The accident came about in May 2010 as Dapeci was sailing downwind with one day remaining in the championship, "A big shift came from the left and I capsized to the right and my head crashed in the water," said Dapeci.
"I kept sailing and on the next day I sailed one race and I went to the hospital and spent three weeks there."
Dapeci sustained serious injuries and was unable to move her limbs in tandem, "Nothing worked together. I couldn't lift my hands and I touched nothing and I felt nothing. They kept telling me you need to sleep and do something and get in shape again.
"After three weeks I was sitting at home and everybody was off sailing at World and European Championships. And I was at home and my brother was sailing and I was like oh my god, I am here."
Then Dapeci heard the news that all young aspiring sailors never want to hear, "Doctors told me I can't sail anymore. And I was like, no, this can't be happening to me."
But through guidance and encouragement Dapeci was back in her boat shortly afterwards, "My parents and some trainers told me you can do this, we believe in you.
"This gives me the power to do something to get better and to achieve your goal because I have a big goal.
And she added, "They believed in me and told me you can do this, but believe in yourself."
It goes to show that a little self belief can go a long way and Dapeci will certainly be an inspiration for all the sailors throughout the week in Zadar.
Dapeci is part of a five sailor strong Austrian team alongside 420 Boys Alexander Kohlendorfer and Adrian Schalli and 420 Girls Lara Vadlau and Tanja Frank.
Watch a full interview with Catherine Dapeci here as she talks about her accident, her recovery and her goals.
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