Sailors Focusing On Last Attempt To Qualify for Rio 2016

Alec Anderson and Chris Brockbank on their 49er craft

Alec Anderson and Chris Brockbank on their 49er craft

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

It’s a campaign few people can appreciate or comprehend—chasing an Olympic dream. Few athletes have that dream and even fewer make it a reality.

For the last two years, sailors Alec Anderson and Chris Brickbank have been pursuing their dream of getting BVI sailing back into the Olympic Games for the first time in 20 years, or since Robbie Hirst suited up in Atlanta in 1996. It would seem odd that the country dubbed ‘sailing capital of the world’ wouldn’t have sailors on top of the world.

After wrapping up the ISAF 49er World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday, and their qualifying opportunity for Rio 2016 having disappeared long before racing ended, they have now turned their focus to their last chance to qualify in Miami, January 24-31.

After returning on Tuesday, the plan now is for the team to do a three weeks camp in the BVI in December with an old coach, engage in physical training with a goal of gaining weight and increased strength to be more competitive, Anderson stated.

“The goal now is to qualify for the game and we have to be the top North American team at the end of the regatta in Miami,” Anderson pointed out noting that there’s no wiggle room to spare. “There’s no tendencies, no nuances this time. It’s really plain and simple. Whichever North American team—from among Canada, the USA and the BVI—is the top North American team, that country will be given and Olympic berth for Rio.  USA will have six or seven boats, Canada about three, then the BVI and we all will be looking to get that top North American spot.”

At the 49er Worlds, not only did they have to battle opponents and unpredictable weather, they also had to battle inconsistency.

After turning in their best marks earlier in the competition, Anderson and Brockbank turned in their worst in the following race that basically signaled the end of their quest to qualify for Rio, after finishing 25th.

“It was a tough event as far as conditions go and there were some upside down results during the first few days where really good teams were in the back of the fleet and vice versa and not so good teams doing well in the front,” Anderson explained. “That’s usually a case of funky conditions where teams can’t get settled into a routine and figure out what the wind is doing and the current is doing. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to figure that out as well as the other teams in our bubble or around us, and, we suffered.”

Despite the results, Anderson said they are starting to have more opportunities and seizing those opportunities more often than they used to and chances to do well in each race has come a long way since they began their Olympic campaign. As a team, he said they feel that they are shelving up those skills to execute whey they have those opportunities and finish with good races.