Double delight for British Sailing in Florida
03 February 2019 / 13:04
Shrewd Dylan Fletcher claimed 'age and wisdom' helped him secure World Cup silver alongside Stuart Bithell in Miami.
British Sailing celebrated a double in Florida as 2017 world champions Fletcher and Bithell struck 49er class silver while Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey bagged 49er FX bronze.
30-year-old Fletcher and Bithell, 32, had to draw on all of their experience when ruled as one of five boats to begin the race in front of the start line.
The British pair were the only ones to turn back and restart the race, a pragmatic move that paid off in the first Olympic classes race of 2019.
“It was a difficult situation for us with the German team coming after us,” said the Thames Ditton racer.
“We had a game plan – unfortunately we were over the line but age and wisdom has taught us to go back.
“After that the results were set and we had to settle for silver. It’s a great start to the 2019 season leaving us hungry for gold as we progress to the European regattas.”
The pair surged to a sixth in the medal race, amounting a tally of ten points, which proved enough to claim second in the overall standings behind German’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel.
Meanwhile in the same event, teammates James Peters and Fynn Sterritt crossed the line early and took fifth overall after winning the opening race.
The pair scooped the World Cup title in Enoshima in the last round of the series, forming perfect preparation on the very course where Tokyo 2020’s sailing events will be held.
More success followed earlier in the day after Dobson and Tidey roared to a bronze in Biscayne Bay.
The Scottish duo, who competed separately at Rio 2016, scooped eight race points from the tenth and final race to secure bronze overall.
Dobson, 32, said: “We had nothing to lose and everything to gain going into the race, so the strategy was to try to win the start and assess the points situation at the top mark.
“We were really pleased that we just kept chipping away but it wasn't quite enough to pip the Kiwis, who were struggling.
“All in all it was another good light wind performance is really encouraging."
World Sailing Championship bronze medallist Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth clinched sixth in the standings after winning both the opening and eighth races in the Florida state.
Elsewhere, John Gimson and Anna Burnet were unfortunate to miss out on another bronze for Britain with the duo fighting their way to fourth in Nacra 17.
Eighteen-year-old three-time RS:X Women’s Youth World Champion Emma Wilson finished with a bang with an impressive fourth-placed finish, but it wasn’t enough for a medal as she finished ninth overall.