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Well-begun, is half-done.

Here at Victron we like to support young inspiring talent – to help them be the best they can be. One of those we sponsor is Annemiek Bekkering who is a professional sailor who trains and competes full-time. She is already in Aarhus, Denmark, training for the Sailing World Championships which take place between July 30th and August 12th …and we were wondering about her training regime between races – what does her work day look like?!

Arriving sometimes weeks early at the sailing venue allows her to acclimatise, and to learn the wind shifts on the water in that region – surrounded as Aarhus is by hills, trees, and buildings which modify the wind – and of course create wind shadows, or nulls.

Annemiek sails an Olympic class dinghy known as a 49erFX – a physically and technically demanding boat capable of speeds up to 50kmh. Designed by Julian Bethwaite, the 49er made its Olympic debut in 2000 and first became a women’s Olympic class boat as the 49erFX in 2016.

A typical day for Annemiek begins at 8am with breakfast. The team has a dietician – although after eight years of professional sailing Annemiek is familiar with the dietary regime of high-protein foods and drinks, taken every couple of hours throughout the day. After breakfast the team get to the harbour, do some loosening-up exercises, and some exercises to strengthen the back muscles – then they rig the boat. After attending a briefing meeting to plan the days’ sailing they finally get out on the water by around 11am.

Sailing practise goes on for 2 -3 hours and is followed by washing the boat down and then, of course, a de-brief meeting.

After lunch (more protein and powder) there will be a session in the gym, or a cycle ride followed by (…if you’re unlucky, says Annemiek, who clearly doesn’t like this bit) some maintenance – replacing any worn ropes or blocks.

Cycle training usually lasts 2 or 3 hours. Annemiek rides a Sensa Latina Lite Alloy. Cycling enthusiasts will know that this is an aluminium-framed Ladies road bike with a Carbon Fibre fork, and a wide-range 11-32 cassette – which allows her to use it for training wherever she happens to be …even way up in the mountains. Cycling in the mountains, not surprisingly is one of Annemiek’s favourite bits of the training – and I suppose most of us could get used to the idea of being paid to cycle through mountain scenery.

All of this training is in preparation for an event which will be furiously contested by the best sailors in the world – 1500 sailors, from 100 nations, will be sailing in 1100 boats – fighting for a medal …and for qualification in the Tokyo Olympics of 2020 – so how does Annemiek feel when she thinks about her chances in the forthcoming competition?:

It’s exciting…she says; of course there are times when you have doubts – every athlete does – but we know that we are in a strong position, and have a very good chance of winning a medal. For now, I keep myself open to learning.

The weather in Aarhus, at the time of writing is 25°C and the wind is blowing at 20 knots …time to get back out on the water.

Victron Energy are proud to sponsor Annemiek Bekkering. We wish her the very best of luck …and we will be sailing with her in spirit at the Aarhus Sailing World Championships 2018.

Justin Tyers

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