Miami’s Biscayne Bay will play host to the first World Cup regatta of the year next week (24-29 January) with a strong British team line-up set to do battle across all ten Olympic classes events.
The 39-strong British cast of both seasoned Olympians and new pairings will be competing against more than 450 sailors as the 2017 World Cup series kicks off.
Young gun Emma Wilson, fresh off the back of winning the 2016 Aon Youth Worlds in Auckland, New Zealand, last month will be testing her mettle in the RS:X Women’s senior windsurfing fleet. The 17-year-old Wilson will be joined by teammate Izzy Hamilton, ranked fifth at the 2016 European Championships, and Noelle Finch.
In the RS:X Men’s fleet, Tom Squires will be looking to build on his Sailing World Cup Final fifth place in Melbourne last month. Also battling in the 45-board fleet will be 2016 European silver medallist Kieran Martin and Joe Bennett.
Miami 2014 champions Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre and Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter will be leading the charge for the Brits as they look to follow in the footsteps of Rio 2016 gold medallists and Rolex World Sailors of the Year Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. Jess Lavery-Flora Stewart will be completing the 470 Women’s line-up, with Martin Wrigley-Chris Grube the sole British entry in the Men’s division.
The new combination of Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell, will be vying for World Cup triumph in the highly charged 49er event, with James Peters-Fynn Sterritt also hoping to upgrade their 2016 Miami fifth place. In the 49erFX, Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth will be pairing up with their respective new partners of Saskia Tidey and Kate Macgregor in their first events together.
While the Rio 2016 Finn medallists will be absent, the three British Podium Potential sailors of Ben Cornish, Henry Wetherell and Pete McCoy will have their work cut out to challenge 2016 World Cup Miami winner Jorge Zarif (BRA) and 2016 World Cup Final champion Jake Lilley (AUS).
The 2015 and 2016 World Champion Nick Thompson will look to kick-start the Tokyo 2020 cycle with a podium finish in the 60-strong Laser fleet. Following a strong finish at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final, Lorenzo Chiavarini will be pushing the fleet and will be joined by Elliot Hanson, Micky Beckett and Jack Wetherell. Flying the flag in the Laser Radial will be Sailing World Cup Final top-ten finisher Georgina Povall.
Completing the line-up are the three British Nacra 17 pairings. Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves, Sailing World Cup Miami 2015 silver medallists, will be challenging for a podium finish. Bronze medallists from December’s Sailing World Cup Final John Gimson-Anna Burnet, will be joined by Tom Phipps-Nicola Boniface.
“Miami typically provides some great winter racing, and as the first event of the new Olympic cycle it’s always interesting to see how the international fleets have moved on since the Games,” explained RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.
“We’ll have a number of new partnerships competing together for the first time at this Sailing World Cup, so it will be a good test for them against their international rivals and to see where everyone is at as we kick off the Tokyo cycle,” Park added.
Racing at the Sailing World Cup Miami will get underway on Tuesday 24 January, culminating in two medal race days scheduled for Saturday 28 January (49er, 49erFX, RS:X Men, RS:X Women, Nacra 17) and Sunday 29 January (Laser, Laser Radial, 470 Men, 470 Women, Finn).
Stay with us at www.britishsailingteam.com, on Facebook on Twitter @BritishSailing for all the action on Biscayne Bay.