Team GBR - stronger than ever

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park brings us up to speed with the team
With the Olympic sailing arriving in Europe with the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres next week, Team GBR is looking the strongest it ever has with serious medal potential in literally every class/event, both Olympic and Paralympic. Since the last Olympic cycle many of the heavy guns such as Ainslie, Percy and Goodison have moved on to the America’s Cup full time. RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park obviously bemoans their loss, but views the positive nonetheless. “The link between Olympic sailing and America’s Cup sailing has never been stronger: The level of sailing ability, fitness, program management and self-discipline that is required to become a successful America’s Cup sailor is only coming from those younger guys that have had Olympic programs.” Now Ainslie and Percy are running Cups team, while Chris Draper helmed the Luna Rossa AC72 in San Francisco two years ago. “And it does provide something for our guys aspire to,” Park concedes. Across Team GBR, the stand-out performer remains Giles Scott, who continues the legacy of Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie in the Finn. In fact Scott’s track record over the last couple of years even outshines the great Ainslie. In the 13 major Finn regattas he has competed in since June 2011, Scott has won all but one and he is, of course, the reigning World Champion. Recently the all-conquering British Finn squad has thinned out with Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills moving to pastures new, although both remain involved in training while tenacious Ed Wright continues on what will be his umpteenth attempt to get to the Games. Meanwhile a new wave of Finn sailors is coming through, the strongest of whom is currently Ben Cornish who graduated up from the Laser for last season. Matt Howard continues as coach. In the Laser, Nick Thompson has effectively taken