We catch up with the latest from Sophie Ainsworth who sails the 49er FX (the new women’s Olympic High Performance double-handed skiff). Sophie reflects on her current training, competitions, her Road to Rio and tributes for the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
“The last couple of months have been quite a blur of training and events. Currently the British 49erFX programme are using a rotating squad system to decide who sails with who for each event. There are four Helms (drivers) and four crews, we have competed in three events so far and will be sailing in our last pairing at sail for gold in Weymouth before deciding who we want to sail with for our 2016 campaign.”
“I have just returned from Sailing at Delta Lloyd regat in Holland with Frances Peters, one of my youth rivals. olympic sailingWhoever said sailing was glamorous lied! We had a wind chill of two degrees for most of the week with a constant downpour of rain or hail. The breeze was up for the three days we raced in the week and sailing on the Dutch inland sea there was some short steep chop to contend with. Frances and I had a very consistent week despite going into the event only having sailed together for a couple of weeks and competing against established foreign pairings. We struggled slightly with the sea state as we had never sailed the 49erFX in these conditions, so we pitch poled a few times downwind and did more swimming than we wanted to, especially as the water was so cold. Unfortunately during the swimming episodes I didn’t have my Water-to-Go bottle to hand to have a quick drink!!”
“Despite a few mini hurricanes and swims, we went into the final medal races in 5th. In the medal races the conditions were slightly wacky, with the wind increasing and decreasing, and changing direction very quickly, we got a 8th and a 2nd, so we finished this international Eurosaf regatta in 5th place!”
regatta sailing water simpson”We learnt a lot of lessons and are very much looking forward to teaming up in our permanent pairs. I have had a week of recovery and land training since being home after Holland. Throughout Holland regatta we wore black bands on our arms as tribute to the tragic loss of the Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.”
“Tomorrow we will be paying tribute and celebrating the life of the sailor, he was a great man and will remain a great inspiration to my generation of sailors! #sailonbart”
“Next week the Merry-go-round starts again and I will be sailing with London 2012 Olympian Kate Macgregor. We will then compete on the 9-12 June in Weymouth at the Sail for Gold regatta. For the first time the Australian and Irish sailing teams will be back on the scene competing against us.”