Skandia Sail for Gold preview

Jesus Renedo /
We look at the form for what is set to be the biggest gathering of the Olympic classes this year
Skandia Sail for Gold for the Olympic classes sets sail on Monday next week with the latest tally being 753 entries from 62 nations, including 1069 sailors and an impressive 317 coaches. Given that the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds is capped at 661 entries, we suspect that this event, held in the 2012 Olympic sailing venue, will be the biggest gathering of Olympic class sailors this season. Obviously local followers of the event will be interested in the Brits and you can see our assessment of Skandia Team GBR’s form – very strong in the Star, Finn, Laser, Elliott 6, RS:X Men and Women, strong in the 470 Men and 49er, getting there in the 470 Women and Laser Radial – here. Within the British team the competition to look out for next week in particular is – will legend Ben Ainslie dominate proceedings in the Finn, ahead of Giles Scott and Ed Wright; can Beijing gold medallist Paul Goodison still beat Nick Thompson in the Laser; will Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell still be our lead 470 Men or will the new pairing of double silver medallist Nick Rogers and Chris Grube shine through or double World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis? The 49er remains a lottery – again will the young John Pink and Rick Peacock, the present World no2, dominate or Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes (winners of last week’s Delta Lloyd Regatta and world no3) or old hands such as Chris Draper and Pete Greenhalgh (world no4)? In the 470 Women can the new pairing of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark come to the fore over Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes? And most importantly can they perform on the Olympic waters of Weymouth Bay? This event is crucial for these sailors as it is believed to be a significant counter in