Five-time world champions Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell will lead a strong British Paralympic sailing contingent at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Mdemblik, the Netherlands, this week, which is the second leg of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup series.
The London 2012 bronze medallists have been unbeaten in the Skud class since claiming third place on the podium at the Paralympic Games and will be looking to maintain their dominance when they take to the waters.
The pair, crowned European champions last year in Arbon, Switzerland, got their EUROSAF campaign off to a perfect start in Garda earlier this month by racing to victory, and will be keen to maintain that form when they go up against the likes of Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti of Italy and home sailors Vera Voorback and Jan Rein van Essenveld when racing gets underway tomorrow.
In the Sonar class, compatriots John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are also in top shape after impressing on the recently concluded International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup series, which saw them take silver in Miami and gold in Hyeres.
The trio will face stiff competition though as the Sonar field is particularly strong in Mdemblik and includes the likes of world number ones Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen of Norway, Beijing 2008 gold medallists Jens Kroker, Robert Prems and Siggy Marinka of Germany, as well as French trio Bruno Jourden, Nicolas Vimont Vicary and Eric Flageul and Australians Colin Harrison, John Harris and Russell Boaden, who have all impressed on the Word Cup circuit.
Meantime, Paralympic champion Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe will once again renew their rivalry in the 2.4mR class, with Pascoe proving to have the upper hand over her compatriot so far this year with three wins from three.
Home sailors Guus Bijlard and Barend Kol will be out to challenge for medal places while the likes of Kevin Cantin from France and Australian Matt Bugg will also pose a threat.
Racing in Mdemblik is due to continue Saturday (May 24).
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