Towards the end of last year I made the decision to sail the 49erFX which is the new Women's Skiff Class in for Rio 2016. The FX is by far the most exciting class ever to be brought in for Women to sail at the Olympics and I could not resist the opportunity to sail full time in such a fantastic boat. So I bought an FX and with the help of some good friends I began learning to try and master the art of skiff sailing.
The difficulty I have found about learning to sail the FX is that as a beginner its fairly risky to go sailing in anything much above 15 knots so that immediately reduced the amount of days I was able to train. Between October and March I think I managed to do about 3 weeks of sailing in total as either there was too much wind or I was unable to find anyone to sail with. I started looking for someone to team up with to get a campaign underway back in September and despite trying out with some very good sailors I was unable to find anyone in a position to be able to sail full time with me. After such a slow start and still no full time crew I was beginning to wonder if I was realistically going to be able to continue campaigning. I thought back to conversations I'd had with my great friend and training partner for the last few years in the Radial, Annalise Murphy from Ireland. We used to joke that I should become Irish and sail a skiff with Annalise's sister Claudine for 2016. At the time it sounded pretty far fetched but nearly 6 months after buying my FX and no further on with a campaign I realised that this might be the only opportunity I might have. My Mum's side of the family are all of Irish descent, so I knew that I could be eligible to sail for Ireland. After talking it through with Claudine and discovering that she was also at a cross roads in life which meant she could go full time if sailing if she wanted, we decided to try out together in the FX. We discussed things in great detail and I was pleased to learn that we both shared the same aspirations for the campaign and from there we decided to seize the opportunity and go for it!
So I am now pleased to officially announce that Claudine Murphy and I are campaigning for Rio 2016 sailing for Ireland. We are only a few weeks into our training so far but as you can see from the picture we are throwing ourselves into it!
I am very grateful for all the support and encouragement I have received so far from everyone about my decision to switch to sail for Ireland. I have many fond and proud memories of my time representing Britain and I am now looking forward to this next exciting chapter in my life!
Thanks for reading and check back soon for further updates on our progress!
Claudine (L) and Andrea (R) celebrating with Tom Slingsby after he won Gold last summer in Weymouth.