Saxton leads from the front in the hunt for a Sailing World Cup medal

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves. Picture: British Sailing Team/Rachel Jaspersen

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves. Picture: British Sailing Team/Rachel Jaspersen - Credit: Archant

A brilliant performance ensured Ben Saxton will take the overall lead into Sunday’s medal race at the Sailing World Cup in Weymouth but he is adamant that won’t mean a more conservative gameplan.

A lack of wind has meant a reduced schedule at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy this week but Nacra 17 sailor Saxton has capitalised whenever he has been out on the water, and did so again on Saturday.

Alongside partner Nicola Groves, the Ashwell sailor dominated the field – recording comfortable victories in the two races completed to surge to the top of the overall standings, seven points ahead of German duo Paul Kohlhoff and Carolina Werner.

That is a healthy advantage for the British pair to take into the medal race but Saxton claims it would be dangerous to change their approach now.

“I don’t think you can be a bit more defensive even when you’re leading going into the medal race,” he explained.

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“If we sail a good race we win the regatta which is the best thing about being in the lead on the final day.

“Everything is under our control and this is going to be great practice for the Rio Olympics because that will be a small fleet like this.

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“We’ve sailed a great few days but we’re not too far ahead of the other guys so hats off to them for still being there. Now we have a good chance to practise staying ahead of the field.”

Sunday’s sailing consists of a sole medal race, worth double points, with the winners being the pair atop the overall standings at the conclusion of that race.

With this World Cup being the final major competition before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August, sailors are using the event to fine-tune preparations.

Saxton and Groves are no different but the 25-year-old is also pleased to lay some demons from 12 months prior to rest.

“We try our hardest not to feel the pressure of being in the lead,” added Saxton. “If we weren’t winning, that is where we would want to be, so we have to keep remembering that.

“It would be really good to get a win here. This event was quite bad for us last year so it’s nice to already be having a much better time this time around.”

The National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team is proudly supported by official partners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Follow the team’s latest news and updates at or on Twitter @BritishSailing.

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