From Rio to Aarhus for British U23 hopeful Hector Simpson

At nearly two metres tall, Hector Simpson (GBR) is among the tallest of the Finn sailors getting ready to compete in the 2016 Finn Silver Cup in Aarhus, Denmark. This year will be his second Silver Cup after an eleventh place finish last year in Valencia. Nearly 40 young Finn sailors are carrying out last minute preparations in Aarhus for the start of racing on Tuesday.

Hector Simpson vital statistics: Age: 21 • Weight: 93kg • Height: 197cm

Simpson has recently returned from Rio after a pre-Olympics training camp with Giles Scott (GBR) and hopes this will stand in him good stead for the week ahead. “It was a very interesting experience, very shifty, lots of different courses, and especially the medal race course. I think anything could happen there.”

“I think it was good training for the Silver Cup – that was the biggest selling point for me, to be able to line up with Giles and the other guys out there and get my speed in check before coming here.”

Simpson flew straight in to Aarhus from Rio, with an overnight stop in London.

He first came into the class in October 2014, just after the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander. “Andrew Mills stopped Finn sailing just as I was starting so, I was able to pick up his old kit.”

Before that he sailed a Topper, a Laser Radial and a Laser Standard and was part of the RYA’s junior and youth racing programme.

“It was always singlehanders for me. There wasn’t really anyone I could sail with at a young age so I followed the natural progression through Toppers, Laser Radial and Laser. I never really thought about anything but a singlehander.”

He thinks he was always destined to sail the Finn, “I think I knew as soon as I came into the Laser standard that the Finn would probably be the boat I would end up in due to my size.”

“The Finn is the only Olympic class that I can be competitive in at my weight. I also like how the racing is extremely tactical.”

As part of the British Sailing Team he has an extraordinary amount of support and success to fall back on, but his first priority is to finish his degree. “I am currently studying economics and graduate in 2017. After finishing my degree, I hope to go full time to train for 2020.” In four year’s time, he hopes to be “competing in Tokyo for an Olympic medal.”

He feels he is making good progress towards this goal. “My weight and strength have increased since I moved into the Finn and I managed to win the Palamos Christmas Race last December and then I finished 28th at this year’s Princess Sofia in Palma compared to 42nd last year.”

On his expectations and objectives this week in Aarhus, Simpson revealed, “I have come in with the results aim of top five. There are some quite good sailors here so I am just going to take every day as it comes and see how it goes. It looks like it’s going to be shifty which will play to my strengths.”

The opening ceremony and practice race in Aarhus will be held on Monday, before the start of the five-day series on Tuesday.

Hector Simpson in Palma earlier this year
Hector Simpson2

About the Finn Silver Cup

• Around 40 of the world’s best young Finn sailors are taking part in the U23 Finn World Championship for the Jorg Bruder Finn Silver Cup in Aarhus Denmark.
• The ‘Jorg Bruder Silver Cup’ was presented to the Finn Class in 2003, on the occasion of the Finn Gold Cup in Rio, by the Brazilian Olympic Committee as a memorial to the late great Finn sailor from Brazil.
• 13 races will be held over five days from Tuesday 5 July to Saturday 9 July.

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