Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison swapped his Laser for a J80 on Friday morning to go out sailing with Cowes.co.uk and other media at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
Also out on the water in a second J80 were Stuart Bithell and Luke Patience, Olympic silver medallists in the 470 Class at Weymouth & Portland.
Despite having been through a couple of weeks of ultra intense competition in the sailing events at the London Olympics 2012, it was great to see that these dinghy sailors still love messing about in boats just for the fun of it.
There was much banter between the Skandia Team GBR sailors on the rib as we made our way out to the UKSA owned J80s. Paul asked where we were going to race to and one suggestion was “to The Needles and back”, then one of the 470 sailors quipped: “No, let’s say the first one to get grounded on Bramble Bank...!”
Paul Goodison on main, centre of picture.
With Paul skippering our group on one J80 and the Stuart and Luke on another with several people keen to ‘Try Sailing’ with Skandia Team GBR - a couple of conveniently laid buoys in Cowes Harbour became our race course and the game was on. There was a brisk breeze and with the sun warm on our faces, it was a great time to get out on the water and enjoy the sailing and the beautiful sight of so many other boats racing in AAM Cowes Week. Of course our boat ,with Paul Goodison onboard, won the mini race! We said it was because they had too much weight on the bow - Luke seemed to enjoy standing by the forestay most of the time!
Talking to Paul about his Olympic experience, I learned that the 2012 Games had not gone as planned for him. As reigning Laser gold medallist, Paul had gone into the Olympic sailing competition as a favourite to win but tragically, he struggled all week due to a back injury sustained in the second race. He said that it had happened right at the beginning of the race as he was pulling out all the stops to get a good start. It must have been a devastating blow after all the years of training and preparation. However, he bravely fought on to complete the 10-race series with half of him knowing he was no longer in with a medal chance, and the other half of him not wanting to give up.
As soon as AAM Cowes Week is over, Paul is heading off to... do yet more sailing in San Francisco and Rhode Island! It’s super to see how much passion these guys have for their sport. As for the future, Paul said that he wants to be at the Rio Games, but he’s going to try other boats over the next few years as well as continue his Laser sailing - to see if he’s any good! I expect he will be considering his achievements so far and Cowes.co.uk wishes him and all the other members of our British sailing team the very best for whatever the future brings.
By Louisa Mamakou.
Lots more photos of the Skandia Team GBR sailors here.
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