By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
“Obviously, a little sour and bummed that we won’t be going to Rio, which was the No.1 goal and we weren’t able to achieve it,” said a disappointed Alec Anderson who forms the duo with Chris Brockbank as 49er sailors.
They were trying to get BVI sailing back in the Olympic Games this summer in Rio for first time since Robbie Hirst in Atlanta, 1996. Their dream ended on Friday afternoon during the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta.
“I really couldn’t be happier about where we are going forward and where we’re starting our 2020 campaign,” Anderson stated. “It was the first time sailing in Gold Fleet—at this time what we needed to do—unfortunately, again, it wasn’t enough. But to finally getting into the Gold Fleet when it was going to count was pretty exciting.”
They made Gold Fleet for the first time and had a ninth place finish in Friday’s first race, beating the Americans then had a bad third race that sealed their fate, despite finishing sixth in the final race. They ended up fourth behind three American teams but the second country ahead of the Canadians.
Anderson said except for some equipment failure on Friday, they had some really good moments sailing against the top 49er sailors in the world and actually competing under pressure. He said he’s very happy with how things closed out being on the heels of the Americans.
“Something we have been good at and will be good at is performing under pressure,” noted Anderson. “We’re both fairly laid back, but serious and professional as and when we need to be and we don’t let any pressure affect us because it really doesn’t do anything but hurt our chances. I think we both went into this confident and relaxed knowing that’s how we had to go about the whole thing.”
He added that having a chance to compete in Gold Fleet, they realize it’s not that much harder and different as in the Silver Fleet. “But, obviously, gives you a chance to get a better result, I think it’s perfect timing for us going forward because we now have the confidence to know we can be in the Gold Fleet in upcoming events and compete,” he said. “We ended the competition stronger but did a good job of setting ourselves back early on. In races, I think we have to start with a lower average and a little more conservatively and consistently. And, we know when the pressure is on and have to perform we’re capable. If we do that well, we’ll get into the Gold Fleet in any upcoming event and compete.”
Coach Chris Watters said they have made great strides that teams haven’t made over 4-5 years and they faced two and three time Olympians.
“The average age is around 27, 28 years old and these guys are young,” he noted. “They’ve come a long way and to make it to Gold Fleet at a World Cup and make a run towards Olympic qualifying was a huge deal within itself. So they’ve progressed very well—and fast.”