Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Rickham and Birrell ready for SKUD European Championships

by RYA on 10 May 2013
Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell competing in the SKUD18 class © Richard Langdon http://www.oceanimages.co.uk
The Paralympic sailing bronze medallists Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are anticipating kick starting their Rio 2016 campaign in earnest this week when they compete for honours at the SKUD European Championships in Arbon, Switzerland (9-12 May).

Aside from a ‘shakedown’ at the domestic RYA Spring Series weekend event at Weymouth and Portland in March, the four-time World Champions have been away from competitive action in the SKUD since claiming their Paralympic podium finish back in September.

This week, Epsom’s Rickham and Birrell, from Knutsford, will line up with nine other crews at the Lake Constance venue in a bid to start their road to Rio with a European crown.

'It’ll be great to kick the event off and get our heads back into racing again. I’m excited to get started,' the 31-year-old Rickham explained.

'It’s a significant event in that it’s the first time we’ve really seen a proper fleet at the SKUD Europeans. There are a lot of new teams competing here this week, which really shows the SKUD fleet is moving forwards with some new faces in the mix and hopefully that will continue.'

This is the British duo’s first opportunity for international racing this year as there have been no SKUD fleets at the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup series events. But the pair have nonetheless been taking opportunities elsewhere to hone their skills.

'Although it’s our first proper event since the Games, it’s not like we’ve just been sitting around watching TV and getting fat!' Birrell, 26, explained.

'Alex has been off doing some 2.4mR sailing in Miami and I’ve been sailing in some able-bodied fleets to keep my hand in and help develop some of the tactical sides of things.'

'Learning to sail a 2.4mR was an experience, that’s for sure!' Rickham admitted of her experience sailing the one-person Paralympic class in which Helena Lucas claimed gold last summer.

'There were a few tantrums and tears, and going out in 15 knots on my first day was a pretty scary baptism of fire! It was pretty useful though in helping me develop my racing skills, increasing my confidence and improving my tactics, even if it’s not the easiest boat to sail if you’re tetraplegic!'

Racing at the SKUD European Championships, part of the Access Class Europeans, takes place over four days, with two races per day. While Birrell is pragmatic about the work ahead in order to achieve Paralympic gold in 2016, the competitor in him remains fired up for Swiss silverware come Sunday.

'We ticked the box to a certain extent with a medal at the Paralympics, but a gold medal in Rio is definitely our motivation. There’s still an awful lot to be done between now and then though – you have to make the cake before you can eat it!

'We’re approaching the event in quite a relaxed way. That said, I never start a sailing event with the aim of doing anything other than winning it so it’ll be good to start racing again and get the competitive juices going!'

For results and regatta information visit Access Class Euro RYA website
Mackay BoatsBarz Optics - Melanin LensesPredictWind.com

Related Articles

Quantum Key West Race Week – Day 4 images and videos by Nic Douglass
Nic Douglass has provided these images and videos from day four Nic Douglass has provided these images and videos from day four
Posted on 20 Jan
Australian Finn Championships images by Dinghy Fever Photography
With so many British flags the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking there was a colonial uprising taking place With so many sails sporting British or Australian flags the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking there was some kind of colonial uprising taking place on the water.
Posted on 18 Jan
Inaugural GC32 Championship coming up next month
A joint gathering of the international fleets of GC32 one design foiling catamarans is to take place in Muscat This will be the first occasion ever that the GC32 Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series™ fleets have combined to lock horns on the race course.
Posted on 18 Jan
Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta - Blown away in Miami
The second regatta in 2017 Etchells Biscayne Bay Series, Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta was held last weekend in Miami. The second regatta in the 2017 Etchells Biscayne Bay Series, the Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta was held last weekend in Miami. The weekend racing was dominated by the major cold front that was making headlines throughout the Eastern USA.
Posted on 17 Jan
2017 Top of the Gulf Regatta. Open for entries.
The 2017 edition of Top of the Gulf Regatta is now open for entries The 13th edition of the Top of the Gulf Regatta, presented by Ocean Marina, Jomtien Beach, Thailand, is open for entries. The event will run 4-8 May. TOG regularly attracts more than 250 boats, with classes for Optimists, 420, Lasers and beach cats, ocean multihulls, IRC rated monohulls, cruisers and Platu One Design. Organisers already report strong interest and early sign-ups.
Posted on 11 Jan
55th Australian Flying Fifteen Championship - Invitational race
Esperance delivered ideal conditions for a genteel introduction to the Gemmill Homes 55th FF Australian Nationals Esperance delivered ideal conditions for a genteel introduction to the Gemmill Homes 55th Flying Fifteen Australian National Championship.
Posted on 1 Jan
World Sailing - The World Sailing Show - December 2016
December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing covering America's Cup, racing in the Southern Ocean and more. Plus, Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Sir Russell Coutts; our tribute to a spectacular year afloat along with news and views from around the world.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Australian Flying Fifteen Championships - Competitors ready for action
Esperance Bay Yacht Club are hosting the International Flying Fifteen 55th Australian National Championships Esperance Bay Yacht Club are hosting the International Flying Fifteen 55th Australian National Championships from Friday 30th December 2016 to Thursday 5th January 2017.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Paul Elvström - a look at the life and times of sailing's Greatest
Noted UK yachting writer and historian, David Henshall takes a detailed look at the life of Paul Elvstrom Noted UK yachting writer and historian, David Henshall takes a detailed look at the life and achievements of Paul Elvstrom, who passed away last week. Henshall sailed against the Great Dane in a Half Ton Cup in Poole in 1981 and recounts that interesting encounter and the lesson learned.
Posted on 13 Dec 2016
Star Sailors League Finals - Best of the best regatta
A perfect day in Nassau, Bahamas, off the beautiful Montagu Bay, where the Best of the Best Regatta took place today A perfect day in Nassau, Bahamas, off the beautiful Montagu Bay, where the Best of the Best Regatta took place today with traditional sloops racing and Bahamian junior sailing running their 2016 finals.
Posted on 5 Dec 2016