Skandia Team GBR squad announced at opening day of Cowes Week 30/7/06

Skandia Team GBR – the British team in training for the Beijing and London Olympics and Paralympics was announced at a reception at Cowes Week last night.

The 35-sailor squad bound for the Olympic sailing centre at Qingdao in two weeks’ time includes Ben Ainslie in the Finn. The Olympic Test Event runs from 18-31 August, and for Ainslie this will be his first competitive foray in the heavyweight dinghy since winning his record-breaking fourth consecutive Finn Gold Cup in September 2005.

The Skandia Team GBR line-up for the August Test Event features all of the British medallists from the Athens 2004 Olympics – with exception of double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson who’s just given birth to twins. Robertson’s crew of Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor, however, will still make the trip to China, where they will be helmed by Southampton’s 2.4mR Paralympic sailor Helena Lucas.

Athens gold medallists Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb will also have a modified crew for Qingdao, with Katherine Hopson – 2004 Olympian in the 470 class – stepping in on the bow for Victoria Rawlinson. Rawlinson, a newly-qualified doctor and two-time Youth Worlds medallist in 2000 and 2001, has decided to helm her own Yngling campaign for 2008 and 2012.

Experienced Olympians Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield in the 470 class, 49er sailors Chris Draper, Simon Hiscocks, and windsurfer Nick Dempsey will all compete at the Test Event, but there will also be a number of new faces and 2012 hopefuls getting an early taste of the Olympic venue, including Laser sailor Nick Thompson and Penny Clark in the Laser Radial class.

Stephen Park – Olympic Manager – said: “Skandia Team GBR has performed solidly so far in 2006, with 37 medals to date from major regattas – nine of them coming at World and European Championships – and some equally promising performances from our Development Squad sailors who will be looking to show that they have the potential to be part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Team.

“The Test Event at Qingdao next month is a key milestone in our preparations towards the Beijing Games. Not only does it mark the two-year countdown to the Olympic Games itself, but it will be a real test of the facilities and a crucial opportunity to get to know the Olympic waters better in what we expect will be a challenging, light and shifty venue.”

For the 2006 Test Event, competing nations can take up to two boats in each class, although Skandia Team GBR will take just one boat to Qingdao in the Star class (Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell), and has had a third entry in the Laser class accepted by regatta organisers. For the 2007 Test Event and for the Olympic Games itself, each country can only field one boat per class.

Skandia Team GBR – 2006 Olympic Test Event, Qingdao (CHN)
1Paul Goodison, Rotherham, Yorks
2Mark Howard, Lee on Solent, Hants
3Nick Thompson, Lymington, Hants

1Ed Wright,Bournemouth, Dorset
2Ben Ainslie,nr Helston, Cornwall

1Leigh McMillan,
Southampton, Hants, Will Howden,Southampton, Hants
2Rob Wilson, Shepperton, Middlesex, Mark Bulkeley,Portland, Dorset

1Sarah Ayton, Weymouth, Dorset, Sarah Webb,Cowes, IoW, Katherine Hopson, Dorking, Surrey
2Helena Lucas, Southampton, Hants, Annie Lush, Poole, Dorset, Lucy Macgregor, Poole, Dorset

1Chris Draper, Portland, Dorset, Simon Hiscocks, Portland, Dorset
2 Stevie Morrison, Exmouth, Devon, Ben Rhodes, Exmouth, Deven

RS:X Men
1Nick Dempsey, Weymouth, Dorset
2Leo McCallin, Poole, Dorset

RS:X Women
1Bryony Shaw, Weymouth, Dorset
2Lucy Horwood, Weymouth, Dorset

470 Men
1Nick Rogers, Lymington, Hants, Joe Glanfield, Sidmouth, Devon
2Nick Asher, Lowestoft, Suffolk, Elliot Willis, Sevenoaks, Kent

470 Women
1Christina Bassadone, Southampton, Hants, Saskia Clark, West Mersea, Essex
2Pippa Wilson, Lymington, Hants, Sheena Craig, Southampton, Hants

Laser Radial
1Penny Clark, Lee on Solent, Hants
2Andrea Brewster, Headley Down, Hants

1Iain Percy, Winchester, Hants, Steve Mitchell, Cowes, IoW