Vita and Ryan's 470 Campaign - March Update

25 March 2021 - from Vita and Ryan

Cecil Wright & Partners are delighted to sponsor Vita's campaign to make the 2024 Olympic Games.

Change of scene, hence the sun and short sleeves!

Worlds review - buckle your seatbelts!!

After making it out to Vilamoura on the 6th of Feb we were met with wind, waves, sunshine and most importantly, an international fleet to train and race with. Just what we had been waiting for!
The change of scene was refreshing and exciting, installing a new motivation in us to get the most out of every day out there. We embraced every session on the water with enthusiasm and a thirst to win. Practice racing with the fleet every afternoon provided some competition and we had a couple of cracking days, beating not only the other mixed teams but a lot of the mens fleet too! A couple of bullets in the racing established a new confidence in ourselves - we can do this!

It is a skill to maintain effective training and performance over long periods abroad, and it is something that we are still learning a lot about as a team. The main thing we’ve learnt is that you have to pace yourselves! Going too flat out at the start of a trip usually leads to burn out. We both struggle to get a grasp on the fact that we are not invincible; we do actually need to rest! There are so many things to think about in the day; fitness, nutrition; boat/equipment maintenance, skill development/training, debrief/reflection and recovery. It’s hard to pack it all into every day and there is the additional pressure that your competitors are likely to be doing it all right so you don’t want to slip behind.

The conditions out in Vilamoura are excellent at this time of year, pretty much every day is sailable. You get all kinds of conditions from all different wind directions so there is a real variety. There are often big waves - hence the surf beach adjacent to the club. It turned out that as soon as the Worlds started we had a completely different wind direction (off-shore) and condition to the rest of our training, which mixed things up a little bit. 

A week before the Worlds we had a 3-day pre-event, the Vilamoura Grand Prix, which gave us the chance to get our racing heads on. It was a very tight regatta points wise and we ended up finishing in 3rd, joint points with 2nd and just one point off first! This gave us an insight into just how tight the racing would be at the Worlds and that every point counts.

The air was electric with intensity throughout this buildup period; teams are fighting tooth and nail for the Olympic spot after dedicating the past 5 years of their life to it. To be on the battlefield of this ultra-high level competition and being up there with the big dogs in training was fuel for our own fight.

Now for the Worlds… 

New sails on, boat polished and race heads on; we are ready for battle! 

We were pleased at our consistent performance in the first 2 days. Despite the very unstable and unpredictable conditions, we managed to pull together a string of respectable results by limiting big risks around the race course and playing the fleet. We weren’t winning races but consistently inside the top 10. With long events like these, consistency is everything; people are guaranteed to pick up some heavy results, especially later on in the regatta when the pressure is high. So we were in a solid position going into day 3, ready to reel in the teams ahead, without any obvious discards and feeling confident with our boat speed. 

Now for heartbreak… After a stunning performance in the first race of the day, despite light and fickle conditions, we fought our way around the race course for every metre and crossed the line in 2nd, we both gave a sigh of achievement and satisfaction after 40 mins of intense concentration, only to see the look on our coach’s face. I instantly knew that we must have started over the line. So so gutted. After a few minutes of remorse we pick our selves up, forget the heart-sink of the previous race and are ready to go and smash the next one! After a disaster of an upwind we clawed our way back up the fleet throughout the racecourse and finished again in 2nd. Chuffed to bits with our come back, we glanced over to find our coach, anticipating the excitement and pride on his face after our performance; only to be met with a shake of the head and disappointment in his eyes. We are crushed. We slump into the bottom of the boat with the overwhelming feeling of failure. How; how could we possibly have done this?? Not one, but two black flags. All we could think about was “our event is over, that’s it we’ve blown our chance at the World Championships, after waiting 2 years for this. How??” We have never felt so low; angry at our selves, deflated and devastated that we have blown this opportunity that we had so much hanging on. The feeling was.. we have worked so hard for this and for it all to be blown with unnecessary black flags - how stupid of us!!

