Volvo Ocean Race – Rookie perspective 2: Martine Grael
By Yachts Yachting
In the second of our five-part mini series, Rob Kothe gets the rookies perspective from Volvo Ocean Race first timers…
Read rookies part 1 – Peter Burling
Martine Grael, 27 is sailing aboard AkzoNobel in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race as both a driver and a sail trimmer. The Brazilian 49er FX Olympic Gold medallist is a Volvo Ocean Race rookie, but her father Torben Grael, Brazil’s most successful Olympic sailor, with five medals, has taken part in the race three times and won the 2008-09 edition as skipper of Ericsson 4.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze won the 420 World Youth Championships in 2009, then switched to the 49er FX in 2012. They won the 2014 World Championship and that year they were crowned Rolex World Sailors of the Year, before winning in Rio.
Grael takes up the story “I have always been interested in doing the VOR and watched the SCA team being put together, but my goal was the 2016 Olympic Games, so I stayed focused on that. But when the rule changed, increasing mixed crew options for the 2017 race I started looking out for a crew position.
“I worked very hard in the gym to gain strength. For the 49erFX I was close to ideal weight, so I just had to be super-agile and fit. But for the Volvo core strength is the issue, for grinding and moving sails around for example.
“The race so far has been better than I imagined in some ways and worse in some other ways. I had heard lots of stories many from my father, I knew a lot of that would happen but it’s always harder to experience them yourself.
“I enjoyed some very good sailing this last leg and some hard times being at the back of the fleet for sure but the best experience was winning the leg coming into Auckland. It was very stressful but there is nothing better than winning. The worst moment was probably arriving last into Melbourne after the breakdown in Leg 3.
“I guess I am very passionate about things and sailing and sure this race is a lot of professional in some ways. I guess this race just gets the worst out of you and you just can’t hold it back. I think sometimes it gets the better of you. You discover a lot about yourself and how to live with other people. It’s put new perspective in life and now I see things with different eyes.
“I’ve learnt so much as a sailor. There are so many good people on board and a lot of experience and I’m just trying to learn as much as possible. As a newbie there is a lot to learn and there is a long way to go for me in sailing and I am not sure what is coming up next but for sure this helps me as a sailor and I feel like more of a complete sailor now.
“I’ve learnt a lot more about responsibilities and personal organisation, very important in running your own Olympic campaign.
“After this race ends, I will be straight back into 49er FX sailing for at least two years until the Tokyo campaign so pretty much full on after the race.
“I will take my caravan / trailer all the way to Denmark and start 49er FX training with Kahena for the Aarhus Worlds, (after winning in Rio we were second in the 2017 Worlds). After that there is a test event in Tokyo and after that hopefully some rest and then the Olympic cycle starts again.”
Fonte: Yachts and Yachting