Britain’s elite sailors scooped gold and silver medals in both the 49er and Nacra 17 Olympic classes at the Volvo 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championship held at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.from the 12-19th May 2019.
Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface were crowned Nacra 17 European champions, while Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell picked up the title in the 49er class.
Silver medals fell to British Nacra 17 pair John Gimson with Anna Burnet from Rhu, Scotland and 49er crew James Peters sailing with Fynn Sterritt from Kingussie, in The British Sailing Team’s dominance on the international Olympic circuit.
Fynn Sterritt commented afterwards. “Obviously we would have liked to have had the medal race, we were kind of hoping we got a bit more breeze, but we are happy with a medal as we have had a tough few months, so we’re proud of what we have achieved to have come back from a difficult period, that we are still very much on the pace and challenging the leaders.”
John Gimson and Anna Burnett put in a strong performance which resulted in a silver medal for the pair.
In the 49erFX fleet, Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey were in medal contention until the final two days of the regatta when they were caught out by the lighter breeze.
Charlotte Dobson, 33, from Rhu, Scotland said. “We didn't get into the racing quick enough and in a fleet like this you can't get away with that. It's a shame because we had good wheels in the light stuff, something we worked really hard on over the winter. It's disappointing not to be able to show that off but we'll have an opportunity to do it at another regatta."
A fourth in the medal race saw the pair, who both went to Rio 2016 but with Tidey representing Ireland, finish as the fifth European crew and seventh overall
The flurry of medals marks the end of an incredible week of racing in Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay, dominated by big breeze and waves early on before light winds set in later in the regatta.
It was a welcome return of Olympic classes racing to Weymouth and Portland, home of the London 2012 sailing competition.
More than 400 athletes from all over the world battled for the European Championships crown in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes – three of the fastest and most exciting Olympic classes.
Not only was the regatta one of the largest in the 2019 calendar, it was also one of the most significant with numerous nations counting it towards selection for Tokyo 2020.
Crucially the regatta, run by the RYA and part-funded by the National Lottery and Volvo Car UK, continues the legacy of London 2012 by delivering world-class racing and shining a spotlight on WPNSA’s excellent facilities and organisation.
Prior to the event more than 100 sailors, coaches and support staff took to the WPNSA boat park and nearby Chesil Beach to pick up litter as part of the #Sailors4theSea movement.
The beach clean was part of the RYA’s wider sustainability strategy which aims to shape how regattas are run in the UK and around the world going forward.
Working with the Green Blue, a joint initiative with British Marine to promote sustainable environmental practice in boating, the RYA will now measure its practices to set a new benchmark for sustainably-run events.
Full results from the 49er and 49erFX competitions can be found here, and the Nacra 17 results are here.