PORTLAND-BASED sailor Stuart Bithell, alongside Dylan Fletcher, is currently in second as the pair bids to defend their 49er title in Miami.

Two second place finishes from three races mean the 2016 champions are currently in second and one point behind the Fantela brothers from Croatia. 

The world champion duo might have gone top had they not been disqualified from the third race of the day, when, eager to get the best start possible, they were caught over the line with 15 seconds still to go.

Meanwhile reigning Laser European champion Nick Thompson has rocketed through the rankings on the second day of World Cup Series racing in Miami as Britain’s sailors found an extra gear.

Thompson put on a commanding performance on the waters of Biscayne Bay to win the last of three races held on Wednesday.

The win, backed up with a sixth and a 15th in the highly competitive 70-strong Laser class, moved the 31-year-old from 11th overall to second – one of five top-three placings for the British Sailing Team going into the third day.

Thompson sits just four points behind fleet leader Tom Burton of Australia with two days of full fleet racing still remaining.

“We’ve had two light tricky days so far, but I’ve managed to stay conservative in my approach and keep the mistakes to a minimum,” said Thompson, the 2016 Laser world champion.

He added: “The next few days look to be more entertaining with plenty of breeze forecast so I’m looking forward to getting back to it.”

With Finn racing postponed on the opening day of the regatta due to light winds, the British contingent – including Rio 2016 gold medallist Giles Scott – were itching to get scoring underway in better breeze of 10-12 knots.

Scott started with trademark strength, finishing a close second to Turkey’s Alican Kaynar in the first race, and followed it up with a 15th and a third place finish to end the day in fourth overall.

Teammate Ed Wright dominated race two, and with a fourth in the opener and a 15th in race three he goes into the third day of racing in third. It couldn’t be closer at the top however, with just one point splitting the top four sailors.

“A bit of a tricky day - we were under the city a little bit so had a tough course,” said Scott, competing in his first World Cup Series since Rio 2016.

Scott added: “It was really hard work with the unlimited pumping in the first race then breeze died off a bit. I had a reasonable start to the regatta and points are close. I’m looking forward to getting a few more race in.”

Foiling Nacra 17 pair John Gimson and Anna Burnet only finished outside of the podium places once in four races, consolidating their position in second overall.

“We had a solid day – the conditions were tricky so we’re happy to get three good results,” Burnet said.

Burnet said: “The fleet is small but all three medallists from the Rio Olympics are here so it’s pretty good to be putting ourselves up against those guys.”

In the men’s 470 class Luke Patience and Chris Grube remain in contention in third place overall, with scores of eight, three and 28 over the three races.

The breeze is forecast to increase significantly on Thursday, providing a new challenge for the 47 British Sailing Team athletes competing across all ten Olympic classes as they head into the remaining two days of full fleet racing.

The top ten in each fleet will go through to the medal races, held on Saturday 27 January for the 49er, 49er FX, RS:X and Nacra 17 classes, and on Sunday 28 January for the Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and 470 classes.