Some Key Dates for Your Interest!

Opening Ceremony: 5th August


Our first day of racing: 10th of August (11th of August about 4am NZ time!)

We then race all the way through to the 18th of August which is our scheduled medal race day, although we do have a reserve day on the 19th just in case!

It’s then off to the closing ceremony on the 21st of August and the whole team will arrive home bright and early (4.30am!) on the 24th…

And a few links to keep you up to date: World Sailing Regatta website, NZ Olympic Committee website. Rio Olympic Sailing website.

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Only a few weeks now.. Bring on the Games.

Rio downwind sunsetIt’s been an interesting last few months, with one European regatta (Hyeres World Cup) and two training blocks in Rio, a few trips home, a mix of NZ winter and Rio winter – Rio winter is much nicer we have to say..  Now it’s only a few weeks until we get to put it all into practice…

But, first, backing up a little! It has been a little while since we have done an update, so it’s time to fill you in!  First let’s go back in time to April, when we travelled to Hyeres in France, to compete in our last European event of this cycle.  We came in fresh from a good block of training in NZ, and with a solid list of ‘things to tick off’ during the event.  Which we were very happy to achieve, even if it was a less than exciting overall result, we had one bad race, as well as one race win that ended up being an OCS (over the line early), so even with winning the medal race (which you can watch HERE!), the highest we could get back to was 4th overall.

IMG_0292Then it was a week off, Jo went off to Italy to watch some Finn sailing, and Polly & Nath did a little container loading and then cycled up Mount Ventoux. Then it was back to some work in Rio, where we had a solid training block with a two-part six-day coach run regatta. It was great racing, with most of the top girls boats there, we learnt plenty, with good races and IMG_0353bad, windy days and non-windy days, it was a great block.

We were then back home to slightly more wintery NZ, for some recovery and a little sailing to keep sharp, before heading back to Rio again in June.  While many teams were off at the Weymouth World Cup event in the UK, the kiwi boys and us along with a few other non-European teams had an awesome training block, to be joined by the Weymouth people for another coach run regatta in late June.  Once again, most of the top teams were there, so it was the perfect test, and another opportunity to keep figuring out what is a very interesting and tricky venue!!

Now we are back in NZ for the last few weeks before we head away again on the 29th of July, when it is finally all on… It’s been an interesting four years, we have had some good times, and some rather hard times, but we feel we are where we need to be for this next challenge, our overall aim for these last four years is simply that when we start our first day of racing on the 10th of August, we feel that we have covered all the basics, the equipment, the techniques, the strategy, the tactics, the venue, and then it’s just up to us to make the right decisions on each day of racing, each maneuver, every start, every leg…

IMG_0478We have a few more boat handling sessions here in NZ over the next week and a half, and then we hope to feel that, yes, we are ready to take what comes, and give it our best shot.. Sail each race as best as we can, enjoy the craziness that is the Olympic Games, and let the results be what they will be…

Thanking all of you for the support we have received over the past four years, we hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as we have, and also enjoy these next four weeks also!

We have one press morning on the 26th of July, and again on the 4th of August, but apart from that we are pretty much going to Games black out mode, starting the 27th of August. So, we are sorry if you make contact and we don’t respond, and we will when it’s all over, but for now, we have a bit of a job to do, and would like to just be able to focus on that…P1130413 11:5

Thank you again!

Jo & Polly

Team Jolly


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A collaboration with the NZOC: Team Jolly: Strength as a Team.


Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are a glittering example of the strength in opposites.

Their sailing partnership – known as “Team Jolly” – prospers through their differing sets of strengths and weaknesses.

Their contrasts complement each other; together they cover a wide range of technical skills and abilities. They reckon it means they can cope with anything that’s thrown at them.

With more than seven years together in a 4.7m boat, Aleh and Powrie can truly lay claim to a strong relationship. In many ways, the reigning Olympic 470 champions say, they know each other better than they know themselves.

But even though they clicked almost instantly, they admit they’ve had to work on their connection through the years.

