OLYMPIC bronze medal-winning windsurfer Bryony Shaw is among Britain’s contenders gearing up for action at the ISAF World Cup in Miami.
More than 550 sailors from 50 nations will be taking to the waters of Biscayne Bay in Florida, USA, from Monday to Saturday, February 1.
The event marks the third of five instalments of the 2013-2014 ISAF World Cup and racing will take place across 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes.
Shaw is feeling a renewed passion in the RS:X windsurfing class following a stellar 2013 season in which she claimed seven medals from nine regattas and bounced back from a disappointing 2012 Games where illness hampered her Olympic hopes.
Shaw, who now lives in Poole, has her sights set on a podium place at the Rio 2016 Games – but first she wants to get more ruthless in her racing style.
After a great winter of fitness training, Shaw is keen to get out on the RS:X and get racing.
She said: “The Miami World Cup is going to be our first battle out on the water again and we’ll see where we’re at.”
Straight after Miami, Shaw will be returning to Rio – where she enjoyed a visit last summer – to collect more venue-specific bits and bobs, keeping her eyes on the prize and making sure that Rio remains her focus.
She said: “It’s really important to get as much time on the Olympic waters as possible and of course we’ll be looking to go back for the first Test Event in August.
If Shaw gains Team GB selection for Rio, it would mark her third Olympic Games. But despite being one of the older members of the team, the 30-year-old still has such a love for the sport.
She added: “It doesn’t feel old and I’m still learning and still improving and I feel like I have a lot to prove and a lot to give.”
While Shaw is full of good cheer and advice for younger sailors on shore, on the water she hopes to toughen up.
She added: “As a sailor, I think I’d like to become more ruthless with the way I race and I think this year we’ll see quite a few of those one-on-one rivalries among certain key players developing.
“I definitely want to stamp my place in the fleet this season, and hopefully that will be at the front and not budging. That’s the plan.”
Other Dorset stars racing in Miami include Portland’s 470 dinghy sailor Luke Patience and team-mate Joe Glanfield, Stuart Bithell and John Pink in the 49er skiff class, plus the county’s Kate Macgregor and Katrina Best, and Weymouth’s Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth in the 49FX skiff fleet.
Portland’s Alison Young will be racing the Laser Radial dinghy, while Poole’s Lucy Macgregor and crew Andy Walsh are taking on the Nacra 17 catamaran fleet.
In the 2.4mR keelboat fleet, Portland’s Megan Pascoe and Paralympic champion Helena Lucas will be the ones to watch, while John Robertson, Steve Thomas and Hannah Stodel will be vying for glory in the Sonar keelboat class, and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are the Skud-18 fleet favourites.
Follow the action online at mocr.ussailing.org