Jonny Fullerton of Grand Prix Sailing, talks to British Finn supremo, Giles Scott at the beginning of the 2015 season with less than 500 days to go to Rio 2016.
JF: You are on a bit of a roll at the moment Giles, nearly two years unbeaten at any major regatta you have competed in, can you keep that up until Rio 2016?
GS: I’m sure it’s very possible to keep that up but I have to say It’s not really what I focus on, it’s all really geared on one thing and that’s Rio, obviously the regattas that I’ve sailed have all gone pretty well and I’m pleased with where I am at and where I’m headed so I am just trying to focus on rolling that forward. I can’t say I think about a winning streak all that often.
JF: The same guys have been racing at all the main regattas so is there anything you can put this dominant form down to?
GS: Ever since 2012 when I lost the trials it was a bit of a difficult time and when I decided to campaign for Rio I made a conscious effort to do it right, I’ve invested a lot of time, finance and a lot of thought and I really want to do this campaign correctly, so I guess that’s what I wanted to change in this campaign. It’s more of a professional outlook and I’m am doing it for the right reasons, and so far that is going well. There is still a lot going on around testing of kit, sailing styles and it is still a rolling programme.
JF: On equipment, there seems to be quite a few competitors busy testing new gear, you have a brand new boat, do you have a brand new boat each season or is this the boat you hope to use if you go to Rio?
GS: Laughs, well I don’t like spending money so obviously I really hope this boat is a step up from the boat I’m using, but the difficulty with Finn’s is everything is very feel related, you can’t necessarily put numbers to everything so what it comes down to is a feeling.
Currently I’ve got three different builds of Finn, I’ve got my two standard ones I like to use then a couple I am playing around with. It’s the same thing with masts and sails, it is just about being able to manage when you put the time into developing them.
JF: Well you have some other racing this season of course, as part of the BAR Americas Cup team, a very different type or racing with foiling multihulls versus the heavy weight Finn, what skills are transferable from one to the other?
GS: Its actually amazing how much cross over there ends up being, I know that Finn racing and AC45’s are clearly very different but at the end of the day it’s still boat racing and the basic fundamentals still apply. You see that from the guys that are involved in it, the likes of Ben (Sir Ben Ainslie) and all the guys that have come from very different walks of life in sailing, be it match racing, olympic sailing background, high performance racing background or dug out racing like we do.
One thing I have found is that racing in the AC45s is very fast paced and it does teach you to deal with things quicker, so when you go back to Finn racing it slows things down and you have more time to make decent calls on things. I think it is a big help.
JF: So you hope to dovetail the two campaigns?
GS: Yes the good thing about my situation is that working for Ben, he knows my situation and so in terms of time commitment it is all quite easy. All the guys at BAR are super and they are all behind me with my Olympic sailing and they know that over the next 18 months, every time I need to be out in the Finn, that is kind of my priority and when that is finished, I swap over full time to them.
JF: Ok, so main aims for this season?
GS: Well the national qualifications are still to be decided but the big events of the year are obviously the World Championships and the Rio Test Event, doing well at them will launch me into 2016. I probably won’t be racing at the Europeans, we have two decent size trips to Rio this year with two, three week training blocks.
JF: The GBR Finn fleet had such a strong squad but without Ben and the retirement of Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews as regular training partners, has the format of your training slightly changed now?
GS: It changes it slightly but it’s not a huge change, we have got some good young lads coming through who are getting to a decent level now which is very useful for me but we do also work alongside some of the foreign teams as well when we are at the same venue so we touch base and race against them when it suits both of us.
JF: Well good luck with the season Giles, I will be watching you closely and plan to catch up with you in Takapuna for the Gold Cup at the end of the year to see how its gone.
GS: Thank you see you then.
By Jonny Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing