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Sailors Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube will compete for Team GB in the mixed dinghy class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association has announced.

Heathcote will be the youngest sailor in the Team GB line-up aged just 22, while Grube, 39, will make his third appearance for Team GB having competed at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 with Luke Patience.

The pair only joined forces eight months ago, but last month, they scooped a silver medal at the 470 class World Championship in Palma, Mallorca, securing a quota place for Team GB and earning themselves athlete selection.

Heathcote, from Lymington, Hants, is a rising star of the British Sailing Team, joining in 2020 at the age of 18.

She was world champion in the 420 class, the youth version of the 470, the previous year and has since scooped a European bronze medal as well as the recent World Championship silver.

The Olympic legacy also runs strong in Heathcote’s family – her uncle is three-time Olympic sailor Nick Rogers, who won silver medals in the 470 class at Athens and Beijing.

“It gives me goosebumps knowing that I’m going to be a part of the biggest sporting spectacle on earth,” said Heathcote.

“The Olympics has always been the goal and the thing I project my inspiration and motivation towards, so selection is a box ticked on the way there.

“I feel like now I can really sink my teeth into that event and the progress up to it - it is a very freeing and unique sensation.”

Heathcote will have big shoes to fill, picking up the mantle from Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre.

The GB sailors selected for Paris 2024 are:

  • John Gimson and Anna Burnet – Mixed Multihull (Nacra 17)
  • James Peters and Fynn Sterritt – Men’s Skiff (49er)
  • Freya Black and Saskia Tidey – Women’s Skiff (49erFX)
  • Emma Wilson – Women’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Sam Sills – Men’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Ellie Aldridge – Women’s Kite (Formula Kite)
  • Michael Beckett – Men’s Dinghy (ILCA 7)
  • Hannah Snellgrove – Women’s Dinghy (ILCA 6)
  • Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube – Mixed Dinghy (470)
Tagged under

The Royal Irish Yacht Club’s Saskia Tidey and her Team GB sailing partner Charlotte Dobson have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their efforts to qualify for the 49erFX class in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The pair, who finished seventh among a strong field of contender at the 49erFX Europeans last month, say they have reached a “hurdle” in their present fundraising efforts.

“The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of.”

But with additional backing, they say, “we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal”.

Saskia and Charlotte have set a £5,000 of which they have raised nearly a quarter in less than a week.

For more on the pair’s campaign, see their GoFundMe page HERE.

Read the pair’s full appeal below:

We are Olympians Saskia Tidey & Charlotte Dobson. Team mates onboard our 49er FX Olympic class skiff dinghy representing Great Britain on the British Sailing team. We need your help!

After the Rio 2016 Olympic games concluded we left with fire in our bellies and our eyes and hearts set on the goal to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

For three years we have battled on the International World Sailing circuit to bring home medal winning performances for Great Britain. It has been a honour to fly the flag and and a privilege to be under the pressure of striving for greatness.

Unfortunately we have reached a hurdle in our campaign which we are finding increasingly difficult to jump. The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of. With additional funds we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal.

This summer we will represent Great Britain at the 2019 Olympic Test event in Japan. Please follow our journey and donate before August 2019 to help us reach the gold standard program we need to continue to succeed!

With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner we are seeking help and support from anyone would would like to join our journey and help us keep on the podium for Great Britain in 2020!

Sailing is a sport that can be overlooked and misunderstood but it is an exhilarating sport which is accessible to everyone and we would love to entice more viewers to enjoy it too!

Please help us on on our journey!

Follow our story on Instagram @gbr_44fx

Help Spread the word! 

Charlotte & Saskia xox

Published in Tokyo 2020

Just as Ireland named Finn Lynch as its last sailor for Rio yesterday, the final four sailors who will take to the water for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have were announced by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Luke Patience and Chris Grube will compete in the men's 470, while Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign complete the squad in the 49er after a close British selection battle.

For Fletcher, Sign and Grube, Rio 2016 will be their first Olympic outing, with Grube having teamed up with Patience following Elliot Willis's cancer diagnosis at the end of 2015. Patience already has an Olympic medal to his name - a 470 silver he picked up with Stuart Bithell at London 2012.

The first group of sailors was announced back in September with further names being added in March and today's announcement completes the 15-strong sailing line-up that will head to Rio 2016.

Team GB lead the way in sailing at the Olympic Games and sit atop the overall standings with 55 medals accrued since 1986 - including 26 golds.

The four sailors selected today are:

Luke Patience, 29 (Men's 470)
Chris Grube, 31 (Men's 470)
Dylan Fletcher, 28 (49er)
Alain Sign, 30 (49er)

Those previously selected are:

Giles Scott (Finn)
Nick Thompson (Laser)
Alison Young (Laser Radial)
Bryony Shaw (Women's RS:X)
Nick Dempsey (Men's RS:X)
Hannah Mills (Women's 470)
Saskia Clark (Women's 470)
Charlotte Dobson (49erFX)
Sophie Ainsworth (49erFX)
Ben Saxton (Nacra 17)
Nicola Groves (Nacra 17)

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced the names of the very first athletes to officially join Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

A total of eight athletes have been selected across six of the ten sailing events, who between them have won four Olympic medals and seven World Championship golds.

Giles Scott's is the first name to appear on the Rio teamsheet, with the 28-year-old, unbeaten in almost two years, set to make his Olympic debut in the Finn class.

London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are paired together again in the 470 Women's class while Luke Patience, who also won silver three years ago, teams up with two-time World Champion Elliot Willis in the 470 Men's event.

Bryony Shaw, who became Britain's first female Olympic medal-winning windsurfer with bronze at Beijing 2008, is set to contest her third Olympic Games next year in the RS:X Women's event.

London 2012 Olympian Alison Young returns in the Laser Radial while 2015 Laser World Champion Nick Thompson earns his first Olympic appearance to round off the first wave of sailing selections for Rio.

British sailors have won 55 medals - including 26 golds - since sailing made its debut at Paris 1900 with Team GB topping the overall Olympic sailing medal table.

Trials for the Irish Olympic team get underway in the mens and women's Laser class this Winter.

Published in Olympic

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!