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“Lake Garda, it’s the best place in the world for a sailor” according to Tom Burton

Interview with Tom Burton, world and Olympic champion

This series continues with more interviews with top sailing champions: experiences that we are happy to share with you all, athletes, fans and lovers of the sport that gives our Residence its name.

Today our guest will be Tom Burton, the great Australian sailor and winner of the gold medal in the laser class at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics.

Hi Tom! Welcome back to Lake Garda!

You won a gold medal in Rio 2018, World Champion 2019, 12 times Sailing World Cup medalist, two time Sailing World Cup final champion, six-time Australian National Laser champion… Wow, that’s amazing!

Your most important achievement was probably the Gold medal in Rio… Would you like to remember the sensations you experienced during summer 2016? you trained on the lake, here with us.

Tom- I always like to prepare for a big event in Lake Garda. It is the best place in the world for a sailor to be super time efficient. Awesome cycling on your doorstep, gyms close by and friendly, wind coming in like clockwork and the ability to move up and down the lake to find the conditions you need, and to top it off an awesome view to relax and unwind from a hard day’s training, or when you have a few days off.

I have been coming back to Residence Centro Vela for many years, because its location offers everything you need, besides the fact you guys go out of your way to make us feel at home and accommodate our ever changing schedules, like when you leave the rooms open for us to arrive super late from a long drive.

I still remember when you knocked on the door of my apartment while I was preparing for the 2016 Olympics with room-service breakfast, because you guys remembered that it was my birthday. Small touches like this make all the difference. After so many years in laser class and the transition to 49er I also had time for moth

tom burton vela
olimpiadi tom burton
tom burton a riva del garda - residence centro vela

Let’s talk about foil. Is it just a trend, or do you think it is the future of sailing? How do you see it on Lake Garda?

Tom- Faster boats are definitely coming to the front of the sailing scene, and it doesn’t look like this will be going away anytime soon. It is definitely a different style of sailing, but boats are slowly becoming easier to control, and sailors are also getting better.

I haven’t been to Garda in a few years with Covid19 across the world, but with all the windsurfing going on there normally, I would expect to see windsurf foils, wing foils and other foiling boats on the water most of the time.

What are the sensations you feel when you literally fly on water?

Tom- Foiling is definitely a different feeling compared to sailing. The splash of water across the boat is kind of gone completely. It’s either replaced by a high pitch noise coming from the foils, or just blank silence. Enough to talk to your mate in another foiling boat 20m away in an easy conversation.

Once you are used to the speed and height of flying on top of the water, sailing in a straight line foiling is relatively easy, turning the corners and changing direction is increasingly difficult.

You are finally back on the lake… how do you feel? Did you miss it? It has been your second home for a long time, hasn’t it?

Tom – It has been a long time, almost 3 years I think, since I have been back in Lake Garda. My wife and I took a photo from one of the rooms in Centro Vela last time we were there, looking out on the lake and the view of the mountains, which we got blown up onto a canvas and have on our bedroom wall. So we always have a Garda view when we wake up in the mornings. But for sure it is not the same as being there.

What I miss most is having the ability to have good sailing/cycling and relaxation all under the same roof. It isn’t often that’s the case.

Can you tell us what you love about Riva and its Lake?

Tom- Besides time efficiency in training because all the good elements of training are so compact there in Lake Garda, sailing and watersports or swimming in freshwater are so comfortable without that ‘salty’ feeling at the end of the day, together with not having to hose your gear down after sailing!

Thanks Guys! See you soon!



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