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Rohan VEAL (AUS)

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© Oskar KIHLBORG
Nominated in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the International Moth class, Rohan VEAL is certainly a formidable competitor. Competing on a Bladerider X8 Hydrofoiled Moth, VEAL has won every event he has competed at since December 2006. Picking up numerous titles at home in Australia, including the national Championship and two regional championships, VEAL hit Europe in June. His first regatta was the Oslo Race Week in Norway where he picked up another gold medal before heading to Italy for the European and World Championships. Sailing from Torbole on Lake Garda, he left the opposition in no doubt that he was in it to win right from the start of the Pre-Worlds. VEAL absolutely blitzed the competition, winning eight races from eight and each one with a comfortable margin of as much as ten minutes, generating enough of a points cushion for him to sit out the final day.

When he's not competing VEAL works hard to promote the International Moth class, develop new techniques and equipment and is regarded as the guru for tips and advice on Foiling around the world.

1 - Australian Moth Championship, Lake Cootharaba, AUS - Dec 206 - Jan 2007
1 - Skandia Geelong Week/Victorian Dinghy Championship, Geelong, AUS - Jan 2007
1 - NSW Moth Championship, Lake Macquarie, AUS - Apr 2007
1 - Oslo Race Week, Olso, NOR - Jun 2007
1 - Moth European Championship, Torbole, ITA - Jun 2007
1 - Pre-Worlds Regatta, Torbole, ITA - Jun 2007
1 - Moth World Championship, Torbole, ITA - Jun 2007

Name Rohan VEAL
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date of birth 17 January 1977
Profession Sales and Marketing Manager
ISAF Sailor ID AUSRV2
What inspired you to take up sailing? My father used to sail every weekend and as a child I used to go down and watch. Eventually I was old enough to sail a boat by myself, but only after I had taken the rather daunting test at the age of 9, of jumping off the pier fully clothed and swimming ashore. I actually didn't want to go sailing anymore at the time, but felt compelled to as my younger brother said he would and I didn't want to be beaten by him. After many years of competitive sailing as a teenager, I then lost interest when I turned 18, however the speed and developmental nature of the single handed Moth Class got me enthusiastic again and brought my first Moth for AU$600.
What was the first boat you sailed and how old were you? Australian National Sabot Class, I was 9 years old.
How did you buy your first boat and what was it? It was a national Sabot class for about $300 and was in need of desperate repairs. I was nine at the time and Dad stripped back the whole boat to varnish and paint it. It was called 'Wombat' after the Australian native animal that is slow, fat and heavy, just like our Sabot.
Name your first sailing club Black Rock Yacht Club, and I am still a member there today.
What was the first event you competed in and when? 1988 Australian National Sabot Championships at Mornington, Victoria
What was the first event you won and when? 2002/03 Australian National Moth Championships, held at Milang, South Australia
What are your personal highlights of your career to date? Winning the 2005 Moth World Championships at my home club, with a win in all eight races was a big moment for me. However I repeated the same feat at the 2007 Moth Worlds in Italy by winning the first eight races up to 10 minutes to claim my second World title against a 73 boat fleet. But what made this win so special was that I was able to defiantly come back after a 2nd place in the 2006 Worlds and do it all on a brand new and unproven boat design. This season has also been special in that I not only won every regatta that I entered but also managed to win all but two races/heats over the 12 month period. Major regatta wins for 2007 include the Victorian Dinghy Championships, Australian Moth Championships, Oslo Race Week, NSW State Moth Championships, European Open Championships, Pre-Worlds Regatta and the World Championships.
What are your future sailing goals? Win a third Moth World Championships in 2008, England Break 30 knots on the Bladerider hydrofoiled Moth Break the world sailing speed record.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing career and why? Andrew McDOUGALL (Melbourne, Australia) - He spent 6 years with me developing my skills and gave me everything that I needed in order to be the best in the World. The Moth class is one of the most challenging dinghies in the World to race, being only 30cms wide and 9kgs in weight. To do well in this class, means that you not only have to have precise sailing skills and technique but also the open mind set to develop your boat within the basic class parameters, and sail as fast as possible.
Who is your sailing hero? Chris NICHOLSON (Australia) - Chris has proven himself to be one of the best skiff helmsman in the world, but is versatile enough to also race around the world in the Volvo 70's.
What other sports do you enjoy? During my 5 year term at University, I took a break from sailing (as I had no money to spare or time to compete) and instead competed in national Triathlons, Swimming and Water polo competitions. I was fortunate enough to be part of the bronze and silver medal water polo team in the 1997 and 1998 Australian University Games respectively. Nowadays I ride push bikes, motor bikes and enjoy running when the weather is good.
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you? This is my second nomination and I feel extremely honoured to once again be nominated for such a prestigious award. However it still feels unusual to be acknowledged amongst the World's best sailors as I still feel like that kid sailing my Sabot at Black Rock Yacht Club.
If you were voted as the winner, what would this mean to you?

If I did win, I would be overwhelmed knowing that my simple passion for a single-handed development class and dedication to success is recognised to such a degree by ISAF, let alone being considered as the Worlds best sailor against such talented and professional sailors in 2007.

I would also hope that I can be a role model to all the weekend recreational small boat sailors as proof that you do not have to be an Olympic, America's Cup or Ocean racing sailor to achieve the highest recognition in international sailing, but to just rather have an open mind and a extremely strong desire to win.

I also think that I could not receive this award without recognising all the other weekend sailors around the world, who had dared to modify their boat in effort to go that little bit faster or sail their boats that little bit easier. Without their creative flair, lateral thinking and inspiration, I would not be here today.

Finally, if I was fortunate enough to receive the Rolex Sailor of the Year award, I hope I can use my exposure to continue to promote and encourage the unique experiences sailing has to offer.

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