Tokyo gold is already being planned by Dylan

Dylan Fletcher in action with his former sailing partner Alain Sign
Dylan Fletcher in action with his former sailing partner Alain Sign

It might not seem that long since the Rio Olympics came to an end but Market Harborough sailor Dylan Fletcher already has his sights firmly set on the next games.

And having missed out on a medal in the 49er class at Brazil, the 28-year-old is aiming to make amends in Japan with top spot on the podium his focus.

The new cycle got under way last week and Fletcher did it with a new colleague in the boat after his partnership with Alain Sign was brought to an end.

He has joined forces with his long-time rival Stuart Bithell – the 2015 European bronze medallist – and they made an incredible start together finishing well clear of their opponents in the opening World Cup Regatta of 2017 which was held in Miami.

“We had a great week and couldn’t have asked for a better start to the campaign together,” Fletcher said.

“I’d sailed with Alain for 10 years and we had an awesome time together.

“We just felt it was probably time to move on and try something different.

“Stu has been one of our direct rivals for GB selection so it was a little bit strange to start off with.

“We would hang out occasionally but you can’t really be friends when you’re racing against each other.

“It’s bit like the Lewis Hamilton-Niko Rosberg situation – you get on but you are rivals.

“It’s been really good together so far, though. It’s quite a different dynamic but it’s gone so well.

“We did some training together over the winter just to see if it worked, whether it was any good.

“A huge part of double-handed sailing is how you get on as a team, what your strengths and weaknesses


“We’ve got a similar thought process and way of solving problems so it worked well.”

It certainly clicked quickly as the pair took top spot in Miami – a position they had already claimed ahead of the medal race on Saturday – thanks to five race wins and 10 scores inside the top five across the 13-race series.

“We’re over the moon with that,” Fletcher added. “We went there with a vague hope of medalling but we didn’t want to set the bar too high as we haven’t been in the boat together for too long.

“It was particularly pleasing that we performed so consistently over the whole regatta.

“It does add a little bit of pressure now but, although this looks great, we’ve still got plenty to work on.

“We know exactly where we want to be in three-and-a-half years time.

“We have a full plan in place from now up to the games in Tokyo where we’re going to try to win the gold medal.

“It’s all in place – day by day, month by month, year by year.

“Because we’re a new team we’ve still got so much to improve on and we’re now heading straight out to Spain where we will continue working towards our gold medal ambition.”