Jesse Jackson ready to set sail in Peru

| 02/08/2019
CNS Local Life
Jesse Jackson will be competing in his first race Saturday

(CNS Local Life): Sailor Jesse Jackson will be making his Pan Am Games debut in Paracas Bay, Peru, Saturday when he will be competing in the laser standard event, with races scheduled from 3-8 August, culminating in a medal round on Friday, 9 August. This competition marks his “biggest games to date” and Jackson says he is looking forward to racing.

Jackson, 20, will be competing against 22 sailors, but overall more than 165 athletes from 26 countries will race in different sailboat classes at the Games. 

After two days of sailing, Jackson will get a rest day 5 August, followed by three more days of sailing. The top 50% of the fleet will move on to the medal race, set for Friday, 9 August.

He has been participating in various international sailing competitions this year in the run-up to the Pan Am Games, starting with the World Cup Miami in early January and continuing with various Europa Cups which he fit in around his school breaks from Solent University in Southampton, UK. He has also competed in regattas with his university sailing team.

For the seven weeks leading up to the Pan Am Games, Jackson trained in Portugal at the Viana do Castelo sail base, alongside Olympians from the Seychelles. “At the sail base, we typically sail in the mornings due to a lack of wind and in the afternoons, where there’s anywhere from 15 to 25 knots, we go out sailing, which is great endurance training for the legs and hiking,” he said.

Since arriving in Peru with his coach, Raphael Harvey, he said training has been going well, with mornings spent in the gym, and then “We go out on the water in the afternoon,” he said, where “we tend to work on our own, first of all, to fine-tune our boat speed, to make sure everything is good.”

Once that is done, Jackson said his group joins the larger group which “consists of pretty much all the sailors that are at the (Games)”. The sailors then get in three or four races before they lose the light.

Being a part of “such a large group of international sailors is always great,” he said, “as I get to compare to see where I’m currently at and what I’ve improved since the last time, and what I need to work on to consistently improve so I can eventually get to the top of the fleet.”

His ultimate goal is making it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But while the Pan Am Games are an Olympic qualifier, there is only one spot available in sailing for the North American region, and nine countries are competing to qualify from that geographic group.

“Overall it does add a bit more pressure but once I stay focused and stay in tune and try to build on my sailing goals I believe that anything can happen and I could qualify for the Olympics out here,” Jackson said.

If he is unable to qualify out of the Pan Am Games, Jackson will get another shot when he competes in the World Championships later this month in Canada.

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Category: Sailing, Sports

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