10 jun Golden Memories Remembered at ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland
In June 2012 Spain’s Tamara Echegoyen was in Weymouth and Portland, preparing for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition with her Women’s Match Racing crew of Angela Pumariega and Sofia Toro.
The efforts of the Spanish crew were fully concentrated on the Women’s Match Racing event in the six metre keelboat known as the Elliot 6m. Sailing at the former World Cup regatta, known as Sail for Gold, they came through eighth but at the main event things were a little different.
A do or die attitude at the Olympic Games had put them in the final of the competition and in with a shout of gold. In the last race of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition the trio were fearless as they defeated Australia’s Olivia Price, Lucinda Whitty and Nina Curtis to realise their golden dreams and aspirations.
Three years on and the trio are back at the Olympic venue for ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland, the fourth regatta on the 2015 series. Their keels have been swapped for daggerboards, their match racing replaced with fleet racing and their team divided three ways.
Women’s Match Racing was replaced by the 49erFX, a women’s skiff, on the Olympic programme following London 2012 and Echegoyen hopped straight back on the campaign trail, “I have good memories from London 2012 and for me it is so nice to come back to train in another boat, with another crew,” she explained.
“I used to sail the Elliot and that was a slow boat. Now I’m in the 49erFX, a fast boat, and it’s nice for me to improve and learn everyday on something different. I’m happy with the change of the boat as well.
“I’m sailing with Berta Betanzos and she used to sail in the 470 with Tara Pacheco. It’s so nice to work with her because she is a hard worker.”
Echegoyen teaming up with Betanzos meant that Pumariega and Toro had decisions to make. The pair moved into the Women’s 470 but as talented helms a separation was natural. Toro joined up with Laura Sarasola and Pumariega partnered with Patricia Cantero Reina.
With their campaigns going in an array of directions ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland is one of the first opportunities for them to catch up and reflect as Echegoyen explained, “It’s nice to be here again with them and talk about our memories and feelings about Weymouth and how we’re now working hard in our Rio Olympic campaigns.
“Every day during the Olympics was great. On the last day when I crossed the line and actually thought about the gold medal I kused my dream had come true. The Olympics were just incredible.”
Since their victory at London 2012 they haven’t hit the heights they are familiar with, yet. Pumariega and Toro are ranked World #30 and #41 respectively in the Women’s 470 whilst Echegoyen is at World #10 in the 49erFX. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint on #EVERYROADtoRIO and Echegoyen is eager to get racing at the next stop on the World Cup series, “The 49erFX in these wind conditions is so difficult and I think that we have to work hard to get to the podium. It will be hard but I would like to get there and get another medal in Weymouth.
“We’re always racing against the best sailors in the World Cup.” Indeed, the best 49erFX sailors in the world make up the 28-boat fleet in Weymouth and Portland. Miami gold medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) will be in amongst the front runners alongside Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie OIsen (DEN) who recently took gold at World Cup Hyeres.
2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year and World #1 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will also be in the mix for medals. Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA), Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) and Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) also have what it takes to be at the top of the pack.
In the men’s skiff, the 49er, (a boat that has been only the Olympic programme since Sydney 2000) London 2012 gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) also make a return to Weymouth and Portland.
It is their first time back to the place that holds many “golden memories” for them and for Australian Sailing with Australia’s sailors winning three golds and one silver medal. Australia was the most successful sailing nation at London 2012 and Australian Sailing the most successful Australian Olympic sport.
“It’s our first time here since the Olympics and it’s exciting for us to be competing on such memorable waters. Whether it’s in the boat park or out on the water, there are a lot of awesome memories for Goobs [Jensen] and I,” Outteridge said. “Some of our most fond memories are on land, the celebrations after winning the Olympic gold medal and we are really enjoying what this place was for us in 2012.
“For us to be able to come here and to be able to compete again is a huge privilege and we are just excited to be back out here and racing and seeing all the familiar sites. We spent a lot of time here living and breathing Weymouth and to come back for two weeks and do the World Cup event is awesome.”
The Australians will be joined by London 2012 Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) in the 39-boat fleet. Whilst Outteridge and Jensen dominated the build up to London 2012, the Kiwis are doing exactly the same in the build up to Rio 2016.
In fact, the last team to beat the Kiwis was Outteridge and Jensen at London 2012, such is their dominance. Burling and Tuke will be red hot favourites in Weymouth and Portland but the Australians know they have the beating of them on the 2012 Olympic waters.
Other contenders in the 49er fleet include Miami gold medallist Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT), World #1 David Gilmour and Rhys Mara as well as home favourites John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR).
ISAF Sailing World Cup glory, a share of the €78,000 prize fund and Abu Dhabi final spots are on offer with racing commencing on 10 June culminating in the live Medal Races on Sunday 14 June.
The world’s top 30 sailors from the 27 April 2015 ISAF World Sailing Rankings release were invited to Weymouth and Portland with the remaining receiving their spot at the qualification event, the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands.