On the road to Weymouth

Richard Langdon / Skandia Team GBR
A look at the present form within Skandia Team GBR and the road to Olympic selection
Pace is hotting up for Skandia Team GBR with the Olympic Games now 16 months away. Between now and the sailing events in Weymouth getting underway on 29 July next year, each nation first must ‘country qualify’ itself in each class before they then select the athlete or athletes they will send in each class. Being the host nation, Skandia Team GBR automatically gets a berth in each of the sailing ‘events’ and so doesn’t have to go through the country qualification. For other nations, according to ‘the process’, 75% of these country qualifications will be determined by the top ranked sailors at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships this December, the remaining 25% from each event's World Championship in 2012, provided it is before 1 June 2012. Given the limited number of entries/boats in each class (see table below) this is obviously of particular relevance to the smaller Olympic nations. RS:X Men - 38 Laser - 48 Finn  - 25 470 Men - 27 49er - 20 Star - 16 RS:X Women - 28 Laser Radial - 39 470 Women - 20 Women's Match Racing - 12 But for sailors in the stronger Olympic nations most pressing is getting selected to represent their country and across the classes these monumental contests will play out this year. In the UK, the toughest looks at present like it will be in the Finn, where Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and present World Champion Ed Wright are all Gold medal contenders and sadly only one will get the berth. With Ainslie no longer distracted by any America’s Cup commitments we know where our money lies. Skandia Team GBR is in the fortunate situation of having several medal winning prospects in most classes. Pretty much assured of selection are Beijing Gold medallist and World Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the Star, Nick Dempsey