We came. We trained. We got out.

Published on March 17th, 2020

As they seek to represent Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Men’s Two Person Dinghy event, Luke Ramsay and Hunter Lowden got caught in Europe as the response to the COVID-19 outbreak intensified. Here’s their update:

Well that was adventurous to say the least!

Our original plan was to spend the month in Mallorca, Spain. This had us using the 2020 470 World Championship as a tune up regatta, and follow that by rolling into the Princess Sofia Regatta, our Olympic Team selection event at the same venue, with sights set on winning the trials and coming home with an Olympic Spot and hungry for more.

However, the universe had other plans for many of us…

We are back on a plane to Vancouver after one of the most surreal events of our lives. Within 24 hours we went from focusing intently on training, to the Worlds being postponed, Princess Sofia Regatta (our Olympic Trials) being cancelled, and Spain being put on “lock down”. We had just enough time to get our boat out of the country (on its way to Tokyo) and get on a plane back home.

What’s next?
To start, a two week self-quarantine. With the Olympics unknown and all events put on hold, we will make sure we are A-OK from the virus. Then we will get back to work on the water by training in Vancouver until the picture becomes clearer.

What’s happening with the Olympic Trials now?
While not confirmed, the athletes in the 470 class and the Director of High Performance at Sail Canada have agreed in principle to make the qualifiers the Enoshima World Cup, which occurs mid-June in Japan, at the Olympic Venue.

The hope is that it is far enough in the future that the measures being taken today will allow the event to happen in a safe environment for everyone. This would also allow our new boat to arrive in Japan in time, and would ideally stay there until the Olympics.

So what have we been doing since our last update?
1. Training on the Atlantic Ocean off Miami, in conditions similar to Japan, breaking a centerboard in half and having some real fun wrestling the boat back to shore trying to avoid getting sucked offshore.
2. Buying a new boat in Europe. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Feels like we were sailing a jellyfish before.
3. Adding a member to our team! Luke was busy at home, Annie (his wife) is pregnant! They are going to have an Olympic baby! It makes more sense now why she wouldn’t commit to coaching, even with all the nice emails you sent.
4. Adding another new member to our team – not another kid this time. We hired Makis Orologas, the former coach of the Greek men who won a Bronze Medal at the last Olympics in Rio. He whipped us into shape until we stop dropped and ran out of Spain. He has been a huge asset, helping us improve leaps and bounds in the week we worked with him. We hope we can continue to work with him as we move forward.
5. Avoiding Corona beer, Hunter is more of a wine guy, and given everything in the news Luke decided to skip the Corona for the next few months too.

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