Charlotte Dobson, Saskia Tidey’s 49erFX partner for Tokyo 2020, retires from Olympic sailing

Saskia Tidey’s 49erFX partner of Dun Laoghaire at Tokyo 2020 spoke of her fond memories of competing at the highest level as she ended her Olympic career.

As previously reported on, Charlotte Dobson was among the big names in British sailing who announced their retirement from the Olympic campaign this week.

Originally a Laser Radial (now ILCA 6) competitor, the Scottish sailor switched to the 49erFX single scull when it was introduced in 2014, teaming up with Sophie Ainsworth. The pair won their place with the GB squad for Rio 2016, finishing ninth.

Dobson then teamed up with Irishwoman Saskia Tidey following the Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor’s decision to join the GBR team in 2017, citing the lack of opportunities for her to continue her career at home.

The duo quickly established themselves as a powerhouse in the 49erFX fleet, backed by a streak of silver podiums at the 2020 Olympic test event and world championships.

Dobson and Tidey led the Tokyo 2020 Regatta in the first windy stages before being revised later when the breeze turned light, eventually finishing sixth.

Dobson, who married Dylan Fletcher a few weeks after returning from Tokyo, is now looking to work in the bank.

The retired 35-year-old from Rhu, near Glasgow, says: “The latest news for me is that I’m going to hang up my sailing boots and trapeze harness and say goodbye to the Olympic world. It’s been an amazing time, and now I’m going to figure out what the next step will be.

“It was a pretty easy decision to be honest. I really felt in the few years before Tokyo that Saskia [Tidey] and I had given myself the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo. We had worked with amazing coaches and support staff, and we had had amazing sailors in our training groups. When you are proud of the campaign you are running, you have to accept the result at the end.

“We gave him a really good crack, but it wasn’t enough in the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really enough.

When asked about his best memories of the Games, Dobson said, “It’s probably more of a feeling than a memory. Regardless of the outcome that does not go the way we wanted it to be, I am wholeheartedly extremely proud to be a part of this Tokyo team.

“We were surrounded by great people who were doing some pretty amazing things. The atmosphere was one of uplifting you. It was a huge honor to see some of the greats in sailing that we had do their jobs and try to emulate that.

As for his future projects? “I’m slowly dipping my toes into the real world and hoping to find a job in banking,” she says. “I’m definitely not going very far from Portland, I love it here. Sailing has brought me from the west coast of Scotland to this little island and I love it. I will not go away completely.

Dobson also had the following advice for the next generation of sailing: “I would say just stay in love with our sport. It is the most incredible sport, and so varied. You can sail on fast boats, slow boats, complicated boats, simple boats, with people, alone… Never lose the love for sport.

“Do so much sailing on a variety of boats. And if you decide to go to the Olympics, it is quite possible. Anything is possible when you set a goal, think about it, and go for it. “

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