Meet the Team GB sailing squad for Rio 2016
Road to Rio

Meet the Team GB sailing squad for Rio 2016

04 May 2016 / 09:59

With less than 100 days to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games get underway today marks a big step on Team GB’s journey to Brazil with the announcement of the final four sailing athletes selected to compete at the Games.

A total of 15 athletes have now been selected for the sailing events at the Games with the first announcements coming in September and March before the squad was finalised with today’s additions.

British sailors have established a proud tradition of excellence in Olympic competition, having won 55 medals – including 26 golds – since sailing made its debut at the inaugural Games in 1896, with Team GB topping the overall Olympic sailing medal table.

So, let’s meet the team!


Giles-Scott

Giles Scott: Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy)

From: Huntingdon

Age: 28

After missing out on London 2012 selection to the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, Giles has dominated the Finn class in the build-up to Rio 2016 and is now unbeaten in two years.

That winning streak, which runs from Giles’ return to the Olympic classes in October 2013 following a stint America’s Cup racing, includes victories at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and twice at Rio Test Events with the most recent coming in August 2015. 

Born in Huntingdon, the 28-year-old was an ISAF Youth World Champion in the Laser class in 2005 before migrating into the heavyweight Finn at the end of 2006.  He was Finn Junior World Champion in 2008 and has three Finn World Championship medals to his name – two of which are gold.  

 Nick-Thompson

Nick Thompson: Laser (Men’s One Person Dinghy)

From: Lymington

Age: 29

Nick showed serious signs of his future Olympic credentials when, as an 18-year-old, he took Laser gold at the 2004 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Gdynia, Poland. 

 Since then, the Lymington sailor has been a regular on the podium at senior level, with highlights including bronze medals at the 2009 and 2014 World Championships and silver in 2010 and 2011.  He finally claimed the top spot of the podium at this summer’s Laser World Championships.

 Nick just missed out on London 2012 selection as Beijing 2008 gold medallist Paul Goodison took Team GB’s single Laser spot but, in the build up to Rio 2016, the 29-year-old has been in fine form and in addition to his World Championship successes, he is a regular podium finisher on the World Cup circuit.

Alison-Young
 

Alison Young: Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy)

From: Bewdley

Age: 28

Alison first started sailing at the age of eight and quickly progressed through the classes at junior and youth level before finishing third at the 2005 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Korea.

In the senior ranks, the Wolverhampton-born sailor has a European Championship bronze to her name and a string of podium finishes at World Cup level. Alison made her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games, where she finished fifth in the Laser Radial class having been in the medal-chasing group throughout the regatta.

With her focus on Rio 2016,the 28-year-old secured a quota place for Team GB after recording a ninth place finish at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships, following a silver medal at the Rio Test Event a month earlier.

Saskia-Clark

Hannah-Mills

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark: 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy)

From: Cardiff and Colchester

Ages:  27 and 36

London 2012 silver medallists Hannah and Saskia have continued to impress over the last three years, with the pair’s recent tally including silver medals at the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events, bronze at the 2014 World Championships and World Cup gold on their home waters of Weymouth and Portland in June this year.

The pair first teamed up with 470 in February 2011 and the pair saw immediate success on the water. A silver medal at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships was followed by gold at the 2012 470 World Championships.

Saskia is also a two-time Olympian having first had her taste of the Olympic Games at Beijing 2008 when she finished sixth alongside Christina Bassadone in the women’s 470 class.

Bryony-Shaw

Bryony Shaw: RS:X Women (Women’s Windsurfer)

From: Wandsworth

Age: 32

Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Bryony first began windsurfing as a nine-year-old when away on holiday with her family in the south of France.

The Wandsworth-born windsurfer has been a regular on the podium at major events, winning medals at European and World Championships as well as her success in Beijing. Bryony’s Olympic bronze was Team GB’s first ever women’s windsurfing medal.

Four years later at London 2012, after an illness-marred season, Bryony finished seventh - 12 points off a second bronze medal - as Spain’s Marina Alabau took gold. 

At the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships the 32-year-old finished fifth in the women’s  RS:X class to qualify Team GB a quota spot for Rio 2016 and followed her silver a year earlier at the RS:X World Championships. 

In 2015, Bryony has secured World Cup wins in Miami and Abu Dhabi as well as gold at the RS:X European Championships in Sicily.



NICK D FINAL

Nick Dempsey, 35, from Norwich and now lives in Weymouth

Event: RSX Men

Nick Dempsey first competed at an Olympic Games at Sydney 2000 where he finished 16th in the Mistral class before becoming Team GB’s first-ever Olympic windsurfing medallist with bronze at Athens 2004.

Four years later at Beijing 2008 Dempsey just missed out on the podium, finishing fourth in the RS:X class, but the Norwich-born athlete added to his Olympic haul with silver in the same event at London 2012.

Dempsey is also a two-time RS:X World Champion having taken gold in 2013 and 2009.


