Nicola Groves and Ben Saxton with coach Maurice Paardenkooper

Saxton and Groves seal European Championship gold

Written by RYA | 04 October 2015

Multihull medals as Nacra 17 duo are crowned European Champions in Barcelona

Nicola Groves hailed a ‘fantastic’ victory with Ben Saxton at the Nacra 17 European Championships, which concluded in Barcelona yesterday (Saturday 3 October).

Groves and helm Saxton negotiated a tricky six-regatta, beset by weather disruptions, to head into the final medal race at the top of the leaderboard, but effectively level-pegging with Australia’s Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis in the chase for overall event gold.

A short postponement to the final day’s racing set the scene for a tense medal showdown, with a number of place changes keeping the British duo fighting until the end.  A fifth place in the medal race to the Australian’s sixth was enough to hand them the top spot of both the European and Open European podia.

Denmark’s Allan Norregaard-Annette Viborg completed the Open Europeans podium behind Bundock-Curtis and were the second European crew, with Italy’s Vittorio Bissaro-Silvia Sicouri the third European crew.

“It was a fantastic medal race and a really good battle with the Aussies.  We’re really chuffed with the way we closed out the race when it mattered, and we’ve had a great week,” Groves enthused.

Saxton added: “The race today was fun – we had good breeze, Nic did a good job and Maurice Paardenkooper our coach did a great job of preparing us.  We sailed OK to come fifth and that’s made us European Champions, so we’re really happy!”

Saxton and Groves joined forces in the mixed multihull event a year ago, with Groves having transitioned from the 49erFX.  This represents their first major event victory together, adding to their silver medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January.

“We’ve been working hard over the summer and in the build up to this event with our coach Maurice, and it’s great to see that it’s starting to pay off.   We had good speed in our new boat and showed level heads today in the medal race so we’re happy with the progress we’ve made together.”

The duo will take a short break before returning to training in Weymouth and Portland later this month ahead of further training blocks in Rio during the autumn and winter.

Elsewhere at the European Championships, fellow British Sailing Team crews Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface and Lucy Macgregor-Dave Evans concluded their events in 11th and 14th places respectively.

For full results from the Nacra 17 Europeans, visit http://www.nacra17barcelona2015.com/ 

For all the latest news and updates from the British Sailing Team, follow us at www.britishsailingteam.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter @BritishSailing

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