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Brits head to Olympic classes European Championship

British Sailing teams at European championships for the 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 classes

British Sailing Team members are in Gdynia, Poland, this weekend for the European Championships of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra17 Olympic classes in their final test ahead of the Sailing World Championships in August.

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell are defending their 49er European title.

The duo hold both the European and World Championship titles – and after a strong start to the season are favourites for more medal success when racing gets underway on Sunday (8 July).

“The Europeans is always an important regatta and one we very much want to win, but ultimately the main goals this year are the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus and the first Tokyo 2020 test event,” said Fletcher.

In the women's 49erFX event, Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey will aim to better their 2017 European silver medal.

“The Europeans is the first major championship of the year, and it’s time for us to put together all the things we’ve learned so far this season,” said Dobson.

“We went right back to basics is many areas so we're looking forward now to tying it all together in the run up to the world championships.

Also racing in the 49erFX event are Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth and fellow British pairing Megan Brickwood and Ellie Aldridge.

Ben Saxton, the Nacra 17 world champion, said he and Nikki Boniface will also be aiming to refine their skills ahead of the world championships, but admitted being unable to switch off his desire to win.

It was refreshing to hear Saxton's comment that . . . “We’re going there to race and we’re not going to walk away with the excuse that we’re only focusing on the worlds."

Fellow Nacra 17 pair John Gimson and Anna Burnet will go into the regatta on a high having won bronze at the Medemblik Regatta in May then gold at Kiel Week last month.

They will be joined in the class by teammates Chris Rashley and Laura Marimon, and Rupert White and Kirstie Urwin.

The British Sailing Team’s 49er contingent will include Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas, Chris Taylor and Sam Batten, Morgan Peach and Rhos Hawes, James Grummett and Daniel Budden and Gillies Munro and Daniel Harris.

Racing begins on Sunday and will conclude with medal races on Friday 13 July.

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