The collaboration between Christian Wahl’s Double You Team and the Sailing Squad was a success, with the team claiming victory by crossing the finish line on Saturday night at 3h14’02”, after more than 17 hours of racing. Anja von Allmen, the Laser world champion from the Bernese Oberland, was competing in her first Bol d’Or Mirabaud under the colours of the Sailing Squad. She look back at their performance.
Anja, what did you expect from the race?
I didn’t quite know what to expect. The weather forecast was suitable for Christian’s D35 but I had never raced with a crew – I am usually single handed on a Laser – and never for so long. I was a bit nervous because I know my skills but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue to contribute to the team after 5-6 hours of racing.
What did you think about the regatta, so different from what you’re used to?
I loved the experience. I’d never done a regatta lasting more than an hour, so it was really special. It’s very important to have the bigger picture, to try to anticipate as much as possible what the wind is going to do and where to position yourself on the lake, not just 10 minutes in advance, as it can be in Laser racing, but to anticipate two or three hours. You have to be aware that the boats are different and therefore have different speeds depending on the weather conditions; one boat can go faster but that doesn’t mean we’re sailing badly. I particularly liked the last part of the race, where we played our cards really well. To lead the Bol d’Or Mirabaud was really incredible and the atmosphere on the boat was superb; the team worked so well together despite so much pressure.
What did you learn during this race?
The biggest learnings were patience (for sure) and controlling emotions, staying calm throughout the race. I also learnt how to switch off during the race; it’s important to recharge your batteries at the right time so that you can use that energy when it’s needed. Anticipation was also clearly a key element that showed me that a quick gain now might translate into a big loss later on.
What was the best moment?
After sunset, the race was really tight and we realised that we really had a shot at winning. The atmosphere on the boat changed: everyone was 100% focused, sailing the best they could. As we approached the finish line, we were leading, there was no wind but the boat kept going and we were ready to celebrate this victory. It was very moving to realise that by working together we had managed to get to the top of the race. In the last few meters before the finish line, the SNG was playing “We are the Champions” and I realised that we had done it. It was a really special moment, and Christian was really happy too, telling us how much he’d enjoyed sailing with us. That moment will forever be something that I will remember dearly.
How does it feel to win, for your first participation?
It’s just incredible. I would never have thought that I would win my first regatta on a big boat. The team was amazing, I felt that I could really add my skills to that team. I can still not believe it, I’m super happy. I’d like to thank Christian for this great opportunity and the whole team for welcoming me on board, as well as Mirabaud for organising the Sailing Squad. The win goes to the whole team who fought hard for it and I’m proud of it.
Would you like to do it again?
I was joking about the fact that I won it for the first time and that I have a 100% success rate, so I shouldn’t do it again. But, honestly, I loved it so much that if i get the opportunity to do it again I probably will, who knows?