Sailor Nathalie Brugger: “She has to be tamed”
According to her coach Nathalie Brugger is Switzerland’s most accomplished Olympic sailor. Her Olympic Diploma in Beijing (6th place) has been the highlight of her sailing career so far, for which she was named Swiss Woman Sailor of the Year 2008. She was ranked World number 5 in the Laser Radial in August 2010. After 7 years Laser Radial and her 14th position at the Olympics 2012, she switched to crewing on the Nacra 17.
Together with helmsman Matías Bühler she won bronze at the World Cup in Hyères and they finished 5th in Kiel. A couple of days before their first Nacra 17 Worlds, we asked Nathalie a few questions:
1. Coming from the Laser Radial class, why did you chose for the Nacra 17 and what do you think of it?
“I was looking for a bit more fun and speed. Sailing the Nacra17 was a new challenge for me and I needed a new motivation to continue sailing on the Olympic circuit. This boat gives many sensations and especially in the strong wind, she has to be tamed. At the beginning I can say honestly, this boat was quite freestyle and dangerous in the big breeze, but it is getting better with lots of training.”
2. Which skills from your earlier campaigns are useful in the multihull?
“As a crew, I would say the physical side I built during my 7 years in the Laser is a big advantage. For sure I need to modify a bit my physical preparation, but I have a good base to work from. Another skill I have is how to manage an Olympic campaign. After participating in 2 Olympic Games, I know the biggest mistakes we shouldn’t do, and also how to build a good plan to keep the motivation and the fighting spirit for the coming 4 years.”
3. What was a bigger challenge: changing to a team sport or changing to a mixed sport? And how did you manage the transition?
“I have been crewing on a 470 and helming in a 420 before the Laser, and also sailing on a big catamaran D35 with 6 other girls, so the team side was not a problem for me. For sure I needed time to get use to it again after years sailing on my own, but the hardest change is sailing on a mixed boat. Boys and girls don’t work the same at all, and to handle it will be the biggest challenge during the 4 years. My coach Sebbe Godefroid (Tornado sailor with Carolyn) knows really well the differences between men/women and he is always around to help us in this new challenge.”
4. How does your campaign look like?
“This year was a transition year for me with finishing my Master exams at Uni and starting a new Olympic project. We could not sail as much as we wanted because of my Uni and because of my skipper’s work, but from now on we should be able to sail much more. The budget is still hard to find, but we are confident about it.”
5. What do you expect from these Worlds?
“After a podium finish at the World Cup in Hyères and a top 5 at the Europa Cup in Kiel, our goal is a top 10 here in Scheveningen.”
Text: Diana Bogaards
Photo: Thom Touw