Carolijn Brouwer to race in Tour Voile
Brouwer, 27, lost out in qualification for the Olympics to Margriet Matthysse who went on to win silver behind Shirley Robertson in Sydney. Brouwer then took up 470 sailing and in the space of year did enough to qualify for the Games, but not enough to be a serious medal contender.
Now she has bought a new Europe, and will do the major Eurolymp events like Hyeres, Spa and Kiel Week, but her main focus this year is on building her big boat skills. "I think the dinghy and big boat worlds are getting closer these days," she told madforsailing. "I want to campaign a Mumm 30 in the Tour Voile this summer, and we have the boat, the gear and the team organised, we just need some finance."
Brouwer has got a top-class team around her, formed from Olympic sailors and coaches. Dutch Laser representative Serge Kats will be among the crew, as will chief Olympic coach Jaap Zielhuis and Brouwer's own coach, Maurice Paardenkooper, himself a top 470 and 49er helmsman.
She admits the opportunities for women, even of her high calibre, are not easy to come by. "The men tend to get offered opportunities, whilst as a woman you have to go out there and make them happen, which is not easy." For Brouwer, the Tour Voile is a step towards her ultimate goal of racing in the Volvo.
"I said this to one of my friends who asked me if I had ever raced offshore non-stop for five days and five nights, and if I really wanted to go through that. That got me thinking, maybe I ought to try a bit of this offshore sailing before I commit to a Volvo campaign, so I suppose the Tour is the first part of that process."
Meanwhile she has to convince the Dutch sailing authority that it is OK for her to miss the Europe World Championship which clashes with the Tour. "I draw a salary for competing at a certain level in the Europe, so I have to wait and see, but I think they are looking favourably on the idea of me doing the Tour," she said.