Larger than life… Rafa Trujillo… going down to the Marina da Gloria waiting for the odd brazilian that should have repaired my rib and did not show up, I had today a chat with Rafa, a silver medallist in Athens, Volvo Ocean Race and AC sailor and now coach here in Rio.
He has done it all he as he won a medal in Athens, he has done tha AC with underfounded +39, and that is still a sore wound, and the round the world race. He has won the Finn Gold Cup and the Finn Master Worlds last May in Torbole. At age 40 he is also a very succesful fellow coach and he is helping out the local hero, brazilian Jorge Zarif. With his help, Zarif already won a Gold Cup too and now he is only 23 years old. As there are no more keelboats in the Games the big guys are left only with the Finn and once the body tells you.
It is over than it really means no way with the Olympics, as slimming down to Nacra sizes is a remote dream… Santi Lange at age 55 is still competitive there, but for a mighty spaniard of 120 kg and more that dream seems like really impossible. Rafa comes from beatiful Andalucia and has the remarkable record of feeling so good at sea that when all the crew gets seasick, he is happy as he can stear longer and eat a bit more as meals are not eaten up by the sickish crew… So he told me he does not know what he will do after this Games as his pupil will finish university and the Cup is like a small elite circle of anglos.
“Well I see myself a bit fucked, no chance with the AC”, he told us, “I love the Volvo, I see it as a challenge, the one design boats ok as a concept but a bit slow, though this time going so far South may they can be a plus. The leg from Hong Kong to Brazil will be a must-to-do for volvo lovers. I like the experience, the only down side is the equatorial calm, days and days without any wind, when in any other sailing you’ll be at the bar having a beer, and in the Volvo you have to keep on racing… Spain will surely have a team with Pedro Campos, and maybe a second one, so far only Holland will surely have more than one team. I prefere monohulls to cat for the AC, but the most important thing is the fight, the inch by inch war, the last Louis Vuitton was boring to watch… only the final had a bit of fight like I love”.
When he started talking about the round the world ocean race his eyes started showing that level of excitment and happyness that he had whe we beat TNZ in Malmo in one of the preregattas for the AC32nd.
He still has the fire and needs to proove himself and needs a new challenge. As Mark Turner, the new CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race lives in Alkicante, next to Valencia, devotiluca.com will be there in September to see what will be Rafa’s next huge challenge… kind of starting to like writing this blog. There is always life after the Games, next stop Alicante.