Kingussie sailor Fynn Sterritt believes that the race to catch his dominant Dutch rivals starts at this week's World Championships.

While the Olympics are the ultimate prize this year, the immediate objective for Sterritt and 49er partner James Peters is the forthcoming global gathering in Lanzarote.

At a venue where they regularly spend their winters training, the British crew have the opportunity to lay down a marker for their Olympic rivals.

One crew in particular stands out above the rest, Dutch duo Bart Lambreix and Floris van de Werken, who have won the last three world titles.

Sterritt readily admits that they are crew everyone is chasing, both in Lanzarote and this summer, but the British pair are not going to make it easy for them.

“Those Dutch guys are the guys to beat, they are three-time world champions for a reason,” he added.

“They can turn it on when it matters. They will be hard to beat. But if anyone is up to it, we are. I think this probably the first Games for the 49er for a long time where there aren’t any previous medallists, a lot of guys have moved on. All the guys from the podium in Tokyo have retired. That leaves the door open for anyone.

“The Dutch definitely go in as favourites but there are a few other boats that aren’t far behind them and we think we are one of them. We are up for the fight and we can lean on all the history we have together and past success.”

One of the British crew’s biggest weapons will be their collective experience. Having campaigned together for a decade, they know each other inside out, both on and off the water.

And in a sport where every decision can be the difference between triumph and disaster, being on the same wavelength is vital.

“In some stuff, we are quite similar,” said Sterritt.

“The way we view risk is quite similar, which helps in sailing. A lot of it is about those risk and reward choices and in that respect, we are really aligned.

“We’ve been doing it for so long, we’ve had some great moments and some difficult moments. That sort of trust gets stronger when you’ve been through those experiences, we’ve had that positive reinforcement and had the chance to reflect on when it gets hard, which I’m sure it will during the Games. We’ll have those moments to look back on and remember.

“One of the hardest things from what we hear at the Olympics is bringing your level. Lots of people get overawed by the occasion. We’re really lucky in the UK that we have that history and that runs throughout our squad and our team. Our coach, Ben Rhodes, coached Dylan and Stu last time. He competed in two Olympic Games himself so we’ve got that direct input into our campaign. And then in the wider squad, there is a huge amount of experience from previous medallists that we can use in the lead-up.”

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