Jason Waterhouse Interview: Youth performer to Olympic level, Non Stop

Images: Paula Kopylowicz /Lisa Darmanin, David Lee / Jasper van Staveren / Jason Waterhouse / ACEA
Jason Waterhouse has a great sailing record already with Lisa Darmanin since they were kids. They went through the Hobie 16, F16 to currently race the Olympic Nacra 17 Class, where they finished 3rd at past Worlds in Santander.

I wrote in the past that Jason was going to be the 2020 Olympics Gold Medalist,  but with Lisa they are accelerating time frames and already targeting  Rio 2016.

Jason also started racing single handed in the A-Class this year, with a rather shocking debut at Bordeaux 2014 Europeans.

Australia has their cat legends still sailing, and along them the new generation is learning fast, securing the Aussie tradition of top Multihull performers.

Beyond Rio and Tokyo with Lisa, Jason is aiming to dethrone the mighty Ashby in the A Class.
Grabbing an Olympic Gold Medal & succeeding Glenn in the A-Class it can be the hardest task you can imagine in our sport, but if someone can dream of achieving it, Jason is definitely your nr 1 option.
Jason Waterhouse Interview - by MV/ Catsailingnews.com

- You've been sailing Mixed way before it became mandatory in the Nacra
17. How long you two have been sailing & racing together with Lisa?

Jason Waterhouse : Lisa and I teamed up in 2007 after we decided to campaign for the ISAF Youth Worlds in Denmark we would had both been around 16 at the time, not many people know this but we are also cousins so was an easy way to find a new crew who i had a good relationship with.

- You started sailing a Hobie Dragoon? I've seen you have a title there too, how many titles you have as Youth?

JW - I actually started my catamaran sailing on the Hobie 16 but was invited to come sail the Dragoon at the World Championships in Vigo in 2006 with fellow Australian Chase Lurati where we came away with the win which to be honest was a surprise as it was the first time i had seen the boat and there were lots of great international squads from France and GBR. I have 4 Youth World Championships titles in the Dragoon, Hobie 16 and ISAF Youth Worlds Brazil 2009.

- Hobie 16 is known for their mixed teams,  and it is surely one of the best learning platforms on the skills needed  to sail in high winds. How sailing the H16 have helped you reaching the  level you now have.
JW -
 My parents are die hard Hobie sailors and Dad used to put me on the 16 trampoline for racing since i was 4, the Hobie 16 fleet is really intense here in AUS and thats where i developed my boat handling and fleet racing skills. I think its a good way to get kids into the multihull scene as it also has a very social aspect.

- After the H16 you tried the Formula 16 and became Europeans Champs in 2010. How was the experience on migrating to the F16 racing?

JW - Lisa and I were really fortunate that Darren and Carolijn offered us a free Viper to use at the Euros in Lake Como, it was our first high performance catamaran racing and we really enjoyed it and we went there to learn as much as we could and ended up taking the win which was a surprise but that was a great testament to what Hobie racing teaches you. The racing wasn’t so different but Lisa’s role on the boat became much busier.

- Following your H16/F16/F18 experience you reach with Lisa the new Olympic Nacra 17 Class.
Thoughts on the new Olympic boat compared with what you have sail before?

JW - I love the Nacra for a few reasons i really enjoy the one design racing as it keeps the racing super tight around the
whole course, the boat is really challenging in the breeze with the C foils which keeps you on your toes and the two trapezing downwind really throws a spanner in the works which keeps testing the skippers skills also.

- Finally the girls have shown they were not handicap crewing in the N17. Lisa had crew in the F16 with Spi before, which are the loads in the N17 for her?

JW - I have always asked a lot out of Lisa the last 7 years she is a true athlete and devotes her whole life to improving herself on and off the water. The loads are really heavy on the Nacra and throw in having to pull the loaded daggerboards up and down and compete against 85kg male crews, the female crews have plenty to deal with. I’m really impressed not only with Lisa but all the female crews performances in the Nacra fleet they are all exceptional athletes.

- How about sailing the N17 in the breeze, any hard pitch yet?

JW - In heavy breeze the fleet is still racing at such a high intensity you cannot go conservative if you want to win races particularly when you have guys like Iker Martinez who always goes the win or swim option. The funny thing about this boat is you can capsize any direction with these boards and believe me we have ticked all the boxes.

- Which is the feeling of having a legend like Bundock now sailing with Curtis as your teammates for the Olympic Campaign?  Are you training with them and Landy or you have a different coach ?
JW - Bundy really inspired me as a youth multihull sailor its really cool to be competing along side him for our country he is a good mate and i really respect him. We train together as we are both in the Australian Sailing Team and work with Andrew Landenberger who is also an excellent sailor and friend. We all bounce ideas off each other and I’m just trying to be a sponge and gain as much knowledge out of both of them. Training time is limited with Bundy as he is now full time Dad while Carolijn is competing in the Volvo but we have a good schedule which gives us team training and individual sessions which works for all of us.

- You had a low start in the Class but you peak at Santander fighting with Santi for the Silver.
How was the event for you , you also had a low start.

