The next step
I first started working with Lily (Lijia Xu) after the 2011 Sail for Gold regatta where she had finished 15th. Looking back it is amazing that the results were almost identical to the Olympics. In 2011 the results were NED, BEL, IRL, GBR the only difference for the 2012 Olympics was the results where CHN, NED, BEL, IRL, GBR!!!
Although I guess this is not that surprising as it featured the same people racing at the same venue. Just the standard of the whole fleet would have been higher at the games, but the fleet size was much smaller...
It struck me that a year really is an incredibly short time to prepare for a major championship and this was clearly demonstrated in the closeness of the results. It was probably the closest medal race there will ever be, with four boats separated by a single point at the start. Lily showed great courage to sail her own race and to win despite been given a penalty. She never, ever, stopped fighting. For such a quiet girl to shout and punch the air at the finish, really did show the level of emotion involved and I am proud to say it brought more than a single tear to my eyes.
Now I feel it is time for me to do my own sailing. For this I need a clear goal. I officially became old this year or in more politically friendly terms I qualified as a "Master" sailor. So my aim for next year is the Masters’ World Championships, which are to be sailed in Oman. I have a little over a year to prepare but I believe that this is enough time.
My first step was to attend the Masters’ Qualifier at Arun Yacht Club. A nice gentle start with mainly light winds (we only hiked for two out of six races). After spending a lot of time out of the boat I was very pleased to win five out of six races, although I did feel more than a little rusty, and much to my embarrassment I even went for a quick swim at one point haha.