The return of the multihull to the Olympic program made me very happy and even more impressive is the new interest particularly from the youth sailors to try this discipline.
After 8 Olympic campaigns myself, all on Multihull I had some hard lessons along the way. The Journey can be rewarding , but also very challenging. It took me 4 attempts before I even won selection to go to the Olympics and every time there were valuable lessons learnt.
I am amazed how the young sailors tackle a new challenge without hesitation or fear, But don’t think for a minute everyone will succeed. The road is long and there is some reality to keep in perspective.
Only one team per country gets to compete in the Olympics
There will only be around 20 teams in total competing at the Olympics on Multihull
The Olympics only come around every 4 years
Don’t underestimate your opposition ,No matter how much you want to go to the games your competitors want it just as much or more
How to Plan an Olympic campaign?
There are so many elements that make up a good, strong performing team. One of the biggest parts is proper funding. If you start by looking at a yearly program , I would expect something around 200 days training, racing and boat preparation for the project, plus organizing and preparation whilst at home. This turns into a full time job and therefore the budget has to include your living costs for all the year. There is a big misconception that once you buy a boat and trailer you are on your way. Wrong… If you look closely at a 4 year budget, equipment is normally less than 25 % of total costs. The biggest costs are people, ( coach) transport, Accommodation, food, entry fees, insurance, etc and what you need to live on. Many federations will assist with these costs, but don’t rely solely on their support .
The new teams coming to multihull for the first time will probably need to get on a program focused on high level racing quickly. I truly believe a good sailor can sail any type of boat, with the right amount of training. A lot of learning a new discipline can be accelerated with some experienced multihull coaching. If you have any influence or the freedom to select a coach, then think carefully who will best for your team. This can save months or even years to rise to the top. Probably the highest priority is racing, racing , racing. It’s very difficult to learn or measure your performance with a training focused program. The best way in my view to improve quickly is race against as many of the other top teams as often as possible and take those lessons home for training. This will mean a lot of travelling in the first part of your program and possible crossing over to other established high level racing catamaran classes from time to time to gain vital experience.
Coaching and support?
Coaching can be very costly if your sailing federation is not part of it. I would suggest more intense specialized coaching sessions for shorter periods would be more effective in the beginning. If you are starting from scratch then a multihull experienced coach should set you on the right course and make sure you learn the fundamentals from day one. Once these are established then a good general sailing coach with more full time role can merge with your team.
There are many levels of federation support and funding, most of these are based on performance reward and not performance potential. This is fine, but keep in perspective it’s up to you to perform first.
Club support and local regatta circuit can be a good way to fill in the gaps when no other high level racing is on. This is a great way to exchange info and work on racing details with other teams.
Equipment and preparation,
Although the equipment is strictly one design, it’s very important to understand how everything works and performs best. A lot of this is part of tuning and trimming, but like in all Olympic classes knowing your boat and sails is key.
How to Win?
This is the toughest question. To be good at anything I believe you have to be passionate about the challenge , enjoy every moment along the way and never lose site of the goals and the process to achieving them. I guess you could say to live the dream, “ The lifetime of a dream”.
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