Please select your home edition
Spinlock - Deckvest - 728x90

Miami provides early season test for Britain’s elite sailors

by British Sailing Team Media 27 Jan 17:48 GMT 29 January - 3 February 2019
49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell - World Cup Series Miami © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Britain's Olympic sailing hopefuls will kick off their crucial 2019 campaigns in Miami on Tuesday (January 29) as Tokyo 2020 draws ever closer.

World Cup Series Miami will see many of the planet's best sailors come together for the first battle of the year on Biscayne Bay's iconic blue waters.

Forty-two sailors from the British Sailing Team will take to the water for a week of highly-charged competition in the second round of the 2019 World Cup Series.

With the next Olympics just 18 months away, the event will serve as a timely warm-up ahead of the start of the season proper in April.

With Britain already qualified in all ten classes for Tokyo 2020, the ultimate season goal will be to win selection for one spot in each fleet at the Olympic Test Event in Enoshima, Japan, from August 15 to 22.

In Miami the British contingent will be looking to replicate its 2018 success that saw athletes return home from with four golds and a bronze.

Rio 2016 champion Giles Scott, 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, 470 duo Luke Patience and Chris Grube and Laser Radial sailor Alison Young were all victorious last year, while Nick Thompson won bronze in the Laser.

Fletcher and Bithell have a particular good record in Miami having won the 49er class at the regatta in 2017 and 2018.

"We are looking to close it out once again to make it three in a row," said Fletcher. "It's taken us a couple of days to get back into the conditions out here but we have found our feet and are feeling confident going into the racing. This is a chance for us to see how our winter training has gone so far and helping us build the right program going into the European season."

Arguably though it will be fellow 49er duo James Peters and Fynn Sterritt with the targets on their backs, having scooped the top spot at World Cup Series Enoshima on Olympic waters last September.

"Fynn and I feel sharp and ready to perform," said Peters. "Following a strong finish at the World Championships and winning gold at the last Sailing World Cup at the Olympic venue in Japan, we have the opportunity here in Miami to show the fleet we are the front-runners and the guys to beat.

"In the grand scheme of the season Miami isn't the most important and doesn't directly form part of our road to the Olympic Gold, but it's a great regatta at a unique venue with a very strong entry so we'll be fighting hard and desperate for the win."

Reigning Laser Radial champion Ali Young is another itching to return to action and defend her Miami title.

"It feels like a long time since I've trimmed my sheet in anger so I'm looking forward to getting the 2019 season started in Miami," said Young, who represented Team GB at London 2016 and Rio 2016. "I will not be ignorant of the result but the regatta is also an opportunity to measure progress and learn to be better."

Despite many sailors treating World Cup Series Miami as a 'process regatta', the field contains some of Britain's biggest names including the pairs of Dobson/Tidey and Weguelin/Ainsworth in the 49er FX, John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the Nacra 17, and Bryony Shaw and Emma Wilson in the RS:X.

The fleet with the most number of British sailors is the Laser, with six entrants flying the Union flag including World Cup Series Enoshima winner Elliot Hanson and European silver medallist Michael Beckett.

The Finn class will be the only one lacking a British competitor. Scott, alongside fellow British Sailing Team Finn sailors Ed Wright and Henry Wetherell, opted instead to spend the winter season in competing in Australia where Scott recently won the Finn class national championships.

Racing in Miami runs from Tuesday 29 January until Sunday 3 February. The penultimate day will see medal racing in the 49er, 49er FX, men's and women's RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets, while the finale will decide the Laser, Laser Radial, men's and women's 470 and Finn.

Related Articles

British Sailing Team set at Para Sailing Worlds
Fully focused on the task in Sheboygan Six sailors will be flying the Great Britain flag when racing at the Para Sailing World Championships gets underway at Sail Sheboygan, USA on Tuesday (18 September). Posted on 18 Sep 2018
Trio of medals for British Team at Tokyo 2020 test
Giles Scott and Ed Wright scoop silver and bronze Finn medals Rio 2016 gold medallist Scott and European champion Wright started the final day of World Cup Series Enoshima in second and third, just a handful of points behind overnight leader Nicholas Heiner. Posted on 16 Sep 2018
British Team at World Cup Series Enoshima day 5
Peters and Sterritt seal victory as Hanson wraps it up early James Peters and Fynn Sterritt rounded off a rollercoaster year with victory in the 49er class at World Cup Series Enoshima while Elliot Hanson cleaned up in the Laser class with a day to spare. Posted on 15 Sep 2018
British Team at World Cup Series Enoshima day 4
Brits poised to strike as World Cup Series Enoshima ramps up Britain's elite sailors will get a shot at bringing home medals in four classes on Saturday as the first major regatta to be held at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailing venue reaches its peak. Posted on 14 Sep 2018
British Team at World Cup Series Enoshima day 3
Laser quest! Brits fill podium as Tokyo 2020 venue turns tricky Britain's Laser sailors sent a clear message to their rivals on Thursday as they filled the podium places in the only race of World Cup Series Enoshima day three. Posted on 13 Sep 2018
British Team at World Cup Series Enoshima day 2
Brits top in four classes as Tokyo test continues Nineteen-year-old windsurfer Emma Wilson jumped into the bronze medal position at the halfway stage of the RS:X competition on the back of a trio of top ten results including a race win. Posted on 12 Sep 2018
British Team at World Cup Series Enoshima day 1
GBR 49er sailors shoot out of the blocks on the opening day The men's high performance skiff class kicked off six days of action across the ten Olympic classes – and Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell made their intentions clear by streaking to victory in the regatta's very first race. Posted on 11 Sep 2018
British sailors descend on Tokyo 2020 venue
Rio 2016 gold medallist Giles Scott will make his return to the Olympic circuit Scott will be among a 38-strong British Sailing Team contingent to take on the world's best when racing begins on the waters that will host the next Olympic Games on Tuesday Posted on 10 Sep 2018
Young windsurfers picked for Youth Olympics squad
Islay Watson and Finn Hawkins have been named in Team GB The pair will be among 42 British athletes aged between 14 and 18 who will compete in 17 sports over 12 days of action. They will both race in the Techno 293 Plus windsurfing class having impressed selectors with a string of top results this season. Posted on 6 Sep 2018
Female athletes sought for kiteboarding programme
The team has joined forces with the British Kitesports Association World Sailing, the global governing body for sailing, confirmed at its mid-year meeting that there would be a mixed kite event put forward to the International Olympic Committee for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Posted on 5 Sep 2018