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Displaying items by tag: Saskia Tidey

A seventh in the Kiel Week medal race leaving Dubliners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in ninth overall represents another creditable result on the road to Paris 2024 for the Tokyo 2020 49er reps and another confidence boost before this week's toughest test of this triennial so far; the European Championships that start on Tuesday, (July 5th).

Buoyed by their top ten in Kiel and second in June's Allianz Regatta (not to mention an Irish Sailor of the Month award), the 90-boat Euros is the biggest event of the 2022 season so far, and with Paris just two years away will prove a crucial benchmark across the international fleet.

Also competing for Ireland are Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from the Royal Cork YC.

The 2022 European Championships run until the 10th of July at Aarhus, Denmark. 

Saskia Tidey

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who is competing for Team GB due to 'a lack of opportunities at home' will compete in the 74-boat 49erFX fleet.

In fact, Tidey is part of five British crews contesting the title. 

Rio 2016 (for Team Ireland) and Tokyo 2020 Olympian for GB) Saskia Tidey and new teammate Freya Black will be looking to make an impression on the fleet, although their lead-up to the regatta was disrupted by Covid. 

“Our lead into the Europeans has been challenging and not quite as planned,” Black said. “We will push through and hope to be fit and fighting on day one. We are buzzing to make a debut as a team at our first Europeans together and we are ready to give it the best shot we can.” 

To follow the results, click here.

Britain’s elite sailors laid down a marker as the 2022 season got underway at Palma’s iconic Trofeo Princesa Sofia, bringing home medals in six of the ten classes.

The British Sailing Team haul included two golds, a silver and three bronze as the six-day regatta came to a climax in Palma Bay.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7 (formerly Laser) class, his first-ever medal at any World Cup event, while Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7Michael Beckett took gold in the ILCA 7

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial), and there were bronzes for Ellie Aldridge and Connor Bainbridge in the Formula Kite classes, and John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the Nacra 17.

“This is one of the first World Cup regattas I ever did, ten years ago, and so the number of people here and the scale of the event makes it special,” said Beckett, from Solva in Pembrokeshire. “I remember at the time how unbelievably difficult it was then and I had so much respect for the people who were winning then. This is a proper event and this is the first World Cup event I have won. That means a lot.”

Brown, from Glasgow, revelled in Palma’s blustery conditions and proved his skill in the Olympics’ new foiling windsurfing class with eight race wins in 18 races, only once placing outside of the top 10.

Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing classAndy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class

“I’m feeling amazing,” Brown said. “It’s the first time I’ve won any senior medal in an Olympic class, and I’m absolutely buzzing. I’ve been competing at this event for six years now and it feels great to win.”

Just like her ILCA counterpart, Snellgrove also started the medal race guaranteed of silverware – although a 25-point gap to leader Sarah Douglas of Canada made gold unattainable.

Snellgrove’s battle for second was with Greece’s Vasileia Karachaliou, who started the medal race just a point behind. The sailor in fourth, Louise Cervera, of France, had no chance of third, so the medal race became a shoot-out for silver between Snellgrove and Karachaliou.

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6

“I feel really happy and relieved,” said Snellgrove, from Lymington. “It was a really stressful medal race, and I went into it knowing I could win either silver or bronze, so it was a case of ‘who beat’ who between Vasileia and me.

“I’m super happy to come away with the silver. It’s my best result at this regatta and it’s a massive confidence boost for the season ahead.”

Aldridge, from Poole, and Weymouth’s Bainbridge are no strangers to the Formula Kite podium, and both continued their stellar run of form with a brace of bronzes.

Elsewhere Sam Sills was fifth in the men’s iQFOiL class, while sister Saskia finished tenth in the women’s fleet, just behind Islay Watson in ninth and Emma Wilson in eighth.

British 470 pairs Vita Heathcote/Ryan Orr and Martin Wrigley/Eilidh McIntyre were ninth and tenth respectively as the class’s new mixed format made its debut at Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

New 49erFX pair Freya Black and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club were dealt a cruel blow when they were disqualified from the last race of the final series, relegating them to 11th overall. Teammates Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton were just one place back in 12th.

Young guns Nick Robins and Dan Budden were the top 49er boat in 20th; Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Dylan Fletcher and new crew Rhos Hawes had to pull out on day one with damage to their boat.

The British Sailing Team will now turn its attention to the Semaine Olympique Francais in Hyeres later this month.

Tagged under

Two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey has teamed up with 20-year-old Freya Black (pictured below) in the 49erFX after Tokyo partner Charlotte Dobson called time on her Olympic career.

A national champion in the 29er class, Black is returning to skiff racing after competing in the mixed 470 class for the past two years for a tilt at Paris 2024.

Tidey, a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, was forced to quit the Irish team after Rio and cited a lack of opportunities at home. 

As regular Afloat readers will know, Dobson and Tidey had a commanding lead in the early stages of the Tokyo Regatta before finishing sixth overall. 

“Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class,” said Tidey, 28, from Sandycove on Dublin Bay but now based full time in Portland, Dorset.

Tidey told Afloat: “There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.”

Black, from Goudhurst, Kent, added: “Partnering up with Sas in a 49erFX is a huge opportunity for me to make the jump into a team that has the experience and knowledge of a medal-worthy campaign. Bringing together Sas’ epic crewing skills and my 470 background of racing and boat feel, we see the potential of a great team.”

