The road to 2012 glory is one step closer for some of Great Britain's top sailors who became the first athletes to be officially selected for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
, the triple Olympic gold and silver medallist and Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, heads the list of 11 athletes confirmed by the British Olympic Association as being on the startline at Weymouth and Portland.
Ainslie, 34, has earned the right to race for his fourth Olympic gold in 2012, gaining selection in the heavyweight Finn dinghy event, while Iain Percy
will aim for a third gold in total and a second in partnership with Andrew Simpson
in the Star class with whom he won the Olympic title in Beijing.
will look to defend his Laser class crown on his home waters of Weymouth and Portland, while Nick Dempsey
and Bryony Shaw
will look to build on their respective Olympic bronze medals in the RS:X Men's and Women's windsurfing events (Dempsey, Athens 2004; Shaw, Beijing 2008).
The 2010 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship
winning trio of Lucy Macgregor
, Annie Lush
and Kate Macgregor
have earned the nod to race at their first Olympic Games in the Elliot 6m Women's Match Racing event - a new event on the 2012 programme - with Lucy and Kate the first two sailing sisters ever to compete for Great Britain at the Olympics.
A whirlwind seven months after teaming up and following a string of podium finishes, Olympic debutant Hannah Mills
and Beijing Olympian Saskia Clark
have earned the confidence of the Royal Yachting Association selectors in the Women's 470. Mills joined forces with Clark in February 2011 following the retirement of Clark's former helm Sarah Ayton
Selection trials are ongoing in the remaining three Olympic classes - the 470 Men, the 49er and the Laser Radial events.
RYA Olympic Manager/Team GB Sailing Team Leader Stephen Park said, "All the sailors selected today have had a fantastic year of performances which has resulted in them gaining selection at an early opportunity, allowing them good time to focus their campaigns specifically on the challenges of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour in preparation for the 2012 Games.
"The mix of experience we have with the six Olympic medallists, one Olympian and four first-time Olympians provides an exciting balance that will hopefully deliver the required results in 2012 while at the same time increasing the pool of 2016 Olympic triallists."
London 2012 Games Olympic Sailing Competition
The London 2012 Olympic Games Sailing Competition will take place at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy and Portland Marina, located in Dorset on the South Coast of England. Racing is scheduled to take place from 29 July to 11 August.
At the 2012 Games sailing will introduce women's match racing for the first time. The racing format will be a single round-robin, quarter finals, semi-finals and then the finals. The nine fleet racing events will all sail an opening series before the top ten in each event contest a double-points Medal Race to decide the final positions. The Medal Races have a target time of approximately 30 minutes and will take place close to the shore at the Nothe to allow spectators ashore to get close up to the action.