Just got back from my first event in the SB20 and loved every minute!
Must admit when I arrived on the Wednesday with no idea how to rig the boat, did feel slightly out of my depth, but everyone was so helpful, that I had the boat rigged and in the water by the time my crew, Lucy Macgregor, Richard Mason and Ali Young arrived. We even managed to sneak out for an hour practice in the evening.
First day of racing and with 4 races scheduled it was a long day on the water, but great! The wind steadily built and we finished the last race in 18-20 knots. Our results just steadily improved as the day went on and I got used to the boat and the angles downwind. We were on track for our first race win, having lead the last race until the last run, but sailed out of the pressure and finished 3rd, still not a bad result!
Much lighter winds on the Saturday and we had good pace upwind, perhaps because we were 20kg light! We had a great day with a 7th, 2nd and finally a race win in the last race! Great social evening with dinner and the beer flowing,the SB20 fleet know how to have a good time! Unfortunately no racing on Sunday not a breath of wind! So finished 5th overall and first female helm, not bad for our first event.

Lucas secures silver on 2.4mR return

Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe made it a double celebration for Great Britain in Hyeres on Friday  (26 April), claiming both the silver and bronze medals in the 2.4mR Paralympic class on the penultimate day of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta.

Lucas’s silver comes at her first regatta back since claiming Paralympic sailing gold in Weymouth and Portland last summer, while Pascoe’s bronze is her third consecutive World Cup medal of the season.

And with 16 British boats qualified for Saturday’s medal races in the Olympic Classes, hopes will be high for further British podium success at the southern French venue tomorrow.  Giles Scott and Andrew Mills are currently the top two sailors in the Finn standings, while all three podium spots in the 49er class are occupied by British boats heading into the high-stakes, high-scores final day.

Lucas and Pascoe were poised in the silver and bronze positions heading into Friday’s final day for the Paralympic classes.  Gold was already virtually assured to Germany’s Heiko Kroger, but the remaining medal spots became a three-way tussle between Lucas, Pascoe and local hero Damien Seguin, with Pascoe just outside of the podium spots with one race to go.

But both British girls fought hard, Redhill-born Lucas doing enough to hold on to silver, and Ardingly’s Pascoe getting the better of her French rival to keep her clean sweep of World Cup podium finishes this year, adding to her gold from Miami, and silver in Palma earlier this month.

“I was expecting to be a little bit rusty so I’m pretty chuffed to come away with a silver medal,” admitted the 37-year-old Paralympic Champion Lucas.

“I wasn’t using the kit that I had at the Games, so didn’t quite have the pace that I had at the Games, but I think that was quite a good thing because it made me have to focus quite a lot on the tactics and the racing, and I feel like I was actually racing quite well.”
“It doesn’t feel like that much has changed or happened in the last few months so that’s encouraging,” said Lucas on her time away from the boat. “I know exactly how to touch up the areas that I need to work on a little bit and it should all come back pretty quick, so it’s been an encouraging week I think.”

“I’m really pleased,” said Pascoe of her bronze medal.  “It’s been a tough week with a lot of the top guys coming back in, but it’s really promising for later in the year, and ultimately, hopefully, Rio.

“I’ve really progressed with my speed and my attitude that I just keep coming back in races and just keep going, because you never know what’s going to happen until the last race,” the 26-year-old continued.

“We’re fully on it with the [British] 2.4mR programme, and it is great to have more than one boat in the medals.  I think that does show that the competitiveness from last year and the years before hasn’t been lost.  There was only one point between us at the end, and I think that’s going to continue all the way.”

Racing also concluded in the three-person Paralympic Sonar class on Friday, with Britain’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas ending their first regatta back since the Games in fifth place.

The International Sailing Federation’s scoring experimentation is continuing at this regatta, with a lot of points to be gained or lost in Saturday’s medal races for the Olympic Classes.  There will be two double-points scoring medal races for the top ten boats in each Olympic Class, with the exception of the 49er and 49erFX where three double-points races will be held for the top eight boats, making for some intense racing.

In the 49er class, three British crews currently occupy the top three spots of the leaderboard, with Dave Evans and Ed Powys – bronze medallists in Palma – taking the yellow jerseys into the final day.  They’re tied on points with Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes nine points behind their teammates.

