Continuing success?

Skandia Team GBR have arrived in Holland ready for the Holland Olympic Regatta

Wednesday May 24th 2006, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
Britain's top sailors head to Holland this week for the third of the traditional four top European Olympic Classes regattas.

The ISAF Grade one Holland Regatta (24-28 May) sees over 660 sailors registered to compete on the Ijsselmeer, off Medemblik, with Skandia Team GBR's contingent totalling 40 sailors across ten events. With over 1000 sailors having competed at the 2005 event, the Holland Regatta sees a reduced entry across the board this year, as it falls at the end of the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria, and just before the start of key World and European Championships for many Olympic classes.

In the medal hunt for Skandia Team GBR will be Athens Olympic medallists Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb in the Yngling and windsurfer Nick Dempsey, who will all be gunning for their fourth consecutive podium finishes to follow on their medal successes at the Miami, Princess Sofia and Hyeres regattas earlier this year.

Dempsey won golds at the Miami and Princess Sofia regattas, and followed up with a silver at the French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres. With the RS:X European Championships at Alacati, Turkey, just two weeks away, Dempsey will be hoping for another solid showing on the new Olympic board in Holland this week. After regatta wins in both Miami and Palma this year, Bryony Shaw missed out on the RS:X women's medals in Hyeres last month, so will be keen to get back on track at this Holland Regatta ahead of the Europeans.

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and new crew Victoria Rawlinson clinched bronze at their first major event together in Miami, and added a silver at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma. A second silver of the year followed from Hyeres, with the help of Victoria's sister Emma who stepped in on the bow so that Victoria could prepare for her final medical exams. Emma will sail with the golden blondes once again in Holland in a venue which will have fond memories for Ayton - the 2005 edition saw a first OCR win in the Yngling for the 26-year-old in her new position at the back of the boat.

With their European Championships at Riccione, Italy (9-16 June) looming, the Laser Radial girls will be keen to do well this week at the venue where Lizzie Vickers bagged silver in 2005, while in the Finn class Ed Wright will be gunning for his second straight win to add to the gold he won convincingly in Hyeres.

Four Skandia Team GBR pairs are in action in the Tornado class this week, with Leigh McMillan and Will Howden back on the water again after Howden suffered a knee injury during the second day of the Princess Sofia regatta, while Paul Goodison is the sole team representative in the Laser class, keen to make up for a disappointing regatta in Hyeres where he missed out on the medal race through gear failure and two black flags.

In the 470 class, competitors will also be fine-tuning their sailing skills with the 470 European Championships in Balaton, Hungary (9-18 June) just around the corner. Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark will be looking to deliver another podium finish this week to follow up their first ever regatta win in Palma last month, while Lucy Macgregor steps out of the Team Shirley Robertson Yngling this week and into the 470 with Mary Rook, making up the third British pair alongside Bassadone-Clark and Pippa Wilson-Sheena Craig. Jonny McGovern and Tom Mapplebeck are Skandia Team GBR's only competitors in the 470 men's class.

Most of the British 49er sailors have opted out of the Holland event and have headed straight for Aix les Bains in France in preparation for their World Championships (4-11 June), leaving Paul Campbell James and Mark Asquith the only Skandia Team GBR challenge in the class this week.

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