“It feels pretty good to be back in the harness and wearing the BST bib again. I have put a lot of thought into why I want to continue to develop as a world-class sailor with the BST. I still have the passion for pressure & the fire inside me to push for more.

“When the opportunity to sail with Freya Black presented itself I was really excited to take it. Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class. There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.

“Currently we are in Lanzarote training. This year is about playing with the boat as a new team and learning from our mistakes. With it being such a short cycle to Paris 2024 we will be making the most of every hour we have to ensure we qualify GB for the Olympic Games. I am honoured to have the opportunity to challenge a third Olympic Games in the 49erFX and be back with the British Sailing Team.”

The first major event of 2022 for the British Sailing Team will be the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, Mallorca, in early April.

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The 49erFX partner of Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey at Tokyo 2020 has spoken of her fond memories of competing at the highest level as she called time on her Olympic career.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Charlotte Dobson was among a host of top names in British sailing who announced their retirement from Olympic campaigning this week.

Originally contesting in the Laser Radial (now ILCA 6), the Scottish sailor switched to the 49erFX skiff when it was introduced in 2014, teaming up with Sophie Ainsworth. The pair won their spot with Team GB for Rio 2016, finishing ninth.

Dobson then joined forces with Ireland’s Saskia Tidey following the Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor’s decision to move to Team GBR in 2017, citing a lack of opportunities for her to pursue her career at home.

The duo quickly established themselves as a powerhouse of the 49erFX fleet, backed up by string of podium results silvers at the Olympic test event and the 2020 World Championships.

Dobson and Tidey led the Tokyo 2020 regatta in the windy early stages before being overhauled later on as the breeze turned light, eventually finishing sixth.

Dobson, who married Dylan Fletcher a few weeks after returning from Tokyo, is now looking to work in banking.

“We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough”

On retirement, the 35-year-old from Rhu, near Glasgow, says: “The latest news for me is that I’m going to hang up my sailing boots and trapeze harness and say goodbye to the Olympic world. It’s been an amazing period of time, and now I’m going on to work out what the next thing is.

“It was a pretty easy decision to be honest. I genuinely felt in the couple of years before Tokyo that Saskia [Tidey] and I had given ourselves the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo. We’d worked with some incredible coaches and support staff, and had some amazing sailors in our training groups. When you’re proud of the campaign you put together you have to accept the result at the end.

“We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough.”

Asked for her fondest memories of the Games, Dobson says: “It’s probably more of feeling than a memory. Regardless of the result not turning out the way we wanted, I wholeheartedly feel hugely proud to be part of that Tokyo team.

“We were surrounded by excellent people doing pretty incredible things. The atmosphere was one of elevating yourself. It was a huge honour to see some of the sailing greats that we had do their thing, and try to emulate that.”

As for her future plans? “I’m dipping my toes into the real world slowly, and I’m hopefully going to find a job in banking,” she says. “I’m definitely not going very far from Portland, I love it here. Sailing has brought me all the way from the west coast of Scotland to this little island and I love it. I won’t be completely disappearing.”

Dobson also had the following advice for sailing’s next generation: “I’d say just stay in love with our sport. It’s the most incredible sport, and so wide-ranging. You can sail fast boats, slow boats, complicated boats, simple boats, with people, on your own… Never lose the love for the sport.

“Do as much sailing across a variety of boats. And if you decide you want to go to the Olympics it’s totally possible. Anything is possible when you set a goal, put your mind to it and crack on.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

British Sailing Team boss Mark Robinson has heaped praise on a host of sailing stars after they announced their retirement from Olympic campaigning.

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Hannah Mills, Giles Scott and Stuart Bithell are among those calling time on their Olympic careers.

London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience, three-time Olympian Ali Young, two-timers Charlotte Dobson (who sailed with Dun Laoghaire's Saski Tidey in Tokyo) and Chris Grube and Rio 2016 Team GB athlete Ben Saxton have taken the decision to move on.

It follows a stellar performance from Team GB’s sailors at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, at which the team secured the top spot on the sailing medal table for the fifth time in six Games with three golds, a silver and a bronze.

“All good things must come to an end, and as such these incredible athletes have taken the decision to step back from Olympic campaigning,” said Robinson, the RYA’s Olympic Performance Manager.

“These individuals have made such a huge impact on our sport, their achievements speak for themselves, and they’ve inspired countless youngsters to follow in their footsteps. I feel very proud to have led a team full of such great athletes, and those retiring will be sorely missed.

“However as a team we are well-prepared. Lots of our Tokyo team are going again, plus there are a whole host of talented sailors who’ve been waiting patiently in the wings to get their time to shine.

“With Paris 2024 less than three years away the British Sailing Team is full-steam ahead, with the number one goal of defending our title of the world’s most successful Olympic sailing team.”

Onwards to Paris

Despite the loss of so many big names, the British Sailing Team says it remains in great shape with Paris 2024 less than three years away.

Gold medal winners Dylan Fletcher (49er) and Eilidh McIntyre (women’s 470) will both continue campaigning for the next Olympics with new crews, yet to be decided.

Nacra 17 runners up John Gimson and Anna Burnet are also continuing their bid for gold alongside Emma Wilson, bronze medallist in the women’s RS:X, windsurfer Tom Squires and 49erFX crew Saskia Tidey.

A whole host of new faces will also be looking to make their mark in a bid to win selection for Team GB.

