The next chapter

With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo postponed, Jason Waterhouse is singly focused on taking every available opportunity.

Written by Jack ORourke
Photography by SailGP / Australian Sailing


Off the back of a successful SailGP campaign, Jason Waterhouse was preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games alongside Nacra 17 partner Lisa Darmanin. However, that campaign has been put on the backburner following the suspension of the Olympics this year.

Waterhouse, an Olympic sailing silver medallist, is now planning for 2021 after narrowly avoiding a lengthy lockdown in Spain. The Sydneysider was poised to head to Spain in late March for his first European event of the season, but will now have to content himself with training on the Nacra 17.

Sails talks with Jason about getting back on the water, and his goals for the rest of 2020.

How did you keep fit during lockdown?

I’ve got a cool elliptical machine in my lounge room from the AIS, a couple of weights, and some bands. I’m actually the fittest I’ve ever been. There has been nothing else to do but get fit.



Have you been able to use this time to rest your body, and/or train in the way that best suits your needs?

Totally. With no sailing on, you don’t feel guilty about it either. It has been awesome for me. I don’t think I’ve spent three weeks at home in the last three years, so it lets me build a routine. I get to sleep in the same bed, I have no jetlag, and I have been eating good food. It actually helps you build muscle mass and keep your fitness.

Have you found any inventive ways to continue your training?

For me, the key is having consistency but then increasing my training load at a good pace. I don’t feel like I have to rush. Being close to my trainer and physiotherapist and getting good advice from them has really helped.

Have you taken this opportunity to upskill your sailing in any way?

I have done a lot of virtual camps. We’ve had a lot of really good lectures from athletes like Tom Slingsby on their Olympic experiences; that’s been really insightful. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of footage – we have a lot of data from our past regattas that we’ve been able to break down and analyse.

With the Olympics postponed, what are your Olympic sailing commitments at the moment?

We can’t travel, so there’s not a whole lot we can do in terms of international events to get us ready. Lisa Darmanin and I are just working on our basic skills.

It’s quite unusual to have all your equipment in one place as well – you usually have it spread between Japan, Europe or Australia – so we’re taking the opportunity to do a bit of a stocktake. We’re focusing on boat speed and performance rather than sailing skills.

How much have you been able to train out on the water?

We’ve been training for a full month now. We were told by Federation not to sail for two weeks but we’ve been cleared to go back into full-time sailing, obviously following the social-distance rule. We have to be careful – when we go out, we don’t do the debriefs or warm-ups, we just get stuck into it. We just get down there, pull the sails up and go. That’s actually been quite good.

We see this whole situation as an opportunity for us, not a threat. It’s an extra year to prepare and we love what we do for a job.

What is your best advice to the sailors out there on how to improve their sailing?

One of the best things to do is to try lots of different types of sailing. I sailed on dinghies for youth sailing, then I did match racing and teams racing throughout high school – I’ve never spent too long in one class. I would learn what I could to get to the top and then move on quickly. I always felt like I was learning and growing.

Keep moving up as much as you can, just keep challenging yourself. It’s all about improving your sailing skills.

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