CWS Interview With Jack Cookson

CWS Interview With Jack Cookson

Guide


Here at Coast Water Sports, we are proud sponsors of laser sailor, Jack Cookson. Jack started sailing at the age of 7 when moving with his family to Portugal and his sailing journey started on no other than the Iberian Peninsula in the Optimist. Jack then learnt the basics from a Portuguese local coach at the age of 10. Since moving back to the UK from Portugal, Jack is now a proud member of the Olympic British Sailing Team, which he can now truly showcase his talent, abilities and determination to not only his British team members but his worldwide competitors.



Interview: Jack Cookson

Here at Coast Water Sports, we are proud sponsors of laser sailor, Jack Cookson. Jack started sailing at the age of 7 when moving with his family to Portugal and his sailing journey started on no other than the Iberian Peninsula in the Optimist. Jack then learnt the basics from a Portuguese local coach at the age of 10. Since moving back to the UK from Portugal, Jack is now a proud member of the Olympic British Sailing Team, which he can now truly showcase his talent, abilities and determination to not only his British team members but his worldwide competitors.

Since recently finishing university, Cookson has now only two of his three-point plan to accomplish, becoming Laser world champion and winning an Olympic medal, which here at Coast Water Sports we believe he will achieve, and then some.

Profile
Name: Jack Cookson
Date Of Birth: 20 June 1997
Home Town: Broadmayne, Dorset
Occupation: Laser Sailor

Interview Questions

I think my best event to date is probably finishing 4th at the laser under 21 world championships 2017.

Least successful was definitely the Aarhus world sailing championships in the summer of 2018. I had relatively high hopes and aspirations for the events as I was confident in my progression over the winter. I finished 68th, far from the top 30 target I set for myself. I believe that the biggest factor to me not performing was that I was in my final year of university and spent a lot of time at university where it may have been able to better spread my time between sailing and studying.

Luckily not! However I do remember one particular ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao Spain where the waves were enormous and I did feel a bit strange over dinner!

I was really proud of myself. I learnt to sail in Portugal and progressed through the ranks there, however as I wasn't Portuguese I could never get selected for the national team. Once I returned with my family to the UK and qualified for the British Sailing Team I felt like a lot of my hard work which went unrecognised over the years was finally paying off. I also knew that now being part of the team I'd be given a platform to become the best I could possibly be within the sport.

Probably the sail itself. Laser sails in general have very short optimal life spans. Especially at this level of the sport, a new sail really is a vital piece of kit at any major event. Retailing at over £500 and requiring at least 4 a year, it can get expensive pretty quick!

I have a lucky watch. I bought this watch in Portugal before I returned to the UK. It is a decathlon own brand watch with a 5 minute countdown on it and I bought it for €10 at the time. I love the watch and have used it every time I have been on the water from that day on.

Sail as much as you can and start going to the gym early in your career if you want to sail a physical boat in the future. I made this mistake and spent a good few years after joining the team trying to get as physically fit as my teammates meaning I definitely lost some valuable time there.

Fan Questions

I've always loved surfing and learnt at a very young age whilst in Portugal. Whenever I'm not sailing in Portugal I try to spend my time surfing. So in answer to the question, I'd have tried to become good at surfing.

I like both for different reasons. The quality of the training group and support provided is far superior in the UK so for that reason England is better. However, nothing quite beats sailing in 20 degrees in the middle of winter in the sunny Algarve.

I look up to those on the team with more experience than me and who are more successful. I also admire the achievements of laser sailor Tom Slingsby from Australia and his upwind technique in windy weather.

I am pretty good at getting bad starts so hopefully I can help here. The main thing I try to think about is “what is the next priority” so I think to myself “what shift am I on”, “what tack is the long tack” etc. This focuses my mind and means that I'm not locked into following a fleet I'm already behind. I am also relatively fast downwind so as long as I am in touching distance of the fleet around the top mark I'm confident that I can catch up downwind.

I'd sail a 49er I think. I used to sail the 29er when I lived in Portugal for a little bit. I really enjoyed the adrenaline of sailing downwind in 20+ knots. I do like sailing on my own but the idea of bombing around a racecourse with a mate is also quite appealing!

Top tips

  • Ask yourself what is the priority now?

  • Be fast everywhere around the racecourse, but being quick downwind will allow you to make gains more consistently over the course of a regatta.