Olympic sailing gold medallist Mathew Belcher says he can rewrite the record books with new crewmate Will Ryan.
Belcher revealed the selection of 23-year-old Ryan as his new partner on Thursday, adamant they could add to a remarkable legacy as they pursue a third consecutive Australian Olympic gold in the 470 class in Rio 2016.
Belcher formed an unstoppable four-year partnership with Malcolm Page, winning three 470 dinghy world titles, three World Cups and crowned it with gold at the 2012 London Games.
But Page's retirement after successfully defending the Beijing Olympic gold he'd won with former crewmate Nathan Wilmot opened the door for Ryan, who was handpicked by 30-year-old Belcher and national sailing team coach Victor Kovalenko.
'It's a great pleasure to be able to continue and have the opportunity to defend my gold,' Belcher said.
'I'm looking forward to rewriting the record books with Will, and seeing where we can get to.'
Ryan served as Belcher and Page's reserve crewman in London after shining at youth level and at World Cup events.
He admitted he faced a daunting task replacing Page, who is widely regarded as the best 470 sailor ever.
'Mal's pretty big shoes to fill - luckily I'm a little bit taller than him!' joked Ryan.
Kovalenko was confident Ryan - one of a group of rising young stars within the Australian sailing team - had the talent to win gold in Rio.
'He's younger, a little bit more power and he's dynamic,' Kovalenko said.
Ryan is the reigning national youth match racing champion.
Born in Sydney, Ryan moved at age 13 to Lake Macquarie, the same part of NSW that produced Laser Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby and 49er gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.
Belcher and Ryan kick off their Rio campaign by competing at the Sail Melbourne World Cup regatta in December before taking part in Sail Sydney a week later.