Dutch Championships RS500

Right after returning from the Olympic Testevent in Rio (August), Claire and Nina participated in the Dutch Championships RS500. Not with the usual team composition, but both in a different boat with a talented young sailor as crew. Fleur Lambooij and Em Sadler (15 and 16 years old) were invited for this event based on their correct answers in a social media contest.

The Championship in Medemblik was very windy, but Claire and Fleur were able to take the Silver Medal home! Nina and Em took a few too many swims, but really enjoyed the competition nonetheless,and ended up on 6th place.

Claire and Fleur on the podium.
Claire and Fleur on the podium.

It was a great experience transferring our sailing experience and knowledge and motivating young talent in the Netherlands. Our participation was really well organized by the RS500 class association, who delivered the two boats race-ready! Thank you Michiel, Hilde and Anneke!

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Happy faces in the RS500!

The RS500 is a new but upcoming class in the Netherlands, with currently about 25 competitive boats. The fleet consists of younger and older teams, with a combined weight (helm + crew) of around 130kg. Let us know if you want to get in touch with the class and join in on one of their events!! We surely hope to be there again next year with a coupe of new talented young sailors!

6th at Rio Olympic Testevent!

Half an Olympic nomination and national sports A-limit (NOC*NSF) in the pocket!!

We just came back from Rio de Janeiro, where we participated in the Official Olympic Testevent for the Olympic Games next year.

In August, all eyes were on Rio. A really important event – if not the most important of the year 2015 – where all countries were allowed to send their best competitor in order to test local conditions and sailing with the Olympic organization. 19 boats entered in the 49erFX fleet. Our goal was clear. No matter how good our preparation or how many setbacks we had to overcome before traveling to Rio, we wanted to show that we can perform on Olympic waters.

Olympic Sailing venue.. Christ the Redeemer keeping an eye on us!
Olympic Sailing venue.. Christ the Redeemer keeping an eye on us!

And we did. Each day of the regatta, we were able to evaluate and improve ourselves. Just the two of us, we worked hard on and off the water, looking for ways to improve ourselves. Sometimes with strongly opinionated discussions, sometimes the way to go was clear as day. But we managed to get back up the level we wanted to sail and entered the medal race in 8th position. Theoretically we were still able to finish the regatta between 5th and 10th position. A 7th place or higher would qualify us to receive a National A-limit sports status, which affords a monthly government income. Definitely we had a lot at stake the last day! But in fact our most important goal was to secure our half Olympic nomination by keeping our 8th position in the overall results.

Game face on!!
Game face on!!

The medal race course area was located right behind the famous Sugar Loaf mountain, where visitors could watch the race just 100m away from Flamengo beach. Our game plan was made. We thought the right-hand side of the course area would pay off. We went for it, we had good boat speed, and we finished the race in second position right behind our Argentinian training partners. We just managed to finish in front of the New Zealand girls, which turned out important for the overall results. We climbed two spots in the overall ranking and finished the Olympic Testevent in 6th position!!

Sailing in front of Sugar Loaf mountain
Sailing in front of Sugar Loaf mountain

Of course we were exhilarated and relieved with this result! Not only did we secure the half nomination, we got the A-limit and most importantly we showed that we are able to perform on Olympic waters and under pressure. We came back from a really difficult period with injuries and other disappointments, but we managed to climb back up by just focusing on ourselves and building a stronger team than ever!!

Visible relieve after finishing the medal race!

Thank you everyone who believes in us and supports us along the way. We are extremely grateful and we are enjoying our campaign to the fullest!

After the Testevent we had a little holiday on Isla Grande together with the Brazilian, New Zealand, Danish and Norwegian FX girls. And of course our great friend Juliana from Team Nacra Brasil!! An amazing time in which we recharged and relaxed before we started a 7-day training/racing camp with 7 international FX teams. Thank you Kahena and family for the organization and hospitality!

Good times recharging with the international FX women on Isla Grande.
Good times recharging with the international FX women on Isla Grande.

Back in Rio, we could not have had a better training set-up. The weather changed, we got to know the windy and wavy side of Guanabara Bay. Good practice and just for everyone to know: contrary to what everyone expects we could have a strong breeze Olympic Games next year.

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Happy days in the training camp, with coach-for-a-day Ju doing an amazing job!!

After the training camp it was really time to go home and have proper rest. Until the end of september we will be focusing our time on physical training and campaign planning and logistics. From 18-21 September we will compete eachother in the Dutch Championships RS500… Stay tuned!

It’s Rio time!!

We are back again! This time from Rio de Janeiro, and we have a lot to tell!

When it became official that we would not continue as part of the federation team, it was time to give our own campaign some more body. First things first, we needed to be fit and healthy. We are very happy to announce that Claire’s knee is fully recovered and no longer limiting us on or off the water!! We are very happy with the good care taken by our medical team Mark Haak and Francoise Broekhof.

Although we did not really plan to participate in the European Championships due to the required recovery time after the knee surgery, we made a last minute call to travel down south and when the recovery was quicker than expected. With only a few hours preparation time on the water, our main goal in the event was to build up hours in the boat, get back in racing mode and set some new focus goals after being out of sailing together for over 1.5 months.

Our comeback was a bit harder than hoped for. We had some great moments, but the average was not high enough to get to the medalrace. Nevertheless a good opportunity to get back and set some improvement goals for the next period, where we prepare ourselves for the 2015 Rio Testevent.

One of our better races in Porto. Downwind in front of the fleet!

