Fresh challenge

Paul Wyeth / RYA
Charlotte Dobson tells us of her transition from the Laser Radial to the new 49erFX
Adding a new women’s skiff class to the Olympic roster for Rio 2016 has sucked talent fairly equally out of the three London 2012 women’s sailing disciplines – the Laser Radial, 470 and match racing. Making the step up from the former to the 49erFX has been Charlotte Dobson, Helensburgh’s finest (now Emma Richards has fact Emma Richards used to be her nanny...) Part of the reason for her move, Dobson says is that competition in the Laser Radial changed over the last cycle, with the likes of Ali Young and Annalise Murphy, tall powerful girls, becoming dominant in the class, and not only in strong winds. “The fact is that the bigger sailors, who have a huge dominance in the breeze are starting to work out how to sail in lighter winds. I don’t think that even at the biggest I got to that I could keep up – I was never going to be able to break into the top three. I’d got used to coming about five in the really windy races and as a result I also ended up losing some of what I had in lighter winds.” However the 27-year-old admits that after eight years of Laser sailing she’d pretty much had enough of it. “I was looking for a new challenge and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue or not. So I jumped into the skiff in September and I literally just loved it.” Anticipating the arrival of the FX, she acquired a 49er last summer and attempted to learn how to sail it with some of the men’s 49er squad. “It was absolutely amazing. We were fine in 8 knots, but in 9 knots we were in big trouble! There was a pretty small wind range and it was the first time