British Sailing Team member Giles Scott has just finished competing in the 36th America’s Cup as part of INEOS Team UK, now he heads to the Tokyo Games with Team GB.
As a member of the British Olympic squad – Team GB – Scott has now to re-focus on a very different type of sailing . . . going from high drama match-racing on the foiling 68 ft AC75, to the physically demanding, close tactical fleet racing in the 15ft Finn.
Scott is also the defending Olympic champion in an event that has seen Britain take gold in the last five Olympics, and he will face added pressure in that Tokyo is the final appearance of the Finn class in the Games.
Following the America’s Cup Scott returned to the BST training base at Weymouth and is now in Vilamoura, Portugal, for the first big international event for the Finn class, the European Championships starting Saturday 10 April.
From there he will head to Porto in northern Portugal for the Finn Gold Cup (world Championship), three weeks later.
And with Covid-19 restrictions still effecting movement around Europe, with the chance that events could be postoned at short-notice, not a good time to be preparing for an Olympic Games that is also likely to be hedged around with multiple restrictions.
In his latest BST blog Scott describes how he has managed his America’s Cup and Olympic campaigns . . .
My sailing has been in two parts for some time now. The Olympics is obviously one element, but I have also had another focus that has recently come to an end.
Over this Olympic campaign I’ve been part of INEOS Team UK so a lot of my time and effort has been involved in the America’s Cup. Until recently I’ve been in New Zealand, since September actually, focussing on the Cup, so it’s been a while.
Like everyone, Covid has impacted our lives but New Zealand was a different experience.
You forget about other things once you get into a routine but basically every day in New Zealand was taken up just thinking about the Cup. We had to launch and commission our boat in New Zealand, bring new kit online and ultimately get the team and the boat ready to race.
But, ultimately, we didn’t get as far as we had hoped – and congratulations goes to winners Emirates Team New Zealand.
While that was the America’s Cup, I always knew I had the Olympics as well. I took two Finns down with me, but with the greatest will in the world I knew they probably weren’t going to get used. I had them there for peace of mind more than anything else and in the whole time I was in New Zealand I used them three times.
It would have been nice to do a few more days but now I’m fully back and in the boat things are progressing well. I’ll have to see how things go when I join the international fleet again but I’m under no illusions I’ll have heaps to do.
Looking at the bigger picture, this whole situation has come about because of a global pandemic. Things have changed, dates and times have changed. It has not been a normal time to say the least, but that’s just how things are. You have to deal with the cards you have been dealt and crack on.
I was lucky that my schedule allowed for both an America’s Cup challenge and an Olympic Games, two opportunities I was not prepared to give up on. So, on one hand I have some massive opportunities and on the other my Finn competitors are getting a lot of training in.
My challenge is to bridge a gap between now and the Olympics and that’s what I’m focussing on.
Even though I haven’t been sailing in the Finn as much there has still been lessons to learn. I’ve been part of a team, racing in a pinnacle event of our sport dealing with adversity, who knows, lessons learnt there could be the difference in Japan.
The immediate future is very much Finn sailing. I did some training in Weymouth and now it’s out to Vilamoura, Portugal, for the Europeans in mid-April. There’s no rest, I’m straight back into the deep end.
I have to squeeze in a year’s worth of preparation into four months and that is on me to ensure I accelerate that as much as possible, but at the same time I need to be sensible and not go too hard.
I need to put the building blocks in place from now until the Games – it’s all focussed in on the Games now, even more so than it usually would be.
Tokyo 2020+1 is now scheduled to start 27 July 2021.