49er Worlds

News of the British contingent who start racing today in France

Tuesday June 6th 2006, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
With podium finishes at all four of the major Olympic Classes Regattas so far this year, Great Britain's 49er sailors will be in good shape when racing begins at the 49er World Championships (6-11 June) at Aix-les-Bains, France, on today.

The 49er Worlds is the first of the Olympic Classes World Championships for 2006, with six Skandia Team GBR crews amongst the 100 entered from 25 countries. Three British crews have occupied podium places at the top 2006 events at Miami in January, Palma and Hyeres in April, and the Holland Regatta which concluded eight days ago.

Athens bronze medallists Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks - runners-up at the 2005 Worlds in Moscow - already have two silvers under their belts from the Miami and Palma regattas earlier this year, so the Weymouth duo will be hoping to make the top step of the podium when they take to the waters at the Lake of Bourget, nestled at the foot of the French Alps.

Finishing outside of the medals in fifth at last year's edition, the Exmouth-based team of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes are also on form heading to France. They claimed silver at the French Olympic Sailing Week at Hyeres - only their second ever podium finish at an ISAF Grade 1 regatta - behind Spanish Olympic Champions Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez, which, as Morrison points out, was a timely lift ahead of the Worlds.

"It was a world class fleet in Hyeres, and winning silver with just over a month to go before our World Championships was a great boost," explained the 27-year-old.

"It's a really big year for us, so it certainly doesn't hurt the confidence to start winning. It's an ongoing thing, really. You win one thing and you're more confident for the next thing, so generally do better there - so Hyeres was definitely a good stepping stone for us ahead of the Worlds."

Paul Campbell James and Mark Asquith sailed solidly at the recent Holland Regatta in Medemblik to clinch their ever medal as a crew - a bronze - and are now full fired up for their first Worlds sailing together: "We've been building up to this event for such a long time now - it's going to be fun!" said Campbell James.

"Having done a little bit of training out at the Worlds venue we're expecting quite light breezes, almost quite similar to the first day in Holland - under ten knots, closer to five and really shifty, but I just can't wait!"

Performance squad sailors John Pink and Alex Hopson, who finished ninth at the Moscow Worlds, and development squad crews Ian Martin-Ben McGrane and Dave Evans-Rick Peacock make up the six Skandia Team GBR entries in France.

Racing at the 49er World Championships starts from Tuesday 6 June, with the final medal race scheduled for Sunday 11 June.

The event website can be found here:

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