BRYONY Shaw heads a British team vying for honours at the RS:X European Championships when racing gets underway in Cesme, Turkey, tomorrow.
The world number two windsurfer and Olympic bronze medallist, who trains at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing academy, claimed silver at last year’s event behind France’s Charline Picon.
She will be joined in the British squad by Izzy Hamilton and podium hope Noelle Finch in the 54-strong women’s fleet when racing starts.
“I’m looking forward to being in Turkey, where hopefully we’ll get the typically hot and windy conditions that you’d expect there,” Shaw said.
“I’m expecting it to be a really physically demanding event, so physical preparation and hydration will be all-important as we’ll have an intense, three races a day programme.”
Shaw kick-started her year by winning gold at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami and followed it up with a dominant display on home waters at the Sail for Gold Regatta at Weymouth and Portland earlier this month, where she took the top spot ahead of Spain’s Blanca Manchon.
The 31-year-old has been pleased with her form, but expects tough competition within the class in Turkey.
“There are a few new faces emerging in the fleet, the Dutch girl Lilian de Geus has been doing well this year so she’ll be one to watch, and last year’s winner Charline Picon will be among my key rivals.
“It will be interesting to see the 2012 bronze medallist Zofia Noceti-Klepacka of Poland as well, as we haven’t raced against each other since the Games.
“My coach Dom and I have had some great build up to this event, with our training blocks followed by the Sail for Gold Regatta and a mini coach-run regatta at the World Championship venue in Santander.
“That’s all been going really well and it will be great to put everything into practice at a major. “I’m confident with where I’m at and it would be great to go one step further and win the European title this time.”
Weymouth’s double Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey has opted to skip the event to focus on preparation for the Rio test event and the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander.
The final medal races in Turkey are scheduled for Saturday.