Anna to the Extreme (Sailing Series)

Olympian Anna Tunnicliffe takes on the Extreme Sailing Series.

Anna Tunnicilffe extreme sailing

Anna Tunnicilffe extreme sailing

Olympian Anna Tunnicliffe will likely be back to race the Extreme 40 GAC Pindar this year. She also plans to train in the 49er FX out of Miamia, Fla., this winter.Lloyd Images

To beat the post-Olympic blues, Anna Tunnicliffe competed at the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff, U.K., as tactician on GAC Pindar. The connection was obtained through Andrew Pindar—sponsor extraordinaire, champion of women’s sailing, and former backer of the U.S. Sailing Team via the company Alphagraphics he once owned.

“He [Pindar] asked me whether I’d be keen to get into this after the Olympics,” Tunnicliffe says. “I definitely wanted to; it’s a great opportunity.”

Unfortunately, during the first day of racing on the circuit’s ultra-short “stadium sailing” courses, Tunnicliffe badly injured her knee on a winch. “We turned a corner while I was still going down the tramp,” says Tunnicliffe. “The boat stopped all of a sudden, but I didn’t. I was lucky to have my wetsuit on; it was really just a big gash—no ligament or bone damage.” With 11 stitches, Tunnicliffe was back on board soon after, finishing the regatta a respectable fourth of nine boats.

This was one of Tunnicliffe’s few experiences on two hulls, and she wants to continue to expand her horizons: “I want a break, and I want to do different sailing to become a better sailor all around.”

However, the Olympics remains Tunnicliffe’s goal. She plans to race the 49er FX skiff with match racing teammate Molly Vandemoer on the wire. But Tunnicliffe isn’t compelled to power straight into another four-year campaign: “We’ve just got to learn the boathandling.”

Tunnicliffe also remains focused on the elite fitness program CrossFit. “I have a goal to make it to the CrossFit Games next year,” she says. “I love sailing, but it’s my job. This is a good distraction.”