CHARLOTTE DOBSON FINAL

Charlotte Dobson, 29, born in Glasgow and now lives in Weymouth

Event: 49erFX

Charlotte Dobson first paired with 49erFX partner Sophie Ainsworth in 2013 and in the following years the boat has impressed on the world stage.

A fifth and seventh in the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events preceded fifth place in the 2015 49erFX World Championships as the pair prepare for their Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016.

Dobson began her sailing career as a junior Optimist before moving onto Laser Radial where she was a two-time Youth European Champion and won silver as a senior in 2010.

After narrowly missing out at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic trials, the Glasgow-born sailor opted for a move to the two-person 49erFX teamed up with Ainsworth. 


SOPHIE A

Sophie Ainsworth, 26, born in Ashford, Kent and now lives in Weymouth

Event: 49erFX

Sophie Ainsworth first paired with 49erFX partner Charlotte Dobson in 2013 and in the following years the boat has impressed on the world stage.

A fifth and seventh in the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events preceded fifth place in the 2015 49erFX World Championships as the pair prepare for their Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016.

Like Dobson, Ainsworth learnt to sail in an Optimist before going onto a 420 and 29er, where she became 2007 Youth and Ladies World Champion.

In the senior ranks, Ainsworth became a 470 European Champion in 2012 and was training partner for the London 2012 silver medal winning pairing of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark.


BEN S

Ben Saxton, 25, born in Cambridge and now lives in Weymouth

Event: Nacra 17

After partnering with Nicola Groves in September 2014, the pair saw immediate success in the Nacra 17 class with a seventh place finish at the 2014 Sailing World Cup Finals in Abu Dhabi.

In 2015, the pair won silver at the World Cup in Miami before going one better to become European Champions in September.

Prior to teaming up with Groves, Saxton – who has been part of the British Sailing Team since 2008 - collected a Nacra 17 World Championship silver medal alongside Hannah Diamond in 2013 and was a 470 European silver medallist with Richard Mason in 2012.


NICOLA G FINAL

Nicola Groves, 26, born in Surbiton, now lives in Southampton

Event: Nacra 17

After partnering with Ben Saxton in September 2014, the pair saw immediate success in the Nacra 17 class with a seventh place finish at the 2014 Sailing World Cup Finals in Abu Dhabi.

In 2015 the pair won silver at the World Cup in Miami before going one better to become European Champions in September.

Groves joined the British Sailing Team in 2013 and initially specialised in the 49erFX class, triumphing in the Sail for Gold Regatta that year. Prior to the introduction of the 49erFX to the Olympic programme, Groves competed internationally in the Topper and 29er at youth level. 

LukePatience3200
Luke Patience, 29, from Aberdeen

Event: Men's 470

Luke Patience won a silver medal at London 2012 in the 470 class alongside Stuart Bithell.

Following London, Patience raced alongside Elliot Willis and the pair enjoyed a successful campaign, winning gold at the 2015 Miami World Cup and the 470 European Championships in 2014, silver at the Rio 2016 Test Event and a fourth place at the 2014 ISAF World Championships, which secured a quota place at the Olympic Games.

In late 2015, following Willis’s diagnosis for bowel cancer, Patience teamed up with Chris Grube and the pair were selected to represent Team GB at Rio 2016.  

ChrisGrube3200
Chris Grube, 31, from Chester, now lives in Clitheroe

Event: Men's 470

Chester’s Chris Grube sailed with double Olympic medallist Nick Rogers in a bid to seal qualification for London 2012 but missed out to Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.

Alongside Rogers, he finished tenth at the 2011 Sailing World Championships in Perth before teaming up with Bithell in 2013 in the 49er class.

Grube has previously sailed in the 470 with Patience until 2009, with the pair resuming partnership in late 2015 and securing their spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

DylandFletcher3200
Dylan Fletcher, 28, from Market Harborough, now lives in Portland


Event: 49er

Dylan Fletcher started racing at 13 and quickly got the bug. He progressed through 405′s winning various events and national titles before moving into the 29er Youth class at 15.

After a few months he was selected for the RYA National Youth Squad and from then moved up the ranks to finally finish second overall and first youth at the 29er World Championships in 2006, after which time he Alain Sign teamed up together in the Olympic 49er class.

The duo have won two European Championship silver medals and earned their first 49er World Championship medal – a bronze – at the 2016 Worlds in Clearwater, USA before being selected for Rio 2016. 

AlainSign3200Alain Sign, 30, from Lee-on-the-Solent

Event: 49er

Alain Sign started sailing aged ten and sailed Toppers until he was 16, winning a host of national events.

He then moved into the 29er class, a feeder class for the Olympic 49er, winning the World Championships, Europeans and Nationals in 2004, after which time he teamed up with Dylan Fletcher to campaign in the 49er.

Sign and Fletcher have won two European Championships silver medals together and earned their first 49er World Championship medal – a bronze at the 2016 Worlds in Clearwater, USA before they were selected for Rio 2016.  

*This article has been updated to reflect the team changes.