In this month’s British Sailing Team column, Dylan Fletcher looks forward to his Olympic Games debut as he and Alain Sign earn the nod in the 49er class.
It is a dream come true to be able to say that we will be on the plane to Rio, having been officially selected for Team GB!
After a long drive home from the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, Alain and I got the call from our team manager to say that the selectors had made their decision, and we would be going to our first Olympic Games this summer.
It took a while to sink in, but it feels absolutely amazing, and we are super excited and so proud to be representing Team GB.
The 49er trials were incredibly close this time and we did not make the selectors’ lives easy. It was super tight, especially with Pinky [John Pink] and Stu [Bithell]. We are really good mates with them, and we both pushed each other to the end and we are just really happy that we came out on top.
Alain and I have been sailing together for nearly 10 years now, we are best mates, so to be going to the Olympic Games with him is really special. We have worked so hard for this and he is the best crew in the world. When we are on our day we are untouchable.
We have not had an easy time of it during the trials, but we know we can turn out a podium performance when the chips are down, so hopefully we can bring that to the Games, enjoy it and have a good week.
AGAINST THE KIWIS
In the 49er fleet we obviously have a very dominant Kiwi team, who are unbeaten since the previous Games so that will be a difficult hurdle to overcome and beat them, but for sure we are aiming for gold and we will see how we get on.
We have spent quite a lot of time in Rio, we have quite a good track record over there and we have always just tried to keep our heads down, keep the routines, stick to the processes. It is definitely a tricky venue; you can quite easily have bad days there and not do much wrong.
I think the Olympic regatta is going to be a real test of mental toughness during the week. We will put everything into practice and hopefully pull off a great result.
What is also great about the Olympics is how much it means to other people – to our friends and families who have supported us for so long, but also to fans of sailing and sport in general who become hooked on and inspired by the Games. That was me, and now I am going to be a part of it. It is quite surreal!
We have shipped our Games boat out to Rio so that is pretty exciting. Our main job now is a bit of kit testing and really just trying to tweak everything, maximising the boat and ourselves so we can get the best out of that combination in August.
Before the final run in to Rio though we have our home Sailing World Cup regatta in Weymouth and Portland in June, which will be a great opportunity for some of our British supporters to come and experience what Olympic classes racing is all about, and come and see the team who will be representing them this summer. It should be a great event.
Tickets for the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland, to be held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from 6 – 12 June, are available at www.rya.org.uk/go/swcgb
The National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team is proudly supported by official partners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Follow the team’s latest news and updates at britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing