Please select your home edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
L-shape Dock Fender
L-shape Dock Fender

Bainbridge victory paves way in Hyeres

by British Sailing Team 29 Apr 10:22 BST 21-28 April 2024
Connor Bainbridge seals a Paris 2024 slot at the Last Chance Regatta © Robert Hadjuk

Connor Bainbridge revelled in a 'rollercoaster' Last Chance Regatta that ended in him securing an Olympic quota place for Team GB.

The Formula Kite racer took top spot in Hyeres to secure his nation a ninth and final berth at the Olympic regatta in Marseille, meaning Team GB will send a full sailing team to Paris 2024.

With five spots up for grabs, Bainbridge made a slow start by his standards but rallied to win nine of the last ten races and claim an emphatic victory.

"It's been a pretty crazy winter," said Bainbridge. "For a lot of guys I was up against this week, this was their big break in terms of getting to the Olympics.

"The level kept going up and up and had been for the last couple of events, we saw it at the Europeans as well. Everyone was pushing so hard.

"I wasn't ready for that on the first day and my results showed that. I was still racing to make a series up. Me and my coach tweaked that ready for day two and smashed the rest of the event.

"I couldn't have asked more - to come out with so many race wins really builds my confidence going into the final run-up to the Games. It was physically and emotionally exhausting."

The 30-year-old finished second at last year's Paris 2024 Test Event but narrowly missed out on qualification at the subsequent World Championships.

Bainbridge began as a windsurfer, part of the British Sailing Team in the London 2012 cycle, before stepping away for three years to compete on the professional circuit. When Formula Kite became an Olympic discipline Bainbridge returned, and the rest is history.

RYA selectors will now meet to discuss nominating an athlete to the British Olympic Association to represent Team GB this summer.

The Last Chance Regatta ran in parallel to French Olympic Week, a staple event in the calendar and crucial preparation for athletes already selected by Team GB.

Team GB's Micky Beckett overcame another battle with ILCA 7 rival Matt Wearn from Australia to clinch gold.

With the medal race cancelled due to conditions, Beckett took the victory on 38 points, just one ahead of Wearn, as Germany's Philipp Buhl wrapped up the top spots.

With victory at the Princesa Sofia Regatta just weeks earlier, Beckett admitted that he is filled with confidence ahead of this summer.

"These two events have been a staple in my calendar as long as I've been sailing," he said.

"To win both of them and in the same year is not something I'd ever imagined I'd do. I'm still a little bit lost for words.

"It was a little bit anticlimactic not to have the medal race or showdown with Matt, but I'm sure that can wait for another day.

"The most important thing is that all the people I'll be racing at the Olympics were at this event as well so I could go up against them."

In the Formula Kite Women class, Ellie Aldridge led the fleet into the final having put together an outstanding series, scoring only 20 points. In the final, she finished second to Jessie Kampman of France, with another host nation athlete Lauriane Nolot completing the podium.

"There are lots of positives to take away from it," said Aldridge, who returns to Hyeres for the Formula Kite World Championships in early May. "It was a really nice opportunity to try things and work on specific parts of racing that I can take forward to the Worlds.

"This week felt much better. I've finished the event a bit happier than I did after the Euros and a bit more like I'm on track for the Olympics."

It was another supreme team performance from GB's kite girls with Katie Dabson finishing fourth, Maddy Anderson ninth and Lily Young tenth.

The mixed 470 pairing of Bettine Harris and Martin Wrigley claimed a landmark bronze medal, pipping standout Spaniards Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman to a podium place.

It is the first senior medal for Wrigley and Harris, who only teamed up last year.

There was an excellent showing in the ILCA 6 single-handed dinghy class with Matilda Nicholls breaking into the top ten in ninth place.

Full results from the regatta can be found here.

Related Articles

Aldridge wins statement silver
At the Formula Kite Worlds in final pre-Paris test Marseille-bound Ellie Aldridge secured a statement silver medal at the Formula Kite World Championships following another consistent performance in Hyeres. Posted on 20 May
Connor Bainbridge completes Team GB line-up
14-athlete sailing team set for Paris 2024 Connor Bainbridge has today been named as Team GB's men's kite athlete for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, completing the 14-strong sailing team. Posted on 3 May
Welsh wizard Beckett inspires with Palma 3-peat
Three-medal haul for the Brits at the Princess Sofia Regatta The British Sailing Team's Micky Beckett scored a crucial victory in the countdown to Paris 2024, winning the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma for the third consecutive year. Posted on 6 Apr
Princess Sofia Trophy marks Paris 2024 countdown
The British Sailing Team is fielding 51 athletes in 37 boats The Princess Sofia Trophy regatta will take place in Palma, Mallorca, from April 1 to 6. The Mallorcan towns of Arenal and C'an Pastilla are joint hosts of the regatta. Posted on 31 Mar
Heathcote and Grube win Paris 2024 selection
Set to race in the 470 mixed dinghy class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Sailors Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube will compete for Team GB in the mixed dinghy class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association has announced. Posted on 20 Mar
Ellie Aldridge out to defend European kite title
The 2024 Formula Kite Euros starts today in Mar Menor The 2024 Formula Kite Euros will take place in Mar Menor, a coastal saltwater lagoon on Spain's Iberian Peninsula, from March 19 to 24. Posted on 19 Mar
Dickinson leads Brits with ILCA 7 Euros 4th
The British sailors in Athens as he narrowly missed out on a medal Finley Dickinson was the pick of the British sailors in Athens as he narrowly missed out on a medal in the ILCA 7 class at the ILCA Senior European Championships. Posted on 26 Feb
Hannah Snellgrove wins Team GB selection for Paris
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today named her as the 11th sailor for the 2024 Olympics The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today named Hannah Snellgrove as the 11th sailor for Team GB at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Posted on 23 Feb
Team GB's Emma Wilson vows to go one better
After winning silver at the 2024 iQFOiL Worlds in Lanzarote Emma Wilson won silver in a dramatic climax to the iQFOiL World Championships in Lanzarote - and vowed to go one better at this summer's Olympics. Posted on 5 Feb
Team GB's Micky Beckett wins bronze
At the ILCA 7 World Championship in Adelaide Team GB sailor Micky Beckett believes he can still beat all-conquering Aussie Matt Wearn at the Olympics after banking bronze at the World Championships. Posted on 31 Jan