Forty-nine years young

Seahorse first caught up with Ben Ainslie’s old nemesis Robert Scheidt on the eve of the Star world championships in Hyères. A few days later he went on to win his third world title with crew Bruno Prada, and a few weeks after that his wife Gintare won the Laser Radial worlds. All this, and the first couple of Olympic sailing have a baby son. Can two parents of a young child both find the time to win Olympic medals? We’ll soon find out…

Seahorse: Since winning the silver medal in the Star at the last Olympics a lot has changed in your life. You got married, you have a young son. And now you’re living in Italy. Big changes…

Robert Scheidt: It’s great, everything that’s happened in our life. We’re really happy. We moved to Lake Garda in 2010 and got a house there. I think it helps because Gintare is a sailor too, so she understands the kind of life we live, the travelling. She can also travel with me to many of the Olympic regattas where we often bring our son – with a babysitter so we can focus on what we have to do during the day! Then in the evenings we can enjoy a bit of family life, which in my opinion is very healthy for the mind. For sure, I have a few more responsibilities now with a family to support, but it’s a positive step in anyone’s life so I feel pretty good right now.

SH: And Gintare is doing an Olympic campaign in the Laser Radial…

RS: Yes, she qualified for London. This time she didn’t have time to do a four-year campaign; she started in the middle of 2010, but she’s doing fine. She’s in the top 10 at most regattas and is really motivated for London, so we’ll see. Last time she did the Olympic Games she got a silver medal.

SH: You are obviously doing a good job in the Star now! How much can you tell me about the gear that you plan to use during the Olympic Regatta itself?

RS: We’re now using the American boat, the P-Star, but we have sailed many boats over the past three years. We have changed boats a lot! Right now I think we’re very happy with the boat we have. We’re also working a bit more on sail design with Juan Garay. Juan is helping us get comfortable with the sails through a wider wind range, because it’s very important to have sails that you can adapt efficiently for Weymouth with its changeable conditions. You can start a day in the light and finish it in big wind and waves, so we’re trying to have something that we can use over a much wider range than is typical with the Star. On the spar side we’re using Emmeti masts like most others. What is more significant is that in 2011 we stepped up our training days a lot. We’ve done a great deal of training and racing since the beginning of last year. We still have a few things to do before London, but we’re happy with where we are. We’re more confident than four years ago.

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