After towing in in complete silence, enveloped in a cape of failure, frustration and despair; we felt it was all over. That night the deep disappointment was eating us up, we had let ourselves down. I got through it by remembering how lucky we are to even be able to do what were doing, most of the world are in a much worse position than us right now, we have the opportunity to participate in this amazing sport at the top level, what a special and exiting thing to spend our youth doing, despite the tough times. We really cannot complain. We tried to put it behind us and focus on the days ahead but it was hard to completely forget, it kept coming to mind and our hearts would sink, it was horrible. I’m sure you’ve all had that feeling before, where nothing anyone says can make you forget it. It sounds pathetic that we were so low over a sailing result, but this was so important to us and we’d been building up to this for 2 years, it felt like the crux of our campaign so far and we were ready to show the world what were made of! Things like that where there is so much pressure weighing on one event can only be met with heartbreak and self-disappointment when you don’t achieve your absolute best. We will never forget the feeling we had after that day and we have learnt so much from the whole experience. 

Trying to think of the positives; we raced well and our boat speed was very good, we know we can do it, we just need to start behind the line. We roll into day 4 with yesterday’s heartbreak looming over us and a bit less pressure on us, and pull out a blinder of a day and get ourselves back in the game - maybe it’s not all over after all! We proved more to ourselves from the bounce back than we could have done by winning the event. We know that we can win. Just as we expected, it all came down to the medal race. Something we’ve learnt is that everyone is making so many mistakes throughout the regatta, it is never over. Points were so close going into the medal race, pretty much anything was possible.

I think the hardest part was knowing that, without the BFDs*, we could’ve gone into the medal race in gold medal contention, but you can’t say “if”.

Instead we go into day 6 in 5th with potential for a silver medal or for 10th place - anything was possible! We had struggled to gain back our confidence in starting after of BFDs and this really hindered our race. It didn’t go well, ending up 8th in the race and 8th overall.
We finish the World Championships feeling empty and unfulfilled. We didn’t achieve what we went out there to go and do. We had a lot of pressure and expectations on which increased the downer when the result wasn’t what we wanted.

The positives to come out of it are we were one of the fastest boats in the fleet throughout all conditions; we raced well and are capable of winning the event! We proved to ourselves that we can pick our self back up after a major disappointment and put in a day of great results, I’m proud of us for that. That is something we want to continue doing for the rest of our lives, whatever the circumstance, burst out of that seemingly impenetrable bubble of doom and show them what you’re made of!

We still have so much to work on and learn as a team, we are definitely a way-off being at our peak. We want to keep our learning curve steep and fuel or momentum with motivation to improve and achieve. We believe we will get there and we have proved to ourselves that we are capable of being the best. It will happen one day! 

It is great we were able to come home, we can now really reset and review before returning to battle!

Upcoming events … (at current) 

• Warm up regatta - Vilamoura, Portugal, 11-14 April 

• Grand Prix round 3 - Vilamoura, Portugal, 25-27 April 

• Princess Sophia regatta - moved to September 

• Hyeres regatta - cancelled 

• European Championships - Vilamoura, Portugal, 30 April - 7 May 

* Black Flag - (disqualified for starting over the line) 

We are immensely grateful to everyone who has been supporting us, we have had many encouraging messages that help boost our confidence when it is low. Cecil-Wright have made a platform for us to perform off, without the new boat we wouldn’t be the fastest boat in the fleet! (A couple of foreign coaches came up to us and commented on how speedy we are 😉 ) 

As always, we would be so grateful if anyone has contacts in any of these venues or knows of anywhere we can stay (the Vilamoura accommodation bill is racking up!). This has greatly helped us in the past. 

Any contribution to travel, accommodation, entry costs (etc) will be massively appreciated and will go along way! 

If you want to help us out on our journey to Paris 2024 or want to chat, then please give us a call! 

Vita – 07586349225 Email – 

For some gnarly pics and updates on our progress, check out:

(We also have a new website incoming!!)


Ryan and Vita's 470 Campaign - December Update

Vr470 V4

Ryan and Vita's 470 Campaign - March/April Update


Ryan and Vita's 470 Campaign - February Update

Contact the team