Sadly I won’t be going to Rio this summer…
The Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, the last olympic qualifier for Europe, just ended and even though I finished 16th, I missed the qualification by just 7 points out of 134. There were two spots available and I was the 3rd boat not yet qualified.
You can’t even imagine right now how mad and disappointed I am to have come so close to going to Rio. I started the regatta poorly with terrible qualifiers including a stupid yellow flag 50 meters before the finish line. That mistake cost me 11 points and would have made the difference in the end. Even though I went from 38th to 16th in 6 races in the Gold fleet, it wasn’t enough to catch up all the loss I had done after the 2 first days.
However, I must see the positive things also and think of how much I improved this last year. I had a really good European Championship in Las Palmas where I finished 12th European, my best result so far in the senior fleet, and consequently I also got into the A-Kader of Swiss Sailing Team for 2017. I also proved that I could race in the top 15, among other Olympic qualified sailors.
I know that i would have deserved to be in the 37 boats that will be competing at the Games in August but the rules are the rules. Even though being an European nation wasn’t the easiest for these Games, I’ll just make sure next time to qualify already at the ISAF worlds in 2018.
I guess that missing my goal by so little is kinda the story of my life these last years but eventually what goes around comes around and my luck will end up on my side on my way to Tokyo.
In the meantime, thank you to everyone who cheered me up these last few days ! Failures are part of life, and this one will just make me stronger !
Now 1 weeks of studying and gym before heading to Hyères for my first Worldcup ever ! And even though I won’t be going to Brazil this summer, I still have my last Under 21 World and European Championships instead… READY TO KICK ASS.
Like many sailors, I chose Las Palmas as my 15-16′ winter base camp. Logical destination since we will be having our European Championship here end of February and that it’s probably the only place still in Europe where we can wear shorts and t-shirts the whole year long…
I had never been here before my first training camp in December and I basically love the place. The sailing conditions are amazing and we can do a lot of other things on the Island like cycling, surfing, and so on… Another big + is the sailing club. From the pool to the gym, or even paddle-tennis, you can do a lot of different things just by being at the club.
I have spent way more time here in Spain these last 3 months than I have spent at home, so I have made progress on a lot of different levels. I even won one of the few regattas organised by the sailing club during the winter, which proves that all my training is paying off. The last chance to win a spot at the Games will take place end of March. I want to put all the chances on my side by sailing as much as possible. Next event now is the European Championship from the 28th Feb- 4th March. I promise to keep you updated!
I’ve been very busy lately !
Let me start from the beginningŠ First I actually had to sit down and
study for my university exams that I had to pass in June, so I didn’t sail much for a whole month… On the day of my last exam, I left at night to Germany to go sailing in Warnemünde! It was my first big trip for me as a solo driver with over 1200 km on the program 😦
After Warnemünde, I drove up to Kaløvig/Denmark, where there was going to be the European Senior Championship a few days later! It was no surprise as we got there, that the weather wasn’t going to be pleasant with us! At home, there was a heatwave with more than 35 C, and there we were in Denmark where we were lucky enough to have rain and cold during almost the whole stay ( lucky because it didn’t rain EVERY day).
The Europeans finally started and it for sure was one hell of a roller
coaster! Kaløvig has very very shifty winds so you could easily go from first to last of the fleet in just a few minutes ! Luckily for me , I quite enjoyed these shifty winds ( especially on the lighter days) and did some very nice results with the cherry on the cake at the end with a bullet on the last day (bullet=1)and scoring the best result of the day with a 10th place in the 2nd race! My overall conclusion was that I could be very fast if the wind wasn’t too strong BUT I could also be very slow when the wind was stronger than I would have hoped for !
Anyways, I am very happy with my final result of 22/98 given it was the senior championship and that it is my very first year with the ladies and I still have a few more yet to come!
Finally got stickers from my new sponsor Banque Bonhôte and put them on my new boat !! Welcome on board!
This month, I went for two weeks to Riva del Garda to sail before a big break for my university exams. It was nice going back there after such a long time ( last time was last year in May), especially since I love Riva. It’s a lake in the north of Italy and the good thing about it is that there is almost always wind !! (not like my own lake unfortunately). I was able to spend a lot of hours on the water and sail in strong winds which is still not my cup of tea. I also tested some new equipment that turned out not being so good, so at least I know that I shouldn’t use them this summer for my big events. Italy also means Italian food, and as I am a big fan, I ate enough pizza for the whole year ( I probably ate at least 10 pizzas in two weeks). One speciality of Riva is the walk up to the Chapel Santa Barbara. It’s around 600 meters of ascent and if you go a bit higher than the Chapel, you have an amazing view of the lake. This year I did it in 36 minutes. Some crazy people run non stop and reach the top in about 25 minutes. I still have to work on that ! Video of me going upwind in 20 knots Guess who is capsizing! View from the walk to the Chapel!
I am nominated as the Best youth Athlete on the French side of Switzerland but I need your votes if I want to win so please take two minutes to vote for me please 🙂
Mid-March, I flew back to Palma to finally sail my first big event of the year : the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. All the best sailors worldwide were on the entry list. More importantly, this was to be my second big regatta with only senior sailors and for sure it was going to be one of the toughest I had ever sailed.
During the pre-regatta training, we mostly had a nice steady sea breeze… but as ALWAYS, weather conditions became much tougher: we started the regatta with a wild day with over 35 knots. As the wind was coming from shore, it was very strong and super shifty making it very hard to make decent racing. We ended up staying for over 8 hours on the water just to do 2 races that usually last one hour each. What a tiring way to start the championship!!
