With four Olympic Games already under his belt, you would think Allan Julie from Seychelles would want to sit back and reflex, but that is not the case. With just two weeks to go before the final selection regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympics, he has taken up a new challenge – top level Finn sailing.
Ahead of the African qualification at the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma at the end of March he is competing at the Finn European Championships this week in Barcelona to get familiar with the boat.
“I only started sailing the Finn about two weeks ago, so maybe I have sailed about 10 times so far. My goal is to learn the boat as much as possible in this short time and hopefully qualify to go to Rio.”
He did a week of intensive training in France recently. “In the first week I was training with Finn coach Paul McKenzie. I really learned a lot because I didn't know anything about the Finn.”
“I really like the boat, so we will see if I qualify. Depending on if I qualify and then how I go at the Games and I will then think about Tokyo.” Coming from the Laser, in which he sailed the last four Olympics, “The Finn feels like a more stable boat and it feels like a real boat. I like it. I think it's probably better for people more like my weight.” Julie is 93 kg and in the lower weight range for Finn sailing.
He described his first day in the 90 boat fleet in Barcelona. “In the first race I was not really racing so much. I was more or less doing what other people were doing. I was not tacking on the shifts, but I had a good first upwind and then I lost a bit on the second upwind.”
“In the second race before they abandoned I was in a very good position. I probably would have rounded top 20, so would have been very happy with that.”
He is receiving help this week from one of the best sailors in the class. “This week I am travelling with Vasilij Zbogar from Slovenia and they also provided me with a boat and all the equipment and I would like to say a big thanks to them."
“And they are also helping me a lot during his regatta, giving me a lot of tips.”