Fletcher and Bithell lead GB charge as Brits shine in Palma
Tokyo 2020 hopefuls Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell made a rip-roaring start to their campaign at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Mallorca.
Fletcher, who competed at Rio 2016, and Bithell, who won 470 class silver at London 2012, exploded out of the blocks in the first major regatta of the year, roaring straight into second in the 49er standings.
The pair have been striving to get off on the right foot more often and were delighted to lay down an early marker.
"We had a bit of a track record of the first race of the regatta being our worst, and we've worked really hard at remedying that," said Fletcher.
"The goal is always to win but we're aware that it's going to be a tricky week."
Bithell added: "We've been really working on getting out of regattas sharply - it's been one of our downfalls over our partnership.
"We actually went out saying we were going to play it safe and not to try to win but we ended up having a really good day.
"It's just the start of a long regatta, so we need to keep pushing but hopefully, by the end of the week, we'll be in good shape."
On an opening day chock-full of impressive displays for British sailors, Chris Taylor and Sam Batten recorded their best-ever senior result in the 49er yellow fleet, finishing first and second.
In the 49er FX class, Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey moved into second, with Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth in ninth.
In the Finn class, Giles Scott sits second, with Ed Wright in seventh, while Lorenzo Chiavarini is currently fourth out of a field of 187 in the Laser competition.
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre were third in the women's 470, both Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface and John GImson and Anna Burnt both picked up scoop race wins in the Nacra 1, and Andy Brown made his senior bow in the men's RS:X.