The following days were less windy but still more than what I would’ve hoped for! The nice sea breeze basically didn’t show up again so the wind remained stronger and shiftier than usual making the racing very hard for me since I usually catch up on the best sailors with my tactics.
The good thing is that at least I did a few decent starts this time. I even did a race of 8th that got me into the gold fleet. So for the rest of the regatta I was with the 59 top sailors –> I sailed with the hardest fleet I had ever been with. As expected, I really got my ass kicked. The gap between youth sailing and senior sailing is huge. It felt weird going from sailing at the front of the fleet last year (while still in Youth <19) to doing races where I was in the last tier. But I was expecting it so I wasn’t too depressed about it. I know that I need a lot of practice sailing with the senior fleets before I can hope to do better results. In the end I finished 51/117, which isn’t too bad for my very first Trofeo Princesa Sofia. For sure next year I’ll have to do better if I want to qualify for Rio so now… BACK TO WORK!
As planned, I have had to go back to the Schultess Klinik in Zurich and see Fabian. The purpose of my visit was to do again some physical tests and see if I improved during the winter season. It’s not really my favorite activity but this time it didn’t go too bad…
After some pull-ups, bench-pull, dead lifts, etc… and grand finale with the bike test, I am quite proud to say that I improved EVERYWHERE!!
Of course this didn’t happen overnight! During these 4 months I had to go to the gym or cycle nearly every day besides my sailing and I followed a very strict diet plan (coughing, okay I maybe just ate a bit less nutella than usual…).
Even though I will still need to improve a lot before having the strength to be an Olympic Champion, this is only the beginning of a long journey until Tokyo (and Rio hopefully) and if I continue like this I should be ready by then!!
End of March there is a big event held in Palma that all the best sailors worldwide attend – the Trofeo Princesa Sofia – A must go!
I drove down to Barcelona with my freshly acquired drivers license where I took a ferry to Palma de Mallorca. Even though the trip was very long, I straight away got my boat and myself ready to go on the water. There were very nice conditions with a sea breeze and some sun.
I ended up joining a group of Laser radial sailors that was doing some races. It was really fun to be able to train on my starts with over 20 boats including some of the best sailors.
During my stay, one of the main sailing clubs in Palma organised a 3-day training regatta. So every day, I was on the water at 12 to do some real races. Since it was a training regatta, I could really focus on my starts without worrying about the end result. Although there is still area for improvement, it was motivating for me to see that a good start immediately got me into the lead group and allowed me to finish my race as 2nd and 7th. I think that my overall speed and tactics are good but starts are key to be at the top of the fleet. It’s really a point that I need to continue working on. Anyways, in the end I didn’t do too bad finishing this regatta 15th/55 boats . Now I’m at home for a few days to rest a bit before going back to Palma to compete at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia.
Credits to http://www.sailcoach.com and http://www.fochyfum.es for the nice pictures!!
In February, I left to Cadiz, Spain, to participate at my first regatta of the year !
It wasn’t the first time in Cadiz for me so I was excited to go back especially since we really had nice sailing conditions the years before. Lucky as I am, I started feeling a bit sick the morning of my departure… Even though I went there a few days early to be able to train, I ended up staying most of the time at home in bed. I felt exhausted which wasn’t ideal right before a five-day regatta. Still being sick, I decided to compete in the regatta anyways.
I was really disappointed because I went to Spain to do this regatta as a training, especially since my last regatta was in October, and in the end I did even fulfill the only personal goal that I had which was to do good starts. Of course I know that my situation over there wasn’t ideal, I didn’t have my own boat unfortunately because the trip was too long so I rented one which turned out to be a really bad boat. At the end of each day, the inside of the boat had 2-3 liters of water that leaked in.. And as if being sick wasn’t enough. Because of the water, I was also pretty slow, especially at the end of day when the boat had enough time to fill up and the committee was also a bit crazy, making us race in very shifty conditions. I had terrible results and I’m really sad about it. I guess that shit happens to everyone sometimes but I really hope that my next regatta in Palma de Mallorca will go better. Now I’m at home for a few days, first trying to get rid of the flu once and for all and then also studying a bit. Leaving soon to Spain again but this time in Mallorca !! Very Excited
Since people who don’t sail don’t know how the qualifying system works, I thought it would be interesting to explain it.
First, in sailing there can only be one boat per nation for each boat category. It’s not like swimming or skiing where there can be many competitors per nation and per discipline.
Second, there are only a limited number of places available for each boat category, i.e. not all nations can participate.
In Laser Radial, only women compete. There are 37 places available for just as many nations.
The first 19 places were given to the 19 first nations at the ISAF World Championship last September 2014.
The next 4 places will be given at the next World Laser Radial Women’s Championship in Oman in November 2015.
The next 11 spots will be distributed by continent: Europe will receive 2 places. This last selection will take place in Palma in March 2016.
For the last 3 places, there is one for the host and 2 others given by the international sailing federation to the countries of their choice.
Usually, once the nation is qualified, the competitor still needs to be chosen among the other Swiss sailors AND fulfill the nation’s own criteria (for Switzerland it is to be in the top 12 nations).
The special twist is here: there is a “newcomer rule” which states that as a young sailor, I can go to the Olympics if I qualify the nation under condition that I promise that I’ll also participate in the next Olympics in Tokyo 2020. ( of course I also have to be the best Swiss sailor if I want to be selected…)
In summary, I still have two chances to qualify the nation and win my ticket to the Olympics!