Team Introduction Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank
Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank, both from Vienna, are representing Austria during the Olympics in Rio the Janeiro. They have been sailing together on the Nacra 17 since 2013. Before this Tanja sailed Optimist en 420, only youth classes. This is the first time for her she’s sailing an Olympic class. Thomas comes from sailing on the Tornado and in the 49er with Thomas Czajka. Thomas and Tanja are both From Vienna and used to sail on lakes and rivers.
Since when have you been sailing together on de Nacra17?
The first time we sailed on the Nacra17 together was right after we came to Holland (Scheveningen) to get the boat. We drove all the way from Vienna to Scheveningen en went straight to Palma after that. We were very excited to start in our new class, but very first day in Palma it was December or January and very cold. After a few hick ups when everything was working we felt comfortable on the boat and happy we teamed up together. It was a long process together and in the 3, 4 years we had a lot to improve. Everything we were used to was different. We knew when we stepped on the boat we had a lot of work to do, but we had time.
What was your biggest challenge as a team?
The biggest challenge was to team up again. I was sailing with the same guy almost for ten years! Suddenly I had to work together with someone much younger, and with a girl. Different communication. Tanja had never sailed on a catamaran, with a genaker and was not used to double trapezing, so she had to learn a lot but it was a nice journey!
Was there a lot of competition in Austria?
In the beginning of this Olympic cycle we started at the same time as Silvia Vogel and my former tornado and 49er crew, but after the first year they didn’t really improve and were not happy with their performance. They lost themselves on the way. After that another girl sailed with Tommy but they were also not so happy on the Nacra17. There were a couple of teams trying but gave up on the way.
What is your best or most memorable result/win on your Road to Rio?
We won test event for the Santander Worlds and qualified the country during the Worlds for the Olympic Games in Rio. Most of results are a 4th place until now. Last year we were 4th at the Europeans in Barcelona , 4th at the worlds in Clearwater this year and 2nd in Palma last March, guess that for now are the most memorable results.
What about sailing in Rio?
Sailing in Rio is one of the best things! It’s very challenging. Not an easy venue like Garda, where you know when the wind is going to pick up and where you have no current. In Rio you can’t really calculate. Performing well is a really big mix of knowing the venue and your own intuition. Sailing is different every day. Outside in waves, inside in flat water and strong current. Then you have Rio City, a beautiful back ground, Jesus, the sugar loaf, it’s actually all pretty awesome. It’s funny too though, a lot of people love it or hate it. We definitely like it there and we spend a lot of time getting to know the venue the past few years. It would be a perfect venue if the water quality was better, when there was no crime and no zika viarus. When you’r just on the water it’s a very good place to be.
How and where can your fans follow you on your Road to Rio?
Pr Contact/Team Manager during the Olympics: Dominic Marsano