Four British sailors have qualified for the ten-boat finals in the Finn class.  Giles Scott retains his lead with a race win and a third on the water on Friday, with Andrew Mills in second, with two consistent second places leaving him just six points behind the 2011 World Champion Scott.
“Both of them could have been firsts at points so that was a little bit annoying, but I can’t really complain.  Two seconds is alright!” Mills said of his results today.

It was a shifty kind of day, so it was about playing it consistently, not hitting the corners and having relatively good boat speed around the track.  I think [Giles] has got one point further ahead, so six points behind going into a 40-point day is a reasonable place to be I’d say!

“It should be good – I quite like the medal races.  Of the new format, two medal races is something I don’t think is a bad thing.  The qualifying series I don’t like, but the medal races should be good.”

Ed Wright and Mark Andrews have also made the medal race cut, in eighth and 10th respectively, while in the Laser Radial class, a seventh and a fourth for Alison Young has seen her narrow the gap on the Dutch series leader Marit Bouwmeester to just one point.

In the RS:X women’s windsurfing event, France’s Charline Picon has extended her lead over Britain’s Bryony Shaw to 11 points heading into the final day, while Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook qualify for the 49erFX medal races in second place overall, with Penny Clark and Sophie Ainsworth making the eight-boat finals in eight place. A third British crew of Frances Peters and Nicola Groves just missed out, finishing ninth.

A strong day for Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond in the Nacra 17 event has seen them with a chance of a first podium finish in for Great Britain in the new Olympic multihull class.  The duo started their day with a third and a race win before boat breakage forced them to retire from the third race of the day.

They still end the day in fifth overall, and just one point from bronze and five points from the gold medal position.  Lucy Macgregor and Tom Phipps will also feature in the ten-boat Nacra 17 finals, currently in ninth overall.

Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield had a much-improved day in the 470 men’s event, making up for their gear failure on Thursday with a fourth and a second from their two races so see them back inside the medal race positions, in fifth overall, while Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre are up to fourth in 470 women’s event with a scores of sixth and ninth on the water today.
Nick Thompson squeaks into the Laser medal races in tenth place overall, after a testing start to his week.

For the latest news and information, visit or follow us on Twitter (@BritishSailing) for race updates.

Paralympic Champion Lucas ready for racing comeback

Helena Lucas returns to 2.4mR racing for the first time since 2012 triumph. Paralympic champion Helena Lucas will be putting a ‘whirlwind’ seven months behind her when she steps back into 2.4mR action for the first time since winning 2012 gold at next week’s ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France (22-27 April).

Lucas, who was crowned Britain’s first Paralympic sailing champion since the sport became part of the full Paralympic Games programme in 2000, will be back in competition for the first time since her triumphant display in Weymouth and Portland last summer, and admitted she’s looking forward to getting her 2016 campaign underway.“It’s bizarre because in some ways [the Games] does seem like ages ago, but when you think it’s actually more than half a year, it’s like ‘wow’!” the 37-year-old explained.  “So much has happened since then, it has been a whirlwind.  I don’t think I’ve really had time to stop and absorb it all!”

“I think after all the hype off the back of winning my gold medal, I feel like I’m ready to get my feet back down on the ground and start going sailing and back to the slightly more ‘familiar’ parts of my life – focussing on sailing and training and all that goes with that!”

Although Lucas achieved her ultimate dream by winning Paralympic gold in front of her home crowd last year, the lure of gold in Rio remains as strong as ever, and she feels she has plenty more left in the tank.

“There wasn’t any hesitation as to whether to continue [to Rio] or not, because we just felt there was so much more to do,” said the Portland-based, Redhill-born sailor.

“We’d run out of time [for London], but there was more to give, more to do and it just seemed like such a shame to throw everything away that we’d already done without having gone down the other alleyways that we hadn’t had the chance to explore for 2012.

“That’s the trouble with sailing campaigns – there’s never enough time!  It’s your biggest enemy!” laughed Lucas, whose silver medal at the 2012 Hyeres World Cup regatta sealed her selection to ParalympicsGB.

“It’ll be really good to just get back out there on the water and see everybody again.  I haven’t seen the other 2.4mR sailors for a little while so it’ll be nice to see all those faces and just get back into the routine of things.

“My aim for the week is just really to focus on the racing and tactics and getting settled back into it again.  It’s been a while, but I’m hoping it’ll be like riding a bike!”

