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Team GB's chosen ones out to lay down a marker at 49er and 49erFX World Championships


Paris-bound pairs lead Brit contingent in Lanzarote


What, where and when?
The 49er and 49erFX World Championships will take place in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, from March 5 to March 10.

Four British 49er crews and two 49erFX teams will take on the world’s best this week. Heading the field will be Team GB’s chosen ones: James Peters and Fynn Sterritt in the 49er, and Freya Black and Saskia Tidey in the FX. The Paris-bound pairs will be joined by British Sailing Team compatriots James Grummett / Rhos Hawes, alongside the British Sailing Squad’s Elliot Wells / Billy Vennis-Ozanne and Fin Armstrong / Ewan Gribbin. Eleanor Keers / Jess Jobson and Duncan Gregor / Freddie Lonsdale from the transition squad will also compete.

The lowdown
Our top two teams booked nation spots for Paris 2024 at the 2023 Sailing World Championships, and then earned themselves Team GB spots as a result. Every event from that point on serves as a crucial performance benchmark in the countdown to the Games. The European Championships last October didn’t go our way, with Peters and Sterritt finishing 26th, and Black and Tidey 33rd. However, after a solid winter of training in Portugal and Lanzarote, the crews will be out to show their talent with less than five months until racing begins in Marseille.

Anything else?
New British Sailing Team pair James Grummett and Rhos Hawes won the Portugal Grand Prix in December, beating some top teams in the process, so keep an eye on them as they line up for their first big test as a partnership.

What they said:
James Peters (Hayling Island, Hants)
“Our form last season was just shy of medal standard, consistently between fifth and tenth. Over the winter, everything we’ve been doing has been focusing on continuing to do all of that good stuff but just to inject a bit of spark into it. That’s not easy but we feel like we’re moving forwards. Fynn and I wouldn’t have started this campaign if we didn’t think we had the potential to win the Olympics, and certainly to be going in as a strong medal contender.
The Worlds is a big halfway marker for us. Let’s be honest, anywhere in the top 10 is a good result but we’re aiming for more than that, we want to be among those medals.”

Fynn Sterrit (Kingussie, Scotland):
“The Dutch guys [Bart Lambreix and Floris van de Werken] are the guys to beat, they are three-time world champions for a reason. They can turn it on when it matters. They will be hard to beat. But if anyone is up to it, we are. I think this probably the first Games for the 49er for a long time where there aren’t any previous medallists, a lot of guys have moved on. All the guys from the podium in Tokyo have retired. That leaves the door open for anyone.

“The Dutch definitely go in as favourites but there are a few other boats that aren’t far behind them and we think we are one of them. We are up for the fight and we can lean on all the history we have together and past success.”

Freya Black (Goudhurst, Kent):
“The 2023 Worlds in The Hague were so important to try and qualify for the nation, we had the added strain of our own trials and qualifying the nation. This World Championships feels slightly different because the whole of last year was training for that Worlds whereas this year, everything is leading up to the Games. We definitely want to put a marker down on in Lanzarote. Having selection early means you can plan so much better, you’re in a stable position and you can focus on Paris as the goal rather than having this World Championships as the goal to qualify.”

Saskia Tidey (Portland, Dorset):
“Historically, having done three Olympic cycles now, I would use this Worlds as a bit of a dress rehearsal for the Olympics, but for us, we are definitely using it as a proper World Championships. It’s exciting because it's a different way to approach it but it creates a great opportunity to see where everyone else is at the moment and try to execute a number of our skills.

“However, it won't be a massive indicator of what we're going to be capable of at the Olympics. We've got a European Championships in May, which again, all the international boats will attend, so there are probably two other regattas between now and the Olympics which we feel are better-suited for us to go lay down a bit of a marker.”

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