Sailing

Evans heads Down Under in Tokyo effort

  • Three-year plan: sailor Evans will be based in Sydney
  • Rockal Evans in the Finn dinghy

Rockal Evans will be based in Sydney for the next three years as he intensifies his qualifying bid for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Bermudian sailor is vying for one of only three available Olympic spots from the North and South American region.

Evans will be involved in training camps and regattas in the same single-handed Finn class that his late grandfather Howard Lee competed in for Bermuda at the Montreal Games in 1976.

“I’ll be doing a racing circuit in Sydney and this is a big boost for my Olympic campaign because I will be settled,” said Evans, who left the island on Monday. “I’ll be training and in the gym every day, so I’ll be more comfortable and focused. I’ll be based there pretty much until the last Olympic qualifier. I’ve been there three times before and probably spent three months there in total. I love it there.”

Evans, who is 65th in the Finn class world rankings, will train alongside other Finn sailors bidding for qualification.

The former Comet class national champion faces a busy schedule next year competing at several Olympic qualifiers in Europe over a four-month period, starting from April.

“I’ll be in Europe to do qualifying races and then back to Sydney for more training and regattas,” Evans added.

He has already enjoyed some success in the Finn, having captured a maiden regatta victory at Finn Toilet Bowl Regatta in New York and finished second at the Cork Olympic Classes Regatta in Kingston, Ontario, in the summer of 2016.

“It’s steadily coming together and I’m getting faster and faster at each regatta,” he said.

The biggest obstacle Evans has encountered is securing crucial funding to keep his Olympic bid afloat.

“Funding has got to be the toughest thing for me,” Evans said. “I was just at the Finn Gold Cup and couldn’t even afford a coach. I competed in four regattas in Europe between March and May, and I had a coach at each. But the Finn Gold Cup was the main event for the season and I was promised funds from sponsors, but they didn’t provide any, so I couldn’t afford a coach for that.”

The Finn first appeared at the 1952 Olympic Games and is the most longstanding of any Olympic dinghy class.

“The Finn is a very technical boat,” Evans said. “The rig tune-up and sail combination with the mast has to be perfect with your height and sailing style.

“It’s also a very physical boat and I have to get fitter than I am now.”