Joe Glanfield and Luke Patience emerging as powerful new partnership for Rio 2016


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The Independent Online

A powerful new partnership for the 2016 Olympic games has emerged in the form of 2004 and 2008 silver medallist Joe Glanfield now crewing for 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience in the 470 dinghy.

The pair will make their racing debut in Palma de Mallorca at Easter, though they have been at an Olympic squad training camp in Murcia, as had Patience’s Wemouth partner, Stuart Bithell, now paired with Chris Grube in the high performance 49er.

Glanfield, 33 and coming back from coaching Britain’s women silver medallists in the 470, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, won his medals with Nick Rogers and admits that returning to the track has meant many long hours in the gym.

But he is very experienced and importantly shorter and lighter than Bithell, a factor which led to a change of line-up for what are expected to be much lighter wind conditions in Rio in 2016. But they first have to bet everyone else to secure the Great Britain slot.

Patience and Bithell lost he gold to Australia’s Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page last summer and it is another Australian gold medallist, Tom Slingsby, who will be take over the skipper’s duties for the America’s Cup defender Oracle USA at next month’s regatta for the 45-foot versions of the wing-powered catamarans.

Russell Coutts and skipper Jimmy Spithill are staying in San Francisco as work continues frantically on the 72-foot versions of the cats which will be used for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger elimination trials in July and August and the cup itself in September.

Making major modifications their first boat is the Swedish challenger Artemis, where British double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy is director of sailing, while building their second boat in Sweden. Joining him is his gold and silver Star crew partner Andrew Simpson.

But four times gold medallist, for which he receives a knighthood, Ben Ainslie will be in Naples under the BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) banner. He has been training alongside Slingsby as both are part of the Oracle squad.

An attempt to qualify a British team for the Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco failed.

Lisbon has been added to the itinerary for the 2014-15 Volvo round the world race – Alicante, Recife, Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Itajai, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island and Gothenberg have already been announced. It is expected that a China stopover will be announced soon.

Abu Dhabi has also announced that Britain’s double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker will again skipper its entry. In addition to a Brazilian boat and an all-woman crew flying the Swedish flag, further entries are in the pipeline for a field expected to be limited to eight as that is the maximum number of the new 65-foot design which can be built from one set of moulds in time.