After ten years of match racing Italy's Simone Ferrarese has made a switch to the Olympic circuit and makes his ISAF Sailing World Cup debut in Mallorca, Spain.
The Italian has sailed at two 50-point Finn regattas and at World #322 in the Finn World Rankings he's some way off his current Open Match Race ranking of World #16.
The reason for the switch? "I'm getting old," joked the 26-year old. "I love match racing but I felt coming to the Olympic Classes was good and it was time to try to do it.
"I've been in the Finn for six months training with the Dinghy Academy in Valencia and I'm improving. Of course I need to work a lot but I'm focusing a lot on the Finn."
Ferrarese could be forgiven for continuing his successful match racing career that has seen him pick up honours at some of the finest international events but with a clear goal he has his mind set, "It's for sure tough but I'm aiming for Rio. I'm pushing hard and we are training every day in Valencia both physically and in the boat. We have a good group of 15 people training all the time so all is good."
"It's difficult to change. It's a big change. It's physically different and there's some stuff in match racing that will help me but it's different. It's been a hit and I really like it."
Whilst fleet racing and match racing are different disciplines of sailing the basic principles apply and Ferrarese has adapted to the Finn, "They are both aggressive types of sailing. For sure match racing is more aggressive but the Finn is thereabouts the same. It's all about changing the skills a little bit and focusing on what is different. Physically the Finn is the most difficult boat so I need to improve physically and I need to put my body weight up but my match racing skills have helped me a lot and it's going well."
Ferrarese is one of ten Italian Finn racers competing in Mallorca and with such a solid squad the relationship is strong. Ferrarese added, "We are friends. Some of them sail with me in match racing such as Giorgio Poggi who sailed with me at the World Match Racing Tour in Germany so we know each other and we all work together."
As part of a strong 92-boat fleet Ferrarese will use ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia as a learning curve. He concluded, "Because it's my first real race I really don't know how I will do. It's only been six months and I think we've done a good job with Luca Devoti and I'll do the best job I can and see how it goes."
By Daniel Smitth, ISAF