Working with a sports psychologist has strengthened their understanding on and off the water. Because they approach things in different ways, the key is being able to trust each other.  It’s also crucial that they are open and honest with one another.

Having clear set roles is critical to their ongoing success – including a silver medal at this year’s world championships – and both women have distinct jobs to do on and off the boat.

Here’s an example. At sea, one of them is focused on making the boat cut through the water fast as possible, while the other is dedicated to tactics, picking a course through wind, waves and rival boats. Their roles typically change when they switch from upwind to downwind.

Situations can alter in a flash on the water, but Team Jolly can call on the advantage of experience. They’ve been through so many scenarios in their collective sailing histories, they react almost instinctively to a sudden change.

Sailing as a pair means “you always have someone watching your back and supporting you,” Powrie says. In a sailing partnership, the cycle of feedback is so much quicker; they’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other, sharing critiques of their performances.

A decent amount of physical strength is needed in the 470 – a boat not renowned for its speed. Both Powrie and Aleh spend hours in the gym and on the boat building up their full and upper body strength.

They approach racing with a huge amount of physical intensity – making the most of every wind shift and swell to give themselves an edge over their competitors.

Aleh was inspired to sail after watching Sir Peter Blake and Sir Russell Coutts guide Team New Zealand to victory in the 1995 America’s Cup. She had never sailed before, but she was driven to take lessons, join a yacht club, and get a dinghy. She’s never looked back.

“I love sailing because everything’s different. It’s always a new challenge. I love being out on the water – especially in a country as beautiful as New Zealand,” she says.

“Sometimes I forget that I might be inspiring others, but I’m always in awe of the impact our success has on other people. It’s great when you bump into someone on the street and they tell you what effect we’ve had on them.”


Great to be able to share our story and our journey towards Rio in August.. 5 months to go now, all going well, training hard out there on the Hauraki Gulf, three weeks til we leave these shore.. Time to take on the world again!


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Silver at the World Champs: Phew, Quite a Week…

So, if you checked the results after the first day or two, it looked like we were in a little trouble, I think we dropped as low as 13th overall, which was not quite where we wanted to be.. But, as we do like a good challenge, we started a slow but steady crawl up the leaderboard, fighting through every day, with a few great races, and a few less than ideal moments along the way!

12719087_10154013993794301_5774158888048744110_oWe went into the final medal race in 3rd overall, and then finished it off with a 3rd place in the medal race to push us up into 2nd place overall, and take out the silver medal. Which we were rather happy with, seeing as it was the highest we had been placed all event, and in the end we were only three points off the French girls Camille & Helene in first – Who sailed a great event, and it was very cool to see them take out the title!

12029768_10154013994279301_788166863108010843_oIt had been a very long, very trying week, with distractions of all sorts, from truly amazing amounts of debris on the race-course, including water plants called Camalotes which made parts of the race track look like a golf course, to some very long hot days on the water – 8 hours on the water was our best effort. Then came the last few days where Polly got a bit of a bug and slowly deteriorated to the point where it was a huge achievement for her just to have made it down to the yacht club, let alone push hard through a World Champs medal race with a medal on the line!!  Seeing as she could hardly get out of bed, she was a true champion, one tough chick.. So proud of her!

12783549_10154014766534301_8605168428713911668_oA huge shout out to our training partners, and all around awesome guys Paul & Dan, who also secured the silver medal in the men’s 470, their best result to date, after sailing a rather impressive regatta with a truckload of race wins!  Nice one boys!!

A big thank you also to Nathan Handley, our most brilliant coach, who can somehow put up with us trying to break him by sailing like Muppets on occasion, who can keep smiling after some epically long days on the water, and is just always there for us.  We are lucky to have you in our team!

1Now it’s back home to NZ, for a few days off, getting ourselves fresh and healthy again, then back into training mode, putting in the hours on the water while it’s summer at home!

Our next adventure begins in April when we will head to Hyeres, for the French World Cup Regatta, then carry on to Rio for the first of our training camps at the Olympic venue this year.  So for now, it’s relax a little, take it all in, let it all settle, then get straight back into it! Fun times ahead!!


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