Campbell Patton desperate to get back Down Under to pursue Paris 2024 dream
Campbell Patton is champing at the bit to get his Olympic qualifying campaign back on track.
The 19-year-old sailor launched his bid this year to represent Bermuda in the Laser class at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
He stepped up his preparations by moving to Australia to gain exposure competing against high-calibre opposition and had been making steady strides before Covid-19 intervened.
The global pandemic has been a major stumbling block for Patton.
However, he is doing his best coping with the circumstances and is now anxiously looking forward to returning Down Under to resume training.
“My hope now is to get back to Australia as soon as possible,” Patton said.
“My whole thing with Australia is that’s where the best training is right now and where I can get good competition.
“The training in Bermuda has been a challenge for me because there’s not that many other Laser sailors here; the ones that are here are away in school.
“It’s just been fairly difficult, so it’s important for me to go back to Australia to get that high level of competition all the time.”
Patton is following in the footsteps of his mother, Christine, who crewed for Paula Lewin in the Yngling class at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
“It would mean everything to me to compete at that Olympics,” Patton added.
“That’s my whole life goal right here, which would be better than any money that I can ever make.”
Most of the teenager’s preparations lately have involved working out in the gym.
“One of my main things I’m able to focus on right now is trying to put on some weight in the gym,” he said.
“You need lots of weight to keep the boat flat with that larger sail size in the full rig, so I’m working hard on that right now.”
It hasn’t been a case of all gloom and doom for the promising sailor amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as he was crowned Laser Radial national champion last month and more recently Etchells national champion with father Tim and fellow crew Michael Wollmann.
“I have been sailing, training and competing in the Laser full rig, which is the Olympic-class boat,” Patton said. “But I stepped down back to the Radial so that I could participate in the Bermuda Laser Radial National Championship and it was a really good weekend.
“There was lots of breeze on both days and we got off lots of racing in the Great Sound.
“There were a couple of local Laser legends sailing, Brett Wright and Malcolm Smith, which made it real interesting because there’s always things to learn from those guys.”
As for last weekend’s success sailing with his father in the Etchells at the Bermuda Keelboat Championships, Patton said: “It was a fantastic weekend and really great to sail with my daddy again.
“It was very breezy and quite challenging. The first day was especially windy, with gusts up to 28 knots, which made it pretty hectic, and there was also some great competition.”
Victory did not come without a cost as Patton Sr broke a rib and tore a side muscle during a mishap that occurred on the opening day of the two-day regatta.
The experienced sailor was treated at the hospital and courageously competed the next day, winning two of the remaining three races to clinch the title despite being injured.
A perennial Etchells national champion in his day, Patton Sr said: “I sailed with these two young bloods [Campbell and Wollmann], who are sailing at a much higher level than most people in Bermuda, which made my job steering the boat so much easier.”