JW - This year was really difficult coming off a good World Championships last year with a 6th we had high expectations and weren’t happy with the first half of the year. A lot of things changed early in the year we had to implement Landy as our new coach, Bundy came back into the competition which was tough, i felt as though we hadn’t done the right amount of work on our settings during the Summer it was a bit of a mess to be honest. It wasn’t till the Europeans where we bought a new boat and got our groove back is when we started making gains and turned the tide so to speak.

- As a crew with Lisa which is your strongest wind range in the N17?

JW - Earlier in the year i would have said strong breeze but now we are comfortable in particular any breeze we can two trapeze in or very light conditions, our current weakness is in the moderate range but we are working hard on that this summer.

- Now that Australia have their spot secured, the Australian crews will have an even toughest challenge that will be defining who goes to Rio. Is that qualifier been defined yet?

JW - Too be totally honest i’m trying not to look to far ahead i don’t think there is one independent qualifying event more an overview of the top events of the final Olympic season but i really just want to focus on my racing and how to make myself a better sailor and see where it goes.

- That qualy will become a pure match race fight between you guys and Bundy?

JW - There our other good Australian Nacra teams however Bundy and I are the only Nacra teams on the Australian Sailing Team so i would say one of us is probably going to Rio.

We both have the same goal in mind which is a gold medal for Australia whether it be him or myself thats our job so we are working together to improve each other and whoever is selected will have the responsibility to achieve our goal.

- With all your double handed racing background you went to Bordeaux A-Class Euros for a first big event in the As, where you finished 2nd only behind Ashby. 
What was that experience and adapting to race solo?
JW -  It was great and the transition to solo racing wasn’t too hard I think I just came into the Class at the right time with foiling still in the early stages of development and only Glenn having it somewhat mastered.
I’m a very natural sailor and rely a lot on feel to perform and the A gives a lot of feed back which I enjoy.

How about the foiling? I saw in the water foiling flat stable with the Exploder, still the best foiling I've seen yet live.

JW - I loved foiling i really enjoy challenges and this was one of them such an amazing new dynamic added to our sport can’t wait for my Exploder to arrive in AUS soon.

- In how much wind you foil at Bordeaux?

JW - Really hard to say was foiling at around 7-8 knots but to make good gains i think the Exploder foils needed around 9-10.

- New foils setups are a little bit draggy, at Bordeaux we had 5knot racing , but you managed as others to maintain a top 5 result at any time. Which are your thoughts on the class development? 
This current all weather solution might be refined or you think a more open setups are needed?
JW - Again tricky question we had some really interesting races in the light breeze against sailors with straight foils who were miles in front at some stages but with the foils all it takes is 1 puff and the game changes.

I like the rule the way it is that's just a personal feeling, with the foils not having self regulated height control it really makes it physical and technically challenging which i love. I think if you open the rule up even more the divide between the non-foiling and foiling boats will widen further. The problem the A class fleet has is with foils developing so radically it is both exciting and harmful as youths are now hesitant to enter the class but hopefully the designers will find the golden goose of foils within the rule and youths can be confident there not making a bad investment when entering the class. That's my thoughts anyway.

- Speaking of foil setup, does the N17 racing might benefit from adding winglets for 2020? Or we need to remain somehow a wild ride where achieving handling control pays in final speed?

JW - I reckon keep the winglets off otherwise wheres the fun or go full foiling like the Nacra F20 that would make things interesting.

- Rio - Sailing/ Racing Plans & Schedule for you preparation with Lisa to grab the Australian representative?

JW - Till Rio Lisa and I are training full time we have some goals we need to achieve over the next few months mainly technical ideas then will head back to Europe for Palma and stay all the way till the Worlds in Aarhus next July. There isn’t much time till the next Worlds in Miami just 6 months later so still up in the air whether we come home or not either way looking like a busy next 18 months.

- More AClass racing in Schedule for you?

JW - A-For sure I have an Exploder on its way to Australia so I can start training for the next World Championships in Italy in September next year I think its time someone gave Ashby a real run for his money and I want that to be me. The problem I have is finding time to train whilst competing for an Olympic spot….tough life :)

- Some issues racing the 45s at the Youth Americas cup, tell us about sailing the 45 at SF
JW - The RBYAC was an amazing experience we were so lucky to have Red Bull sponsor the event and also have Objective as our fantastic team sponsor. Obviously disappointed with the result really felt as thought we were the team to beat there and to have it all taken away with rig malfunctions was a real blow. Still was so much fun and dying to get back on the 45 and race the cup teams one day.

- A new 45 foiling series will be a show to watch without a doubt, any plans to sail again in the AC Youth if organized this time?

JW - Yer foiling 45’s will be a spectacle that's for sure, to be honest I’m hoping to be racing in the World Series one day and feel as though I’m out of my Youth days even though I’m only 22. In saying that i wouldn’t give up the chance to get back on the 45 either way

- Have you been contacted by any AC team yet? Are you looking forward to be a part of it in the future?

JW - I have heard of some opportunities to get in the Americas Cup but I feel I have a lot more to give to my Olympic sailing not just for Rio but looking further to 2020.
The AC is something I would love to be involved in whether that be in this cycle or the future all I can do is keep making myself a better sailor and opportunities will arise.

- Formula 16 or new Nacra 15 for Youth ISAF Multi?

JW - The Nacra 15 looks like an awesome boat however i think the youth generation would benefit more from racing in an established, good size fleet like the formula 16 that has a good circuit already in place.
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