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No rest for Wollmann as next challenge nears

End of the day: Wollmann returns to the Marina da Gloria after sailing in Guanabara Bay

Cecilia Wollmann admits it will be confusing switching back to sailing catamarans as part of Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad now her Olympic Games are over.

Wollmann said she will have to reset her mind when she returns to Bermuda after her Rio adventure, where she finished 34th in the 37-boat fleet with 291 points.

The 18-year-old, competing in the laser radial class, placed 32nd in both of her final two outings on Saturday in the ten-race preliminaries in Guanabara Bay.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” Wollmann said. “It’s been really cool and I feel as though I’ve learned a lot.

“I’m sort of glad it’s over, though. It’s been really tiring in some really tough conditions against the best sailors in the world.”

Since March, Wollmann has turned her hand to a very different type of sailing after being named in Bermuda’s RBYAC team to compete in the Great Sound next summer.

She said the state-of-the-art AC45 one-design wingsail catamarans posed a whole set of contrasting problems to the singlehanded laser radial boats.

“[The catamarans] aren’t much like the lasers,” said Wollmann, one of the youngest in her class at the Olympics.

“It’s been fun sailing around in them and I’m excited to learn more about that type of sailing.

“They’re quite confusing and [the team] is still really new to them.

“Getting back into lasers was a lot easier than I expect it to be when I start sailing in the catamarans again!”

Competing daily against the best in the world in Rio has been both a chastening and inspirational experience for Wollmann.

She said she is determined to build on her performances and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“It has definitely given me a lot more motivation to work harder and try and make it again,” said the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club sailor.

“I think I need a lot more practice in Bermuda as well as going away to sail in regattas.

“At this level every small mistake can become quite a big one because everyone in the fleet is so good.”

Six youth crews will compete in Bermuda through their affiliation with the present America’s Cup teams.

Up to ten additional teams will be selected by Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sport directors Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher before the end of November.

These top teams will then race in a qualifying series to determine the top eight who will compete in two days of fleet racing scheduled during the week between the America’s Cup Finals in June.