sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Why Britain rules the Olympic sailing waves

Why Britain rules the Olympic sailing waves

'Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson from Great Britain racing in the Star class on Day 3 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta'    onEdition ©    Click Here to view large photo

Robin Scott-Elliot of The Independent gets a rare look at how the British Olympic Sailing system operates - producing five medals from the Sydney Olympic Regatta in 2000 and six from Qingdao, China in 2008, including four gold medals.

Britain was top country at the recent Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in the 2012 Olympic venue of Weymouth - winning six medals in the ten Olympic events and two medals from three Paralympic events.

He writes:

Funding has helped Britain's Olympic sailors enjoy gold but just as important is the fact that they do everything – from booking flights to scrubbing the hull.

Iain Percy sits easily in a large leather sofa. He points out the other teams gathered in the noisy yacht club bar. Danes, French, Czechs, Brazilians, Germans, Italians, Australians, Americans and others loll around; outside, row after row of boats bob in the morning sunshine on the marina's gentle waters. Beyond the marina's guard, conditions are not much different; there is barely a breath of wind and for the sailors that means downtime.

The Brazilians – one half of whom is Britain's old Olympic adversary, Robert Scheidt – get the Percy blessing, but he is less taken by the occupants of the French boat. 'Oh yeah, nobody likes the French,' confirms Giles Scott, one of the rising stars of Team GB, at dinner later that night.

Percy's star has risen. He already has two Olympic gold medals – even if he cannot actually remember where they are. 'Umm, at mum and dad's?' he wonders in his only moment of doubt during our time together. Now, once again in productive partnership with Andrew Simpson, Percy is strong favourite to add a third at next year's London Olympics, and in so doing earn a lofty status as one of Britain's great Olympians.

Ben Ainslie (GBR), Weymouth, 10th June 2011 - will he win a fourth Olympic Gold medal in the Finn class in 2012?. -  Ian Roman?nid=84689  
The Majorca regatta signalled the start of the countdown to London, or to be more precise Weymouth, as that is where the sailing events will take place – in the home waters of the English Channel. The French will not like that.

They are on those waters this week, in the Sail for Gold regatta which began on Monday, another key staging post en route to the Games. Sailors' lives, their sporting ones at any rate, are run on four-year cycles with the Olympics providing the most emphatic of full stops. Campaigners as experienced as Percy and Simpson will halve that; do their own thing for a time, America's Cup projects, crewing, earning – cashing in effectively on their Olympic achievements to pay the rent.

For most Olympic sports money matters, pennies are counted every step of the way towards the podium, and sailing is the most expensive. No other sport has such costly equipment. Comparisons with Formula One are drawn and it is not only because of high technological fiddlings in the quest for an edge over opponents but also because of the need to husband money in what is a financially draining sport, and – here's the difference from F1 – a sport that is far from flooded with money.

Team GB is the best equipped, resourced, coached and managed (and successful – there is a connection), but it is the sailors themselves who juggle the day-to-day running of their programs. How do we get the boat from Weymouth to Palma? Where are we going to stay? What needs doing to the boat? Who is going to jump in the water and scrub the bottom? And above all, how much will it cost?

'We have to manage everything from top to bottom,' says Percy. 'We are chairman, manager and players – and groundsman. We manage ourselves, work out our budget – if we had an amazing sponsorship deal we could get someone to come and help with our boat but our bank account needs to go on sails, development, the list goes on. But being involved in all that is important.'

The medals ceremony at the end of the Majorca regatta – Percy and Simpson, to no one's surprise, won the Star class – was marked by British itchy feet. They had another boat to catch. Many of them were booked on the midnight ferry back to the Spanish mainland and had to heave the boats on to trailers and head for the port. Ahead lay a long drive back home. 'We do everything,' explains Percy, 'from the travel, booking flights, booking hotels, transportation, driving the boat back after events. Beginning to end, you do everything.'


Paul Goodison (Gold medalist in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympic regatta) is carried from water by team mates including Team Manager Stephen Park and triple Gold medalist Ben Ainslie -  Steve Arkley?nid=84689  
Team GB is run by Steven Parks, a intense Glaswegian with piercing eyes with whom comparisons with Alex Ferguson are impossible to resist. For a start there is the unequalled record of success. Then there is an obvious will to win, a (good-natured) suspicion of the media and an immaculate, forensic attention to detail.

'We want people to have responsibility for their own programme,' says Parks. 'There are financial restrictions but on the other side of the coin there are good reasons why they should do that, look after the equipment, know where they are going – get there! Rather than just turning up and playing. It gives it a context.'

There is a sense that Percy would be bored if it was simply a matter of getting in the boat and sailing. He appears to enjoy the micro-management of a project that has a budget in the region of £500,000 per Olympic cycle. UK Sport funding provides a top level individual annual award – in effect for medal contenders – of £27,328, although that figure will decline the greater the levels of sponsorship an athlete attracts. The sailors are well backed by Skandia – who in turn see the sailors, tanned, polite, successful and largely middle class (like sports such as golf, sailors from the wrong side of the tracks are unsurprisingly rare) as the ideal ambassadors for their brand – but the level of funding is closely guarded.

