Kirklands’ World Cup bid
Jesse and Zander Kirkland will be looking to continue their encouraging start to the 2011 season when they travel to Spain to compete in their first World Cup event next month.
It has been a busy year already for the brothers, who recently finished 18 out of 29 boats in the Rolex Miami OCR in Biscayne Bay, Florida.
While training has been intense since the turn of the year, the brothers are preparing for the busy summer that lies ahead for them.
“We spent all of January and half of February, training and racing in Miami,” said Zander. “We were sailing alongside all the top North American teams and a host of teams from Europe.
“We are in the midst of a five week furlough after our winter Miami sailing and we are putting final preparations in place for our spring/summer campaign in Europe.
“Fundraising, coaching kids and gym sessions make up the bulk of this time.
“My brother (Jesse) has been training with Robin Hood to stay fit for the boat, what we have found is that these intermittent breaks between intense training is a great way to recharge and continue working along the learning curve.
“We both look forward to getting back in the boat for our first World Cup Event of the year, which will be in Palma, Mallorca, Spain.”
Racing begins on April 4 and lasts for five days, before the pair head to France to join their training partners at their headquarters, the site of the second World Cup event.
It will then be back to Bermuda to continue their fundraising.
Zander, the oldest of the two brothers, admitted that while it was fun to race in Miami, they were at a distinct disadvantage having raced in an older boat, while Spain will see them return to a new boat, something that gives the pair hope.
“We will race in Spain before heading to France to train with our training partners, where the second World Cup event on the European season takes place.
“We will do the third World Cup Event in Holland, then the fourth Cup event in England which is the Olympic venue, and then the European Champs in Finland in July.
“It is an ambitious schedule, but we feel it will be great practice for the 2011 World Championships (one of the main Olympic qualifiers) which will be in Perth, Australia in December.
“We are looking forward to racing in our good boat again.
“The last time we sailed the good boat we were pretty green on the international scene, but now we have 115 days more of sailing in the boat and feeling more comfortable in the boat.
“Sailing the training boat was frustrating in Miami, as we were sailing a 10-year-old boat, which had a soft internal structure, versus brand new stiff boats.
“The new boats accelerate much faster and handles chop much better because more energy is translated into boat speed.
“It makes racing against them tricky and changes our tactics because we can't hang with the top of the fleet. So we hope to have competitive speed with the majority of the fleet and be able to play ‘the game' in the European Events.
“We hope to nab some top half results in these World Cup Events, with hopefully a break-through event where we finish even higher.
“I have sailed many of these events before in the Laser during my 2004 campaign.
“They are cool venues to sail at, but can be chilly because it is still pretty early in the European Spring. Jesse and I have already sailed at the Olympic venue in England and look forward to returning in June to gain more experience at the venue.”