World champions Saxton and Dabson make foiling Nacra 17 history
Sailing

World champions Saxton and Dabson make foiling Nacra 17 history

10 September 2017 / 20:18

Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson were left in dreamland after a stunning performance saw them finish on top of the world in the maiden foiling Nacra 17 World Championship.

The mixed multihull duo went into the final day boasting the leaders’ yellow jerseys at La Grande Motte, France, not letting up in the slightest to emphatically become world champions.

That ensured a second British success in the space of a week, following in the wake of Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, winners of the 49er world title in Portugal last weekend.

“I thought if Dylan and Stu can do it and James (Peters) and Fynn (Sterritt) got a medal as well then I thought I’d better buck my ideas up,” joked Rio 2016 Olympian Saxton.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s every dream come true.

“I’ve never been an Olympic classes world champion before. Well done to Katie, and thanks to our coaches Hugh and Derek and to National Lottery funding from back at home. It’s awesome!”

Tenth and 11th place finishes in the final fleet races ensured Saxton and Dabson entered the medal races second, though barely anything separated themselves, Italy and Spain in their bid for glory.

But two of their rival teams had a collision in the medal battle’s opening stages, leaving the Spanish second boat with a collapsing rig as neither they nor series leaders Italy were able to finish the race.

That opened the door for the British duo, but with the Spanish main fleet hot on their heels it was a far from easy finale in what was just their third regatta as a pairing.

But after Germany crossed the line, Saxton and Dabson followed them home and with Spain narrowly behind, that proved enough for Britain to be crowned world champions, the first in the foiling era.

“We had two races this morning and they didn’t go completely as we’d have liked them,” Dabson explained.

“We’d have quite liked to have a bit more of a gap but we went into the medal race pretty much with whoever won the medal race out of the top three would have won, so we had a little bit on, but we kept our cool and raced our boat.

“We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.”

Sportsbeat 2017

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