Meanwhile, Nick Dempsey, Britain’s greatest ever Olympic windsurfer with two silvers and a bronze to his name, is back in the British Sailing Team as coach to the men’s iQFOiL, the new foiling windsurfer class that will debut in Paris.

Dempsey retired from competition after scooping silver at Rio 2016, and went on to coach Japan’s Makoto Tomizawa for the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

“I’m hugely excited to be back with the British Sailing Team,” said Dempsey. “This is my dream job, and it’s a real honour to lead this men’s iQFOiL squad. I truly believe we have all the right ingredients to be the world’s best team.

“The individual members are young, talented and busting to learn. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the run-up to Paris 2024 and beyond.”

Hannah Mills

Mills became the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time this summer when she defended her Rio 2016 gold medal alongside Eilidh McIntyre.

The pair were among the favourites for the top spot but faced stiff competition from crews from Japan, France, Poland and Switzerland.

Fifth in the medal race sealed glory in style, with a huge 16 point-gap separating them from the second-placed Polish team.

Victory for Mills rounded off an incredible Olympic career in which she won silver at London 2012 then golds at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Not only does that make her the greatest female Olympic sailor ever but also Wales’ most successful female Olympian.

In recognition of their achievements, Mills and McIntyre were voted female World Sailors of the Year last week.

Mills now turns her attention to the SailGP circuit which she joined earlier this year as part of Sir Ben Ainslie’s British outfit, as well as continuing her environmental campaigning with her charity the Big Plastic Pledge.

Giles Scott

Scott had his own challenge defending his Olympic title in the Finn, a class which will not feature in the Paris 2024 sailing competition.

Heading into the medal race in the lead with one hand already on gold, his hopes were dealt a huge blow when, fearing he was over the line at the start of the race, he turned round and headed back to start the race again, relegating him to the back of the fleet.

An incredible fightback saw him pick his way through the fleet to fourth, enough to snatch overall victory from race winner Zsombor Berecz of Hungary.

It seals Scott’s place in the history books as the final Finn Olympic champion, as the class is being retired for Paris 2024. It also maintained Britain’s winning legacy, having taken gold in every Olympics since Sydney 2000 thanks first to Iain Percy and then Sir Ben Ainslie.

Scott’s win was even more impressive for the fact that he spent much of the time in between Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 campaigning to win the America’s Cup alongside Ainslie, a project he will now return to.

Stuart Bithell

Bithell took gold in the 49er class with Dylan Fletcher, adding to the silver medal he won with Luke Patience in the men’s 470 at London 2012.

After missing out on selection for Rio 2016 at the hands of Fletcher and his then team-mate Alain Sign, Bithell and Fletcher teamed up in 2017 and have been a formidable force ever since.

After putting together an impressive series in Tokyo, the pair went into the medal race in second place with just a handful of points separating them from regatta leaders Blair Tuke and Peter Burling.

A thrilling photo finish in the medal race saw them overhaul Germans Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel to steal the top spot from Tuke and Burling, relegating the Kiwis to the silver medal position. It was the first ever gold medal for Britain in the 49er class.

Luke Patience and Chris Grube

Patience was just 25 when he won a silver medal alongside Stuart Bithell in the men’s 470 class at London 2012.

After winning a spot with Team GB at Rio 2016, his campaign was turned upside down when crew Elliot Willis was diagnosed with cancer, and they were deselected.

Chris ‘Twiggy’ Grube had been part of the British Sailing Team for almost a decade when he got the last-minute call-up to join Patience, with whom he had raced alongside in the mid 2000s.

The pair went on to finish an incredible fifth, and took that partnership into the Tokyo cycle – and all the way to Tokyo 2020 itself.

They enjoyed a strong start to the Olympic regatta, and despite slipping down the leaderboard slightly in the lighter winds through the week, only the Aussies bettered them for the lowest discard. A consistent series had them into the medal race as one of only five boats who could take home an Olympic medal.

Alison Young

With three Olympics under her belt, Young is Britain’s greatest ever ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) sailor.

Young picked up the baton from Penny Clark, winning a call-up to Team GB for London 2012. She was the first Brit to win a world championship in the class in 2016, and was among the favourites for an Olympic medal. However she was dealt a blow when she broke her ankle just eight weeks before the Games.

An eighth in Rio fired her up for a tilt at Tokyo, where she finished 10th after a tricky week. Young now plans on using her knowledge and experience to coach young athletes to success.

Charlotte Dobson

After narrowly missing out on Olympic selection for two cycles running in the ILCA 6 (formerly the Laser Radial) Dobson switched to the 49erFX skiff when it was introduced in 2014, teaming up with Sophie Ainsworth. The pair won their spot with Team GB for Rio 2016, finishing ninth.

Dobson then joined forces with Saskia Tidey and the duo quickly established themselves as a powerhouse of the 49erFX fleet, backed up by string of podium results silvers at the Olympic test event and the 2020 world championships.

Dobson and Tidey led the Tokyo 2020 regatta in the windy early stages before being overhauled later on as the breeze turned light, eventually finishing sixth. Dobson, who married Dylan Fletcher a few weeks after returning from Tokyo, is now looking to work in banking.

Ben Saxton

After switching from the 470 class to the Nacra 17, multihull expert Saxton was picked for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics alongside crew Nicola Groves.