After Porto we were more than motivated to work hard and be ready for the Rio Olympic Testevent. The time from winning the trials till the Europeans had been a difficult time with quite some setbacks, and we knew something in our minds had to change in order to get back to the level we think we should perform. Although we have had a great cooperation with our coach Francisco Andrade, aka Frankie, we decided to go completely back to basics and end this cooperation. Traveling to Rio with just the two of us could help us get our minds back on the right track, and find out what we really need to get to the top. Nevertheless we are extremely grateful to Francisco for helping us building our team and teaching us some extremely important lessons about sailing the 49er. He helped us a lot as sailors and as persons and he was indispensible in winning the National Olympic Trials! We wish him the best in everything and really hope to keep seeing him coaching in the 49er fleet!

So without a coach we traveled to Rio. We did a little detour traveling through Houston (Texas), 28 hrs travel time instead of the required 10,5hrs in a direct flight, but at least we were able to save some money, and we got to see a bit of the world! (mainly airport restaurants, but who cares..;-)

In Rio we were able to borrow the federation’s boat so we didn’t have to bring our own. A really nice gesture, thank you for that!! The boat needed a bit of love (2 days!!) but underneath the somewhat dirty layers it was actually in quite good shape!

      Our Rio boat, after giving him some love and the necessaire rebranding!

Our first video made in Rio with action cam TomTom Bandit!

A lot of training days followed with many international boats, and we participated in the International Rio Week which was… quite interesting due to the many current lines and offshore breeze turning around the famous Sugarloaf mountain. Anyway beautiful scenery in Guanamara Bay, having Christ the Redeemer keeping an eye on us from another one of Rio’s hills.

In the mean time we were enjoying the delicious and healthy dinners of the Dutch team cook, who prepared dinner for everyone in the NOC*NSF Dutch team house. A good moment each day to hear stories from the other Dutch sailors and their respective racing areas.

Christ the Redeemer keeping an eye on us while sailing in Guanabara Bay…:)

At this moment we are in Saquarema, a village along the beach close to Rio, where we are enjoying two days of relaxing before the Olympic Testevent kicks off with measurement on August 14 and the first races on the 16th.

                                         The team in Saquarema

Three big hero’s have been helping us big time here in Rio; Cees and Jacco who were indispensible in preparing and moving our boat from Escola Naval marina to IATE Rio Yacht Club to Marina da Gloria, and Maike who checks in on us every night to see if we have not yet been robbed or kidnapped… No kidding, it gives us a save feeling in this immense city where poor and rich live in close proximity!

We also started with fundraising activities to make sure we can work the campaign the way that is needed to win a medal. Thank you Plantina and TomTom for becoming our newest suppliers!!

Our own crowdfunding campaign has recently come online. We have some cool giveaways and prices for our donators so do not hesitate to pay a visit! You can access our campaign through our new homepage www.ourroadtorio2016.com, developed by 2nd Chapter and Hosting Visions. Thank you guys for this amazing effort! We’d also like to thank everyone who donated already and became part of our team! We hope many people will follow and help us get closer to the Olympics in Rio 2016!!

Back to good old Palma!

After a bit of relaxing at home, we travelled to Palma for a little training camp. Luck was not on our side during the journey, with two trailer incidents on the road, the latter being completely destructive for the trailer…

The value of a large supportive team occurred to us when we got rescued by Ad van den Oever, who brought us a spare Box trailer somewhere near Paris in just 10 hours from breaking the axis of a wheel!

Ad was really our hero of the week, allowing us to continue our journey to Palma with just one day delay!!

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In Palma we finally reunited with the boys, after a whole winter of training on different locations around the world. What’s better than teambuilding around your own fireplace at home!!

Team back together!!:-)
Team back together!!:-)

And once again, we managed to get fantastic accomodation, including some oversized pets!!

Our backyard..
Our backyard..

Of course a lot of work had to be done to improve ourselves on the water. The weather was not really in our favor, same outside temperature as at home, but we managed to kick in some good hours again and definitely had a lot of fun too!!

Special thanks to Magic Marine for our new winter clothing (Ace Fullsuit) that we really needed these past weeks! Check their new website for the latest collection and team news! www.magicmarine.com

Hard work on the water with team Ireland Saskia and Andrea, our own Dutchie boys Lars and Floris, and our new training partners from team Spain, Tamara and Berta!!
Hard work on the water with team Ireland Saskia and Andrea, our own Dutchie boys Lars and Floris, and our new training partners from team Spain, Tamara and Berta!!

The team had a big surprise for Nina on her birthday, getting a Frozen cake and baby Champaign… The real deal has to be earned!!;-) We also had a lovely dinner with all Dutchies (and semi-Dutchies, Nicole and Thijs from Aruba) and of course sushi had to be included for a proper birthday!

We are currently doing a lot of testing for Rake Rigging Medemblik and the rope brand Lancelin we started with some custom designed spinaker sheet, soon followed up by a customized main and jib sheet. So far the specifics of the sheet have improved a lot and are getting closer and closer to the ideal! It´s exciting to be part of this technical development and help bring the FX equipment to a higher level!!

After two weeks training we went home for some rest and physical development. Nina found a new supporter to our team, Fitness365 for physical training in her home town. The fascilitaties are top-level and so is the training support! Thank you Fitness365 for becoming part of our RoadtoRio!!

New supporter of our team; Fitness365!!
New supporter of our team; Fitness365!!

Next week we are up for the Arenal Training Camp regatta as a preparation for the Princess Sofia Eurocup at the end of March.

Stay tuned!

Miami time!!

Happy new year everybody!

We had a lovely couple of days off during Christmas and New Year’s celebration, and are now back up to full speed!

We started off the new year at our YC Braassemermeer New Year’s Drink where we had the opportunity to celebrate the successes of our fellow club members and to thank everyone who helped us during the last year. It’s so great to hear how well everyone has done and in particular we are very proud of our club’s victory in the Dutch Team Racing Championships!! Lees verder Miami time!!