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Dobson to lead the home charge at Laser Radial Worlds
When she started squad training on the Clyde off Largs as a 12-year-old, little did Scotland's Charlotte Dobson ever expect that she would race a crucial world championships event on the same stretch of water.
Over the subsequent years Dobson, now 24, spent many formative hours in the Largs Channel, sailing just some of the hard miles which became the foundations of a Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship bronze medal, last month's silver medal in the Laser Radial European Championships in Tallin and her current ISAF ranking of third in the world.
So when the Laser Radial Women's World Championships begin on Friday (9 July), no-one will be feeling more at home on the start lines than Skandia Team GBR's Dobson, who grew up in Helensburgh some 15 miles up the river - as the seagull flies. In her first full time season since leaving university she is on her best ever form. As well as her European championships second place, she finished runner-up at the season's third ISAF World Cup event in Hyeres, France.
"In fact I am not so sure there is much advantage to be had on the water in terms of local knowledge," smiles Dobson, "but certainly it is cool to walk around the dinghy park and the club and feel confident and relaxed in your surroundings. That makes a difference when you are used to travelling a lot and finding yourself adapting to what a venue is like, whether that is ashore or on the water. And from a purely practical point of view I have managed to do a good amount of training up here this season, looking to peak here and at August's Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, and that has meant being at home, doing a bit less travelling and so the time feels like it has been well spent."
As well as in familiar surroundings, Dobson will be in good company in Largs, as the rest of the Skandia Team GBR Laser Radial squad will join her in fighting it out for their chance at the world title.
Andrea Brewster delivered Britain's last women's Radial Worlds medal - a bronze in 2008 - while Ali Young will be looking for a second podium finish of the season to add to her Miami World Cup bronze from January this year.
Chloe Martin, fresh from her under 21 Laser European Championship title in Tallin, will also be one to watch.
Racing at the Laser Radial World Championships runs from Friday 9 July until Wednesday 14 July.
08. August 137
– but the sailors praise the new boats
07. August 114
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo