Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

From oars and lakes to rudders and seas

by Daniel Smith on 7 Dec 2013
Smith-Cook Faultless - ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne
Australia’s Sarah Cook is no stranger to international competition and racing on the water in pursuit of Olympic dreams.

Cook, who spent ten years in the Australian Rowing Team, has swapped 2,000 metre dashes in a boat of eight to sailing up and downwind in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy, the 470.


The tall 28-year-old recently celebrated her one year sailing anniversary but her physique immediately caught the eye of one Australian sailing hero who saw a match made in heaven, 'I met Elise Rechichi, my helm, back in London at a sushi train of all places at the London airport when we were leaving the Olympics,' commented Cook.

'I’d just competed in the women’s eight for Australia and met Elise randomly. It just so happened that she was a after a new crew and apparently when I stood up she said it was love at first sight. For her having a tall crew is the most important thing and there I was.'

Rechichi had a fresh slate with Cook who entered the sport for the first time in an Olympic event, 'I’d never sailed, I literally did a learn to sail course last September and got into the 470 for the first time in October. It’s been a very steep learning curve. It was nine months in the boat by the time we got to the Worlds in La Rochelle. We learnt a lot in those nine months but we were really happy with how our international season ended up.'

Cook knows what it takes to become an Olympian. Ten years of hard work and dedication resulted in her representing Australia at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Both Olympic sports require certain physical and mental aspects and Cook has enjoyed the transition, 'It’s so different to compare the two sports,' she said. 'I’ve literally transformed myself I feel from one kind of athlete that you have to be for rowing to a sport that’s so highly technical and tactical. There’s just so much to know not only on your tasks and what you’re doing in the boat but then in terms of strategy and fleet racing on top of that.'

Rio 2016 is firmly in sight for Cook but she doesn’t plan on making any more changes for Tokyo 2020, 'I’m definitely going to stick with the sailing,' she added. 'I’m loving the sport and I think a big part of that is having a change and learning something new. It’s such a great opportunity for me to have the challenge of transforming the kind of athlete I am from a rower which is one end of the spectrum to a sailor at the other.'

At ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Cook is competing with 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds 420 gold medallist Carrie Smith after Rechichi pulled out on medical grounds.

The duo got off to a wonderful start, taking the lead on the opening day but have slipped to fourth with only the Women’s 470 Medal Race to go.

Cook concluded, 'We only had one sail together before this regatta and Carrie has come from 420s so it’s a big challenge for us to connect as a team but for her to learn to sail the 470 as well.

'She’s doing an amazing job. We’ve had some good races and some not so good races but all in all we’re enjoying this week.'

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
North Technology - Southern SparsBarz Optics - FloatersKilwell - 4