Olympic Silver Medalist Annalise has quit the Laser Radial dinghy and launched a two–year campaign for the Tokyo Olympics in the 49er FX skiff dinghy.
The news is revealed in this morning’s Irish Times Sailing Column here and it follows Annalise’s two year hiatus from the class since Rio that had left everyone wondering, including team management, what the former European Radial Champion, would do next.
Ireland’s most successful Olympic sailor, famously fourth in London and second in Rio, is currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race as a crew member on Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic, placed last in the seven boat fleet.
During this time Annalise missed two important Radial World Championships, one through injury and more recently in April when she clarified why she would not attend this year’s Danish Worlds in August, claiming she wanted more time following the end of the VOR to prepare for a ‘return to the Radial’.
“If I was to go to Aarhus [Denmark] I wouldn’t have sailed the boat for almost a full year. I know how much work is needed to prepare for an event like that – I’m not stupid – you have to work hard and prepare, and I want to be winning events and in the hunt for medals rather than just making up the numbers.”
Regardless of her supreme achievements in the single–handed Radial spanning some 15–years, this short campaign will inevitably mean she will have to be content ‘to be making up the numbers’, at least at the beginning of the 49erFX bid, in a fleet where international competition in the class has been building steadily since Rio.
Annalise previously hinted at some switch when she said last month she was determined to complete her VOR commitment before deciding the ‘best route’ back to the Olympics.
Whichever way it is viewed, the switch is a big one for the National Yacht Club sailor who vowed to win Gold for Ireland during her homecoming celebrations in September 2016.
While details of the fledgling campaign are still scant, what is known is that Annalsie must get up to competition speed in a new twin–trapezing skiff and negotiate sailing with a new partner as opposed to single–handed sailing; all this within a 24–month time–frame.
She intends to train every day with new team–mate Katie Tingle of Royal Cork Yacht Club, when the pair commence in July.
Annalise is not the only Dun Laoghaire sailor racing the 49erFX for Tokyo. She will be competing against former Rio team mate, Saskia Tidey who now sails for Team GB for 2020, on the circuit.
The 49er FX dinghy is a true high performance skiff, demanding athleticism, balance, skill and daring. The FX was developed to show to the world how spectacular sailing as a sport is and what ‘amazing athletes’ women sailors are.
Analise’s sister, Claudine was previously involved in a short–lived a Skiff for Rio in 2013.
Annalise now follows a path chosen by Brazilian Robert Scheidt, who has two Olympic gold Laser medals to his name, and who chose to campaign a mens 49er skiff for Tokyo, albeit late in his career. Sheidt was no stranger to sailing in Two Person fleets having taking Olympic silver and bronze medals in the Star, but the High Performance Skiff presented the 44–year–old champion with a different challenge that turned out to be short–lived one as he announced his retirement in 2017.
Much more in the Irish Times here