Saskia Clarke: Heading for Finland

Saskia Clarke: Heading for Finland

Wednesday July 6 2011 Author: Saskia Clark Location: United Kingdom

We’re off at the 470 Open Europeans in Finland this week full of confidence after a great result at Skandia Sail for Gold, which saw us selected as the British 470 Women boat for the Olympic Test Event next month…

Training-wise things had gone really well in the build up to Skandia Sail for Gold and although there hadn’t been much windy stuff, and we were maybe slightly nervous that we hadn’t been able to do all the equipment tuning across the full range of conditions, we were confident.

We had a good first few days whereas a few of the boats that finished in the top 10 scored DSQs or posted a high score, which worked out quite nicely for us. We knew that we had to just keep doing what we were doing to keep us in the regatta. We got caught out on the wrong side of a shift in the last race before the medal race, which meant we couldn’t win, but we were delighted to get our second Grade One silver medal together.

When we paired up we thought it was definitely a realistic proposition that we could be the boat selected for the Test Event, I don’t think we would have started if we didn’t think that. But maybe winning the two silver medals has been the bigger, and most pleasing, surprise.

As a relatively new pair still, the Open Europeans are a great opportunity for us to get some more racing under our belts in a good mixture of conditions. When we come back from there we will spend two weeks’ training in the UK, based at Weymouth and Portland, and just prepare as fully as possible for the Test Event, before joining up with the rest of the British team.

I took part in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race for the first time ever this year. Luckily I had a secret weapon because my boyfriend Paul [Goodison] joined us and he did most of the driving for Team Volvo 2, which was especially good in the horrible conditions we had! We were joined on-board by a team of five including fellow Essex local Denise van Outen, her good friend Chris Parker and Duncan Forrester, Head of Public Affairs, Events and Sponsorship for Volvo Car UK. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get them too involved in actually sailing the boat because it was a bit too windy. They seemed to have a good time though, even though some of the guests did experience a bit of seasickness!

I got to drive a bit too and it wasn’t really until after the race that the whole scale of the event really hit home. I think it is really cool that the race attracts everyone- the experts and the most novice of sailors. First time sailors get to sail alongside Olympic medallists and round the world yacht racers in a way you just wouldn’t get in other sports. It’s not like anyone can just turn up and play a round of golf with Tiger Woods for example! Going around the Needles and looking back was beautiful, it was such a good day. Check out the image gallery from the Round the Island race here


Paul and I also went along to support Volvo at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last week, which was brilliant. It was a really exciting day and Paul got to do a test drive up the hill! The Volvo C30 Polestar is an awesome car- it looks great and is super-fast. Not very practical for towing a boat though!


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