We are very proud of our Marlow Ambassadors, 49ers Fletcher & Bithell and Nacra 17 Saxton & Boniface who have had great success in the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.
Fletcher, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, and Rochdale’s Bithell survived a capsize in the drama-filled final race to seal third place. The medals mean that the pair have finished on the podium at every regatta they’ve entered this year. The pair who use Marlow's Excel Dinghy range won gold at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma and European Championships, and silver at the Miami round of the World Cup Series and the Tokyo 2020 test event.
Fletcher and Bithell were beaten to the world championship title by reigning Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, with Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel as runners up. However the 2020 worlds is scheduled for early February – and Fletcher explains their goal will be to dethrone their Kiwi rivals ahead of Tokyo 2020.
“We are super proud to round our 2019 season off with a world championship medal. Being the only team to medal at every major regatta we have entered shows our consistency. Although we are not content and need to improve our game to consistently winning, the room is there and we left a lot of points on the table this week. Next up its the 2020 worlds in two months, we will be looking to build on this and take the title.”
Fletcher and Bithell went into the final day’s racing in third but needed to get through two fleet races before the double-points medal race. Breezy conditions in Auckland made for exciting racing – and after holding on to third going into the medal race Fletcher and Bithell’s bronze was thrown into jeopardy when they were among four teams to capsize. But a quick recovery saw them finish eighth, enough to give them a one-point overall advantage over Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra.
“Today was pretty hectic,” Bithell, 33, admitted. “We had two windy fleet races and then back out for the medal race. The conditions once again proved difficult - short chop and heaps of breeze. We did a good job on the fleet racing managing to get a 15-point lead over 4th place. Unfortunately, first and second was out the equation for the final medal race, but we raced conservatively to hold onto the bronze medal. There was a final twist down the last run where four boats capsized at the gybe point, we managed to recover quickest which was enough for the bronze. Overall we are super happy and still believe we left a lot of easy points on the water.”
Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface, who are Marlow rigged British Nacra 17 competitors, finished sixth overall. Saxton, from Cambridge, said: “We’re really happy that we sailed well this week. Our continuous medal streak is over which is a shame but we’re proud of what we achieved. Let’s win gold at the next worlds in Geelong in February!”
Well done to all of our Marlow rigged ambassadors. Results from the regatta can be found here.