Sailing is a sport for everyone - interview with Nick Craig


Nick craigSailing is an awesome sport in which everybody can enjoy. There are competitions in all sailing levels, from the olympic games to the amateur club events. Yet in the media we usually hear just about huge boats, like America’s cup and Volvo ocean race or events for top olympic class sailors. It has came so far that some people think that sailing is just a sport for professionals. But it’s not like that. We’ve recently spoken to our team member Nick Craig, a great amateur sailor from United Kingdom.


Read the interview, rig the boat and go sailing. And don’t forget to put on your favourite sandiline gear.


How do you look at the fact that mainstream media usually focus just olympic sailing and America’s cup and are forgetting about non-olympic classes?

I can understand it. The Olympic classes and the AC have the World's greatest sailors so it makes sense for the coverage to be focused there. The non-Olympic scene is very diverse and fragmented so I can imagine it is hard for the media to know what to focus on. It's a shame as there are some great non-Olympic events and real characters in the fleets.


You have a great results record (http://www.sailracer.org/sailor_results.asp?sailor=Nick%20Craig). How come you are not sailing in one of olympic classes?

I sailed a Finn for 3 years from 2005-7 which I really enjoyed. I was an amateur sailing among pros and did OK at times but even if I went full time I was never going to close the gap on the likes of the top Brits in Ben, Ed etc. So I did it for fun and the challenge. I think I learnt more in those 3 years than at any time in my sailing life.


How would you compare the quality of sailors in olympic and non-olympic classes?

There is a big gap between Olympic and non-Olympic sailors. Olympic sailors are fitter, consistently quicker and demon starters. Their talent and hours in the boat mean they sail pretty much always in the groove which makes it hard for a non-Olympic sailor to even get off the start line without being spat out in an Olympic class. However, there are some supremely talented non-Olympic sailors who can pick shifts, spot breeze, call tactics and do many other things as well as many Olympians.


You are competing in numerous boat classes. How do you decide which one is for you? Do you own all these boats or do you rent them?

I own all my boats, sometimes to my wife's dismay! I love high quality racing in big fleets in nice boats to sail and fun people to socialise with. All the boats I have sailed over the years have provided a great mix of these. I get bored quickly so love the variety and challenge of sailing many different classes. At the moment, the D-One and Merlin are pretty new to me so I'm enjoying the learning curve I'm on.


Can you tell us a bit more about the last event you won?

My last win was sailing the RS400 Nationals with supercrew Toby Lewis. It was a 73 boat fleet at one of my favourite venues Mounts Bay. The RS400 has a strong mix of experienced hands and quite a few young guns pushing hard to it was tight racing as ever in a RS400. We had big waves and decent wind all week so we had a lot of fun, especially downwind!


How do you look at fitness in amateur sailing? Is it important as well? What about equipment?

Yes fitness is very important in any breeze. If you are sailing your boat well, fitness is a crucial ingredient for gaining an edge vs. your competition. I think equipment, like fitness, is important if you are already sailing your boat well. When there are many boats sailing well, fitness and equipment are key ways of gaining a crucial edge. Sandiline hikers certainly help me hike for longer as they provide great support.

Great success for sandiline on the sailing world championship

10671237 10152390760407634 5644357334854800050 nThis year all best sailors in all olympic classes gathered in Santander on the ISAF world championship to, in the first place, qualify their country to the upcoming Olympic games in RIO 2016. It was a really difficult event with very light to very strong winds, which made things even more challenging for sailors.


The event lasted almost 2 weeks with lasers starting first. In the Laser Standard class sandiliner Charlie Buckingham finished in great 7th place and qualified his country to the olympic games:


“I'm really happy with my result. I've made a lot of progress this year and I'm going to keep pushing hard to keep improving."


Sandiliner Eliot Merceron finished in the 34th place and Cy Thompson from United States Virgin Islands in the 38th place fulfilling his goal - winning an olympic ticket for his country. New world championship became Dutch Nicholas Heiner.


In Laser Radial Class French sandiliner Mathilde de Kerangat finished in great 8th place and qualified her country for the next Games:


“I had a very good regatta, finishing 8th overall, so I was very happy! But it was a tough week, lots of hours waiting and the races were very hard. You had to concentrate very hard to try to understand the shifts and gusts and, at the same time, have the best speed. What I did well this week was sailing consistently. I did not take any big risks and tried not to put too much distance between the other boats and me during the finals so I did not have very good races during the finals but it was not bad either, so it was enough to qualify for the medal race, which was my goal!”


New world champion became Dutch Marit Bouwmeester.


In sandiline class, sorry, Finn class again the majority of sailors wore our products. Sandiliner Ivan Kljaković Gašpić became silver medallist finishing just after great Giles Scott.


Ivan told us: “It's an important event for me because after a couple of years of some general setbacks, I really made a great performance here, with all my team behind me. This really makes me happy and all of this proves that we are working in the right way and the progress is just going forwards and I hope in Rio it is going to be even better.”


On his consistent performance he said: ”All my life I was always struggling in the breeze but this week was three days of pretty strong, shifty and breezy conditions which proved I can perform in any kind of wind. That's what I have been focussing on the last couple of years, trying to get myself in shape to sail in all conditions. So I am pretty happy I have succeeded in this and it makes me quite me quite confident and sure about the future.”


Another sandiliner Jonathan Lobert missed the medal in the medal race, yet the 4th place overall is still an awesome result. Vasilij Žbogar this time didn’t qualify into the medal race due to a bit worser form as a consequence to the health issues a few weeks before the championship. Yet he still qualified Slovenia to the Games, which was his primary goal.


Photo: Robert Deaves/Finn Class


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