The pair went on to finish ninth, a result that frustrated Saxton. He made amends the following year with victory at the 2017 world championships with Katie Dabson.

After teaming up with Nicola Boniface, Saxton went on to score numerous podium finishes including winning the 2019 European championships and placing third at Ready Steady Tokyo, the test event for Tokyo 2020.

Saxton stepped away from Olympic sailing after losing out on Olympic selection to Tokyo 2020 silver medallists John Gimson and Anna Burnet, and recently started a job working for North Sails.

Follow the British Sailing Team’s progress towards Paris 2024 at britishsailingteam.com and via the team’s social media channels.

What they say:

Hannah Mills, 34, Cardiff, Wales:

On retirement:

“Sadly my Olympic campaigning is coming to an end – the 470 is going mixed for Paris 2024 and for me, in terms of my career, this is the perfect time to step away and explore other options. I’ll be working on my sustainability campaign which I’m really passionate about while exploring some exciting opportunities in women’s sailing. It was a difficult decision and yet also an easy one. What made it hard was just how incredible the Olympic Games is – it’s like nothing else on Earth. As an athlete who’s dreamed of going to the Games my whole life it’s something that is quite difficult to walk away from. But in terms of where I’m at in life and what I want to do next it was a bit easier.”

On the Tokyo 2020 cycle:

“It was a mad cycle, that’s for sure. Things came at us that no-one could ever have imagined. The delay to a Games is something you never think will happen. You have this deadline of when the Games is and nothing will move that. Then something so much bigger than the Olympics came along and it did move that. I definitely look back and feel privileged to have had that extra year. At points when it was tough and emotional and mentally challenging and those things that go hand in hand with being an athlete striving towards a huge goal, I remember thinking to myself that actually none of it mattered because we were so lucky to still be competing and travelling and working towards this incredible goal while a lot of other people were not so fortunate.”

On becoming the greatest ever female Olympic sailor:

“It’s a strange one – you dream of winning an Olympic gold medal but I certainly never dreamed of winning multiple medals and becoming the most successful female Olympic sailor. It’s surreal when you add up the 15 years or so of Olympic campaigning and it leads to that accolade. It’s surreal but amazing. Records are there to be broken though, and that’s what inspires other female athletes to push harder. It will be exciting to see what comes next.”

On inspiring youngsters:

“To anyone who’s thinking of having a go at sailing I’d say just have a go. It changed my life, and whether you want to go to the Olympics, sail at your club or just with your family, sailing is the most amazing sport. To be outside, on the water, experiencing the elements, is like nothing else. It’s given me skills that I’ll take through my whole life.”

Fondest memories of the Games:

“There are so many. London will always be the most insane experience. Walking into the opening ceremony as part of Team GB at a home Olympics was just bonkers. I don’t think anything will compete with that. The noise walking into the stadium, people banging their feet, it was unbelievable to be a part of. Winning my first gold medal with Saskia Clark in Rio was a lifelong dream for both of us. It was so special to come back from silver in London and get the gold. With Tokyo I just look back on the British Sailing Team – we had the best team imaginable; every single person was amazing to be around and brought their best versions of themselves. I don’t think I’ve experienced a team quite like that one and that’s my strongest memory of those Games.”

On the future:

“I’ve got lots of plans in the sustainability world, trying to inspire and empower other athletes to use their platform to speak up about different challenges. We’re already seeing the positive impact it can have. In terms of sailing, I’m racing with the SailGP GBR team as a female athlete and will be looking to develop female pathways into high performance professional sailing. There’s also a new women’s competition in the America’s Cup. There’s so much going on in the world of professional sailing, it’s a pretty amazing time to a female in sailing right now.”

Giles Scott, 34, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire:

On retirement:

“I’m done, speaking simply. I’ve been in Olympic classes sailing now for nearly 14 years, done two Olympic Games, had a really good innings and now it’s time for me to move on to other things. It actually feels ok [to be retiring]. If I’m brutally honest it feels just fine. I’ve been doing it for so long and have put so much into it, and I’m lucky to have been successful, and it’s time to do other things. I’ve absolutely loved my Olympic sailing but I feel like it’s been a chapter in a bigger book. I’m sad to be leaving but for sure it’s time to go.”

Reflecting on the past couple of years:

“In honest I’m still processing it all. The last couple of years were probably the busiest of my life and I took on an awful lot with the America’s Cup while trying to defend my Olympic title. Somehow I managed to keep that gold medal. In honesty I’m not sure how, but I got there just about! I’ve enjoyed my time off, doing some Moth sailing and sailing some bigger boats. I’m getting back with INEOS and the America’s Cup. I’ve still got plenty going on but I am still slowly digesting what I’ve accomplished, not just at the last Olympics but over the past ten years of Olympic sailing.”

On the Tokyo 2020 medal race:

“I haven’t watched it back, and I don’t want to. I don’t think I ever will! I’d have rather have won gold in the style I did four years previously, it was way less stressful. The Tokyo medal race was very dramatic and certainly made a five-knot Finn race pretty exciting, which isn’t that easy to do. In the build-up to the medal race I’d put together a really solid week, it just so happens the two guys on my tail had also done a pretty good job as well and I still had a bit to do in the medal race. It didn’t go perfectly to plan but I just about got there.”

