The Yngling, 470 and Laser classes will all be competing at their individual world championships across Europe this week
This week will see British sailors battling it out in four of the Olympic sailing classes and with only three months to go until the Olympic Games tension will be running high. The Yngling, 470 and Laser classes will all be competing at their individual world championships, while the Finn class will take part in their European championship.
A total of 36 boats have entered the Yngling class world championship, the three-person keelboat that will be making its debut at the Olympic Games this summer, and with a further four Olympic places up for grabs the competition will be tight.
Team GBR sailors Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb have already qualified themselves for Athens 2004 and after a great result last month, where they took gold at Hyeres Olympic Week. They will be looking to repeat this success in Santander, Spain, as they continue on their road to Athens.
The world’s top 470 sailors have travelled to Zadar, Croatia, for their world championship and over 154 boats will compete in the men’s and women’s disciplines.
After a short break following Hyeres Olympic Week, Team GBR sailors and Athens 2004 squad members Christina Bassadone and Katherine Hopson will be hoping to continue their string of successful results. Finishing fifth at last year’s world championship was not only a personal best for this young pairing, but also meant they qualified the country for the 2004 Games and booked their tickets to Athens. Since then they have had a successful winters training in Australia and the hard work is beginning to pay off after they took home the silver medal at Hyeres.
Athens 2004 teammates and fellow 470 sailors Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield have also had a successful year so far. They started off the season with a regatta win at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, which they followed up with a bronze medal in Hyeres, both performances they will be keen to repeat.
The Laser class will be competing in Bitez, Turkey, and many of the top names in Olympic sailing will be battling it out for the coveted title.
For Great Britain the Laser sailor was the final team member to be selected for Athens 2004 as nobody met the Olympic selection criteria at the 2003 ISAF world championships. At the RYA UK Trials Regatta Paul Goodison came through to win the event and his place on the team, and since then has proved that he is worthy of the spot after winning a bronze medal at Hyeres last month. Goodison won a bronze medal at the world championship in 2002 and will be keen to make his mark at this event.
The final major event to take place this week is the Finn European championship which will be sailed out of La Rochelle, France. Team GBR sailor and double Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie will be looking to defend his European title after winning the event in 2002 and 2003. Ainslie continues his good form into the Olympic year having won the world championships in Brazil and also the Princess Sofia Regatta last month.
The Yngling and Finn championships both get underway today (10 May) and continue through until the 15 May. The 470 world championship also starts today with their first rounds of qualifying, before racing the final series from the 13-16 May. The Laser class has a few days of measuring before racing commences on Thursday 13 May with three days of qualifying before the final series from the 17-19 May.