Joining Lucas in the 2.4mR fleet for Hyeres will be Megan Pascoe, who will be aiming for a third straight World Cup podium finish to add to her gold at the Miami event in January and silver earlier this month in Palma.

Meanwhile Alison Young and Giles Scott will be looking to continue their winning ways in the Laser Radial and Finn events at this fourth and final stage of the 2012-13 Olympic Classes world tour, which kicked off at Melbourne in December.

Both Britons claimed gold amid some close contests in Palma, while windsurfer Bryony Shaw will be aiming for a third podium finish of the year to add to her World Championship silver in February, and World Cup silver in Palma.

In the 470 men’s event there’s a return to action for double Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers, racing for the first time with his new crew, the two-time World Champion Elliot Willis, while Rogers’ former crew Joe Glanfield and his new helm Luke Patience will look to build on a solid start to their new partnership in Palma where they claimed bronze at the first event together.

Finn world silver medallist Ed Wright has his first competitive foray back in the heavyweight dinghy class since the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in June last year, and Britain’s Paralympic trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas will also have their first outing since the 2012 Games this week in the Sonar event.

Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre will look to continue the momentum of Palma, their first regatta together at which they won silver, into their second World Cup event as a team next week, while Dave Evans and Ed Powys will have their sights on a second podium finish of the year in the 49er event.  They claimed bronze in Palma, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes just missing out on the podium spots in fourth.

British Sailing Team crews in the 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes will continue their education in the new Olympic classes for Rio.

The 49erFX squad is currently operating on a rotation system, so will sail in different combinations in Hyeres to those in Palma.  Charlotte Dobson teams up with Mary Rook, Penny Clark with Sophie Ainsworth, Kate Macgregor with Pippa Taylor and Frances Peters with Nicola Groves.

Nick Thompson will fly the GB flag in the Laser event, while development squad RS:X windsurfer Tom Squires will be aiming to build on his solid run Palma where he made his first ever World Cup medal race.

Click here for the full British Sailing Team line-up in Hyeres.

Racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, runs from Monday 22 April, with the final medal deciders on Saturday 27 April.

For the latest news and information, visit follow us on Twitter (@BritishSailing) for race updates during the regatta.

Helena to compete at Open World Championships

Helena to compete at Open World Championships

London 2012 Paralympic champion Helena Lucas has confirmed she will compete at the 2013 International 2.4 Metre class Open World Championships in Poole this September.

Lucas, 37, made history claiming gold at Weymouth and Portland last summer, becoming the first ever female winner of the Paralympic 2.4mR class title and Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist.

Sail for Gold Regatta


Now Lucas, who is based in Dorset, will pit her wits against the world’s top 2.4mR sailors – both able-bodied and disabled, male and female – when the 2013 2.4mR Open Worlds take place at The Poole Yacht Club from 6 – 14 September 2013.

The only woman in the London 2012 2.4mR fleet, Surrey-born Lucas dominated the Paralympic event on home waters, winning four out of her 10 races and clinching victory with an impressive nine-point cushion over second-placed Heiko Kroger (GER).

The Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo sailor admits it was the lure of trying to win another major title close to home which led to her entering this year’s 2.4mR Open Worlds.

Lucas said: “I’m only doing a handful of 2.4mR events this year but I always really wanted to try to fit the Open Worlds in if we could work my schedule around it. Gladly we have! There is something incredibly special about competing on familiar waters and I’ve got a lot of good friends within the 2.4mR class who have been so supportive of me over the years, so I’m delighted to have signed up.

“The Open Worlds are an almost unique event as they showcase the accessibility of the 2.4mR as a boat that can be sailed equally well by both able-bodied and disabled sailors. I’m really looking forward to mixing it up in what is always a fiercely-competitive fleet.” 

The International 2.4mR is a keelboat but that has the fingertip feel of a dinghy. The sailor sits facing forwards in the ‘cockpit’ of the boat with all controls within arms’ reach, so the sailing is more strategically and tactically demanding than physically. The boat is also insensitive to different sailor sizes, as body weight is always close to its centre of gravity.

Lucas was born with no thumbs and limited extension in her arms. She controls her boat with a tiller and foot pedals, using the pedals for manoeuvres so that she has both hands free to pull all the ropes. Going in straight lines she switches over to using the tiller.

