Team Rashley/Gotrel 49er Olympic Campaign Blog

Keep up with Chris Rashley and Matt Gotrel's London 2012 49er Campaign

04 November 2008 | WPNSA
06 October 2008 | WPNSA
21 September 2008 | WPNSA
12 September 2008 | WPNSA
26 August 2008 | WPNSA
11 July 2008 | Stokes Bay
10 July 2008 | Home
30 June 2008 | Home
26 May 2008 | WPNSA
30 April 2008 | Home

Last National Ranker and Qualification

04 November 2008 | WPNSA
As you may know we have now completed all of our qualification events. The first of which was back in September. The Sail4gold regatta in Weymouth was our first chance to see wear we stood with all the other boats competing. We ended up finishing 8th overall and competing in our first medal race. This was a great result for us and was a great start for our qualification series.

Our next event was the first of two national rankers held at Weymouth, We knew this would be just as important as Sail4gold. We went into the event with the confidence of our 8th at Sail4gold and knowing we had the ability to win races. The event was sailed in 1 day which meant that points were close and the racing closer. We managed to finish 5th which we were happy with which also meant we were in a strong position going into the last event.

So it had come down to the last event. We had been in Weymouth for the week previous doing some training. On the Saturday we sailed well but struggled with consistency in the shifty conditions, this left us 10th overall. We were slightly disappointed but knew there was another day to go so we could claw back some places. Sunday arrived and it was windier than the Saturday, with a fresh 16-20knts we knew that we could get around the course we just needed to be able to race around the course. For the first time this year we felt like we could race at the front of the fleet in these conditions, we came out of the day with a 5th and a 3rd which left us in 8th overall.

So there was nothing left we could do, we knew that we had done what was required on paper, we just had to wait for the official decision.

late last week we received an email stating that we had successfully qualified for Skandia Team GBR. This means that from January onwards we will be on a funded programme but until then we still need to find some help for our new rig and our travels across the UK and to Palamos this winter.

As you can imagine we are both very happy with our selection, for Chris getting back on funding and for Matt his first time on funding. We are looking forward to the year ahead and hope to prove that we have what it takes to make it to the top.

National Ranker

06 October 2008 | WPNSA
After the success of sail4gold we were looking to carry on our form to the national rankers. We both had a fitness test on the 30th September before the national ranker on the 4th and 5th October. The test went quite well and highlighted areas that we need to work on fitness wise over the winter season. We then headed down to Weymouth on the Wednesday for some training, the Wednesday was too windy for sailing but gave us a good opportunity to go over our calender.

Thursday there was slightly less wind which allowed us to get a good session on the water in. We did some sailing in the bay which was a nice change for us, and was good for getting us back into the groove. Friday came around and it was pretty windy, we managed to get out and get some good training in. It showed to us that the windy boat handling we had done over the past few months had really paid off. We were very confident in our boat handling and it was a big step for us.

The National Ranker was scheduled to start on the Saturday but it was abandoned due to the wind. It was nowhere near sailable. The forecast for Sunday wasn't looking too good either but we were hoping to get some racing in. Sunday arrived and sure enough it was pretty fresh, we were postponed for an hour or so and then the wind moderated which meant we were going sailing.

We got out there in good time ready for racing, the first race of the day didn't start to well with a bad start, but we sailing very well to push our way up through the fleet to finish 6th. The 2nd race also came with a bad start (definitely something we need to work on) but again we sailed very well and climbed our way up into second at one point but in the shifty conditions finished in 5th.

The wind had been moderating all morning so we knew it was about to start swinging around, We came off the line after being hit by the boat below us and saw a nice right shift, we got to the windward mark in 2nd and although the leader changed we managed to finish the race in 2nd. The last race of the day and the wind had increased again, we sailed a very good first beat but hit the windward mark putting us back outside the top 10. Again we managed to claw our way back, we had a screaming last run which saw us go from 7th to 4th.

At the end of the day we finished 5th overall, we are happy with the result but shows we still need to work on our starting. With only one more national ranker to go we are happy with the way the boat is working and look forward to our final qualifying regatta.


21 September 2008 | WPNSA
The day after we last wrote to you the Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta started, with a nice 12-14 knots on the race course there was certainly an air of excitement and almost relief in the boat park. We launched early and spent 15 minutes getting the rig set up, which proved to be an important point of our daily routine. We managed to have a consistant day posting a 14,14,6.

From then on we launched early and set up the rig every day and had a lot of boat speed in general for the whole week, we had another good consistant day on the Wednesday which put us 12th overall and in the 4th squad place, so we were happy with our performance so far. We launched on the Thursday morning feeling confident and it showed on the racecourse we were going quick and sailing well. We managed to have a very good day posting a 1st in race one, which was a massive confidence boost for us. This left us in 7th and one day left to race so we were hoping to make our first ever medal race.

There was no-wind on the Friday and we only managed to complete 1 race which made no difference to our race series, we were entering the medal race in 8th with the German team only two points behind us, which is one place in the medal race (double points). We had a bad first beat but managed to claw it back and overtake the German team to hold on to our 8th position.

