Please select your home edition
Edition
MS Amlin 2019 - 728x90

Brits aim to exploit home advantage at 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships

by British Sailing Team Media 11 May 16:58 BST 12-19 May 2019
49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell © Lloyd Images

Britain's elite sailors will aim to capitalise on their home advantage when they take on the world's best in the Volvo 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Weymouth and Portland.

The seven-day regatta marks the return of Olympic classes racing to Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, home of the London 2012 sailing competition.

More than 400 athletes from all over the world will face off for the European Championships crown in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes three of the fastest and most exciting Olympic classes.

Not only is the regatta one of the largest in the 2019 calendar, it is also one of the most significant with numerous nations counting it towards selection for Tokyo 2020.

Crucially the regatta, run by the RYA and part-funded by the National Lottery and Volvo Car UK, will continue the legacy of London 2012 by offering world-class racing and shining a spotlight on WPNSA's excellent facilities and organisation.

Racing begins on Monday May 13 and will culminate in double-points medal races for all three classes on Sunday May 19.

The final four days of the regatta will be streamed live on the British Sailing Team website.

The British Sailing Team will field six crews in the 98-boat 49er fleet, five in the 55-strong 49erFX class and four in the 53-boat Nacra 17.

Among those looking to assert their dominance will be 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, and 49erFX crew Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth, who both came home from the 2018 Europeans with bronze medals.

Both will face stiff competition from an international line-up that includes world and European champions, as well as Olympic medallists.

"We know Weymouth can be anything this time of year - there could be four seasons during the regatta, it's also a long one with 22 races," said Fletcher, who alongside Bithell scooped gold with a day to spare at the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma last month.

"To have everyone at our home venue is brilliant, competing on our home waters really pushes us to perform to our best. Obviously we have spent a significant amount of hours sailing on these waters, we know them well and will be drawing on that experience.

"We know that we are in a place where if we sail to our ability we will be very difficult to beat. It's all about us and the race course, doing our jobs and focusing on one race at a time."

Weguelin added: "We're really looking forward to getting the event under way. There are some interesting and slightly chillier conditions than we'd expect on the cards, but we're excited for the challenge of racing on home waters."

Fellow 49erFX pair Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey will be looking to emulate their success in Palma when they brought home bronze for Britain.

"We are preparing for a marathon here in Portland," said Dobson, who represented Team GB at Rio 2016 alongside Ainsworth. "The series is longer than normal so it will be a real test of endurance. Being at home is a double-edged sword but I hope we will be able to mitigate the downside and capitalise on the good. In any case, the forecast looks great and we are ready to rip."

In the foiling Nacra 17 class John Gimson and Anna Burnet scored bronze in Palma, while Ben Saxton and Nikki Boniface were runners up at the recent World Cup Series in Genoa. Both teams are looking to make their mark on home territory.

"It's really nice to be sailing at home we haven't done it for a while and we're really looking forward to it," said Gimson. "However in our fleet a lot of sailors have spent plenty of time here and feel very comfortable on these waters. There's a slight danger that being at home makes you too relaxed so we will be mindful of that.

"It's going to be a long game of attrition this week, so it'll be about chipping away and getting through the week with the lowest score possible. Consistency is going to be the key. We're feeling pretty focused on what we need to do right now and we're very motivated."

Saxton added: "We're expecting a fun week. The conditions look good and I love racing so I just can't wait to get started."

As well as providing world-class racing, the regatta will also seek to set a benchmark in sustainability.

Taking inspiration from the work of The Green Blue, a joint initiative by the RYA and British Marine to promote sustainable environmental practice in boating, and World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030, the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championship will implement a sustainability plan that includes the elimination of single use plastics on site, recycling points throughout the venue, fresh water stations to prevent the need for plastic bottles and raising awareness of the risk of invasive species.

The RYA's sustainability team will measure the environmental impact of hosting this event in order to create a baseline for future RYA events.

In the run-up to the event, hundreds of sailors took part in a beach clean at nearby Chesil Beach and the WPNSA boat park to raise awareness of the threat of plastic pollution.

Follow the British Sailing Team's social media channels throughout the event for the latest news.

Full results can be found here.

Related Articles

Mills and McIntyre nominated for Team of the Year
British Sailing Team up for Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards have been running since 1988 and celebrate Britain's female sporting heroes from grassroots sports to elite competition. Posted on 23 Oct
British Sailing Team at the World Beach Games
Bridge taking home the bronze in the kitefoil The British Sailing Team's Guy Bridge has made history taking bronze in the kitefoil competition at the inaugural World Beach Games in Doha. Posted on 16 Oct
Team GB reveals first athletes for Tokyo 2020
Hannah Mills and Giles Scott are among 12 sailors selected The Rio 2016 champions are joined by a host of elite sailors representing eight of the 10 Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at Haven Holiday Park, Rockley Park in Poole. Posted on 2 Oct
Aldridge crowned Formula Kite European Champion
One of seven talented young women chosen from hundreds to #kite4gold programme Aldridge, 22, switched from sailing the 49erFX skiff to kite foiling when the British Sailing Team launched its #kite4gold talent search in September 2018. Posted on 30 Sep
Top ten for Britain's Saskia Sills
At the RS:X World Championships Saskia Sills posted her best ever RS:X world championship finish claiming ninth place in Torbole, Italy, as Andy Brown and Emma Wilson picked up silverware in the under 21 category. Posted on 29 Sep
Regional Junior Champ to be youth sailing festival
An eight-venue festival of youth racing The Regional Junior Championships offers sailing for all levels with a championship fleet for experienced racers, a coached regatta fleet for those developing their racing skills and a Fun OnBoard fleet for newcomers. Posted on 27 Sep
British windsurfers take on world's best
At the RS:X World Championships in Torbole As Britain's Test Event representatives, both Emma Wilson and Tom Squires finished just off the podium in fourth and are looking to take the lessons learned in to the Worlds. Posted on 23 Sep
Team GB set for World Beach Games in Doha
The kite foiling Bridge brothers will fly the flag for Great Britain The British Sailing Team's Olly and Guy Bridge have today been named among the 21 athletes picked to represent Team GB at the first ever World Beach Games in Doha. Posted on 19 Sep
King crowned Harken Youth Match Racing champion
Seven teams gathered in Portland over the weekend With strong breeze on the Saturday and sunshine and a more pleasant 10-14 knots on the Sunday a double round robin which would pit each team against each other twice was scheduled. Posted on 4 Sep
Brits at World Cup Series Enoshima day 6
Bronze for Young takes British medal tally to three On the final day of medal racing in Japan, the story of the day was the lack of wind rather than the anticipated fight for medals for two-time Olympian Young. Posted on 1 Sep