The first World Cup event of 2019 will see forty-two sailors from the British Sailing Team (BST) take to the water for a week of highly-charged competition in the Miami round of the Hempel World Cup Series.
With the next Olympics just 18 months away, and the entry cut-off date for the August Enoshima Test event – which will feature the British Sailing Team’s preliminary Olympic selections – set for 15 June 2019, there is not a lot of time to stake your claim.
Despite being refered to as a ‘process regatta’, the Miami entry contains some of Britain’s biggest names and there is no doubt that . . . a win, is a win . . . and a victory here or even over a team rival is a massive boost for the up-coming European season.
There are just two more World Cup events, plus some early season championships and Olympic class regattas that could make the difference to being on the start line in Tokyo 2020.
49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell won here last year, but fellow 49er duo James Peters and Fynn Sterritt took top spot at World Cup Series Enoshima on Olympic waters last September.
“Fynn and I feel sharp and ready to perform,” said Peters. “Following a strong finish at the World Championships and winning gold at the last Sailing World Cup at the Olympic venue in Japan, we have the opportunity here in Miami to show the fleet we are the front-runners and the guys to beat.”
“In the grand scheme of the season Miami isn’t the most important and doesn’t directly form part of our road to the Olympic Gold, but it’s a great regatta at a unique venue with a very strong entry so we’ll be fighting hard and desperate for the win.”
Another BST star who will feel the heat, is double Olympian and reigning Laser Radial champion Ali Young.
Young is defending her Miami title, while Georgina Povall and Hannah Snellgrove will see this as a great chance to make their mark at the start of the Tokyo selection process.
“It feels like a long time since I’ve trimmed my sheet in anger so I’m looking forward to getting the 2019 season started in Miami,” said Young “I will not be ignorant of the result but the regatta is also an opportunity to measure progress and learn to be better.”
Nick Thompson in the Laser will also face tough competition, not just from the strong international entry, but from BST team-mates including World Cup Series Enoshima winner Elliot Hanson and European silver medallist Michael Beckett.
Another event that could see British Olympic hopes on the line is in the women’s 49erFX, with the British #1 Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidy coming under pressure from Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth.
All in all the Miami event is the starting gun for a crucial period for the hopes and dreams of those trying for selection to Tokyo 2020.
The Brtitsh Sailing Team is looking stronger, with greater depth than in recent years, with none of the current #1 ranked sailors able to take anything for granted. At some point all the training has to be turned into solid results and a World Cup event is just the place to do that.
Hempel World Cup Series Miami:
– The first Miami races are on Tuesday 29 January. Medal races take place over 3 and 4 February.
– The next competitive event is not until end of March at the Olympic Classes Princess Sofia Regatta, quickly followed by the World Cup in Genoa, Italy.
– The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Test Event, is set to be held in Enoshima, Japan from 15 to 22 August 2019.