Iain Percy and Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson are back in battle mode, not just against Olympic rivals but their sport’s world governing body, the International Sailing Federation.
On the south coast, after being two of the four athletes to unveil the Olympic countdown clock in London, they were contemplating 500 days of bump and grind and sending a message to ISAF headquarters just a few miles away.
For themselves they want a second consecutive Olympic gold medal - a third for Percy - but they will take a couple of those 500 to go to St. Petersburg in May, where ISAF will select the classes of boat to compete at the Games in 2016.
Right now, their two-man keelboat, the Star, is facing the chop. Much politicking is going on behind the scenes, and ISAF has faced a barrage of criticism for dropping the twin-hulled catamaran from the 2012 line-up.
But Percy insists that it is not because of any ambitions he has for 2016, rather he feels that the Star represents keelboat monohull sailing which still dominates the average, non-dinghy aspect of the sport and it is understood and enjoyed up and down the country. And the Star class attracts winners from other classes.
This is not, he says, a boat in which to be trying for your first medal. The blazers in ISAF will be left in no doubt as to how they should vote. 'I make no apology for saying that this is the class where the champions race against the champions,' says Percy.'
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