The Big Winter - John Pink and Stu Bithell

The Big Winter

Chocolate water, changeable winds and chop that seemed to be the story of our recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the 2015 49er World Championships. Due to fierce rivalry (in a healthy way) amongst the British 49er teams, it's one of few classes not to have had a Rio representative selected. The top teams were out to impress.

Two years ago making the grand plan John and I chose the 2015 world championships as a important stepping stone in the lead up to the games. We had been working hard on making sure we were medal potentials going into the regatta, and that we definitely were. Our team work in the boat was at its best, Ben Rhodes our super coach was making sure everything glued together, and the Autumn boat speed training had come together nicely.

Disaster struck on the day before racing when John, half the British team and a lot of foreign competitors came down with an aggressive stomach bug. Nobody knows for sure but our medical team believe the water quality in the river after a big down poor might be the blame. This made the start of our regatta hard work, with John not firing on all cylinders. Half way through the regatta we were placed somewhere in the middle of the fleet, struggling to get to the front. The turning point for us was when the fleets got split into Gold and silver for the second half of the regatta. John was fully back in the game and we were ready to pounce. We sailed the second half of the regatta better than anybody else crawling our way from mid fleet all the way up to 6th position overall. Finishing the regatta, we are strangely happy, even though we don't have a medal, we know if we sail to our potential for a full week, we are capable of medals, and dare I say Gold medal.

Usually the world championships marks the end of the season, but not this year, we have a big winter ahead. It's only 9 weeks till the 2016 world championships. Before that there is a regatta in Rio where the British sailing team will be there in force working together to gain as much knowledge about the 2016 Olympic sailing venue. Also in January we have the first World Cup regatta of the year in Miami. The hard work is showing, John and I are in a good place for the busy schedule ahead. Keep following our progress.

John Pink and Stu Bithell

The Big Winter - John Pink and Stu Bithell