Saxton sees positives from opening day of Sailing World Cup

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

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

Ben Saxton may not currently be among the medals at the Sailing World Cup regatta in Weymouth but some positive signs on the opening day mean he is still confident of a successful week.

The Ashwell sailor is competing alongside partner Nicola Groves in the Nacra 17 class at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy with the duo lying fifth in the overall standings following Thursday’s action.

A lack of wind ensured all racing was cancelled on Wednesday but with a healthier breeze 24 hours later, Saxton and Groves sailed impressively to finish second and fourth in the opening two races before slipping back slightly with 12th and tenth-placed efforts.

The regatta is serving as final preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the British pair and Saxton is keen for the duo to improve on their slow starts to races.

“There were plenty of positives and we were sailing well when we were near the front, passing boats and doing well in races,” he explained.


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“We just need to get involved a bit earlier and be a bit nearer the front after the start so we’re not giving ourselves so much to do.

“Conditions were as expected in the end. We launched in more wind than we thought but by the time we were racing it was on forecast.

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“It was a bit misty but you could see enough and it actually turned into a beautiful day.”

The World Cup regatta continues in Weymouth today and on Saturday before concluding with Sunday’s medal races, worth double points.

Wednesday was gloriously sunny but the lack of breeze meant that despite a couple of false starts racing ultimately wasn’t possible – much to the frustration of the sailors.

And while Saxton was disappointed to have that scheduled first day cancelled, he took it all in his stride.

“It’s easier to take the fact that you’re not racing when it’s the first day,” added the 25-year-old. “It was quite clear early on that there was no racing going to be happening.

“We were ready to go in the next minute but didn’t really expect to. It’s really stressful waiting when you think there’s wind and you’re still on shore but that wasn’t the case on Wednesday.

“It was obvious and the race officers did well to not send us out. Nicola got to practise her dot-to-dot book and we just relaxed, so it was all good.”

Tickets for the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland are available at www.rya.org.uk/go/swcgb.

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 britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing.

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