Congrats to Jesper Nielsen

2nd overall at the European Championship Contender

Determination wrapped in modesty

Jesper Nielsen just back from the European Championship in the Contender class with a silver medal is a guy with both feet on the ground, but a will do his best striving to keep improving his personal results. In 2012 and 2014 he was third at the European Championship and in 2015 he was number 6 at the World Championship.

Even though Jesper is a modest guy he of course met in the office at Elvstrøm Sails where he is a sail designer with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes on Monday morning after a week in Highcliffe– 9 races in 5 days. Seeming quite content with his performance, Jesper explains;
“In the very beginning of the entire race it did not look like a medal. I was number 8, but then Thursday turned out very well. At the end of that day I was number 1.” Monday and Tuesday were characterized by light wind, and the races on Wednesday were cancelled. But then weather conditions changed – remarkably. “On Thursday we sailed in 10-12 m/s (18-24 knots) and 2.5 meter huge waves and we were really put to test. I stayed in the trapeze during all races and have to admit that my arms seemed somewhat longer at the end of the day. Partly because the ratchet broke, so I had to work a bit harder – even in the strong winds and high waves. I have never sailed in conditions like that in the Contender class, and it was just awesome. I wasn´t really nervous but quite calm and confident to stay in the trapeze. Balance is extremely importantly – especially when you are being tested to the point we were on Thursday.” Thursday evening time was spent checking the boat and fixing the broken ratchet. On Friday Jesper finished as 2nd, 3rd and 6th in the three races, not quite enough to keep the position as number one. But a very well-deserved number 2 overall. In a fleet of 70 contender participants that is quite an achievement!

Hours on the water

A result like that takes hours and hours on the water practicing techniques. And not the least hours in the gym working with strength, balance and staying power. From April to October Jesper practices 1-2 times a week on the water and twice a week in the fitness center all year round. It used to be more, but last year Jesper had a daughter and prioritizes more time at home. This is his 6th season in the Contender class and next year the big event is the World Championship in Sønderborg in Denmark – practically in the backyard!

Congrats and good luck next year!

Photos: credit to Sarah Desjonqueres

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