Rockal Evans’s hopes of reaching the Olympic Games in Toyko 2020 received a psychological boost at the Sail Melbourne Olympic class regatta at the weekend.
The Bermuda sailor produced an encouraging ninth-place finish among the 18 entries in the Finn class to suggest that his qualifying bid is heading in the right direction.
“I’m satisfied with my last performance and seeing improvements at each event is always a plus,” Evans said.
The former national Comet class champion produced four top-ten finishes in the six-race series, with a best finish of seventh in the opening two races.
“The conditions were challenging, shifty and a bit random at times,” Evans said.
“It’s going to be a challenging 2019 Finn Gold Cup, the final Olympic qualifier, in this bay.” Evans has moved to Sydney, Australia, where he will be based for the next three years as he steps up his bid for Tokyo.
“I have to thank my sponsors Digicel, Axis Capital and Aspen,” he said.
“I could not do this without them.”
The grandson of late sailor Howard Lee, who competed for Bermuda in the Finn dinghy at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, is vying for one of three available Olympic spots from the North and South American region.
“I’m feeling stronger and recovery on the boat is faster so I know I’m getting fitter,” Evans added. “I still need to work on my downwind pumping technique and race tactics for the race conditions.”
Evans trains weekly with a group of Finn sailors that includes Tom Slingsby, an America’s Cup winner and Olympic gold medal-winner, who placed second behind Australian compatriot Jake Lilley at the Sail Melbourne regatta.
Evans is 65th in the Finn world rankings, with his only win in the single-handed dinghy arriving at the Finn Toilet Bowl Regatta in New York last year.