On being part of such a successful team in Tokyo:

“It was great. The vibe and the atmosphere out there among the sailors and support staff was really quite powerful, and for sure that bred performance. It really did feel like we were in it together, living in a camp environment, and it just so happened that each day we needed to leave the accommodation to go race in the Olympic Games. It was a really cool month, and certainly one I will hold close to my heart.”

On fondest memories of Olympic career:

“I’ve had so many amazing times. Those of us that get to travel the world doing a sport like sailing are incredibly fortunate. Even without success, being part of the Olympic circuit is an amazing thing to do. For me to be able to walk away having had success is very special. The results I’ve had are one thing, but the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made along the way have been amazing as well.”

On inspiring young sailors:

“I always say that you’ve got to enjoy what you do. My success has come from doing something that I love to do, and that was certainly the case when I was a kid. My message to young sailors would be to enjoy the sport, don’t get bogged down in results and if you love it you’ll become good at it.”

On life after the Olympics:

“The main focus is the America’s Cup. I’ve signed back up with INEOS and over the next year things will really start to ramp up. We’re beginning to build the team and put schedules in place. It’s early stages at the moment but it will start to get big quite quickly. In the meantime I’m learning to sail again, this time in a Moth which is good fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve sailed in Weymouth harbour in November with a big grin on my face!”

Stuart Bithell, 35, Rochdale, Greater Manchester:

On retirement:

“I guess I’ve hung my boots up for now. I’ve done three cycles and it’s time to move on to other areas of the sport. It’s nice to stop here at the top – it would take a lot of hard work to regroup and go again for Paris. I’ve done the Olympic thing now and I want to move my career on to other areas of the sport. It feels like the right time. And of course I’m getting old!”

On winning gold at Tokyo 2020:

“It feels pretty good. It’s been a long time coming and there’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into it. A while back I knew this was going to be my last one and everything went into this campaign. It’s so cool coming away with a gold medal – I feel on top of the world.”

On a potential comeback:

“Not at the minute. There’s no part of me that is looking at Paris. That said we’re all athletes and we’ve seen it many times where athletes retire and then come back. Currently there’s no plan to do that, but who knows.”

On his crew Dylan Fletcher:

“I think Dylan is going on to do another cycle. We’ve sailed together for the past five years and it’ll be weird to not do another campaign with him, but we still sail together loads. We just did an event out in Italy and I’m sure we will do more, it just won’t be in an Olympic class.”

On memories of the Olympics:

“I think my best memories of my career are of the Olympic Games themselves, it’s such a pinnacle that you work so hard to get to and then when you’re there, because all the hard work has been done you can enjoy the moment. Certainly winning silver with Luke Patience in London at a home Olympics was incredible. I didn’t qualify for Rio 2016 and decided to put everything on the line one more time and that came off good with Tokyo. Actually being at Tokyo and performing to our best was just perfect.”

On future plans:

“I’m looking at getting into other areas of the sport. There’s plenty on with professional sailing, the America’s Cup, SailGP and lots of other professional circuits around the world. I’m aiming for the big circuits and we’ll see how we go.”

On inspiring the next generation:

“I come from a background where you wouldn’t expect to be on the top of an Olympic podium. I grew up sailing on a tiny lake in the north of England, and my message to kids is that you can do whatever you want if you put your heart and a bit of time into it. Nothing is impossible.”

Luke Patience, 35, Rhu, Scotland:

On retirement:

“It’s the end of a long, wonderful 17-year journey. It’s hard to definitively say it, but for me this is the end of my Olympic athlete career. After many long weeks thinking about it and talking to many different people I feel like I’ve made peace with that decision and that it’s the right one for me now. It’s been so hard to come to the decision because there’s so much passion for what I do. We embark on this madness not as a job but to try to represent yourself and your country at the highest level and come home as Olympic champions. Not only is that a really honourable thing to do with your life, it’s incredibly addictive. Success is a wee drug and so to walk away from a lifelong journey feels a bit weird. It won’t stop overnight and my heart still longs to continue, but my head is winning the battle.”

On his Olympics career:

“Three Olympics and an Olympic silver medal means so much to me. I dreamed about winning an Olympic medal as a wee boy and I did it. But in the same breath I can think back to a time when I never thought I’d go this far. Although I won a silver medal in some regards it’s not enough and I’d like to say I was Olympic champion three times, and I’m not. However time is a wonderful healer and the further I get from it all I do look back and go ‘wow’. What an honour and achievement to have represented my country at the highest level for such a long time. I am very proud but I think I’ll be more proud in a year’s time and even more proud in ten years’ time. I think it will take a bit of distance from the sport to really look back on what I achieved.”

On representing Scotland:

“I’m very proud to be British and Scottish, but I like the identity of being from a wee small nation as well. It means a lot to represent Scotland. We’re not a massive country with five million people and the Scottish athletes who come out of the woodwork are a really small bunch of people. I take a lot of pride in being part of that group. There must be something in the water on the west coast of Scotland because we’ve produced some phenomenally good sailors today and in years gone by. I feel really attached to my Scottish heritage. My dad has been great at showing me our family’s lineage and where our ancestors came from. They were all fishermen and lifeboatmen and things like that. I’m just happy I could carry on that journey on the sea.”

