The British Sailing Team has rolled out the latest line-up of the Olympic squad members, with changes at all levels.
A slightly apprehensive looking Hannah Mills on the 49erFX - Click image for a larger image
Having just finished a training camp in Cadiz, departing RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park has given the bag a shake and released the latest squad for the new Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.
With Nick Dempsey and Saskia Clark retired from Olympic campaigning, and three-time Olympic windsurfer Bryony Shaw taking a break for at least the first half of the year - the 33-year-old and her partner, US sailor Brad Funk, are expecting their first baby in early June.
The team will present something of a fresh face at the first round of the Sailing World Cup in Miami starting Tuesday,
470 gold medallist Hannah Mills is switching to the 49erFX. She’s been training with experienced 49er campaigner and 2016 Olympian Alain Sign in the high performance boat as she gets up to speed, with a view to forming a more permanent partnership in the all-female Olympic class later this year.
The 49erFX, new in the 2016 Games, is showing a lot of upheaval as crews continue to pick & mix in the search for the right combination.
Rio Olympians Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth have each formed new partnerships, with Dobson teaming up with Saskia Tidey, who represented Ireland at the 2016 Games but who is eligable now for Great Britain.
And Ainsworth has formed a new FX team with London 2012 match racing Olympian Kate Macgregor, who’s been competing in the class with various crews since the 2012 Games.
In the men's 49er, 2016 Olympian Dylan Fletcher has joined with Stuart Bithell, 2012 silver medallist in the 470 class for the new Olympic cycle. Like the FX this is a class with some real competition for the 2020 spot, and will be interesting to see if the younger crews can make a breakthrough.
Luke Patience and Chris Grube are the team to beat for the men's 470 spot, where maybe some of the young 29er crews will try their luck later in the season.
With Mills testing in the FX, there is an opening in the women's 470. Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre pushed Mills and Clark closely at times and will want to grab this opportunity, although Mills could switch back if the FX proves a dead-end.
In the Nacra17 Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are the Podium crew but this class is evolving fast and the three listed Podium Potential crews are likely to make this a rapidly changing scene.
The Finn has a new King in Giles Scott taking over seamlessly from Ben Ainslie. He is taking a sabbatical from Finn campaigning to focus on the America’s Cup this year, but will surely return to claim his place later.
World Champions Nick Thompson and Alison Young will aim to pick up where they left off in their Laser and Laser Radial events, and at present there seems little real challenge to them.
Similarly in the RS:X classes. Kieran Martin takes the men's No.1 spot and in the women Bryony Shaw will be hard to beat if she decides to return.
British Sailing Team as of January 2017 * Indicates competing in Miami
Olympic Classes Podium squad
Finn – Ed Wright
Laser – Nick Thompson*
Laser Radial – Alison Young*
RS:X Men – Kieran Martin*
RS:X Women – Bryony Shaw
470 Women – Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre*; Hannah Mills
470 Men – Luke Patience-Chris Grube; Elliot Willis
49er – Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell*; Alain Sign; John Pink
49erFX – Charlotte Dobson-(Saskia Tidey)*; Sophie Ainsworth-(Kate Macgregor)*
Nacra 17 – Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves*
Olympic Classes Podium Potential squad
Finn – Ben Cornish*; Pete McCoy*; Henry Wetherell*
Laser – Lorenzo Chiavarini*; Elliot Hanson*; Jack Wetherell*; Michael Beckett*
Laser Radial – Georgina Povall*
RS:X Men – Tom Squires*; Joe Bennett*
RS:X Women – Izzy Hamilton*; Emma Wilson*
470 Women – Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter*; Jess Lavery-Flora Stewart
470 Men – Martin Wrigley-James Taylor*
49er – James Peters-Fynn Sterritt*
49erFX – Saskia Tidey-(Charlotte Dobson)*; Kate Macgregor-(Sophie Ainsworth)*
Nacra 17 – Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface*; John Gimson-Anna Burnet*; Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin
Olympic Classes Podium Potential Pathway squad
Finn – Hector Simpson
Laser - Harry Blowers; Jack Cookson; Jamie Calder; Sam Whaley; Matthew Whitfield; Dan Whiteley;
Laser Radial – Ellie Cumpsty; Clementine Thompson
RS:X Men – Matt Carey; James Hatcher; Henry Bloodworth; Dan Wilson; Matt Barton; Rob York
RS:X Women – Noelle Finch; Saskia Sills; Imogen Sills
470 Men – Ben Hazeldine-Ryan Orr
470 Women – Sarah Norbury-Katie Dabson
49er – Chris Taylor-Sam Batten; Jack Hawkins-Chris Thomas*; Daniel Budden-James Grummett; Morgan Peach-Rhos Hawes; Gillies Munro-Daniel Harris
49erFX – Megan Brickwood-Ellie Aldridge; Steph Orton
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Gerald New - Sailweb
20 January 2017 12:27 GMT