February 2022


The GBR 49er sailed by Bithell and helm Dylan Fletcher snatched 2020 gold out from under the noses of huge pre-event favourites Burling and Tuke by successfully pulling off a most unlikely gybe in the final inches of the last race, filling a spinnaker that should never have filled in time let alone started to pull. A passionate supporter of national as well as Olympic-level dinghy sailing, 470 silver at London 2012 and gold in Japan. A nice way to bookend an outstanding career
 Why they won
‘Wins gold in Japan one week as super-crew then the UK Merlin title the following week as helm. Enough said… Not a bad bloke either!’ – Barrie Edgington; ‘A great ambassador for the sport, spends vast amounts of his time coaching up-and-coming youth sailors and still finds time to win a race or two’ – Peter Jackson; ‘When Stuart turned up at the Merlin Nationals after Tokyo we all thought, naaah. Oops’ – Neal Lillywhite. ‘Some fortnight!!!’ – Charlie Swanson.