"Failures are where the good stuff happens," says helmsman Luke Patience. He and Stuart Bithell have learnt the hard way that an Olympic campaign is a tough challenge. Matthew Sheahan spoke to the newly selected 470 duo

Olympic profile: Stuart Bithell

Early ambitions – “While I was studying Sports Science I was in the RYA Development Programme racing 470s, Tornados and a bit in a Laser, but my campaigns started to fall apart and I started a course to be an energy assessor”

How it all started – “Previously we’d been looking at the Tornado as we thought we were too big for the 470. The 470 is also such a competitive class. It’s not full of youngsters on their first attempt; these are guys who have been slogging away for six or eight years. Which is why we thought we might be better off in a Tornado. But the decision was made for us when the Tornado was pulled from the 2012 Games.

“Why the 470? We just thought we’d give it a go. We’d been close mates for a long time, both with failed campaigns and had little to lose by having a crack”

Best/worst quality
– “I’m the calm laidback one in the partnership. And my worst? At times I’m too laidback”

Hobbies and interests?
– “Golf, climbing, photography and spear fishing”

How do you relax? – “I like being at home cooking. I know it might sound tame, but being at home, out of the sun with some mates round for a barbecue is just perfect”

What picks you up when you’re down?
– “Usually Luke, but when he’s not about, time and logic usually sort things out”

Non-sailing ambition
– “I’d not really thought about that – a family, I guess”

What’s your plan ‘B’?
– “I don’t have one, I just need to make plan ‘A’ work”

Pet hate
– People being emotional when they don’t need to be

Sporting hero – Tiger Woods

Position on boat
– Crew

First class raced – Merlin Rocket

Early racing track record 3rd – 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds

Favourite sailing venue
– Weymouth

Favourite regatta
– BVI Spring Regatta

Favourite boat
– Merlin Rocket

Current car – Volvo V70

Dream car – Audi RS8

Personal favourites
Band – Blink 182
BookSlaying the Dragon
Non-sailing item – My Bose sound dock
iPhone app – Tiny Wings
iPod top 3 most played
Freebird – Lynryd Skynyrd
Pick up Truck – Kings of Leon
Young Blood – The Naked and Famous

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Olympic profile: Luke Patience
  3. 3. Olympic profile: Stuart Bithell
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