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Pressure builds on Campbell Patton as he continues to hold Olympic qualifying spot

Campbell Patton in action in Last Chance Regatta

Bermudian sailor Campbell Patton is still occupying an Olympic qualification spot at the halfway stage of the Last Chance Regatta in France.

Patton finished tenth in Hyeres on Tuesday afternoon, with conditions preventing more than one race taking place and he sits in fourth in the regatta standings on 24 points after not finishing outside the top ten in any contest bar being disqualified in race three on Monday afternoon.

The young sailor was again pleased with his performance as he continues to battle against the cold weather and some of the best sailors in the world.

“It’s been really cold the last few days, which I’m really struggling with to be honest,” Patton said.

“During the race it’s fine because the blood is pumping but long hours in the water and sitting and waiting for conditions is hard. My Bermudian blood is just not cutting it.”

“It was just the one race today and we were out there for a number of hours yet again. There was wind all over the place coming off the land with very shifty conditions and storms rolling through.

“In the one race we did manage, there was a big squall and the wind shifted 90 degrees, which is usually grounds for the race to be abandoned, but it was very close to the end so they let US finish.

“It wasn’t a good shift for me, I lost four or five boats, but I was really happy with how I sailed the 80 per cent of the race before that and I’m happy with how I’m sailing. I think they will shoot for three races tomorrow and it will be another big day.”

Until arriving in France, Patton has been disappointed with his 2024 results but remained positive that he could compete with the world’s best.

"I try not to look at the results side of things too much but try to focus on how I’ve performed,“ Patton said.

“I’ve really felt the last few events that I’ve done, my results have not reflected my performance. I’ve been really happy with the work that I’ve done over the past six months, but I really feel like my levels have improved a lot recently and I didn’t get to prove that at the worlds or in Palma this year.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised, I’m just pleased. It’s not that I’m doing anything different but my results are better and I’ve just been following the process.”

It’s a quirk of the Olympic sailing qualification process that if Patton does finish in the top four at this regatta, that he qualifies Bermuda and not himself. If the island is guaranteed a spot, he will be competing with Sebastian Kempe, who sits 21st at this regatta, and Benn Smith (39th) to get the nod to be on board in Paris, but there is a camaraderie among the Bermuda contingent at this regatta.

“I don’t know how the standings are internally so even if I qualify I’m not sure it will be me who gets to go,” Patton said.

“I sure hope it is but I know it’s close between Sebastian and I, but they all have been incredibly supportive. We have been chatting in the boat park before racing most days and we are all getting along really well as we all want each other to do well.”

As the regatta moves past the halfway stage, Patton is not one to hide his feelings and is not scared to admit that the pressure is ratcheting up

“Absolutely I do feel the pressure and I’m happy to say it,” Patton said.

“Day two was the first time of wearing the yellow jersey at a major regatta and that puts a target on your back a little bit. It was exciting and I felt pretty nervous.

“Today I had the red one on [third place] and I am feeling pressure, but I’m trying not to focus on the end result and take it race by race, which is my coach’s advice.

“Aside from this conversation and a couple of chats with my parents, I’m mostly just talking with my team and coach about tomorrow and the next race and what we can improve upon. I’m still very much in the hunt.”

He sure is and to ensure he stays that way, recovery after a day in the water is essential.

“I spend time with my team and we do a lot of mobility and recovery stuff,” Patton said.

“We eat together as a team, which I find really nice and I try to stay in touch with my friends in Bermuda.

“We watched a lot of the Champions League last week, which was exciting and a nice distraction but we’ve been on the water for so long. Today we got back in at 6.30pm, it seems like it’s basically just sailing, eating and sleeping.”

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Published April 23, 2024 at 4:38 pm (Updated April 23, 2024 at 4:41 pm)

Pressure builds on Campbell Patton as he continues to hold Olympic qualifying spot

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