I am flying to Abu Dhabi this evening for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup Final, and I am so excited to get racing again!
I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural World Cup Final last year, and it was an awesome experience – the venue is incredible and with only the top 20 girls in the world competing the racing was intense. I am looking forward to more of the same this time around! Racing starts on Thursday 29th and you can follow all the action here: http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/regattas/abu_dhabi_2015.php
The World Cup Final will be my last international sailing event for some time – I was at the point of reaching this decision back in the summer and I am finally content that it is the right one. It has been a really tough decision to make as international sailing has been such a huge part of my life for a long time, but when I realised there was no way, despite my best efforts, that I could get the money together to compete in our class World Championships in Oman in November, it felt like the World Cup Final would be a good way to bow out… for now at least!
Most of you, but not all of you, will know that I lost all of my British Sailing Team programme funding and coaching at the end of September last year, shortly after a positive World Championships where I finished 16th. The decision came as a massive shock to me. The World Cup Final last year was the last event that I received funding to attend, and trying to maintain my campaign over the past year with no coach and self-financing to a large extent has been a huge challenge.
I should say at this point that the British Athlete’s Commission have been incredible over this time, and have provided advice, support and kindness when it was much needed!
In the past year I have got to work and live with some incredible sailors that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to. I am so grateful to everyone who has worked and trained with me, international coaches who have given me tows out to race courses and taken my spares bag, people who have let me hitchhike my Laser on their trailers from one event to the other – you all know who you are, so this is a big thank you!
A big, big thank you also to all of my sponsors, supporters, friends and family – I would never have achieved any of the things that I have without you all.
I have every intention of returning to full time sailing at the right time in the future, so I am quite determined that this is a semi-colon rather than a full stop! I still intend to train in the UK and compete domestically when I can. And so it is with a great deal of excitement and a little trepidation that I find myself making plans for some new adventures and challenges.