Sailor Thomas Zajac ‘It’s a tough competition’

Thomas Zajac from Austria is looking forward to the competition in the Nacra 17, although he thinks it will be tough.

Who will you be sailing with?

I am sailing the Worlds with Tanja Frank. She is a young and very talented girl, who won the 420 youth Worlds 2011 in Croatia. We are sailing together since December. It’s been really good fun, we are fitting together and she is working hard to become a strong crew.

Did you always race catamarans? 

I started in the Optimist, went for three years into the 420 and then my catamaran carrier started. After 2008, when the Tornado got kicked out of the Olympics, I switched in 2010 into the nacra17, till 2012. My best results were in the Tornado. I was Youth World and Youth European Champion and Runner up Tornado World Champion. This year Tanja and me won the Europacup event in Italy.

What do you think of the competition in the Nacra17? 

I think Nacra developed really fast. There are really good sailors in this class. You see young talent, but also former Olympic medalists in other classes. It’s already a tough competition, which makes the class very interesting. My goal is to fight for a medal in Rio 2016 in this class.

Are the conditions at home different from Scheveningen? 

At home I’m usually sailing at Lake Neusiedl. It s the biggest lake in Austria, but it is pretty flat water. In late summer a lot of the water is gone, because of the heat. Then you can walk through the whole lake until Hungary. In the summer it is getting very warm, like 35°C and more. Then we get a nice south wind breeze with 10-20 knots of wind. As the lake is that shallow, the water heats up very fast so the splashing is not very refreshing, it is more like a warm whirlpool. The lake is very special, I love to sail there. In Scheveningen it is different. I sailed here last September for two days and for ten days in the end of May this year. I know Scheveningen as a very challenging spot, windy, with the big waves and tide. I hope to get the same conditions, because they were good fun.


I was born in 1985, my father brought me to the sailing sport. He competed in 1980 in Tallin at the Olympics. I started in 1992 in the Optimist and so on. 2009 Was the only year without sailing when I had a climbing accident, were I broke two spines in my back and both legs. I spent five months in hospitals and recovery clinics. I am studying law, and since 2005 I am a soldier in the Austrian army force.

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Text: Marjolein Brandt

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