Just a few weeks ago, Ben Saxton and his sailing partner Nicolai Boniface won silver at the Sailing World Cup in Genoa, Italy. They’ve now built on that success to win GOLD at the Nacra 17 European Championships sailed on the 2012 Olympic waters of Weymouth, UK.
The event consisted of a gruelling series of eighteen races over seven days, with a full range of wind and weather conditions, with 55 entries from around the world including Europe, Australasia, Asia, USA and Argentina. Finishing off with a decisive win in the Medal Race, Ben and Nikki were six points clear of their nearest rivals, fellow GBR sailors John Gimson and Anna Burnet and ten points ahead of Danish pair Lin Cenholt and CP Lubeck. The current World Champions, Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti from Italy finished in fourth place.
After the event, Ben said “We’re really pleased to have proved that we’re competitive across the whole range of weather conditions – winning is not about just excelling in one situation – you have to be good across the board. In our sport we often hear people saying that the weather is ‘not normally like this here’ so we try and be prepared for everything! The venue and race management teams at Weymouth are amongst the best in the world and combined to deliver a truly world-class event.”
For Nikki it was an exhausting week – she said “we’re improving our performance in stronger wind conditions, and we’re very happy with where we are in the medium and lighter conditions. It helps that we really enjoy sailing together in the Nacra 17”.
The pair now have a short rest period before resuming a mixture of training in Weymouth combined with rest and recuperation for Nikki whilst Ben heads off to Lake Garda in Italy for the J70 European Championships. The pair then head off to Japan, the 2020 Olympics venue, in July and August for training and competitions, before returning to Weymouth for Autumn training followed by a winter of training and racing in New Zealand and Australia – during this time they are focussed on winning the GBR Olympic selection trials to represent Great Britain at Tokyo 2020 – fingers crossed!