboard.

Simpson, from Bradford, added: "This year's line-up is especially tough given pretty much everybody who competes on the world circuit is attending this event, and everybody is wanting to test where they are at before the World Championships in Aarhus later this year."

Racing begins on Monday 12 March from 1200 local time (1100 GMT). The ten-race series will be followed by a medal race on Saturday 17 March to crown the 2018 champions.

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