The British Sailing Team is getting a shake-up with the announcement that at least eight Olympians are calling time on their Olympic careers.
Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Hannah Mills, Giles Scott and Stuart Bithell, London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience, three-time Olympian Ali Young, two-timers Charlotte Dobson and Chris Grube and Rio 2016 Team GB athlete Ben Saxton have all taken the decision to retire from Olympic sailing.
With Paris 2024 less than three years away and the major changes to the equipment to be used, the British Sailing Team will take a very different form.
The heavyweight Finn dinghy is out, the 470 dinghy is reduced to one event with a mixed crew format, the RS:X board is changed for the foiling IQFOil board and the new Formula Kite board event is introduced for men and women.
All of which makes this a suitable time for some long-time members of the Team GB sailing team to move on to other career fields, and opens the door to sailors with different skill sets.
“All good things must come to an end, and as such these incredible athletes have taken the decision to step back from Olympic campaigning,” said Robinson, the RYA’s Olympic Performance Manager. “The British Sailing Team is full-steam ahead, with the number one goal of defending our title of the world’s most successful Olympic sailing team.”
Some familiar faces will still be part of the RYA squad and competing for places at Paris 2024 . . .
Gold medal winners Dylan Fletcher (49er) and Eilidh McIntyre (women’s 470) will both continue campaigning for the next Olympics with new crews, yet to be decided.
Nacra 17 runners up John Gimson and Anna Burnet are also continuing their bid for gold alongside Emma Wilson, bronze medallist in the women’s RS:X, windsurfer Tom Squires and 49erFX crew Saskia Tidey.
Also returning to the RYA Sailing Team is Nick Dempsey, Britain’s greatest ever Olympic windsurfer with two silvers and a bronze to his name, he returns as coach to the men’s iQFOiL, the new foiling windsurfer class that will debut in Paris.
Moving on . . .
Hannah Mills will now turn her attention to the SailGP circuit which she joined earlier this year as part of Sir Ben Ainslie’s British outfit, as well as continuing her environmental campaigning with her charity the Big Plastic Pledge.
Giles Scott will focus on the 37th America’s Cup alongside Ben Ainslie and the INEOS Britannia team.
Alison Young now plans on using her knowledge and experience to coach young athletes to success.
Charlotte Dobson, who married Dylan Fletcher a few weeks after returning from Tokyo, is now looking to work in banking.
Ben Saxton stepped away from Olympic sailing after losing out on Olympic selection to Tokyo 2020 and recently started a job working for North Sails.
Stuart Bithell is looking at getting into other areas of the sport, aiming for the big pro sailing circuits.
Luke Patience doubts that he will ever be that far from the British Sailing Team in some shape or form. And would like to start a whiskey brand.