Brayden and Ashlee Daunt of RQYS

February 21, 2024

Grinding Back To The Top!

By Ashlee Daunt, AUS 33 Mixed 470 Helm

Images by Beau Otteridge / Sail Sydney 2023

 

As a sibling duo in the Mixed 470 class, my brother, Brayden, and I have our fair share of challenges we combat together. No challenge, however, has been bigger than the journey and ladder we had to climb in 2023.

For us, 2023 was a year of grinding our way back to the top of the fleet. Starting the year off with a result that, needless to say, was disappointing on all fronts – last at our 470 class nationals – we knew there needed to be huge improvements made to our sailing, psychology and partnership dynamic before we could sail onto a racetrack again. So, we put our all into ensuring this would never happen again.

Coincidently, during this low in our performance we had heard Adrian Finglas was joining the team again at RQ – right place, right time. We knew this was an opportunity that was going to be invaluable in turning our campaign around.

With the support of Adrian and the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS), we set to it. Grinding hours on hours of on-water time and practicing the simple skills of boat handling, starting, and tuning – bringing it back to basics to lay a foundation which couldn’t be broken again. We knew we had a tough road ahead, but our goal never wavered. We were going to get top 3 at one of our events over Summer!

Our results were a true testament to this hard work. After months of non-stop practice, we managed to secure a 5th at Sail Melbourne (2nd AUS Mixed 470) and continue that progress to a 3rd at the Sail Sydney Olympic Qualifier (2nd AUS Mixed 470), just behind our top Australian team and the Italian team.

We did it! This is the result we had strived for and we have now positioned ourselves as the team and boat next in line going into the LA 2028 quad.

Our Summer successes would not have been possible without the support of Adrian Finglas and the sailing team at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, and the Queensland Academy of Sport. Thank you to all who have believed in us along our journey so far. We can’t wait to continue sharing the successes and learnings to come in our journey towards LA 2028 and Brisbane 2032.

Next up for us is Europe! Bray and I will be attending the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma, and Open 470 Europeans in Cannes. We also hope to attend the French Olympic Week in Hyeres, however given this is a quota spot regatta, we are still awaiting selection which is to happen after our event in Palma.

Join us along our journey on Instagram @ab_sailingteam and Facebook @AUS 33 Daunt Sailing Team.

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