British Sailing Team poised for Paris 2024 dress rehearsal
What, where and when?
The Paris 2024 test event is taking place in Provencal capital of Marseille in the south of France from July 9 to 16.
Because it aims to replicate the Olympics as closely as possible there will be only one entry per nation per class at the test event. The British Sailing Team is fielding sailors in each of the ten Olympic classes, but it’s important to remember that selection for the test event is not the same as selection for the Paris 2024 Olympics – that process is still ongoing.
Our test event line-up looks like this:
49er: James Peters (Hayling Island, Hants) and Fynn Sterritt (Kingussie, Scotland)
49erFX: Freya Black (Goudhurst, Kent) and Saskia Tidey (Portland, Dorset)
ILCA 6: Hannah Snellgrove (Lymington, Hants)
ILCA 7: Micky Beckett (Solva, Pembrokeshire)
Mixed 470: Martin Wrigley (Hereford) and Bettine Harris (Axebridge)
Formula Kite women: Ellie Aldridge (Poole, Dorset)
Formula Kite men: Connor Bainbridge (Weymouth, Dorset)
iQFOiL women: Emma Wilson (Christchurch, Dorset)
iQFOiL men: Sam Sills (Launceston, Cornwall)
Nacra 17: John Gimson (Congleton, Cheshire) and Anna Burnet (Rhu, Scotland)
In theory the test event is a dry run for next summer’s Olympics to allow the organisers and World Sailing to trial and refine their processes, and the athletes are just there to facilitate that. That’s the theory anyway. In reality it’s the closest thing to the Olympic Games with just one year to go, and that means the athletes chosen to represent their nations will all be looking to win. Of course, there’s still a year until Paris 2024, but a medal at the test event would be massive for any sailor.
Ones to watch:
All of them! Each test event rep has been chosen on merit, with the capability to take on the world’s best. Of the 14 British athletes only four - Emma Wilson, John Gimson, Anna Burnet and Saskia Tidey - have been to an Olympic Games before. The remaining 10 will get their first taste of an Olympic environment - and all 14 will be looking to bolster their case for Team GB selection.
What they said:
John Gimson (40, Congleton, Cheshire)
“We are delighted to be selected for the test event. It’s always a big milestone in any Olympic campaign. It’s a big test for the organisers, but it’s also a good test for us to race in the Olympic venue and and make sure we understand the conditions so we can see where we are strong and what areas we need to work on before the Olympics next year.”
Saskia Tidey (29, Portland, Dorset)
“It was a big goal of ours to qualify for the test event spot and represent Great Britain in the 49er FX class. We have really enjoyed sailing in Marseille. The conditions are challenging so any extra time we can take in the venue is golden! We are really proud to be on track for Paris 2024. The test event will be the perfect opportunity to get a feel for what will be needed next summer to win medals.”
Sam Sills (30, Launceston, Cornwall)
“It means an awful lot to be selected for the test event. It’s been a long and difficult journey to get here, and I’m thrilled to have been able to make it to this point. It’s probably about 20 years of work! I’ll be trying to bring home gold for Great Britain for sure.”
How do I follow the regatta?
The official website featuring results and the full entry list is here, but if you want to track the progress of the Brits the best place to do so is the British Sailing Team social media channels. Each day we will keep you posted on results, and feature the best photos the event has to offer.