Olympic and Paralympic Stars Fight for Podium Places at the 2014 Sail for Gold Regatta
Hot on the tail of this past weekend’s Laser Europa Cup event at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup comes to Britain in the form of the Sail for Gold Regatta 2014. Over the next week, some of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sailors will be competing across the eight Olympic and two Paralympic classes.
Following her success at the ISAF Sailing World Cup and EUROSAF circuit, Megan Pascoe returns to home waters to maintain her fine run of form in the Paralympic 2.4mR event. She said:
I am definitely looking forward to the Sail for Gold Regatta this year, it is one of my favourite competitions - we have world class waters here in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour and it’s always nice to compete on home waters and at a home regatta.
I think it’s going to be a tough week of racing. It is a completely new format they are using which is something that us 2.4mR sailors aren’t used to so it could be quite entertaining with 16 very short races – theatre style racing in a way which we don’t do much of. We don’t do any medal racing in our class so we’re not used to this format but I’m sure it will be a good experience for us all.
Every regatta is important and a crucial stepping stone towards Rio. There isn’t long now until the World Championships and the boat is in the container being shipped, so this is ideal preparation for that!
In the 15 strong 49er fleet, Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign of the British Sailing Team will be hoping to match their achievements at the second leg of this EUROSAF series in Holland. Also hoping to make a splash at this years event are Nacra 17 sailors Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond who will be hoping for a home advantage after their fourth place finish at the Dutch leg. Diamond said:
It’s always a massive confidence boost to finish on the podium at any regatta, we have been close and there or thereabouts but not quite making it at the past three events which has been disappointing, so a win would give us the momentum needed as we head into key events.
As well as our home grown sailing talent, three of the ten boat fleet in the Nacra 17 event are competitors from Japan, Norway and USA. John Derbyshire, RYA Racing Manager and Performance Director, said:
What we have created here this year is a useful regatta for both home-grown sailors as well as the foreign teams who have made the trip over. We have created a fairly unique event with small fleets where we provide a significant amount of on the water umpiring, effectively mini medal races. This is something which many sailors have never actually qualified for, so when they do they will have a bit more of an understanding of how it works and for those that have been in medal races get the chance to try out a few tactics and be in a position to move up the rankings when they experience medal races at their class World Championships later in the summer.
The Sail for Gold Regatta runs from 2nd to the 6th and you can track progress of all the races live below.
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Article by Jack Bartrop