On the qualifying side of things we are looking fairly good, but cant afford to get complacent as a lot can change in the next two events.

Towards the end of October some of you may or may not know but the 49er class I having an upgrade. There will be a new rig and sails which means that everyone is starting again and at the same level, so it is vital for us to get one as soon as possible so we can spend as much time as possible sailing with the new rigs. The new rig and sails complete costs around 3500 which is money we need to find in order to get one, If anyone feels they could contribute or knows anyone who is willing to help please do not hesitate to contact either of us.

Build up to Sail4gold

12 September 2008 | WPNSA
We are currently down in Weymouth at the moment preparing for Sail For Gold. Since the Nationals we have been stationed down here every week training, from the 1st-4th September we had training with Chris Draper, the forecast for the whole of the week seemed to be windy and it wasn't going to get any lighter so we new we had to "bite the bullet" and just get sailing. We learned a lot in this week and we could notice an improvement everyday, what we used to think windy was really nothing. We can sail in more wind no than we ever thought was possible. Chris also highlighted some important areas we can focus on to improve our sailing.

We took the weekend off for some down-time and to refresh for the next weeks training. We had Ian Martin coaching who used to be the Olympic Development Squad. It wasn't quite as windy as the previous week which meant we could do more with our time on the water. We did a lot of starting which was an area we really wanted to work on. We learned a lot over the week and saw quite a large improvement in the quality of our starting, but in turn it also highlighted to us that we still need to work on some slow speed boat handling.

So after waiting all year for it Sail For Gold has arrived, we arrived down this morning and checked the boat over doing some small bits of maintenance boat work and measured the sails in. We then hit the water for some tuning and racing, the racing got us back into the swing of things pretty quickly and we were happy with our speed in general and our boat handling. We then had a word with our coach who just pointed out a few changes we could make which gave us that little bit more boat speed. The wind forecast for the week is pretty light with most days under 10knots, so its going to be thinking hats on and consistency.

UK Nationals

26 August 2008 | WPNSA
From the 18th to the 25th of August Chris and I were in Weymouth preparing for the UK National Championships which were to start on the 23rd for 3 days of racing.

We arrived down at Weymouth on Monday afternoon to rig the boat up for sailing on Tuesday, we spent the afternoon rigging up in gale force winds and rain, which wasn't pleasant, but managed to get it all done and head home ready for training the next day. We arrived down the academy on Tuesday morning to find some big winds, so planned an aerobic session and some boat maintenance. The forecast for Wednesday wasn't looking that brilliant either but it looked that an early sail would be our best opportunity to get out on the water.

We managed to get fairly windy sail in on Wednesday morning with the Finnish and German teams this gave us an opportunity to get back into the boat and refine some boat handling we were working on in previous training sessions. The forecasts were much better for the Thursday and Friday and there was open training organised so there was the possibility of doing some more racing with more boats around.

We did some racing on Thursday and Friday then polished the hull ready for the nationals starting the next day.

The nationals started with a nice 10-14 knots, we were conscious to keep our results consistent, we started off with a 7th after a bad start we sailed well to climb back up, in the second race we had a good start and held our lane all the way out to the left and rounded 2nd with pressure from behind we just managed to hold off and hold onto 2nd. In the last race of the day we were out of sync with the shifts and didn't make much ground through the fleet finishing 15th.

Day 2 graced us with slightly more wind 12-16 knots we sailed 4 races and kept focused on consistency we had some average starts but sailed very well to claw them back up to good results we ended the day with a 4, 7, 5, 6. Which left us 5th overall with 2 races to go and the Germans 4 points behind us, the forecast for Monday was fairly windy so consistency could be hard.

We turned up on Monday morning and sure enough it was a fresh 18-23 knots and we were looking forward to the days sailing. In the first race we showed good speed and managed to get round to finish 4th and the Germans finished 11th. This meant that there would be another discard after the last race which meant we had secured 5th and could possibly take 4th. In the last race we were inside the top 7 with good pace and then we capsized on a gybe which meant we finished 11th. Although we have been doing a lot of windy boat handling it shows we still have to do so we can do exactly want we want in the big winds.

We now have a week at home and the a week training with Chris Draper (Olympic Bronze medalist Athens 2004) and some more training before possibly our biggest event of the year and our 1st qualifying event for funding at Sail for Gold. Where we must be top 4 non performance squad boat.

Crewsaver shot

11 July 2008 | Stokes Bay
Here is another picture from the shoot

Training And Downtime

10 July 2008 | Home
After returning back from Kiel happy with our performance, we knew we still had to put the hours in, we had two weeks of training organised with the rest of the squad guys and also a photoshoot with Crewsaver for the new catalogue. After that we had some time off, Chris was helping out at Cowes week and I was out in Menorca taking some time off. So we came back eager to train before the nationals at the end of August.

Kiel Regatta

30 June 2008 | Home
We have just returned from Kiel, Germany where we competed in the Grade 1 ISAF event. After the disappointment of Holland we were ready to turn it around. The event started for us on the 25th of June so we arrived there on the 21st to give us time to sail at the venue before the regatta started, and test out our new mast and sails. We only managed to get 2 days of sailing in due to the conditions, but it was enough to get us back up to speed and prepared for the regatta.

