Loof at the end of SSL Finals 2014: “It’s nice to put the pressure on the sailors on the last day”

We talked to Freddy Loof, the last Olympic Star champion at the London Games in 2012, at the end of the SSL Finals 2014 in the Bahamas. The Swede finished second behind Mendelblatt and ahead of Kusznierewicz, at the end of a memorable week that saw him go from strength to strength and win the qualifying section after 9 races.

Before the race you only wanted a decent result. But now here you are on the podium….so you’re fitter than you expected…
Yes, fitness-wise I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve trained quite a lot in the last six months. I’m not so fit for the Star maybe, but I’m not getting tired. My body is still there. I’m 45 next saturday so I think I’m holding together pretty well.

You enjoyed this week?
It’s been fantastic. I think it’s really interesting sailing out there too. It’s quite shifty. It’s a great venue. It’s quite similar to the Olympics as well. It’s nice to really put the pressure on the sailors on the last day like this. And also the build-up in the final race yesterday. We went straight through and that saved us some energy for the last race, I think. I’m happy, we had one, two, one, three and two in the last five races, so I can’t do so much better than that.

Did you like the new format this year? Or would you like changes?
No, I don’t think so. I think the format is good. The races are long enough as well so I think it’s pretty fair racing. It’s really good. How did you feel at breakfast at Saturday 6th morning? What was your gut telling you? We had the weigh-in before breakfast. I was a little light. I need to lose a bit of weight for the AC 45 so I’ve already started a little. But I was quite relaxed. I always get quite relaxed when I get in the boat but a little bit nervous onshore perhaps. But then once I get out on the water, I’m quite confident and quite relaxed, enjoying myself.

What do you think of the fleet? Any surprises?
I think I was surprised by the Brazilians who finished fourth. They were really, really fast – they sailed the boat well. I mean I was a bit scared: dangerous fast. Apart from that it was like normal.

What about the grand finale? You never gave up but did you feel in danger?
I think I found the rhythm in the race in the last 30%. Because the breeze was coming a little bit more left, I was searching on the left side a little bit. But there was nothing there and the problem is that if you go on the left, you kind of get a little bit controlled by two or three other boats. So once you get a little bit more to the right, you can choose your timing. Once I did that, I said to myself, on the second run, I gotta place myself on the right side of the fleet and once I did that it was paying off right away. I got contact and then I actually finally, finally got the boat going fast in the last run. I really struggled in the downwind and normally I’m super-fast on the downwind. But in the light breeze in this regatta, it’s been really, really tough.

What did you learn this week?
I learned something new for sure about the pumping and all that. I’m quite pleased how Anders and I were keeping the momentum and being happy and relaxed about the whole thing. Not thinking about the prize money or stuff like that. Just focusing on the racing and enjoying ourselves with all the other Star guys and all you guys here. It’s just been good. Do you think you will be back again even though you are very busy and have other commitments? For sure. I think if I have time to come next year, I will come. But that depends: I need Anders – he’s awesome. So it’s good. It’s good fun.

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