Exmouth trio sailing at Weymouth

PUBLISHED: 19:39 11 August 2010 | UPDATED: 19:39 11 August 2010

River Exe Regatta
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, 49er, fly the spinnaker used at the China Olympics

River Exe Regatta Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, 49er, fly the spinnaker used at the China Olympics

Copyright 2009 Mike Rice/fotoboat

THIS week the latest event in the build-up for the 2012 Olympics is taking place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

The Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta has attracted almost 1,000 sailors from 57 nations, all keen to test the waters on which the next Olympic regatta will be held, writes Mike Rice.

The competitors range from experienced Olympians, including many medal winners from 2008, to those bidding to catch the selector’s eye for their national Olympic teams in 2012 and beyond that.

The three Exmouth sailors on the water this week cover the full range.

At the experienced end, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes represented Great Britain in the high-performance 49er class at the China Olympics.

They are former World Champions in the class, and this year took the silver medal at the European Championships.

By contrast, Ben Cornish, who is sailing in the Laser class, is in his first year of top level competition.

Last year he won the South West regional Laser championships and he has turned in some great performances this year, but he will face the stiffest possible competition in the Laser class, where the current Olympic and World champions will both be sailing.

Ben said “This is a good opportunity to sharpen my skills by sailing against the best in the world and it will be great preparation for the Laser youth World Championships at Hayling Island later this month.”

At the end of the first day Morrison and Rhodes were in 6th place, nine points off the lead and five points behind Team GBR rivals Chris Draper and Peter Greenhalgh.

Unsurprisingly, Ben Cornish was well down in a fleet that included most of the current Olympic, World and European medallists.

Racing continues until Saturday, when the top ten in each fleet will battle it out for the medals.

Look out for a full report in next week’s Journal.

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