Fondest memories of the Games:

“I could answer that one for hours. London 2012 was incredible. To be out racing as a 25-year-old with my best mate and all the crowds on the shore, folks screaming, and everything those Games brought, I can’t see that anything in my life will ever feel like that felt. That’s above and beyond my fondest memory. It was so unique. The most emotional bit was walking out into the opening ceremony to 80,000 people screaming Team GB, chanting in the stadium. The confetti, the music, walking out behind Chris Hoy waving the flag… I just remember looking at Stuart [Bithell], Hannah [Mills] and Saskia [Clark] and saying “we’re here, we’re Olympians”. We’d been dreaming about it for so long. That memory is etched in me.”

On future plans:

“What’s next will probably change every month! In a nice way, I don’t really know. I’m giving my mind and body a bit of time to wind down. I’m excited about many things, about trying new things and being in different worlds. I’d love to lead a team in the Ocean Race when the time’s right, I’d like to start a whiskey brand and do bits like that. I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time with family and enjoy the things in life that I’ve had to put on the sidelines for a very long time. I’m a sailor in my heart and I doubt I’ll ever be that far from the British Sailing Team in some shape or form.”

On inspiring the next generation:

“If I was to say anything to kids who’ve been inspired by Tokyo it would be to hold tight to that inspiration. Nobody on Team GB is from some immensely privileged background where it was all laid out on a plate for them. The vast majority of us Olympians were kids who watched the Olympics and were inspired by them. I was curious about what it would feel like to represent my country and I became obsessed with finding out. That’s all I’ve been for 25 years: curious. If you think it’s out of reach it isn’t. Hold onto that inspiration and just keep chipping away.”

Alison Young, 34, Bewdley, Worcestershire:

“My latest news from the Olympic world is that I’ve retired, and now I’m figuring out what life is. I actually decided to retire while I was in Tokyo. I was watching Emma Wilson win her bronze medal in the RS:X and I realised that it wasn’t something I wanted or needed anymore. It was quite an easy decision in the end. When I reflect back on my time with the British Sailing Team I just feel really fortunate to have had the chance to work with the teams of people that I have, people who are world class at what they do and who are more importantly just fantastic individuals. For that I’m very grateful. I’m now stepping out into the rest of the world and seeing what that’s like. My fondest memories from the Games centre around the spirit and energy the sailing team has, especially out in Tokyo. I finished tenth in Tokyo and I just felt really content with my performance. It was a really nice place to end on. What’s next? Well, with my sailing it’s always been about trying to get the best out of myself and so I’m now trying to do that in a different domain. I’m exploring coaching to see if I can help others get the best out of themselves.”

Charlotte Dobson, 35, Rhu, Scotland:

On retirement:

“The latest news for me is that I’m going to hang up my sailing boots and trapeze harness and say goodbye to the Olympic world. It’s been an amazing period of time, and now I’m going on to work out what the next thing is. It was a pretty easy decision to be honest. I genuinely felt in the couple of years before Tokyo that Saskia [Tidey] and I had given ourselves the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo. We’d worked with some incredible coaches and support staff, and had some amazing sailors in our training groups. When you’re proud of the campaign you put together you have to accept the result at the end. We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough.”

On representing Scotland and Great Britain:

“It’s a huge honour to wear the Team GB top – it’s something I’ve thought about since I was tiny. The first time I got to pull it on in Rio was quite a shock. I wasn’t expecting it to hit home quite so much with Tokyo, but it totally did. Representing your Queen, country and everyone who sails is a huge honour and something I’ll be really proud of for the rest of my life.”

Fondest memories of the Games:

“It’s probably more of feeling than a memory. Regardless of the result not turning out the way we wanted, I wholeheartedly feel hugely proud to be part of that Tokyo team. We were surrounded by excellent people doing pretty incredible things. The atmosphere was one of elevating yourself. It was a huge honour to see some of the sailing greats that we had do their thing, and try to emulate that.”

On future plans:

“I’m dipping my toes into the real world slowly, and I’m hopefully going to find a job in banking. I’m definitely not going very far from Portland, I love it here. Sailing has brought me all the way from the west coast of Scotland to this little island and I love it. I won’t be completely disappearing.”

Advice for the next generation:

“I’d say just stay in love with our sport. It’s the most incredible sport, and so wide-ranging. You can sail fast boats, slow boats, complicated boats, simple boats, with people, on your own… Never lose the love for the sport. Do as much sailing across a variety of boats. And if you decide you want to go to the Olympics it’s totally possible. Anything is possible when you set a goal, put your mind to it and crack on.”

Ben Saxton, 31, Cambridge:

“Thanks to the team who’ve supported me to compete at the Olympics and to win a few major championships. Thanks in particular to the unsung heroes working hard in the background. I’m really excited about the future, but I will remember my time with the British team fondly.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

It was a home win for Olympian Kate Macgregor and her team at the RYA Summer Match Racing Qualifier 3 over a breeze-on weekend at Poole Yacht Club.

Organisers had thought the event might be in jeopardy due to the high wind forecast for 2-3 October 2021 which saw a number of regattas canned along the south coast.

But in anticipation of a couple of weather-windows, a decision was made to go ahead and the sell-out event saw 10 teams match racing RS21 sportsboats and revelling in the conditions.

Day one saw four flights being run, with spinnakers making a brief appearance before the breeze rapidly built and forced a return to shore just as a 42 knot gust was recorded.

Poole YC’s Kate Macgregor and her team of Nicky Walsh, Bethan Carden, Saskia Tidey and Sophie Pearson, won all three of their races and then continued their winning ways on day two.