As well as the 2012 Paralympic champion, Skandia Team GBR’s Megan Pascoe – arguably Lucas’ biggest rival in the battle for selection for Rio 2016 – has also confirmed her 2.4mR Open Worlds entry. Pascoe won bronze at the 2012 2.4mR Open Worlds in Italy last September, a result she described as “the best of my career to date.”

Entries for the 2013 International 2.4 Metre class Open World Championships opened two weeks ago and already the event has attracted entries from as far afield as Australia, in the shape of London 2012 Paralympian, Matt Bugg, as well as Norway, Sweden and Finland.

For more information about, or to enter the 2013 International 2.4 Metre class Open World Championships visit

Helena humbled to receive MBE

Paralympic sailing gold medallist Helena Lucas admitted to being ‘humbled and honoured’ on receiving her MBE at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (12 March).

The Redhill-born sailor was crowned London 2012 champion in the 2.4mR class at Weymouth and Portland last September, claiming an emphatic victory to become Britain’s first medallist since sailing joined the full Paralympic Games programme in 2000.

Speaking after the ceremony, Lucas said: “It really was the icing on the cake after such an amazing year.

“I’m so honoured to have received this award for doing the sport that I love.  There were so many other amazing people in the room with me from all walks of life, who were so driven, have made great sacrifices and have worked so hard for their country.  It was really quite humbling.”

The 37-year-old was awarded her MBE by HRH The Princess Royal, also President of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), and attended alongside other key figures from London 2012.  LOCOG CEO Lord Deighton was made a knight commander, while equestrian Olympians and Paralympians Mary King, Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells, and Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate were also made MBEs.

Other well-known names in attendance included choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone, awarded an OBE, and fashion expert Caryn Franklin who received an MBE.

Skandia Team GBR’s Lucas was accompanied to the investiture by her husband Steve Thomas (pictured above) and her parents Val and Geoff.

“It was so nice to have been able to share the day with them, as they’ve all been so brilliant and supportive throughout my career.  All the tradition and ceremony around the day made it really special for all of us.”

She continued: “There’s still so much excitement around London 2012.  People are still so excited about wanting to see my gold medal.

“The Games were six months ago now, which seems like ages ago to me, but people still remember it as a really big thing and just goes to show the effect it had and that the legacy is working.”

Helena nominated for ISAF World Sailor of the year

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex announced the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2012 today which includes Team Volvo sailors Ben Ainslie and Helena Lucas and RYA Volvo Team GBR’s Saskia Sills.

ISAF received nominations for the 2012 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. The nominees are put forward based on achievements made during the qualifying period of 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012. Only one nominee wins from both the male and female category and the names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award are:


Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Finn – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2012 World Champion

Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page (AUS) – Men’s 470 – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, 2011 and 2012 World Champions and 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) – 49er – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists & 2011 and 2012 World Champions

Loick Peyron (FRA) – Outright Around the World Record

Tom Slingsby (AUS) – Laser – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2011 and 2012 World Champion


Támara Echegoyen, Ángela Pumariega and Sofio Toro (ESP) – Women’s Match Racing – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists

Helena Lucas (GBR) – 2.4mR – London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist and 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion

Saskia Sills (GBR) – RS:X – ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion & European Youth Champion

Lijia Xu (CHN) – Laser Radial – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

The achievements of the 2012 nominees are:

Male Nominees

Ben Ainslie (GBR)

Ben Ainslie eclipsed Paul Elvstrøm’s (DEN) Olympic achievements at London 2012 by winning his fifth Olympic medal and fourth consecutive gold to become the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. It was fitting that a Danish sailor, Jonas Høgh-Christensen, stood in the way of Ainslie at London 2012 as a game of cat and mouse developed ensuring the Medal Race was one of the most anticipated of the competition. Ainslie held off Hogh-Christensen finishing ninth to the Danes tenth to win gold in front of a partisan home crowd and secure his place in the history books.


London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

2012 World Champion

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS)

Over the past 12 months, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have amassed eight consecutive regatta victories including the Olympic Games, two 470 World Championships and four ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas. With three consecutive World titles since they teamed up in 2009, Belcher and Page were the undisputed favourites for gold at London 2012. Given a run for their money by British rivals who took an early initiative, the Australian team held firm in the Medal Race to take the title and consecutive gold medal success for Malcolm Page, the first time this has ever been achieved in the class.

