Getting ahead in the Finn

European champion, Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic tells us of his attitude change
With his laser beam stare and an intensity impressive even from an Olympian, we have to suppress a smile when Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, Croatia’s no1 Finn sailor, and the present European champion in the heavy lad’s singlehander, tells us that his secret to success this season has come from lightening up, both his sailing weight, but mainly his attitude. In addition to his European championship win this year, his fifth season in the Finn, Gaspic came third at the Gold Cup, won Hyeres and most recently Skandia Sail for Gold. He has otherwise podiumed at every event he has raced in this year with the exception of Princess Sofia in the spring. “A perfect year after the Olympics, which didn’t go as I expected - I was 8th overall and I wasn’t satisfied with this position,” summarises Gaspic. “Then I knew I had to change something in my approach to sailing and stress management, because the Olympic Games for me was really stressful. So I did and this year I enjoy sailing much more than before. I take it as fun. I don’t take it as pressure.” Easier said than done? “I just realised that I have to take it as something I really like, that I do for fun, do for a living. It seems to have worked well for me this year - everything is really like it is in a dream, everything is perfect, so I am going to continue in the same way in the following years and continue sailing and training really hard.” But how? “Just in my head I made this switch, because I knew I had to do it. Otherwise I was going to spend so many years trying to do it. So if I don’t do it this year I don’t want to