'We are lucky in our backing – we cover our costs, but we have never made any money out of it,' says Percy, who lives in Valencia but is moving back to the UK for Games preparation. 'We plan how we will pay for it – and if we can't we have to find more money or change our programme. I'm not down – I'm neutral, neutral for 12 years of Olympic sport.'

Iain Percy and Andrew 'Bart' Simpson (GBR) Mens Keelboat (Star) opening day of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. Weymouth -  Ian Roman?nid=84689  
For the sailors there is an expectation about London, not least from Parks himself. They are the host nation and the world's No 1 sailing nation. After the Beijing Games, Britain's most successful on the water for a century, Parks declared the target for 2012 was to win every event. Percy and Simpson snatched a stomach-churning gold in the final race in 2008 and anything other than a return to the top of the podium next year would be a huge surprise, and a major disappointment.

'I know with my mates how much more interest there is in London,' says Percy. 'A regatta like this, none of my friends would have cared before, but they're all on the phone, texting me. I'm like, 'Where've you been for the last 10 years?'

Percy's mobile rings. It is Ben Ainslie, the best Olympic sailor Britain has produced. 'You only ring when you're winning,' quips Simpson. There is an easy camaraderie among them. Percy relays the message then they discuss who will have first call on one of the coaches. The team is impressively supported through coaching, physiotherapists, a psychologist, a meteorologist – there are similarities between the sailors and the British cyclists in being the envy of their sporting world and there is healthy rivalry between the two teams. Majorca is a favoured winter destination of the cyclists too, and occasionally their paths cross in the island's mountains on training rides – cycling is favoured by the sailors for fitness – and impromptu races break out much to the fury of coaches from either side.

For the rest of this story click here?nid=84689




by Robin Scott-Elliot

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=84689

11:12 AM Mon 13 Jun 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

03 Nov 2013  Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 - THAT Speech
20 Aug 2013  Mat Belcher – 17 in a row - 'The harder I work, the luckier I get'
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Stevie Morrison one year on
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Lucy Macgregor one year on
03 Jun 2013  Ainslie: Close to quitting sailing after Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's death
31 May 2013  A Tribute to Bart
29 Dec 2012  Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours, five others recognised
28 Nov 2012  2012 Paralympic Games a winner in global TV ratings
21 Nov 2012  London Paralympic Games debrief to start in Rio
02 Nov 2012  2012 Olympics: The Medalists thoughts on Kites and Windsurfers
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race is to be contested in a strict, one-design class. The emphasis is shifted from who has the best boat to suit the conditions to who has the best men - or women - onboard. ... [more]  

Three America's Cup sailors have been named in the top 20 sports earners, in a list published in the New Zealand Herald this week. Topping the list is Sir Russell Coutts with a claimed earnings of $13million. He is just a $1million ahead of an English Premier League player, Winston Reid, and motor racing ace, Scott Dixon. All Black captain, Ritchie McCaw is ranked #5. ... [more]  

Melges 32 World Championship - Prepare for off-the-charts action by International Melges 32 Class Association
Entering its sixth World Championship season, the International Melges 32 Class Association has raced at arguably every world-class venue on the globe, has seen the most respected pro and amateur sailors on its courses and most importantly, learned valuable lessons of what owners and sailors want so that the Melges 32 continues to be strongest one design grand prix sportboat on the planet. ... [more]  

With light winds continuing to dominate on day six of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, the decision was made to begin the Reno SUP Challenge during the afternoon, which saw twelve teams battling it out in heats of two for a place in tomorrow’s final, to keep the crowds entertained. ... [more]  

Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for day three of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these stunning images of the action. ... [more]  

The IFDS Rankings for Paralympic Classes have been released. It's a British 1-2 at the top of the 2.4mR Rankings with Megan Pascoe at world number one and Helena Lucas at world number two. 2014 World Champion Heiko Kroger (GER) sits at world number seven but counts less regattas than those above him. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

After Gmunden, Austria, in 2011 and Cala de' Medici, Italy, in 2012 and after a pained second place, same points with the Portogues 'Credite Egs' in Portosin, Spain, last year, the Italian crew coming from Puglia 'Euz II Monella Vagabonda', with Sandro Montefusco at the helm and his brother Paolo as a tactician, confirms for the third time the Platu 25 World Championship title. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for the first day of competition at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on site for day one of racing at the 2014 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

The final day of the 2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship ended up being a half day of sailing due to a complete shutdown of the wind. However, the fleet completed enough races to count Gold Round Robin 3 and crown Ladies and Gentlemen as the back-to-back Team Racing Champions. ... [more]  

National Sailing Hall of Fame inducts eight
2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Bid guidelines now published
Volvo Ocean Race: Last medical training for the onboard sailors +Video
2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship - Images by Erik Simonson
J/105 North American Champs- Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin succeeds
Extreme Sailing Series: Burling and Tuke back on board for Nice Act
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall   
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature   
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.   
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Melbourne - Teaming up   
Mascalzone Latino Jr. named 2014 Melges 20 European Ranking Champion   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Le Berre keeps winning in Sheboygan   
Hobie 16 Open North American Champ and Pan Am Games Qualifier - Day 4   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT