CHESTER sailor Chris Grube says his partnership with teenager Phil Sparks is showing medal-winning potential after going toe-to-toe with the world’s best at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.
Grube and 17-year-old Sparks, from Dorset, started sailing together in the 470 class just before last year’s Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth – venue for the Olympic sailing – finishing 34th.
The former Upton-by-Chester High School pupil returned to Dorset alongside Sparks this year and improved to 25th in the gold fleet.
At 25 Grube is eight years senior to Sparks but he believes the more time they spend on the water the more they are realising their Olympic potential.
“We formed at the 2009 Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth so this is us coming full circle really,” said Grube.
“We haven’t even been together for a year so to hold our own in such an experienced fleet is tough but we are pleased with how we have been doing.
“It is tough as a young pairing but I think we have proven to ourselves that we are improving.
“Getting into the gold fleet is the toughest thing but once you are there consistently you can look up instead of down. ”
Grube and Sparks’ chances of sailing the sole 470 boat at the London 2012 Olympics are slim with as many as five pairs in the hunt – including former double world champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis.
Grube is all too aware of their odds and as a result is targeting the 2016 Olympics in Rio where he believes the pair are capable of making the British team.
“We should hopefully be at a good age when 2016 comes around and we also get the opportunity to train and learn with the guys who are going to 2012 .”