Breeze and sunshine kicked off the Sunday with more great match racing and busy pre-starts. The wind then started to build, with exciting conditions and smiley sailors loving the downwind blasts with spinnakers mostly up, occasionally away, and boat handling at a premium.

Despite a few big broaches, teams managed the conditions well for some tight racing throughout the fleet, resulting in a tie for second place and a tie for fifth overall as well.

With Macgregor’s team continuing undefeated – winning all of their matches for an emphatic victory – Ali Morrish sailing with Emily Robertson, Richard Moxey and Sarah Jarman took second overall, as in 2020, to add to her second place at this year’s Marlow Ropes Women’s Match Racing Championships.

George Haynes with Lily Reece, Josh Dawson and Huw Edwards took third place in a very tight battle with Ted Blowers’ team of Tom Hough, Bobby Hewitt, Anna Watkins, who in their deciding match had been in the lead but took a penalty early on downwind, enabling Haynes to get past for the win.

Macgregor - helming for this event rather than on bow as for her Olympic match racing and Women’s World Match Racing Champion title - said: “Driving was a little bit different but I had a really good crew with Sophie, Sas, Nicky and Bethan. They did a really good job so it took a lot of distractions away meaning I could focus more on the steering, so it was a little bit different but it was good fun, I enjoyed it.”

Kate has coached many of the sailors she was competing against and found it rewarding to see their progression in action, explaining: “The racing was actually a lot closer than I thought it was going to be, there were a few pre-starts where I did feel a bit nervous! But it was really cool to see how far everyone has come and that all their training that they’ve been doing has been worthwhile.”

Commenting on the secret to her own team’s success over the weekend, she added: “I think we just didn’t over complicate it. We made sure we got off the start cleanly and on time and when we didn’t we definitely paid for it. There was one race in particular where we were late and also had a penalty and luckily we managed to pull back but I think it was just keeping it simple, and in my team there’s a few other experienced match racers so it was useful having them on board as well.”

Another stand-out performance of the weekend came from Lymington’s Nik Froud and his team - Sam De La Feuillade, Connie Stock, Hannah Froud and Robby Boyd - who won an impressive four of their nine matches at Nik’s first ever match racing event and claimed fifth overall.

Nik, who sails a Moth and is also a team racer, said: “I wanted to come to match racing because a lot of my friends do it and they have a really good time, so I wanted to get involved. I absolutely loved it. I was a bit worried the forecast was for it to be really windy and I didn’t think there’d be much match racing going on - like in team racing if it’s 30 knots it’s just a fleet race - but we were match racing all the time and learning about the rules as well, and all the different boat-on-boat scenarios that I just haven’t encountered before, so for me, comparing the second-to-last race we did with the first, we learnt loads and I really enjoyed it.”

Asked whether he’d recommend match racing, Nik says he ‘100 per cent’ will be back for more and has this advice for anyone who thinks they might like to try match racing: “Just come and do it, if you can fleet race competitively, read up on the rules beforehand, watch a few videos, make sure you’re aware of the differences but just come and give it a go because it’s great fun!”

Next up is the RYA Summer Match Racing 4 Qualifier for the Ceilidh Cup in Sonars at Royal Northern & Clyde YC, Helensburgh, this weekend (9-10 October 2021). The series then concludes with the invitational National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals at Queen Mary SC in RS21s, 29-31 October 2021.

Published in Match Racing

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) have won gold in the 49erFX Women with Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke (GER) taking silver and Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) bronze.

The remaining Irish interest in the Tokyo sailing regatta focussed on one-time regatta leader Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club who sailed with Charlotte Dobson into sixth overall after finishing seventh in the medal race.

Brazil was struggling for a lane out of the start but found a gap at the committee boat in the last 10 seconds and tacked out to the right on a lonely path while the other nine boats carried on towards the left.

First around the first mark was Argentina, Norway in second with Brazil in third and the Netherlands in fifth - advantage Brazil.

On the first downwind leg, the Netherlands were fighting with Germany and Spain for the silver and bronze but Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) got stuck on the outside of a slow mark rounding at the leeward gate, held up the French team. The Dutch were now at the back, in 10th and out of the medals.

However, up the final windward leg, the Dutch pulled back two critical places, enough to get them ahead of Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo (ESP) for the bronze medal.

Victoria Travasco and Maria Sol (ARG) won the Medal Race by a long distance from Norway. But a third across the finish was sufficient for Brazil to win the gold medal. Grael and Kunze have successfully defended the Olympic title they won in Rio 2016.

Results here

Charlotte Dobson, 35, from Rhu, Scotland, said:

“That was some morning I think I’ve had. The end of our campaign and our medal hopes, but amazing to watch Dylan and Stu win their gold medal.

“They’ve been amazing supporters of ours the whole way through this cycle and this morning optimises to me the ying and yang of sport - with amazing results someone has to lose. That’s kind of what we know when you get into this world. You risk feeling terrible for the moment to be able to feel how Dylan and Stu feel right now.

“I’m sure this gold medal [Dylan Fletcher’s] is going to follow me around. It will be on our dining table I’m sure for the foreseeable future, but I’m just really, really, really proud of him and the team that has been around both Dylan and Stu, and Sas and I. The support we’ve got, the help we’ve had from the National Lottery to even be here, is just second to none.

“Sometimes this campaign when it got difficult, certainly with covid, you look around at the support around you, you think if you can’t do it with these guys around you, you probably don’t deserve to. And I mean the support we’ve had has been incredible.

