“It’s always great to win a medal, especially a gold medal”, it was one of the first comments Dutch Laser Radial sailor Daphne van der Vaart made after she finished the medal race and secured here gold medal last year. She still looks back positive on the Regatta: “Despite the small fleet, I’ve learned a lot. It’s always very useful to compete in a Regatta and compare yourself with other sailors.”
“I’ve been practising my decision making during the Medemblik Regatta. There are hundreds of decisions you have to make in a race, some of them can change your whole race. It’s easier to make decisions at a smaller regatta compared to a World Championship, it’s easier to deal with the pressure. It was good to have practised this in Medemblik. I’ve also learned a lot from my coach during the Medemblik Regatta. I didn’t have my own coach during the regatta, sometimes that’s good because you always learn something new or different from another coach.”
She also commented on the boundaries used during the medal race: “The boundaries where great, made it just a bit more exciting. And it makes it better visible for the audience, there’s a better view over the playfield.”
Besides the Medemblik Regatta, Daphne looks back on a great season. “I was very stable, earlier I’ve dealt with outliers in my ranking. At the end of last season, I found myself in an eight place in the world ranking. So on average base, this means I’ve been doing good!”
Tokyo out of sight
Although here season was treating her well, it didn’t end the way she hoped. “Maxime (red: Jonker) and I set a goal for last year, to extend the selections for Tokyo 2020. We knew it wasn’t realistic to beat Marit Bouwmeester last summer. But if we could just extend that selection to this spring, we might have had a shot. Therefore Maxime and I had to score good results during the season. Unfortunately, my World Championship didn’t go as I hoped. Ended up in a 13th place, this had to be a top 10 placement.” The selection for the Olympic Games went to Marit Bouwmeester, a big disappointment for Daphne.
“It was though”, tells Daphne. “Although my season has been good, even had a good closure event in Japan. It wasn’t good enough, Tokyo was out of sight.” It’s still hard to think about it for the Dutch sailor. But it has also opened some new goals. “I haven’t been sailing since September last year. The last couple of months I’ve been focussing on my study Media and Entertainment. Last week I’ve sent in my thesis and in two weeks my internship at the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation will end. I realize there are so many opportunities, it’s really hard to know what you want.”
Missed the sailing life
“But as soon as my internship is over in two weeks, I’ll go sailing again. I’ve really missed that life, and I know there’s still so much for me to learn. Even though it’s hard to have missed the selections, I’m really looking forward to the process of learning and getting better at sailing. As long as I have the feeling that there is room for improvement, I’ll keep on sailing.”
Another Olympic cycle?
“That’s a long time, 5 years! Really don’t know if I’m going for the next Olympic cycle. For now, I like the fact that I’m still learning. But my plan doesn’t go further than this season, which lasts till the World Championships in July. And the last time I’ve been in the boat was September 2018, so I don’t expect much the first event. In two weeks my training will start again, two weeks after that the first regatta will already start. That’s the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, for many sailors the start of the season and the first measurement after the winter period. If you win there, you know you’re well prepared for the rest of the season. I don’t expect anything there, but it’s good to know where I’m at by that point. After the Trofeo Princesa Sofia there’s a World Cup in Genoa and then the European Championships. Those are my training races for the World Championships. In July I have to be fit again.”