Bithell and Fletcher headline successful Europeans for British sailors

Bithell and Fletcher headline successful Europeans for British sailors

05 August 2017 / 12:11

It was bittersweet for Stuart Bithell and 49er partner Dylan Fletcher as they took gold at the European Championships despite not racing on the final day due to the weather.

Strong winds in Kiel, Germany, brought an early end to the 49er FX and 49er competitions, meaning that the overnight positions determined medals in the latter on the final day of racing.

That left Bithell and Fletcher taking gold ahead of teammates James Peters and Fynn Sterritt – with event honours going to a European crew for the first time in recent years.

Bithell said: “The weather didn’t allow us to race, a bit unfortunate but as a result of that we took the victory overall so very happy with that.” 

Fletcher continued: “The racing has been really close all week especially with the qualifying points being halved, we had a nice advantage. 

“It ended up with just one point between us and Dave Gilmore-Joel Turner (AUS), so it was super close. The win in the last race yesterday put us into the lead so we’re stoked to do that!” 

Elsewhere there was silver for Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey in the 49er FX while Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson took bronze in the Nacra 17.


With the breeze building and capsizes throughout the ten-boat 49er FX fleet, racing was called to a halt and the final race cancelled leaving the first two races to decide the medals.

Dobson and Tidey held their nerve to score 8 and 5, and with it secured silver at their first European Championships together.

Dobson said: “Today was very wet and windy, we ended up doing two medal races in super windy, shifty and gusty conditions which made it more of a boat-handling race, but we managed to muscle our way through the course!” 

Meanwhile Saxton and Dabson came from behind in the first ever fully-foiling European Nacra 17, taking the final two bullets to seal the bronze medal.

The pair came within touching distance of the gold, but were happy with a medal after Dabson only stepped into the boat for the World Cup Final in June.

She said: “It’s pretty cool, I’m really happy – you can’t ask for much more than that from my first ever foiling event and only second ever Nacra event.”

Fellow Brits Tom Phipps and Nikki Boniface finished fifth in the Nacra 17, with John Gimson and Anna Burnet sixth, and Chris Rashley and Laura Marimon eighth.

Sportsbeat 2017

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Photo credit: Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy