To say Chris Grube has had a whirlwind six months would be something of an understatement.
And with the countdown to the Olympic Games ticking louder for him than perhaps anyone else, the Chester sailor admits the final major competition before Rio 2016 this week will be crucial.
Grube, from Mickle Trafford , was resigned to watching the Olympics from home until Elliot Willis’ unfortunate bowel cancer diagnosis in December 2015 meant Luke Patience needed a new partner in the 470 class with Grube getting the call.
Patience, who had qualified for Rio along with Willis, then had to re-qualify with Grube and the duo will have had to cram four years worth of preparation into just eight months by the time the games get underway on August 5.
This week’s Sailing World Cup regatta at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, which began on Wednesday and runs until Sunday, is the last major event before that date and Grube acknowledges the increased importance of the event for the British pair over anyone else.
“This week is another step on the journey. We might not have our best kit here but we are here to race this week and we’re here ultimately to win,” said Grube, a former Upton-by-Chester High School pupil.
“We need the racing experience because we’ve only really done three or four regattas together.
“We race well and this week is about improving the processes. With us being a new partnership so to speak, every regatta we do we improve.
“The way we see it, it’s another stepping stone to us achieving our target in Rio.”
The target that Grube speaks of is leaving South America with a medal – ideally gold.
If the pair can achieve that it will be a truly remarkable feat, and a fitting tribute to Willis as he continues his recovery.
And Grube is adamant it is not a pipedream.
“I’m feeling good at the moment,” added the 31-year-old. “We started off in December and it’s not great circumstances but the way I feel is there’s an opportunity for me to go to the Olympics and represent my country. I’m going to make the most of the opportunity.
“Our previous experience together is going to take us to what we’re trying to achieve in Rio. On our day we could win and I would be disappointed if we didn’t win a medal.”
- Tickets for the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland, to be held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from 6-12 June, are available at www.rya.org.uk/go/swcgb. The National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team is proudly supported by official partners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Follow the team’s latest news and updates at britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing.