Interview with Alexandra Rickham 

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Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell were crowned World Champions for a second year in a row after defending their Skud title at the 2010 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships in Medemblik, Netherlands last week.  The event saw a much larger fleet then the 2009 competition and it was the main focus for the team this year. Now back in the UK, Alex filled us in on how the event went and what’s next….

“Last year wasn’t as big for us, this year we saw a massive fleet in comparison and we were up against the very best in the world.  Whilst Sail for Gold will be a big event, unfortunately some teams such as the Americans won’t be joining us in Weymouth.  So this was a good opportunity for us all to compete at this level”.

“We really went in with a game plan, and that was to defend our title.  This was the most important event on the calendar for us, so we knew we needed to perform. Luckily our strategy paid off on the race course, we caught some good shifts, and went they didn’t go our way we managed to pull it back at the end so our results remained consistent.”

“Obviously not everything can go to plan, when things didn’t go as we had hoped we sat down, talked it through and then corrected any problems we were experiencing. Most of all we remained focused and I think that helped us stay on track.  The last day saw some really strong winds the strongest we’d seen in the competition so far.  The majority of our training in the UK had been in fairly light conditions, so whilst that played to our advantage for the regatta as a whole, the final day was a whole new challenge”.

“Whilst the fleet will be smaller at Skandia Sail for Gold we still have some strong competition in the form of the Aussies and Canadian’s, the silver and bronze medalists will be there so we are looking for a good result on home waters. Racing them on the Olympic courses will be very interesting for us, it will be an opportunity to see what the competition is like on the future 2012 site and we can’t wait t take on the rest of the world on home turf!”

“For now it’s a week off, well as much as a week off can be.  What am going to do? Sleep! I manage a lot of the logistics for the campaign so there are always planning to do, coordinating boat maintenance and our general logistics for training. So you never really have a week off, not in the world of an Olympic campaign!  For now a few days at home will be fantastic, there is a lot to be said for all the traveling but sometimes it’s nice to see your own sofa and fridge!”