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Luke Patience and Elliot Willis road to Rio 2016

Luke Patience and Elliot Willis road to Rio 2016

Jonny Fullerton talks to London 2012 silver medallists in the 470 Class about their goals for 2015 on the Road to Rio.

Jonny Fullerton: So you guys have been sailing together for over a year now, how do you assess your standing at the beginning of the 2015 season?

Luke Patience: We have had a fantastic year together, last year when we first jumped in the boat we were reasonably high up the fleet already at the front, not that that was necessarily a surprise but you just never know and it was nice to be where you hoped you would be, and winning in Miami in January was a good talk for us because it had been less than a year at that point and to win a world cup with all the best guys there in less than a year was good but as you said ‘the road to Rio’ its all down hill.

JF: And for you Elliot back in the boat, you are a very experienced 470 crew but a new challenge with Luke, how are you feeling?

Elliot Willis: Yeah, confident, we both got in the swing of things pretty quickly, I think in our first event we were sixth and we have been showing good progression through the year which was highlighted in Miami. We had a great training block before then and we have a good pathway forward, lots of things to work on, it is exciting again.

JF: Qualification wise is a bit of a shoe in for you guys with no disrespect to others but how does this change your training approach?

LP: We do have a trial but we don’t really have a second boat currently so it makes out focus longer term and allows us to have a bit more patience and be able to test and try different things, you could almost argue it gives us a year more than we historically had in the British 470 culture, basically we have a year extra than we are used to. For us internally that’s a really positive benefit that neither of us have actually experienced before.

So this year we are off to the test event and the world champs in September, they are our two primary events, and as Elliot said, the pace of our development is leading towards that at the moment short term. Luke Patience and Elliot Willis road to Rio 2016

JF: And Elliot the 470 is a physical boat to sail so are you spending plenty of time in the gym?

EW: Yes its more aerobic based fitness I’d say, the strength is not so much an issue with grip, but yes it is still very physical but more aerobic based if you have the right technique rather than muscular fitness.

JF: Now you mention Rio, you have been there for a couple of events, what is your assessment of the race courses and sailing conditions there?

LP: The race courses and conditions are good, until you go there and experience the venue you don’t know, it was always labelled as a light wind venue but in our experience that is just not true, big oceans, nice sea breezes, of course it can be light but we have been there chonking along in 17 knots so I would say that the gold medallist in all classes in Rio will be all round, well-rounded sailors.

EW: Its a very diverse place, it’s almost like two different venues in one, you have the outside courses and the flatter inshore courses.

JF: Of your main competition, the Australian’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have had a very dominant run but you have beaten them recently in Miami, so can you keep that up?

LP: Absolutely we can, yeah, in our goals and timeline, hopefully, it won’t be the first or last time we beat them but its about the whole fleet, of course, they have been the dominant force, but there are others, the Greeks are great, the Croatians are great, the French have a good day in them, the 470 is such an established fleet, everyone is so good, any of the top 50 in the world can pull out performances and stand on the podium. That’s what makes the class so hard to consistently be up there. We are just on an internal programme, be our best.

JF: So you have mentioned the main goals for this year are the test event and the worlds at the end of the year and you also I believe have a couple of training camps with the Brits in Rio but any other major goals for 2015?

EW: We are off to the Euros, its not a major event for us but it’s another stepping stone. The big one will be the worlds and the test event in Rio, they will be our focus for the year.

JF: Then it’s rolling into 2016

EW: We have another early world championship in 2016 so the way the events are spread about the year it is quite interesting to plan when to peak and when to train, its quite a different challenge having two worlds that close together.

JF: Ok, good luck for the season and I’ll catch up with you later in the year

LP and EW: Ok no worries, thanks mate

by Jonny Fullerton

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