Men’s Two Person Dinghy, 470

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists

2011 World Champions

2012 World Champions

2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS)

Childhood friends Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have raised the bar in the 49er class since they teamed up in the class in 2009. The Australians have been a permanent fixture on podiums and only a second place at the 2012 Semaine Olympique Francaise tarnishes a near perfect record since they claimed their second 49er World Championship at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds. A successful defence at the 2012 49er Worlds in Zadar, Croatia teed them up nicely for the run up to London 2012 where they crushed the opposition to win gold with a race to spare.

Men’s skiff, 49er

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists

2011 World Champions

2012 World Champions

2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions

Loïck Peyron(FRA)

On 6 January 2012 at 22:14 UTC Loïck Peyron entered the history books as he and 13 crew aboard the 40m maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V smashed the Outright Around the World Record to become the fastest men around the planet. At an average speed of 19.75 knots it took just 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds for Peyron to sail the 21,600 nautical miles and claim the Jules Verne Trophy. The team also set two new intermediate records for Equator to Equator at 32d 11h 52m and the Indian Ocean record at 8d, 7h 23m. Loïck Peyron is amongst the most decorated offshore sailors of all time with his success spanning single handed, two person and crowed ocean racing right through to the America’s Cup.

Banque Populaire V, maxi trimaran

Outright Around the World Record

Tom Slingsby (AUS)

Coming into the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition Tom Slingsby was unbeaten on Weymouth and Portland waters and the overwhelming favourite to take gold. Determined to banish his Beijing 2008 demons Slingsby did not fail to impress and took the gold medal in style to become the first Australian sailor to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Slingsby’s road to London included wins at the 2011 and 2012 Laser World Championships to give him three consecutive titles and two ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta wins.

Men’s One Person Dinghy, Laser

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

2011 World Champion

2012 World Champion

Female Nominees

Támara Echegoyen, Ángela Pumariega and Sofia Toro (ESP)

The Spanish women’s match racing team tore apart the form book at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition to win the gold medal in spectacular style. Echegoyen, Pumariega and Toro, ranked #8 in the world, sailed an emphatic round robin series and never looked back. Defeating the medal favourites every step of the way they squared up against the Australian team in an epic big wind final. It all came down to a nail biting winner takes all decider and Echegoyen, Pumariega and Toro held their nerve to take the ultimate prize.

Women’s Match Racing

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

Helena Lucas (GBR)

Helena Lucas (GBR) added a bit of girl power to the open 2.4mR fleet at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as the only female sailor in the fleet. Three former Paralympic gold medallists were amongst her 15 rivals but Lucas made light work of them taking four bullets in the 10 race series to clinch the gold, and Great Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing medal. After winning a collection of silver and bronze medals to secure the 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup title, standing on top of the podium at London 2012 was a victory worth waiting for.

One Person Keelboat, 2.4mR

London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist

2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion

Saskia Sills (GBR)

At only her second international RS:X regatta Great Britain’s Saskia Sills won Under 17 gold at the RS:X European Championship aged just 15. Less than two weeks later Sills stormed to gold at the 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Dublin, Ireland, leaving the defending champion in her wake. In August this rising star of windsurfing did the World and European double, winning nine of 13 races at the EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championship.

Girl’s Windsurfing, RS;X

2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion

Lijia Xu (CHN)

Lijia Xu reigned supreme in the Laser Radial Medal Race at London 2012 to win the first Olympic gold medal in a dinghy for China. In a four-way fight for supremacy, Xu sailed a clinical race to seal the deal with a race win leaving her rivals scrapping for the other medals behind her. After winning the bronze medal in Beijing 2008, Xu was relatively quiet on the international stage and sustained a hand injury in her final preparations for her second Olympic Games. Returning to form at just the right time, Xu won three ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas in strong fields and the silver medal at the 2012 Laser Radial Worlds to enter the Olympic Games as the dark horse in the hunt for medals.

Women’s One Person Dinghy, Laser Radial

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

The Voting

The winners are selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world. The MNAs are now invited to vote for the male and female nominee they believe most deserves the Award.

The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner, taking place on Tuesday 6 November 2012. The venue for the event is the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland.

Each winner will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.

Full profiling of each nominee and their achievements will be available on the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards microsite at starting 4 October.