Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)

British Team wins bronze at 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds

by British Sailing Team 8 Dec 2019 12:46 GMT 3-8 December 2019
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell - 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds final day © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell rounded off a stellar 2019 season with bronze at the 49er World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

Fletcher, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, and Rochdale's Bithell, survived a capsize in the drama-filled final race to seal third place.

The medals mean that the pair, the current European champions, have finished on the podium at every regatta they've entered this year.

They won gold at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma and European Championships, and silver at the Miami round of the World Cup Series and the Tokyo 2020 test event.

Fletcher and Bithell were beaten top the world championship title by reigning Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, with Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel runners up.

However the 2020 worlds is scheduled for early February - and Fletcher says their goal will be to dethrone their Kiwi rivals ahead of Tokyo 2020.

"We are super proud to round our 2019 season off with a world championship medal," Fletcher, 31, said.

"Being the only team to medal at every major regatta we have entered shows our consistency.

"Although we are not content and need to improve our game to consistently winning, the room is there and we left a lot of points on the table this week.

"Next up its the 2020 worlds in two months, we will be looking to build on this and take the title."

Fletcher and Bithell went into the final day's racing in third but needed to get through two fleet races before the double-points medal race.

Breezy conditions in Auckland made for exciting racing - and after holding on to third going into the medal race Fletcher and Bithell's bronze was thrown into jeopardy when they were among four teams to capsize.

But a quick recovery saw them finish eighth, enough to give them a one-point overall advantage over Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra.

"Today was pretty hectic," Bithell, 33, admitted. "We had two windy fleet races and then back out for the medal race. The conditions once again proved difficult - short chop and heaps of breeze.

"We did a good job on the fleet racing managing to get a 15-point lead over 4th place. Unfortunately, first and second was out the equation for the final medal race, but we raced conservatively to hold onto the bronze medal.

"There was a final twist down the last run where four boats capsized at the gybe point, we managed to recover quickest which was enough for the bronze.

"Overall we are super happy and still believe we left a lot of easy points on the water."

An incredibly close battle in the Nacra 17 class saw John Gimson and Anna Burnet miss out on a medal by just six points.

Their chances of finishing on the podium were hampered when Burnet fell out of the boat during the first race of the day, losing them vital places.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface, their rivals for the one British Nacra 17 berth, finished sixth overall, just two points behind.

"We're reasonably happy with fourth but a bit disappointed not to medal," said Gimson, 36, from Congleton, Cheshire.

"The next worlds is in Geelong in two months and we will be looking for a medal there as redemption for this week."

Saxton, from Cambridge, said: "We're really happy that we sailed well this week. Our continuous medal streak is over which is a shame but we're proud of what we achieved. Let's win gold at the next worlds in Geelong in February!"

A strong final day that included a win in the medal race saw Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey finish seventh in the 49erFX class.

Find full results here.

Follow the British Sailing Team at

Related Articles

British Sailing Team reveals Tokyo 2020 posters
Marking one year to go until the Olympic Games sailing competition To mark the one-year countdown to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the British Sailing Team has released a collection of iconic posters celebrating its selected sailors. Posted on 23 Jul
The next stage of return to training
British Sailing Team prepares following the latest Government guidance for elite sport The British Sailing Team is preparing to move to the next phase of its return to training following the latest Government guidance for elite sport. Posted on 29 May
Government guidance for elite sport welcomed
British Sailing Team will continue to work closely with the RYA, UK Sport and its stakeholders The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has set out how elite athletes in England will be able to return to training in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Posted on 14 May
#SailFromHome with the British Sailing Team
Now extended so everyone can get their sailing fix Following the success of British Youth Sailing #SailFromHome YouTube webinars and tutorials for young racing sailors, #SailFromHome has now been extended so everyone can get their sailing fix while we can't get out on the water. Posted on 1 May
British Sailing Team Virtual Regatta
40 sailors take to the virtual waters to test their racing brains This weekend the British Sailing Team held a Virtual Regatta to challenge its sailors, coaches and support team whilst real-life water activity is limited. Posted on 27 Apr
RYA OnCourse #SailFromHome special edition
Make the most of your time off the water with a series of videos We want to keep the spirits and knowledge up so the British Sailing Team and British Youth Sailing have put together a host of videos covering everything from working out at home to getting those tactics and techniques locked down. Posted on 23 Apr
RYA launches racing rules webinars
The sessions will be delivered by some of the top names in the world of racing rules Whether you are your club's rules expert, a squad sailor or just want to know a bit more, the six-week series will guide you through the racing rules to give you the best advantage on the race course. Posted on 23 Apr
BOA and RYA issue joint statement
On athletes selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games The 15 sailors already named to represent Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will remain the same for the rescheduled Games in 2021, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have today confirmed. Posted on 14 Apr
Junior level meteorology with Simon Rowell
All things weather as part of Project #SailFromHome British Sailing Team meteorologist Simon Rowell chats all things weather as part of Project #SailFromHome. Posted on 31 Mar
The #MondayMotivation Show episode 1
Bumps in the Road Episode 1 of the #MondayMotivation Show, entitled Bumps in the Road. London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and world top-10 RS:X windsurfer Saskia Sills discuss how to overcome diversity on and off the race course. Posted on 30 Mar