With just over two years to go until the Rio 2016 Games, Britain has announced a squad of 30 for the first Olympic test event to be held this summer. It will be staged on the notorious Guanabara Bay amid reports of highly polluted conditions with everything from wholesale disposal of household and human rubbish from sewers to the carcases of dead animals.
The event will be stage from 2 to 9 August and is the first official test event for any 2016 Olympic sport. The 30 sailors will race in all 10 Olympic classes against all their international rivals on the same racecourses which have been designated for 2016.
Top of the heap is Giles Scott, who has been in dominant form all this year in the heavyweight singlehander Finn, the class in which the recently knighted Ben Ainslie won in 2012 his fourth consecutive Olympic gold. Scott was already threatening Ainslie's supremacy in the class.
“In terms of outcomes, for us the most important thing is just about trying to learn from that experience, both in terms of the sailors learning about Rio and about Brazil, and about living and managing to perform in a new and strange environment with a slightly different culture,” said Olympic manager Stephen Park.
In Deauville, eight British singlehanders, many of them products if the Artemis Offshore Sailing Academy, line up for the first leg of the Figaro singlehanded race, which takes them up and down the Channel to the first stopover in Plymouth.
The race, seen as a great test in its own right as well as a stepping stone to the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, starts Sunday with the fleet expected in Sutton Harbour on Wednesday.
In Langanargen, four-times world match race tour champion Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar is riding high in the early stages of the Match race Germany, the opening event of the Alpari circuit which has just been expanded from six to seven regattas in 2014 with the addition of the Dutch match race championship.
Williams has shown early season form, winning events in both Los Angeles and Poland. But he has his sights set on becoming the first man to capture five world championships having been pipped by Taylor Canfield of the US Virgin Islands at the final, double points scoring Monsoon Cup in Malaysia last year.
British Sailing Team selections for the 2014 Rio Olympic Test Event
Luke Patience-Elliot Willis
Mike Wood-David Kohler
Hannah Mills-Saskia Clark
Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre
Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign
John Pink-Stuart Bithell
Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth
Frances Peters-Nicola Groves
Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond
Lucy Macgregor-Andrew Walsh
TBC Elliot Hanson OR Alex Mills Barton
Two sailors will be selected immediately prior to the Test Event from:
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