The World Champion Splash from 2017, Aaron van Dok, switched to the Laser Radial this year. He was searching for a new challenge after the Splash and found it in the Radial. At the Open Dutch Sailing Championships, he will fight for the Dutch title, although he doesn't expect to end up on the podium. For him, this year is to get used to the boat, that's very different from the Splash.
"I didn't expect that it would be such a different. The level in this class is so much higher", tells the sailor. Van Dok was searching for a new challenge last year, he was getting to old for the Splash. "I am now 19 years old and have sailed with pleasure in the Splash for years, but it was time for something else. I didn't exactly know what I wanted. There was a whole group sailors that had grown out of the Splash. Eventually we decided to switch together."
Van Dok likes the new class, although it takes a bit of getting used to. "My season is very variable, one day I sail well, the other day I finish somewhere in the back of the field. But I was ready for that higher level. In the Splash class the races are sailed so much different. There everyone sails on the same side of the course, while at the Laser everyone sails their own course. One sailor chooses the right side, another one goes for left and someone else decides to stay in the middle. You have to make your own choices here, and any mistake you make will easily cost you many places."
Van Dok is preparing well on the Open Dutch Sailing Championships. With his training group he sails a lot in Medemblik. "We're still training with the same coaches from the Splash, sail on the same water and with the same group of sailors. We do have some new coaches that focus on the Laser sailing. I'm aiming for the top 20, that's an achievable goal for the Dutch Championships. But I didn't really set a goal, this year is to get used to the boat. Next year I want to set some strict targets and work towards them throughout the year."
The training group has sailed the United 4 in Medemblik last weekend under very light circumstances. The following weekend they have their last training in Medemblik before they start the nationals. A good preparation for the group!