On Wednesday the 25th 58 boats hit the water for qualification. The boats were split into 2 fleets of 29, we were in the first group on the water. The conditions were challenging with 10-15 knots of wind and a challenging choppy sea state, our aim for the day was to put in a solid day with consistent results as we knew consistency would be key for this regatta, So after 3 races, posting a 10,11,11 we were happy, although we made a few mistakes which lost us some places, but we were looking forward to the next days racing.

Thursday arrived and there were 4 races scheduled, we were first on the water to give us enough time to get used to the conditions and set the boat up correctly, with 18-27 knots of wind the aim for the day was to get round the course in one piece and keep it simple. We sailed an excellent day with a 5,6,4,9, one of the best days in the fleet, and showed some real determination, the hours of training were starting to show! This left us 17th overall and qualification was over so we had made Gold Fleet comfortably, which was our goal for the regatta.

From then on it was the final series. Gold Fleet racing was an excellent experience for us, racing around with the best sailors in the world wasn't easy but we learned a lot. We lost our consistency slightly but managed to get 3 top 10 results which showed us that we can sail at this level. After 9 races we ended up finishing 22nd which was an excellent result especially as it was a selection event for funding later in the year, we are now back home and getting back into training trying to improve on those little mistakes.

That's it for out travels to Europe! we have events to focus on in the UK now to help us get onto funding, the National Championships in August and Sail For Gold in September.

UK Training Post Holland Regatta

26 May 2008 | WPNSA
We have been back in the UK training with the 49er Squad for the last 3 weeks, We came back from Holland Olympic Classes Regatta slightly disappointed with the out come of the regatta and were looking to do more light wind training and especially focusing on our starting processes as this was a weak area for us.

We have done 2 weeks training in Weymouth with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (the 49er Olympic representive) and the rest of the 49er Squad. We have had a range of conditions sailing in and out of Weymouth and Portland harbour but trying to replicate China conditions where possible. The training has gone well and have a new mast and main sail that we are really happy with, We are now on our way to Kiel to sail the Olympic Classes Regatta which is the first of our 4 trial events to re-qualify me for funding and to put matt on 49er ODS funding. We have to finish top 4 ODS boat this is a realistic target for us and we are looking forward to the challenge.

The Story So Far

30 April 2008 | Home
Welcome to the Blog of Chris Rashley and Matt Gotrel. Here you will be able to keep up to date with the team. Where we are and what we are doing.

We teamed up to start sailing full time at the end of January 2008, Chris having just come out of tornado sailing (due to the ISAF decision to drop it as an Olympic class) and Matt coming from 29ers and having just finishing exams, we had a lot of work to get ready for the Europeans in late March. We sailed 31 days together before traveling to Palma.

We arrived in Palma for a weeks training. after arriving we headed for the apartment. looking over the bay it was perfect sailing conditions, 12-14knots and 18-20 degrees. During this week we did a training regatta which really helped us understand what racing was all about. We then travelled home to do a National Ranker at Weymouth.

Now it was time to go back to Palma for the Europeans, we had 2 weeks of training and the Princess Sofea regatta to give us the best preparation for the Europeans.

Day 1 was cancelled due to high winds, this gave us a bit of a day off! Day 2 was more high winds and big waves, the perfect start to your first big event! we hadn't done much windy sailing so it was a big learning curve, we finally managed to make the pieces join together in the 3rd race of the day, we ended up with a 12,16,8. and there was a lot learned from the day. Day 3 was similar winds averaging 18knots but it was very wavy due to the big winds from the previous days. We had a good first race posting a 13, and then two average results 17,17.

That was the end of qualification and we were 29th, which left us 4th in the silver fleet. The silver fleet was excellent for us as it gave is the space to put the things we had practiced into our racing. we posted a 4th and a 15th on Day 4. Day 5 was slightly different with 15knots and flatter water, we were starting very well and sailing with confidence, we posted a 3,6,15. The last day was slightly lighter than the previous 10-12knots, we struggled in the lighter conditions but it highlighted to us that it was an area we need to work on.

We were very happy with our performance out in Palma and came out of it with some clear plans to improve. We then had 2 weeks at home to put some training in before heading out to Hyeres for the Olympic Classes Regatta
Vessel Name: Ronstan
Vessel Make/Model: 49er
Hailing Port: Stokes Bay
Crew: Chris Rashley-Matt Gotrel
About: Chris 19, Is based in the Isle Of Wight and has sailed Catamarans for the last 6years. He was part of the Olympic Development Programme sailing a Tornado and has recently made the change to the 49er where his efforts are now focused on the 2012 Olympic Games.
Extra: Matt 19, Is based in Gloucestershire and has always sailed skiffs, he was part of the 29er National Youth Squad from 2004-2007 and has now teamed up with Chris in the 49er and is set on competing at the 2012 Olympic games.
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Ronstan's Photos -

The Team

Who: Chris Rashley-Matt Gotrel
Port: Stokes Bay