Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

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
T Clewring One DesignAncasta Ker 33 660x82upffront 660x82

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
World Sailing President nominated by 45 Member National Associations
Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has welcomed nominations from 45 Member National Associations Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has nominations from 45 Member National Associations [MNAs] for his re-election as the President of Sailing’s International Federation. Nominations for the position of President have been formally published by World Sailing and show widespread support for Croce.
Posted on 25 Sep
World-class talent expected at 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
Summer’s days may be numbered, but this comes as welcome news to all sailors participating in 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds Summer’s days may be numbered, but this comes as welcome news to all sailors participating in the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, as fall’s arrival neatly dovetails with the start of what promises to be a world-championship regatta for the ages.
Posted on 22 Sep
Daniel Frost’s JJOne of Germany solidifies advantage at J/24 Worlds
Keiji Kondo’s Fox of Japan moved up to second place after a solid 1,2,4 on Wednesday for 15 net points. JJOne earned their second bullet of the regatta in the day’s middle battle, trailed by Fox and Mark Laura’s Baba Louie of the USA.
Posted on 21 Sep
2016 J/24 Worlds - Day 1 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J/24 World Championships and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J/24 World Championships and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action.
Posted on 20 Sep
Tropical storm keeps teams ashore on Day 2 of J/24 World Championship
A slow-moving tropical storm dampened day two of the J/24 World Championship in Wakayama Japan. A slow-moving tropical storm dampened day two of the J/24 World Championship in Wakayama Japan. The 41 teams representing Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Peru, Singapore and the USA were kept ashore as heavy rains and winds were blanketing the area on Tuesday.
Posted on 20 Sep
German Daniel Frost takes JJOne to lead on Day 1 of J/24 Worlds
It was the calm before the storm on day one of the J/24 World Championship in Wakayama Japan. It was the calm before the storm on day one of the J/24 World Championship in Wakayama Japan. With a tropical storm heading toward the area, 41 teams representing Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Peru, Singapore and the USA kicked off the Championship in winds of four - six knots over two races.
Posted on 20 Sep
Park’s pride at “end of an era” for Rio Paralympic Sailing
Two bronze medals for Helena Lucas in the 2.4mR one person keelboat and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell in the SKUD18 Two bronze medals for Helena Lucas in the 2.4mR one person keelboat and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell in the SKUD18 two-person keelboat in the final races of the regatta on Saturday meant Britain’s sailors finished on the podium twice for the second Paralympics running and achieved their pre-Rio medal target.
Posted on 19 Sep
Rickham and Birrell win bronze at the Rio Paralympic Sailing
Rickham and Birrell finished fourth in the final race of their 11 race series on Guanabara Bay today to end the Games Rickham and Birrell finished fourth in the final race of their 11 race series on Guanabara Bay today to end the Games with the same coloured medal that they won at London 2012.
Posted on 17 Sep
Rio 2016 - Australia win Paralympic Gold in SKUD 18 and Sonar
Protest pending, Australia's Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have defended their Two Person Keelboat (SKUD18) title Protest pending, Australia's Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have defended their Two Person Keelboat (SKUD18) Paralympic title with two races to spare at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. Before Day 5 started, Fitzgibbon and Tesch had already posted a remarkable six race wins and two second place finishes to put a 15-point gap between them and their nearest rivals from Canada
Posted on 16 Sep