Bronze At The Rio Paralympic Games

Bronze At The Rio Paralympic Games

I have many mixed emotions when I look back at the week of racing in Rio. I got off to a great start and managed to wear the first place yellow bib for five out of the six days of racing.  I found myself going into the last race still wearing it, although only one point ahead of Damien.  So to finish 3rd on the podium initially was a real disappointment.  To have my last memory of the Paralympic Games of that awful last race, having towed a plastic bag round the course, is one I am desperately trying to replace with the memory of feeling so proud standing on the podium with two amazing sailors.  Matt put in an outstanding performance and to win the last race after what I can imagine must have been an emotional & stressful evening and morning to take Silver shows true strength of character.  Damien showed amazing consistency all week in tricky conditions keeping clear of any trouble to come through and claim Gold in the last race.  A true Paralympic champion!

Waiting together to go up on the podium to receive our medals, my disappointment soon ebbed away, as we discussed the week, the tricky conditions and the pride and respect we had for each other.  The fact that this was our last Paralympic Games made the moment even more poignant.

With all the rush of media commitments and the medal ceremony I realised I had not seen or spoken to my coach Ian Barker since I had jumped out of the RIB in rather an emotional state!  Our reunion after the medal ceremony was far from unemotional, but over lunch the next day we reflected on what we had achieved together, Gold in London and Bronze in Rio.  Yes we would have loved another Gold medal and together with my husband Steve and the support team at the RYA, we had put in a lot of hard work, but so had my fellow competitors.  We should be proud of what we achieved!

So I would like to say thank you to Billy Barker “Super Coach”, for an amazing 6 years of Coaching, sail making and friendship.

Steve, my husband, for 20 years of continual love & support, advice, and his technical input

The support team at the RYA, past and present, in particular Ben Chell, Emilie Thienot, Linton Jenkins and Steve Mellors

My word Cloud Supporters, Volvo, North sails, Superspars and Harken.

Finally the 2.4mR fleet for amazing times, awesome racing and great friendship.  I am really going to miss the circuit.

 

2016 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDEMBLIK

The Worlds in Medemblik was always going to be highly competitive, with all the top sailors going to Rio keen to test their Games kit and check in with the rest of the fleet.

We had a variety of conditions from 20 knots on the first day to 6 knots on the second and everything else in between.

I didn’t have a great start to the regatta with gear failure on the first day, but managed to put in some good results through out the week, to pull up to 4th overall and be in contention for a medal going into the last race, just three points off 3rd.  Unfortunately things didn’t go my way and I couldn’t quite make it on to the podium and ended up 4th.

It was certainly a regatta with lots of twists and turns and although I am disappointed not to have won a medal, a lot of lessons were learnt and some good positives to take out to Rio next week.  This will be my last trip to Rio before the Games and I am looking forward to it.  The Brazilian’s are running a regatta and it looks like nearly all the sailors competing in Rio will be there, so shaping up to be a great regatta!

 

SUNSAIL ON BOARD!

SUNSAIL ON BOARD!

I am so pleased to announce Sunsail’s support for my final few months of preparation to the Paralympic Games in Rio.  I remember going on my first Sunsail holiday at the age of 9 and have had many fantastic holidays since, that I feel I have grown up with the company.

I do have a lot to thank Sunsail for! I hated sailing at first, but was converted by going on one of their Villa flotilla holidays at the age of 10.  If I had not had that experience of messing around in boats with other kids, in a wonderful setting and most importantly warm water, I am not sure I would be sailing at all, let alone  about to try and defend my Paralympic Gold medal in a few months time.

So its fantastic they are supporting me now as they played a big part to my sailing career!

 

 

BRONZE IN PALMA

BRONZE IN PALMA

Another Podium finish at Princess Sofia regatta.  Couldn’t quite keep up the track record from the previous two years, tougher competition but great racing.  To read about the regatta go to my blog

Princess Sofia Regatta

Princess Sofia Regatta

I have spent most of the last month in Palma! No complaints its a beautiful city with some amazing cycling in the mountains and of course great sailing conditions!   The first couple of weeks I spent training with Bjornar from Norway and Will from GB.  Once again RCNP have been the perfect hosts and made us feel so welcome.  We had a really productive time on the water, with some great tuning sessions and finishing up with some racing.

Bjornar flew home for a week before the start of the regatta. However I decided to stay and Steve (my husband) flew out to have a holiday.   Every morning I would go for a bike ride in the mountains enjoying the stunning scenery and then we would go and explore Palma.

After a few days off I was ready to start focussing on the regatta. Ian my coach is in big demand and  I have to share his time with the Irish 49er team.  He always coaches them in Palma so the last two years Steve has stepped in to support me on the water and it was the same this year.

Steve and I have a good track record at this regatta, winning the last 2 he has supported me at so we were really keen to make it 3 in a row! However we had tougher competition this year with the top 7 in the world present!

I had great start and was leading after the first day. The second day also started well in 20knot breeze and big seas, I secured a 2nd in the first race. The second race was looking good until I fell off a massive wave and broke the jib Cunningham! That was the end of racing for the day for me! The third day was completely wacky and there was no racing, which left me lying second but equal points with Heiko in first going in to the last day.  Unfortunately I had a rather rubbish day and dropped to 3rd allowing Damien to beat me by one point!  I must admit I was rather disappointed by the result, but some good lessons to be learnt from regatta.

So I’m home for a week before going back to Palma for a week’s training and then driving on to Hyeres for the next World Cup regatta starting on the 25th April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate MacGregor’s View Training in Rio

Kate MacGregor’s View Training in Rio

From standing to sitting

After the worlds in Argentina, I had a tough decision of where to go next with my sailing. Unfortunately, the battle with crew injuries continued.

I had a fantastic time in Argentina with Steph, who did an amazing job considering I threw her in at the deep end but our results were improving as the week went on and we ended on a high. Short term Steph and I had only planned to do the worlds in Argentina as she was still in a partnership as well as being at university. We both felt that there wasn’t enough time between the end of November and Miami OCR leading into the next World Championships in Clearwater.

So, 2016 started off with some sailing in Rio, but this time in a 2.4m. I was there to train against Gold medallist, Helena Lucas and her coach Ian Barker. So to start with, I had never been in a 2.4m, so my focus was learning how to control the boat as well as trying to get really good and not swallowing the gross Rio water. I was hoping for a nice 10 knots to ease myself into it, (probably the easiest wind strength in most boats) but no, I was greeted to 15-18knots and relatively big waves, especially in a little boat! After a few hours of not being able to see from the salt water and constantly using mouthwash to avoid any illness, I had made it through day 1.

The difference between the FX and the 2.4, well, where do I start….. firstly, I am sat down the whole time, which is great don’t get me wrong until you cant actually see over the side because you are vertically challenged… Next, I am all by myself! who am I meant to gossip with on the way out and back in from the race course? The steering can be very confusing, well it was for me anyway, do I use the tiller or peddles? so many options. You don’t get your feet wet to launch but it doesn’t matter because you get soaked sailing anyway.

Despite it being the wettest boat I have EVER sailed I had a great week with Billy and Helena and learnt loads about the boat and the venue, as well as it being a pretty cool city!

I have got a few weeks of fitness and a lot of admin, before going onto the next challenge!

Kate x

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