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Gimson and Burnet ready to suss out competition at Princess Sofia

Gimson and Burnet get their 2024 campaign underway in Palma with the Olympics firmly on horizon.
Gimson and Burnet get their 2024 campaign underway in Palma with the Olympics firmly on horizon. (Sailing Energy)

John Gimson and Anna Burnet know just how much ground you can make up over winter training – now the sailing pair are hoping nobody has stolen a march on them ahead of the Olympics, writes Sportsbeat Paul Eddison.

The duo won silver in Tokyo in 2021 in the Nacra 17 class behind Italian training partners Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, and have been selected to represent Team GB this summer in Paris.

Now, as they gear up for their first competition of the season – the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, Mallorca - the pair are excited to get a first glimpse at how their rivals are shaping up.

Gimson said: “The Princess Sofia is the first time we really get to see the rest of our competition since the end of the racing season last year.

"Hopefully we’ve done a good job but we’ll have to wait until the first race to find out.

“The newer the class, the more chance there is of people finding something new and special. Our boat changed quite a lot this cycle to be full foiling. Last winter, we found a pretty big jump, hopefully no one else has. But you never know. I know we have done all we can, and we can see how that shapes up.

“We know pretty much where we stand with the Italians but for the rest of the world, we’re blind to what everyone has been doing over the winter so it’s always a nerve-wracking moment in that first race, seeing who is quick and who is not.”

Gimson and Burnet have established themselves as one of the main contenders in the fleet, winning European gold in 2023, along with silver at the Worlds and the Olympic Test Event.

They also took victory in the Princesa Sofia last year, and now head to Palma looking to make a flying start to their Olympic year, with this regatta, along with the Worlds in France in May, the key events to ensure they arrive in Marseille in tip-top condition.

Gimson added: “This is what we look forward to. We’ve put a hell of a lot of hours in over the winter, it’s quite a slog and very tiring so it’s nice to come back to racing and be fresh. This is the reason we do it.

“We have our World Championships a couple of weeks (after Princess Sofia) in La Grande Motte, we are using this as a good warm-up regatta for the Worlds. Then the Worlds will be used as the full dress rehearsal for the Games.

“It is all just small, small tweaks. We will try to narrow down, we’ve got two sets of good equipment and between Palma and the Worlds, we’ll try to narrow down what we are going to use at the Olympics.”

Follow the British Sailing Team on Instagram at @britishsailing