Helena is a ski instructor with ES in Verbier in the winters, and here she tells us about her summers, matchracing in Denmark. This summer Helena with her team of 5 women came second in the national sailing championship.
This summer I was competing in the Danish sailing championships in a special category called match racing. With my team, we ended up in second place, which gave us a silver medal!
This is a picture of me (centre) together with my team. We were all pretty happy at this moment!
Match racing in sailing is where two boats are competing head-to-head, focusing on tactics, strategy, and maneuvering. The two boats are identical so it all comes down to the team on board.
The goal when we are match racing is to defeat our opponent and cross the finish line first. It sounds simple but there is a lot of strategy and tactics to make sure that happens. The boat that is behind works hard to pass the leader and the leader uses blocking techniques to try and stay in front.
The most famous match racing event is the America’s cup, though this doesn’t need the yachts to be identical.
Even before the race starts, there is a battle to try and cross the start line in front of the other boat and in the best position for the race to come. Penalties are given if you break the rules, so for example you aren’t allowed to cross the start line before the race starts.
The boats that we were sailing in are called a DS37, which is a Danish build monohull boat. It was designed in 1991 and is 11.25metres long (almost 37 feet) and was designed for match racing. It has a large rudder for all the manoeuvring that we do.
Wikipedia says that it is “one of the most physically demanding boats found in the international matchracing circuit”.
The racing tends to be really close and competitive, with identical boats. Often you don’t know who will win until right at the end of the race.
I’m sailing in a team that consist of 5 other women who have been sailing together as a team for a few years. In total I have now been sailing for more than 10 years.
Here we are in the middle of a race, trying to stay ahead.
So as soon the ski season ends in Verbier and I’m back home in Copenhagen, I will start training and practicing with my team for the upcoming regattas.
In some way there are some similarities in skiing and sailing and I think they go hand in hand. They are both happening outside in the nature. You get to be together with your friends. You can go exploring, you can compete, its physically demanding. Finally, you get to go challenge yourself in many ways.
I couldn’t imagine spending my winters and my summers in a different way!
Helena loves meeting new people and teaching them different techniques, games and exercises to keep them safe and comfortable in the snow. Most importantly, she wants to make the experience fun, exciting and, for those who want a little bit more, challenging as well. She always makes an effort to end the day with everyone having a big smile on their faces.