tanding two metres tall and weighing in at 96 kg Jake Lilley may be only 19 years old, but he is already turning heads after his first few regattas in the Finn, which included a bronze at Sail Melbourne and a gold at the Sydney International Regatta. Later this year he will embark on the European circuit will no small ambition driving him on.
Focus on Youth – Jake Lilley Having gone through the Laser Radial and Laser Standard route, he quickly grew out of these boats and realised his long ambition to join the Finn class in late 2012. He said, “I have always wanted to race Finns since I first stepped on a sailing boat. In addition, the Olympic Games has always been a massive part of my life. To now be sailing the true Olympic boat is a great privilege and there is nothing else I would rather do.” Jake hails from Brisbane. “I started school sailing in early 2008 and quickly moved on, getting into the Laser Radial. I sailed the radial for two years and finished third in the ISAF Youth World Trials and immediately moved to the Laser Standard for 18 months.” Jake says he realised his potential following his 12th place at the 2012 Kieler Woche, a pivotal regatta for him in many ways. “This was the last regatta of my 2012 European season and I really proved to myself that I could mix it up with the top sailors in the world.” “After the 2012 European season, I came to the realisation that I was far too big for the Laser Class. I talked to my mentor, London 2012 Olympian, Brendan Casey about his thoughts on moving to the Finn, as he himself had been too big in the Laser for too long, and it became clear that the Finn was going to be the class for me.” So after some fast-track training it was off to Sail Melbourne. “I had only been training for eight weeks before my first regatta, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne. I really had no expectations and was still on a very steep
FINNFARE MARCH 2013
learning curve as to how to exactly sail the boat. I knew the boat was going to be technically challenging and physically demanding to race and that is exactly what it was. In terms of my own performance I far exceeded my expectations for a first regatta. “Melbourne provided its usual random weather and we were graced with a bit of everything as far as sailing conditions were concerned. Perhaps the most exciting day was 25 knots of wind and two metre high waves. Overall I had a solid week with consistent scores. I competed in my first medal race, finishing third in the race and collecting a bronze medal. It was fantastic racing against my new training partner, world number 1 and London 2012 Olympian, Brendan Casey.” “Since then I have sailed at all the domestic regattas where I have been able to practice and vastly improve.” “I next travelled to Sydney where I consolidated with some hard training and good racing at both the Sydney International Regatta and the New South Wales Finn State Championships. I had an unbelievable start to the NSW States with a 1, 1, 2 in some fickle breeze as we raced up and down Sydney Harbour. I was very star-