Please select your home edition
Edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 1

Sailors in lockdown - reflections of an Olympic medalist and Coach

by Luca Devoti 5 Apr 2020 06:23 PDT 6 April 2020
Squall hits fleet in Race 10 - 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus © Robert Deaves

There is little doubt that the coronavirus will have a lasting effect on the sailing community - positive and negative.

Italian born Luca Devoti, now resident in Valencia, the larger than life Finn Olympic medalist, America's Cup sailor, coach, boat builder and writer shares his thoughts on the Lockdown and how it has affected him and the people in his bubbles.

The Coronavirus is a difficult beast to manage for all of us, forced into idleness and isolation while “under attack” by this virus. For few, however, the ban on active live outdoors is so hard felt as for athletes and sailors. We live by the water and by the wind. Staying inside is almost a punishment. Before this, olympic sailors and professional athletes where living in a world apart, fully focused on training and competing. In this sense, the Coronavirus and all the measures to stop it have changed our lives dramatically.

As a coach and educator, it has been difficult to get athletes to understand that they had to change completely their perspective and mental set up, and to make the best out of stormy waters. My first advice has been for all to fully obey the laws and measures imposed to contain the virus: this is no time to argue or to rebel. So: no clandestine sailing early morning or at night, in the hope of not getting caught. I was pretty brutal in pounding in that respecting the rules was a priority. My second message was that this is a “first-time” situation for all of us, and that adaptation would be the only way forward. Once this hard to swallow change had been mentally metabolized, all of them had to rely and focus on their own stationary bikes, rowing machines, weight gear, and elastics bands as the only foreseeable training tools. The open sea and the well-equipped gym are now swapped for a corner in the bedroom or the balcony.

Once those two messages got through, my coach role changed completely. My current role is basically one of time manager and psychological advisor. I try to make the best of the situation, maintaining discipline and an active routine as a way to get the best of this mess. Regular and focused training helps the days go by, gets the sailors fitter and stronger, and helps keeping the sleeping pattern and eating rhythm. It is a way to make sure that once we will be allowed to go back sailing we will get the best of our magic sport.

Adaptation and positive thinking the only way through. And in this sense, we cannot forget any (small) positive aspect of all this. The Finn will stay Olympic one more year, we can enjoy our magic class some more. We will have more time to prepare for the next olympic (whenever that will be). Even my personal rowing times are getting better. I keep in touch with my athletes as much as I can, supervising, but also sharing with the usual dose of loud talk, bad jokes, and loughs. This reduces the negative input from social media and media in general. We all know this is bad, nothing we can do to change what goes on around us. But losing our positiveness will only make it worse.

We are all bombarded with statistics about the virus and with the reality of disease and death. That is nothing new: death is something all of us will be confronted in life. Keeping the perspective helps not to lose your mind: about 8 million people die each month around the globe, the virus is just another way to end our journey. Heart diseases, cancer of all kinds, tropical and poor-country-diseases, among many others take high tolls every day. Accepting the very nature of life, accepting that the turn of our wheel has a start and one end is not easy, though once accepted we can enjoy every minute of what we do.

Tonight, my daughter Viola decided to cook dinner for the whole family, and I made the dessert with the help of my four-year-old son Federico. We all ate out on the terrace, thanks to the warming weather. A couple of days ago it was my wife’s birthday, and we celebrated it with a very simple, yet very warm, family party. It is a hard time, but it is also a time of refocusing on basic values and real affections.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about all the hyperactive happenings of the recent past. It all seems distant now, while in this forced “stay-at-home” bubble. For now, Devoti Luca is back, writing about our sport and the mind, about sailing and sailors! I have not written in a long time. I was so pissed off with the ones running our sport that I preferred to silence myself rather that entering a blind feud. But all this is less relevant now, given the current times and the current challenges.

Dream of sailing and stay safe!

Your writer, Luca Devoti

Website/Blog devotiluca.com

Related Articles

Finn Champions disappointed by Olympic decisions
Ahead of the 2021 Finn Gold Cup in Porto The 2021 Finn Gold Cup was opened on Friday in Porto, Portugal, but without an opening ceremony due to COVID-19, but with a practice race with a small fleet taking part. Posted today at 4:52 am
Tom Ramshaw to face world's best at Finn Gold Cup
The Canadian sailor's last major international event before Tokyo 2020 Canadian Sailor Tom Ramshaw will test himself against the world's best in his last major international event before Tokyo 2020 by taking part in the 2021 Finn World Cup in Porto, POR, starting Saturday. Posted on 7 May
America's Cup champ to defend Finn World title
Two of the champion America's Cup crew will contest the Finn Gold Cup in Porto this weekend Two of the champion America's Cup crew, Andy Maloney and Josh Junior will contest the 2021 Finn Gold Cup in Porto, this weekend. Josh Junior will be defending his world title, and for both the regatta will probably determine the Tokyo 2020 Finn berth Posted on 7 May
Finn fleet gather in Porto for the Finn Gold Cup
Including Luke Muller, US Sailing Team member and Tokyo 2020 Finn Representative Known globally for its grand bridges and port wine production, Porto will soon be canvassed with 59 of the world's top Finn sailors from 33 countries, including Luke Muller, US Sailing Team member and Tokyo 2020 Finn Representative. Posted on 5 May
World's best sailors primed for epic Finn Gold Cup
An iconic trophy that is reputed to be more difficult to win than an Olympic Gold medal The Finn Gold Cup has been part of the fabric of the sport of sailing for 65 years, an iconic trophy that is reputed to be more difficult to win than an Olympic Gold medal. Posted on 4 May
52 pick up
Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Where the playing cards are held between the thumb and index finger, flexed down, and then sprayed out to a jumbled mess on the floor. Posted on 25 Apr
2021 Finn Gold Cup starts in 12 days
More than 60 Finn sailors from 30 nations are converging on Porto It is the final qualification regatta for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with one place available for both Europe and Africa. Posted on 23 Apr
Lilley selected to Australian Olympic team
Tokyo 2020 respresentative in the Finn class rounds out the sailing selection for the Games Queenslander Jake Lilley has been announced as Australia's representative in the Finn class for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, rounding out the sailing selection for the Games. Posted on 21 Apr
Finnfare celebrates 60 years with April edition
First published in 1961, Finnfare is the legacy of the class Finnfare has been part of Finn class culture for 60 years. First published in 1961, it has consistently brought Finn sailors the news and views from around the world. Posted on 20 Apr
Finn Open at Bough Beech Sailing Club
A fantastic turn out of around 20 boats enjoy the sunshine On Saturday 17th April 2021 the Finn fleet converged on Bough Beech for the first Finn open meeting of the year. There was a fantastic turn out of around 20 boats and everyone seemed very happy to catch up again after along winter. Posted on 19 Apr
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterMcConaghy Boats 2021 - FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTER