Let’s fight back and get ready for 2016!

Originally we planned to go to Rio in December to train together with other international teams. We were able to rent the Federation boat located in Rio, because our raceboat is in a sea container on its way from Argentina to Miami, so it arrives in time for the Miami World Cup in January.
However, after rethinking our schedule, we have decided to radically change our December plans and train in Holland instead. We have come to the conclusion that we actually need to save our December money, otherwise we will definitely not have the funds to go to Miami and Clearwater for the next World Cup and World Championships in January and February 2016. Besides that, we think we can also spend our time very effectively in Holland, focusing on physical and mental training. We’ve set some challenging goals for ourselves to achieve by the end of the year, and we think this is gonna help us a lot to perform next year.
Thus, take a good look at our recent photos, because we are going to spend the whole month in the fitness. Popeye and the Beast are gonna get some competition from us! (Beauty is temporarily gone;-))
Faster, fitter and stronger in 2016!

World Championships 2015 – not according to plan

What happened? Is this really the place where we belong? We had some time to think things over and we come to the conclusion that this is not a place where we belong! For anyone who didn’t follow closely, we ended up in the back of the Gold Fleet, but we know we are able to do much better! The first two races of the Worlds were ok, but after that we struggled with everything. Our start was a big problem, although with the video footage of the first day we could pick this up during the week and improve a lot. Unfortunately we also had speed issues that lasted all week, and to be honest, that is the worst that can happen in 49er racing… Our lack of speed affected our positioning options, leading to inaccurate tactics especially in the downwinds.

So we came back home very disappointed. We could pretend that this World Championships never happened, but we are not like that. We are facing it and sorting out every issue we had so we will be stronger, faster and fitter again in February for the next World Championships in Clearwater (Florida, USA).

Drifting around on the race course on one of the days of the World Championships

Yacht Club Braassemermeer supports the team!

During our week at home, we spend a day at the Braassem Youth Sailors’ Clinic, an annual weekend in autumn where many talented optimist and laser sailors come together to train and prepare for the next regatta season.

Before stepping into the rib for some on-the-water coaching, we gave a presentation about the challenges and adventures of our Olympic Campaign, hoping to motivate and inspire the next generation, and to give back to the club that raised us from young Opti sailors to professional athletes.

To our big surprise, the president of our club announced their support to our campaign, by awarding us with 600€ from the sponsormoney that he club received from SCA to promote Women’s sailing (SCA sponsored the all-female Volvo Ocean Race Boat that raced around the world with fellow club member and friend Carolijn Brouwer). On top of that, the club had decided to double this donation to our campaign, so we received a total support of 1200€!!! An amazingly kind gestures in a time where we need it most!

Right after our presentation, the club's surprise to our campaign!
Right after our presentation, the club’s surprise to our campaign!

Media Masterclass at the NOS Studios

On Thursday 29 September we were invited to participate in a Media Masterclass organized by national sports association NOC*NSF for a selected group of Dutch top athletes. It was a special occasion in which we got to know the interviewers from the Dutch sports television, as well as their interviewing tactics!

27 Top athletes gathered at the NOS Studios!
27 Top athletes gathered at the NOS Studios!

Where the average media training focuses on getting your message transmitted without saying anything ‘stupid’, this afternoon we learned how emotions can play an important role, not only in making good television but also in getting public sympathy.  A very interesting angle! We discussed various interviews from the past, including the well-known interview with Henk Grol after he won Bronze (but lost Gold) in the London Olympics (Judo) and with Reinder Nummerdor after he lost the Finals at the World Championships Beach Volleyball this year.

We definitely learned a lot and met some nice and inspiring fellow athletes!

Ready to represent Team NL
Ready to represent Team NL

Op jacht naar olympische kwalificatie

Nina Keijzer & Claire Blom - Sailing Energy Jesus Renedo

Zeilsters Nina Keijzer en Claire Blom kunnen zich, op het WK 49er FX in Argentinië van 16 t/m 21 november 2015, definitief kwalificeren voor de Olympische Spelen in 2016. De dames uit Alphen en Den Haag wonnen in maart 2015 de nationale selectie in de 49er FX en sleepten op het test event in Rio hun eerste halve nominatie binnen. In Buenos Aires moeten ze bij de eerste acht landen eindigen om hun tweede halve nominatie in de wacht te slepen. Het zeilduo legt de lat zelf hoger. Blom: “Als we er goed in zitten, kunnen we top zes varen.”

Top 8 landen is genoeg, maar de lat ligt hoger
Op het WK 49er FX in Argentinië van 16 t/m 21 november 2015 doen 43 deelnemers mee uit 25 landen. Keijzer & Blom moeten bij de top acht landen eindigen om de tweede halve nominatie voor de Spelen in Rio binnen te slepen. Na een zesde plaats op het olympisch test event in Rio en een zware trainingsperiode met de Argentijnse 49er FX dames, leggen Keijzer & Blom de lat zelf nog een stukje hoger. Blom: “We willen gewoon een super goed WK varen en het op dezelfde manier aanpakken als bij het test event in Rio de Janeiro. Als dat lukt kunnen we bij de top zes varen.”

Keijzer: “Het zwaarste trainingskamp uit onze zeilcarrière”
Keijzer: “We hebben hard gewerkt de afgelopen tijd. In oktober zijn we al paar weken in Buenos Aires geweest om te trainen met het Argentijnse team en de Amerikanen. Het was denk ik het zwaarste trainingskamp in onze zeilcarrière tot nu toe. Super fijn om na een lange periode zonder coach, want die kunnen we ons gewoon niet veroorloven, toch mee te kunnen liften op de drills van de andere teams. Daarnaast kennen de Argentijnse meiden het water goed en hebben we ook daar een hoop van geleerd.”

Extremen testen
“We hebben met hen op de specifieke omstandigheden van de rivier de Rio de la Plata getraind. Het is er erg ondiep, je hebt er veel zandbanken en veel korte golven. Het is lastig varen hier. We hebben de South Americans gevaren van 5 tm 8 november, op dezelfde locatie als het WK. De generale gaat bij ons meestal niet zo goed, maar dat weten we. Dus we gebruiken het echt als test event waar we de extremen gaan testen, zodat we weten wat we wel en niet kunnen proberen op de belangrijke momenten.”

“Het is echt puzzelen af en toe en we zijn onwijs dankbaar voor alle steun die we krijgen”
Keijzer en Blom hebben hun eigen crowdfundingplatform gelanceerd. Keijzer: “De druk staat er wel op. Met name ook richting onze sponsoren, en alle mensen en kleine bedrijven die ons op dit moment via ons crowdfundingplatform steunen om onze droom waar te maken. Het is echt puzzelen af en toe, maar we zijn onwijs dankbaar voor alle steun die we krijgen. We konden tot twee weken terug eigenlijk nog niet eens ons inschrijfgeld voor het WK betalen, maar met een donatie via ons platform werd dat gelukkig net op tijd opgelost. Gelukkig kunnen we dat nu heel even los laten, ons focussen op het WK, en daarna verder.”

Over Team Magic Marine
Keijzer (25) en Blom (27) varen sinds augustus 2014 samen op de 49er FX. Wanneer ze om budgettaire redenen vanaf eind 2014 niet meer door het Watersportverbond worden ondersteund, gaan ze op eigen kracht verder. In april 2015 winnen de dames de nationale selectie in de 49er FX. Op het olympisch test event in Rio in augustus worden ze zesde; de eerste halve nominatie voor de Spelen is binnen.

Voor de tweede nominatie moeten ze bij de top acht landen eindigen op het WK 49er FX in Argentinië, het WK in Clearwater in februari 2016 of de ISAF World CUp in Hyeres in april 2016. Meer informatie vindt u op hun website en crowdfundingplatform.

Photo: Sailingenergy / Jesus Renedo

Buenos Aires Training Camp

Our October program consists of Eat-Train-Sleep-Repeat. Oh yes and a little bit of campaign logistics when internet connection allows! We have landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the location for the World Championships of 2016 (16-21 November). We decided to come early to get maximum preparation in the local conditions and to make sure our race boat arrived safely after the long trip in the seacontainer from Europe. We are staying in Argentina’s national sports complex (much like Papendal in the Netherlands) together with our training partners from USA and Argentina. A very efficient setting in a great sports atmosphere!

The weather conditions are a bit up and down, but the temperature is surely better than at home. We are having good wind every day and are fighting intense battles with the Yankees and the locals on the training course.

With team USA and team Argentina on Yacht Club Argentina.
With team USA and team Argentina on Yacht Club Argentina.

Last weekend we participated in the Semana de Buenos Aires Regatta. With both a strong-, a medium-, and a light-wind day, it was a very allround regatta. Unfortunately our good races in the heavy wind could not get us far enough ahead of light-wind-experts Argentina in order to beat them in the Overall Results, so we took home the Silver Medal.

We had a cool achievement this weekend though, it was our first time that we were able to sail the whole fleet out of the time limit!! (There is a 10 min finish window after the first boat finishes a race). So thats off the Bucket List, haha! :-)

We like some breeze!!
We like some breeze!!

We are staying one more week in Argentina for training. After that we head home to get some rest and travel fully recharged back to Argentina in the beginning of November to compete at the World Championships. Thanks to Hamapo BV we were able to book our flight tickets to Argentina! Huge thanks Koen and Bert!

Happy team!
Happy team!

Hans joins the team!

Besides supplying our coach boat since the beginning of this year, Hans van Stekelenborg will now also get actively involved and help us out from the rib during the World Championships in November.

Hans is the father of our training partner and Magic Marine teammate Lars, and a very experienced sailor and windsurfer himself.

We are really happy with his involvement and continuous support! And Hans.. probably he is just missing his rib!;-)

Hans in his rib!
Hans in his rib!

Claire Ambassador of The Hague City

As a resident of The Hague, Claire has become an official ambassador of the city. Together with six other top athletes, among others Anicka van Emden (Judo) and Sophie van Gestel (Beach Volleyball), she will be the face of sports in the regio and promote the city where possible.

Claire in the Photoshoot for The Hague City.
Claire in the Photoshoot for The Hague City.

Claire also wrote a blog about living in The Hague, Scheveningen, and how she enjoys the beach and the city’s sports facilities.

Link to her blog here (in Dutch).