Olympic Team GB members, windsurfers Emma Wilson and Tom Squires, and Radial Olympian Alison Young will compete at their class world championships on Port Phillip Bay, Australia.
The three Team GB members will take on the worlds best in Melbourne from this weekend, before returning to Europe for a final round of Olympic class regattas, and then heading to Enoshima, Japan, for the Hempel World Cup Series Final in mid June.
Following that event the British Olympic sailing squad will be at their Japan base for final familiarisation and training before the Tokyo 2020 Games, with the sailing events at Enoshima starting 26 July 2020.
The widely differing levels of experience on display in Melbourne broadly represent the overall makeup of the 2020 Team GB sailing squad . . . with Wilson and Squires making their Olympic debuts this summer, while for Young, Tokyo will be her third Olympics.
Tokyo 2020 flags something of a sea-change for sailing at the Olympics, as well as for the British Sailing Team.
The next Games, Paris 2024, will see a sweeping change to the sailing events on display – the introduction of Kite and Foiling boards and an Offshore event – and the requirement for a new range of skills, presenting a much broader picture of competitive sailing.
This move from the traditional dinghy and board format, to an eclectic mix of on-water events dramatically widens the range of skills required, and combined with new mixed gender demands, will present a very different picture of sailing to the general public.
While much of the detail for the new events has still to be finalised, the changes to the Board events have already had an effect on the RS:X 2020 Worlds.
With a foiling windsurfer coming in to replace the RS:X board for Paris 2024, those unlikely to qualify for Tokyo 2020 have already moved onto training for Paris 2024 on the new foiling gear, the iQFOIL Class.
This has not lowered the competitive level on display at the RS:X Worlds, if anything it has concentrated the entry to make it more representative of what can be expected at Enoshima for the Tokyo Games. Winning here will be a tough call.
Wilson, the 2019 RS:X European silver medallist, is buzzing to get back to competition.
“I’m feeling excited to race again. I’m keen to see where I’m at after my training over the winter in Vilamoura and to see what I need to work on going forwards towards Tokyo.”
“It will be a tough week with a really high level but I’m looking forward to it.”
While Wilson and Squires will be joined in the RS:X by team mates Andy Brown and Kieran Holmes-Martin, Alison Young will be the only Brit in the 110-boat Laser Radial World Championships.
Young will be looking to repeat her success in 2016 when she became the only Brit to win a Laser Radial world title.
A good result here will be a huge boost to her confidence going into the European season and hopes of finally nailing an Olympic medal.
“It’s the World Championships so it matters,” said Young. “I’m focusing on executing the best I can here. We’ve made some good progress the last few days and hopefully I can build on that momentum in the regatta.”
The Laser Radial World Championships begins on Sunday 23 February at the Sandringham Yacht Club, while the RS:X World Championships gets underway on Tuesday 25 February at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club.