Thompson says retaining his European title in the Laser class is his “number
one priority” as a bumper fleet of almost 170 sailors converges on La
2016 Olympian Thompson goes into the week-long Laser European Championships among
the favourites having swept to victory at the 2017 event in Barcelona last
senior British Sailing Team member has spent the first few regattas of 2018 working
on specific areas of his sailing – and says he is ready to put his learnings
into practice when racing starts on Monday 7 May.
Thompson will face a fleet packed full of title threats including Rio 2016
gold medallist Tom Burton of Australia, Germany’s Philipp Buhl and hometown
hero Jean-Baptiste Bernaz.
well as being a key regatta in its own right, the event represents the final
opportunity for Thompson to hone his skills in such a large international
fleet ahead of the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, this
“Defending my title is obviously the
number one priority this week,” said Thompson, who turns 32 today.
last few regattas I’ve focused on improving certain areas of my sailing rather
than being worried about overall scores, but now the real racing is starting
it’s time to put those into practice and get some results.
“This is a big event and most of the
top guys are going to be there. The fleet is going to be stacked. It’s an
important event in itself and one I want to win but it’s also the last major
test before the world championships in Aarhus. Everyone will be gunning to do
well here for sure.”
championship wins in 2015 and 2016 under his belt and a European title to
defend, Thompson could be forgiven for feeling nervous – but he says he feels
no pressure going into the event.
“I don’t really feel that pressure – I
felt the same way when I had to defend my world title,” said Thompson, from
“I think a lot of that is because I have spent so long
working on specific aspects of my sailing without focusing too much on results.”
Thompson will lead the British Sailing
Team’s seven-strong contingent at the regatta, which also features Lorenzo
Chiavarini (above), Michael Beckett, Jack Wetherell, Sam Whaley, Daniel Whiteley and Jack Cookson.
After a tough time at the recent World
Cup Series Hyères, Beckett, 23, says he’s pin-pointing a top ten finish in La
“I took a bit of a hammering at the
World Cup last week – some tough racing left me finishing well below where I
wanted to be,” said Beckett, from Solva in Pembrokeshire.
“The silver lining
is of course everything I can learn from that event and take into the
Europeans - it was a lot of learning for me.
“If I can get myself to a point where
I am top 10 going into the closing races of the regatta I will be happy, the
entry for this event is massive with a lot of awesome sailors from outside
Europe too, so I can't wait for the challenge.”
Having made his World Cup Series debut
in Hyères, Whaley is
itching to get back into action.
“Racing against the best in the world
at the Hyères World Cup was a massive boost and a huge kickstart to my
European preparations,” the 21-year-old from Swanage said.
“I’m buzzing to
get these Europeans underway and hopefully replicate my form from day one in Hyères
where I was lying eighth overall. Bring it on.”
In the Laser Radial competition, held
alongside the Laser Standard, the British Sailing Team is represented by
Alison Young, Georgina Povall and Clementine Thompson.