“We had another light wind and choppy medal race. Just as the breeze was starting to pick up, we were on first. We didn’t have the best start and lane hold, and then we got a bit dictated to by that time, so really the race was kind of out of hands in that light wind stuff and it’s really important to be in control of your race.

“We kind of did come back into it right at the end, so that was really nice to do that last little bit with the kite up past the rest of our team. To be honest a large part of the damage was done in the last two days in the lighter winds.

“At this level you can’t expect to win medals with holes in your performance and unfortunately we kind of got found out this week in these lighter winds, which is frustrating because in the past we’ve dealt with that weakness. But yeah, really disappointing.

“We fought for every place we could around the medal race, the spirit was really good all the way up to the end so we have that to be proud of.

“It’s been amazing [to watch Dylan win gold]. Very, very stressful, I feel really bad for what we have done to our parents and friends and family over the last couple of weeks, but really, really proud. This morning he just seemed so on it and so ready. When I saw the split from the kiwis, I was really proud of him, like he was backing himself and he was really confident. And he and Stu are such an incredible team together, they bring the best out in each other. I can’t really be more happy for him to be honest.

“[The wedding is planned for] 26th August, so not too long to even out the tan lines! No [the preparations aren’t done] in the slightest, but time and pressure will make us organised. I’m sure we’ll just be decisive. The wedding is in Portland which is where we live.

“Quite often it does happen like that [a close finish], but not usually for gold and silver, that will probably be one of the moments of the sailing games I would have thought. It’s just amazing for that to be broadcast to our friends and family at home and all the people who have really put us here, buying lottery tickets, supporting sports, so thank you National Lottery we hope we gave you a good show this summer.”

Saskia Tidey, 28, from Sandycove on Dublin Bay, said:

“It was a week of two halves. We started off with some pretty glamour conditions here in Japan, a lot more what of what we were expecting, real skiff conditions and we started off on the right foot. And the second half of the week we lost wind which is pretty challenging in our boats. But you know we fought through it and we pushed hard and tried to fight for every inch and it hasn’t gone our way.

“But in saying all that, we’ve put together a campaign over five years and it’s been an honour to sail with Charlotte and to be part of this team. Now it’s about cheering on everyone else and being part of the rest of the experience.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Royal Irish Yacht Club skiff crew Saskia Tidey from Dun Laoghaire Harbour faces another 24-hour wait for her medal race at Tokyo 2020

The 49er and 49erFX medal races are each postponed until tomorrow. They will be added to the programme that includes the Nacra 17 Medal race.

As Afloat previously reported, Tidey sailing with Charlotte Dobson for Team GB are eight points off the 49erFX Podium and 11 points off the lead. 

One time fleet leaders, the Scottish-Irish duo excelled in this week's stronger conditions but had a torrid couple of days in Enoshima's light stuff.  The pair are silver medal winners from the 2017 World Sailing Cup

Going into the 49erFX Women Medal Race two high-class teams share the top spot on equal points – the double World Champions Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) who will wear the yellow bibs, and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) looking to defend their Olympic title from five years ago.

Only three points off the lead are Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke (GER) who are promising to race aggressively for the gold, while just back from them are the reigning World Champions from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo.

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

It was an up and down day for Charlotte Dobson and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey to complete 49erFX fleet racing.

One time fleet leader, the Scottish-Irish duo excelled in this week's stronger conditions but have had a torrid couple of days in Enoshima's light stuff. 

They have seen their overall lead eroded and scoring 15-4-18 today means they go into the medal race in fifth, 11 points off the top spot, eight points off the podium. 

Royal Irish's Tidey, although sailing for Team GB in Tokyo, sailed for Ireland in Rio in 2016 then left the Irish team because of a lack of opportunities for her to pursue her career at home. As such, she is the last Irish sailing interest in Tokyo for Monday's medal race.

Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke (GER) sailed around all the potholes and landmines on the 49erFX course to come through with scores of 7,3,3. This lifts the Germans to third overall, three points off the lead shared by two high-class teams.

Holding top spot is the double World Champions Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) who sit on equal points with reigning Olympic Champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

The reigning World Champions from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo, had a difficult day in the lighter breeze and have dropped to fourth overall, but still only seven points off the lead.

Like the 49er, this is going to be a tense Medal Race on Monday afternoon, as Beucke acknowledged today. “I think we went a bit too conservative into the regatta and kind of realised we have got to be very aggressive until the end. That's what we did today. And I think that's what we're going to do in the Medal Race as well, because it's all about coming home with the medal or nothing. It's going to be exciting.”

Racing kicks off at 6.33am BST on Monday

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Unstoppable and steadier through high-speed manoeuvres in the stronger winds, Charlotte Dobson and her Dun Laoghaire Harbour crew Saskia Tidey have ruled the waves of Sagami Bay this week for Team GB but light winds on Friday dropped the pair back to fourth overall after counting (16), 14 and 15 in their 21-boat fleet.

Others in the fleet took the softer breeze as an opportunity to attack for the lead in the Women’s Skiff fleet on the Kamakura Course.

The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Tidey, who represented Ireland at Rio and switched to Team GB because of lack of opportunity at home, remains an odds on favourite for medal success come Saturday though and is currently just seven points off the overall lead and one point off third place.

Results and overall standings are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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