2015 Peak

  • Posted on: 25 November 2015
  • By: Sophie Ainsworth

At the start of 2015, we decided the test event would be the outcome regatta of the year. Except after the previous six months we’ve had we had to move the goal to the 2015 World Championships. We hadn’t had a consistent coach; fundamentally we didn’t have the support that we desperately wanted. The hardest part of this was that we knew exactly what we wanted. We are happy to say that Mark Asquith is now the British 49erFx podium squad coach. Instantly he has added energy to our programme. More good news is that we are both in one piece after an intense six weeks of training and racing. As one of the British 49er coaches said to Charlotte after our World Championships, ‘You’re back’. We are back and for us it couldn’t have come at a better time, there is less than ten months ten months until the games.

We are now working alongside a Canadian team that have just qualified their nation for one of the last spots at the Rio games. Before heading to Buenos Aires for the South American and World Championships, we spent an intense week training with them and Mark in Weymouth. It was great to have a training partner to push us day in day out, and a coach who seemed like he was trying to break us (physically.)

We arrived in Argentina to balmy sunshine and very brown water. We had been warned about it and Sophie has been there previously, but it is still a hard place to sail at, it’s tricky to read the water, it always looks like there is more wind than there is and it’s very shallow, with a lot of chop. We went straight into racing at the South American Championships, effectively the warm up event for the Worlds. It was a tough event for us; it was light winds throughout the event (not our favourite conditions but that might be changing,) ad we were struggling to read the brown water. We finished eighth overall, finishing on a high with a third in the medal race (the only race that we could stretch our legs in.) We knew we had a few areas we needed to address before the Worlds, but we had time.

We are really proud to say that we finished fifth at the World Championships. It is our best 49erFX World Championship result to date and we were 4 points off medalling. Not only were we just 4 points of medalling, but going into the medal race the gold medal was very much ours for the taking. Ultimately, the medal race didn’t go our way and we finished fifth overall, but after the last six months we have had that will do for now. For us the Worlds very much reflects where we are. When we set our expectations before the regatta our coach was very realistic with us, how did we expect to finish in the top 5 when we’ve had a really tough year and the fleet has got so much better. We told him in simple terms, we knew we had the ability to finish in the top five, we hadn’t had the ideal build up to the Worlds but we definitely had the belief. We did just that, it’s hard not to be disappointed as we were so close to that Worlds medal but there is so much more important stuff we can take from it. It was another event where we built on our series throughout the regatta, moving up the leaderboard as the event progressed. Now that we have a solid unit with our coach, things are only going to move forward and our A game is only just getting going, luckily for us our next Worlds is in less than three months in Clearwater.

It is at this point we would like to thank our friends and family for their unrelenting support, as well as a few individuals and sponsors. Thank you Richard Keers and Mark Pugh for allowing us opportunities to fund raise for our campaign, we are incredibly grateful. Richard Butcher for your avid support and help with all things contractual. Draper Tools for all the tools they supply us with, allowing us to maintain our equipment to a World class level and Volvo for getting us around Europe in style.