Winning a medal is always a good start to the New Year! It’s been an absolutely brilliant couple of weeks here in Rio. I can safely say that I love this city. We arrived late on 30th December and New Year’s Eve was a manic day. We had a container to offload, boats to sail around to the Yacht Club. Add into this the 35+ degrees to acclimatize to, and the fact that the container was considerably hotter than that, and it made for a somewhat shattering day. It didn’t stop us having a great evening, though. We headed on the sardine-crammed tube to Copacabana to have dinner and dance in a restaurant, then went out at midnight to watch the incredible fireworks on the beach (along with over 2 million other people!!) It was an awesome atmosphere. We managed a passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne as the fireworks were going off, much to the bemusement of the surrounding crowd!
Next day training started, and we had a couple of great day’s sailing. Unfortunately the slight downside to the trip was that I acquired a stomach bug for 3 days and had to miss the small Rio Yacht Club regatta. Fully recovered I had a day of training and moving my boat over to the Niteroi side of the bay before Copa Brasil de Vela started the following day. We ‘commuted’ over in the RIB every day thereafter. It did make me pinch myself and realise how lucky I am that a ‘commute to work’ entails a boat ride across Rio Harbour!
We changed around race courses for the next 5 days, and had a proper mix of wind conditions which kept things interesting. I ended up going into the medal race on day 5 in 2nd position overall.
The double point, non-discardable medal race was quite tense as points were all fairly close behind. It’s always nerve-wracking when a 5 day event all comes down to one 30 minute race in a small, mountainous bay within Rio Harbour! At the first windward mark it was looking all over for a medal for me after a tussle with another boat on the first beat left me in 9th place out of 10. However, on the first downwind I got into a nice patch of pressure and ended up 4th at the bottom marks. I picked up boats on the next beat to round the second windward mark in 2nd, with Erika (USA) ahead, but couldn’t catch her, giving her the silver medal overall, and me the bronze.
I was super happy to come away with a podium finish. Hopefully a taste of things to come!!