By Gary Anderson

The RYA has announced a cut to its Olympic Podium squad in build-up to Rio 2016 ©Getty ImagesThe Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has announced it has cut five sailors from its Olympic Podium squad following a review after the Sailing World Championships in Santander last month.

The 49er teams of Dave Evans and Ed Powys, and Steve Morrison and Chris Grube, along with Finn sailor Mark Evans, have all been dropped from the Podium squad for Rio 2016.

The revised squad now contains 29 sailors across the 10 Olympic classes, with 14 of those sailors having qualified for the highest tier of funding via UK Sport's World Class Performance Programme following medal-winning performances at key regattas.

Evans and Powys finished 14th in the 49er class at last month's World Championships, while Morrison and Grube placed 11th in the 80-strong field.

John Pink and Stuart Bithell were the best-placed Britons, finishing sixth overall in the class.

Evans did not compete in Santander, where Britain claimed gold in the Finn class through Giles Scott and bronze in the form of Edward Wright.

In addition to the Podium cuts, the Nacra 17 and 49erFX classes have seen crew changes, with Ben Saxton now partnering Nicola Groves, who transitions to the multihull from the 49erFX, while Groves' former helm Frances Peters will now sail with Katrina Best in the women's skiff.

Hannah Diamond, who previously paired with Saxton, will be trialling various potential helms in the Nacra 17 class over the coming months.

Chris Grube is one of five sailors dropped from the British Olympic Podium squad by the RYA ©Getty ImagesChris Grube is one of five sailors dropped from the British Olympic Podium squad by the RYA ©Getty Images

Explaining the changes to the Podium squad, RYA Olympic manager Stephen Park, said: "We're halfway through the Rio cycle now, and at this stage at the Podium level it's about trying to narrow down the numbers so that we can increase the level of focus and support that we can give to those sailors who we think, by their performances to date, are most likely to be challenging for podium places come 2016.

"Clearly there are some sailors who will be disappointed by some of these decisions, but it's an important part of the process towards evaluating and refining the programmes in each of the classes, and delivering the support that hopefully will allow sailors to move from fourth or fifth places to the podium, and then into those gold medal positions.

"It's that fine detail of review, planning, delivery and execution that will see those gold medals being won in a couple of years, and we'll keep taking those steps and making refinements towards our target."

Ben Saxton is set to partner Nicola Groves in the Nacra 17 class in the build-up to Rio 2016 ©Getty ImagesBen Saxton is set to partner Nicola Groves in the Nacra 17 class in the build-up to Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

The revised British Olympic Podium squad is as follows:

Finn: Giles Scott, Ed Wright
Laser: Nick Thompson
Laser Radial: Alison Young, Chloe Martin
RS:X men: Nick Dempsey
RS:X women: Bryony Shaw, Izzy Hamilton
470 women: Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark; Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre
470 men: Luke Patience and Elliot Willis
49er: Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign; John Pink and Stuart Bithell
49erFX: Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth; Frances Peters and Katrina Best
Nacra 17: Pippa Wilson and John Gimson; Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh; Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves; Hannah Diamond

The Podium Squad in Paralympic classes includes London 2012 champion Helena Lucas along with Megan Pascoe in the 2.4mR class.

London 2012 bronze medal winners Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, who just missed out on a sixth consecutive world title earlier this year, are in the SKUD class while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are in the Sonar class.

Britain won five medals at London 2012, including gold for Sir Ben Ainslie in the Finn class.

Patience and Bithell took silver in the men's 470 class as did Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the Star class, Dempsey in the men's RS:X and Mills and Clark in the women's 470 class.

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