Insights and updates from the Sharp End of Sailing
Tuesday 21 April, 2009
One of the intriguing stories of the new
Olympic cycle is the return of Chris Draper who, after winning an
Olympic bronze and two World Championships, retired from Olympic
campaigning before he'd even turned 30. Now he's back on the campaign
trail, and we ask him what's going to be different this time...
THE CHRIS DRAPER INTERVIEW
Over the past couple of years Chris Draper has
got married and forged a career in professional sailing by stringing
together a number of projects including steering an Extreme 40
catamaran for Oman Sail and most recently doing the windspotting job
for Team Origin at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland.
So, why the return to Olympic sailing? SailJuice spoke to Chris to find out his plans....
SailJuice (SJ): Chris, you've done a lot of
different things in the sport over the last couple of years. Why are
you going back into Olympic sailing?
Chris Draper (CD): I had become pretty miffed
with the sport towards the of the last Olympic cycle. I'd lost
motivation, and so I decided to explore different avenues, and the
stuff I've done has done that massively. Doing the Extreme 40 and
America's Cup stuff has made me realise how much there is in the sport,
and how exciting it is. Now I'm going back into the 49er, prepared to
give it my all.
SJ: Before we go into that, what was it like going up the rig of an America's Cup boat for Team Origin?
CD: It was a heck of a lot of fun, going 100
foot up in the air. I was standing in for Rob Greenhalgh [his 49er
crew's brother] who was already committed to doing the Volvo Ocean Race
with Puma. I'd talked to Ben [Ainslie] about opportunities to sail with
the team, and because this opportunity came up Ben gave me a call and I
dropped everything to give it a bash. It was very good fun, very
interesting to work with Ben and Bart [Andrew Simpson] and [Iain]
Percy. There were some pretty amazing sailors on that boat.
SJ: Yes, well, you're not too bad a sailor yourself though, are you?
CD: I got on there not knowing anything about
anything, and it became apparent to me very quickly that my 49er
experience was irrelevant.
SJ: Then again, a lot of 49er sailors seem to
end up going up the rigs of Cup boats - sailors like Adam Beashel on
Emirates Team New Zealand for example...
CD: I think maybe it's because you're trapezing
up there, even if it's a hundred feet up! One of the things is getting
your head around the heights, it took a long time to stop my leg from
shaking, but really it is just like trapezing. Adam was very helpful
about how to manage it up there. I'm used to sailing boats that are
pressure oriented. Like the 49er, with the Cup boats the angle changes
so much on the pressure. But it's pretty difficult to interpret the
wind from up there. It takes a while getting used to gauging distance
and working out how long the wind will take to reach you.
SJ: What else did you learn from the Auckland experience?
CD: Working with Bart, Percy and Ben how they
manage their sailing - that was the most interesting thing. They're
very close knit, they know what one another want, they sail with an
incredible maturity. I learned a lot from just being a part of that
group and the way they communicate.
SJ: Now you're back into Olympic campaigning
after a two-year 'retirement'. If you'd lost motivation before, how do
you reignite that passion for sailing the 49er?
You can read the rest of this article by going here:
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