THE world’s best sailors are now on the ‘home straight’ of their preparations.

Many have braved the cold to start training at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and after their next Olympic classes regatta in Hyeres, France this month, will return to the borough full-time.

Portland is the official home of Skandia Team GBR with its Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Portland House and team performance centre at Osprey Quay and the majority of the British team are now living in the borough.

Match Race Girls Annie Lush and sisters Lucy and Kate Macgregor, who sail in the three-person women’s Match Racing class, are unique as they are all born and bred in Dorset.

Annie, 31, of Poole, said: “We’re really proud to be from Dorset. We love to travel the world and to come back here.

“I really hope the Olympics does something good for the area and that all the businesses benefit. I know the Olympics cause a lot of problems and hold ups but I’ve been to two Games and the atmosphere that gets created is amazing.

“Weymouth and Portland will never have so many international visitors from all around the world in any other circumstances. It’s great – this is a venue to be proud of and one to show off as well.”

She added: “I like the Jurassic Stones sculpture on the Relief Road, it looks like trees to me.

“That’s pretty cool.

“Weymouth doesn’t normally have sculptures.

“We should have a fountain as well.”

The trio are renting a house with former Budmouth schoolgirl and Olympic bronze medallist windsurfer Bryony Shaw in the Ferrybridge area in the build-up to the Games.

Helm Lucy Macgregor, 25, said: “100 days to go is exciting.

“In many ways we’ve been in our own little bubble for the last couple of months competing abroad.

“Coming home there’s been much more media attention which has really brought it home that it is 100 days, not that we needed reminding.

“We’ve got a huge amount we still want to do but we’re happy with where we need to get to.

“We’re looking forward to being based in Weymouth and Portland full-time and getting the hours in.”

She added: “Everywhere’s looking smart and there’s a general buzz around the place.

“The Olympics is just around the corner, it’s a really nice atmosphere.”

From mid July until mid September, the Sailing academy and Portland Marina will be closed to the public to enable London organisers to secure the site but aside from a no-stopping rule, the Olympic Delivery Authority has pledged not to restrict access along Portland Beach Road.

During the Games, the British team will be living in RYA Portland House, while the 700 international athletes and 550 officials athletes will be based nearby at the Olympic Sailing Village by Victoria Square, Portland from July 13.

Approximately half that number will use the accommodation during the Paralympic Games.

Find out more about the team at

First with the news

THE Dorset Echo has secured media accreditation to bring our readers news coverage from the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic sailing competitions.

Our coverage, which has been building momentum since the launch of our Going for Gold pages on March 15, 2011, will also encompass stories and pictures from the Olympic torch relay visit to the county.

Reporter Laura Kitching will be based at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy during Games time, tweeting race results via our Twitter account @WeyOlympics 2012 and providing daily racing news.

A team of Echo reporters and photographers will also be out and about capturing the magic of the Olympics along Weymouth seafront and across the borough.

The borough council will be providing an Echo desk at the non-accredited media centre at Weymouth Pavilion, we also hope to bring reports from the London Organising Committee-run ticketed site at the Nothe.