As the season opener for the Olympic classes more than 1,300 athletes took part including 73 from the British Sailing Team. With just over a year until Paris 2024 the British Sailing Team shot out of the blocks, with Micheal Beckett, Sam Sills, Emma Wilson, John Gimson and Anna Burnet, Connor Bainbridge and Ellie Aldridge all on the podium. Six medals across the ten Olympic classes saw Britain top the overall medal table for the event.
Scotland’s Anna Burnet was one of the golden sailors with her partnership with Jon Gimson in the Nacra 17 fleet. The Tokyo 2020 silver medallists went into the final race in second with an eight-point gap to leaders Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari of Italy. A stunning second in the medal race saw them jump into the top spot overall to claim their first regatta win since being crowned world champions in 2021.
“This is such a big year in the run-up to the Olympics so it’s incredible to start it with a win,” said Burnet, from Rhu, Scotland.
“We had a bit on in the medal race to overhaul the Italians but we had a plan and stuck to it. It’s a real boost going into the rest of the season.”
Micky Beckett secured his second consecutive Princess Sofia Trophy win as he dominated the ILCA 7 fleet over the six days of competition, building up such a points lead that he wrapped up the win with a day to spare.
“I feel awesome,” said Beckett, from Solva, Pembrokeshire. “It was a beautiful day and I’m really happy. This week has been great.
“I’ve never had an experience before in sailing where it’s all been sewn up a day early and there’s been zero pressure in the medal race – it really was a dream. This time two years ago I never imagined that winning this regatta once was possible, let alone twice. I’m speechless.”
Sills and Wilson both exorcised their medal race demons to take gold in the men’s and women’s iQFOiL, the new foiling windsurfer for Paris 2024. Both athletes have been dominant in their fleets in recent regattas but have fallen foul of the iQFOiL winner-takes-all format of the final race – until now.
Rounding off the medals were kite foilers Aldridge and Bainbridge, who both went one better than their bronze medals from the 2022 regatta.
The British Sailing Team will be back in action in two weeks at the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, France
Scots Sailors at the UK Youth Nationals
14 Scot sailors took part in the UK Youths Nationals at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy 8-14th April 2023.
Unsettled weather as Storm Noa approached the UK meant the first three days of the championships were badly affected by weather. Reported gusts of 70kts and steady 50 knots winds challenged the race team and competitors throughout the week.
British Sailing team members returning from the warmer climes of Palma, spent plenty of time with the youth sailors during their time ashore, with race management enabling racing, when possible, across the fleets. Thursday provided the best opportunity with up to 5 races across the fleets.
Notable results include Tom Mitchell finishing the series 2nd in the ILCA 7 class. Tess Crooks ended up 5th in the competitive ILCA 6 fleet, while Roo Purves was first U17 in the ILCA6.
Other top ten singlehanded sailors included a 6th for Finlay Tullett in the ILCA 7 and Roo Purves finishing 8th overall and 1st under 17 in the ILCA 6 . While in the double handers, Elise Fitzgerald and Morven Woods finished 4th Women in the 29er class.
It was a gutsy performance by the whole Scottish team in a week where storm Noa made for tough racing, when there was racing. Lots smiles all round with solid results produced from all the team.
Look out for entries opening for the RYA Scotland Youth and Junior championships 17th/18th June for a chance to set your pace against all the sailors who travelled south for this years Youth Champs.
Strathclyde University Student Titles
In other competitive sailing over the Easter break Scottish Student Sailing have been afloat in many settings.
It looked like Strathclyde University Sailing Club had a great run of events, particularly for Jake Miller, their Commodore, having recent returned from the Sailing Champions League, to winning the BUCS Yachting Championships in Hamble in the first week of Easter for the university, then rounding it off at the BUSA Awards with the title of ‘University of the Year’ the following week.
Well done, Strath!