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Team GB athletes look to score at iQFOiL World Championships



Emma Wilson and Sam Sills lead the British Sailing Team in Lanzarote


What, where and when? 
The iQFOiL World Championship will take place in Lanzarote from January 29 until February 3. 

Emma Wilson, Team GB’s pick for Paris 2024, will be joined in the women’s fleet by fellow senior British Sailing Team athlete Islay Watson. Alice Read, Lucy Kenyon and Jennie Roberts from the British Sailing Squad will also be in action. In the men’s fleet, Paris 2024 athlete Sam Sills will line up alongside the BST’s Matt Barton and Finn Hawkins. The BSS’s Charlie Dixon, Duncan Monaghan, Max Beaman and Boris Shaw will be looking to stamp their marks on the international fleet.

The lowdown 
Only five months have passed since the last World Championships – but with Paris 2024 just around the corner the Olympic classes calendar is front-loaded with high-stakes regattas. Both men’s and women’s fleets are stacked, with 118 and 96 riders respectively. And with most countries still in the midst of selection battles, the tension in the boat park is palpable. Team GB made an early call, choosing Emma Wilson and Sam Sills to represent them at Paris 2024 back in October. But that doesn’t relieve much pressure on the British medal hopefuls, as a World Championships podium finish six months out from the Games would send a significant message to their rivals. Wilson scooped a silver at the Paris 2024 test event and a bronze at the Sailing World Championships, but, having led both regattas up until the final couple of days, she will be looking to cement her place on top of the podium. Sills dominated the iQFOiL class in the early stages of 2023 but missed the podium at the test event and the Sailing World Championships, a record he will be looking to rectify this week.

Anything else? 
Although Paris 2024 selection is decided, the British Sailing Team and British Sailing Squad athletes will be out to impress in Lanzarote. Matt Barton was a silver medallist at the 2021 iQFOiL World Championships, while Finn Hawkins took gold in the under 21 category at the same event. Young gun Charlie Dixon won the World Sailing and iQFOiL class Youth World Championship titles in 2022, while Duncan Monaghan took under 19 silver at the 2023 European Championships.

What they said: 
Emma Wilson (Weymouth, Dorset):
“I am looking forward to the worlds, it’s exciting. Everyone is pushing hard as most people are still in their Olympic selection process so I expect some super close racing! I’ve also been pushing hard since the last World Champs and have spent the last few months in Lanzarote preparing for it. So, it should be fun!”

Sam Sills (Launceston, Cornwall):
“It’s been a tough couple of months – I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a performance hole which I haven’t got out of yet, but I see the light on the horizon and I’m working as hard as I can to get there. A few things haven’t gone my way recently but I’m going to put all my effort in, do the best I can and not give up. I can’t wait to race in a massive fleet again. It’s going to be a really important event because lots of nations are still looking to secure their spot at the Games. The level is high and the feeling is intense. I’m excited to be a part of that and hopefully be in the mix.”

Matt Barton (Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk):
“I’m looking forward to the start of the 2024 World Championships. It’s the last major event before the Olympics this summer, so a great test to see where we line up against the best in the world. I’m very excited to get racing.”

How do I follow the regatta? 
The official website featuring results and the full entry list is here. 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.

About the author

Will Carson