Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Only a year ago Annalise won the silver medal in the women’s laser radial. Dee Caffari spoke to her about the transition from Olympian to Volvo crewmember.
“I genuinely thought that after a few days in was going to want to get to land – but I haven’t really felt like that. Yeah – I am looking forward to having a shower and a real bed and pizza and beer, but I also am pretty happy out here.
There’s still such a routine in the day. You know – your watches are four hours on, four hours off. And then –I don’t know- I kind of don’t mind standing on a grinding pedestal for two hours and starting my watch every time ‘cause it kind of makes me feel like I have a purpose and the boys are pretty happy to let me stand there and do it. It’s not just about the sailing bit –that’s the really fun bit – it’s making sure that you’re taking care of yourself on your off time. That’s the important bit as well.”
And you have become a bit of a team mum because you have taken on looking after everybody almost. Do you feel that you’ve got that role?
“I always cook for people when I’m at home or away- and now I’m just on the boat so I’m just like ‘oh do you want me to make your dinner for you’ or things like that.”
What’s the food like?
“Well today I’ve actually had a pretty delicious day. I’ve had pasta carbonara and macaroni and cheese…. The foods thing was pretty tricky at the start – organizing it all – but I think that each leg is going to get better and people are going to get the food that they really want – whereas now there are a few hit or miss days where it’s been rough and I really didn’t want to eat anything – but I just put peanut butter into all of my meals and that actually made it better.”
How do you think the transition is going to go from 9 months sailing around the world to Tokyo 2020?
“I think it’s going to be really good … I’m very self-critical of myself and I kind of lose confidence very quickly. You know, one small mistake and I basically kind of throw the toys out of the pram. I think this is going to teach me a lot more about sailing. It’s going to make me a better sailor overall. Ok – I’m not sailing a laser, but I’m learning more about this boat… Next summer when I’m finished I can hop back into the laser if I want to and I’ve still got two full years to train for Tokyo.”
Do you feel like the break will have done you some good to go and do something so random?
“Yeah, definitely, because I don’t think I would have been able to do another four years – I had this drive between London and Rio where I just kept on thinking about an Olympic medal – and even when things were going badly I was able to keep on training really hard the entire time. Well, when I won a medal in Rio I was just – it was probably the happiest moment of my life – and I was very satisfied with the silver medal – it’s way more than I could have ever dreamed of cause I don’t think I was the most talented sailor. I just worked really hard and I spent a long time learning about Rio and the venue and I kind of used that to my advantage at the end. To do another four years of that when I’ve achieved my goal would be pretty hard, so getting to do this – it’s a whole different goal and that’s why I’m trying to learn every day and be less of a liability on the boat. I think I’m getting better…”
What do you tend to live by?
“Just to stay positive and be happy. Even when I’m having a bad day I try and go ‘c’mon Annalise, you’re having a bad day, but other people are having a bad day too. You just need to get over it. You’re getting to do something that most people could only even dream of doing.’”
In the middle of the ocean what do you think is the best piece of advice you could give someone?
“Make sure you brush your teeth. It makes you feel really good. And Sudocrem everywhere- baste yourself in it. Head to toe.”