Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sailing in Chile- the Grez Family Excels!

J/105s sailing Chile (Santiago, Chile)- The Chilean Grez family are at it again.  Avid supporters of sailing in Chile, whether sailing on J/105s in Algarrobo, J/70s on Lago Panguipulli or J/105s in Chiloe (south of Puerto Mont), they always participate as a family and provide enormous support to their kids.  The latest generation of the Grez family has grown up in Optis, dinghies, J/24s, J/70s, J/105s and now 49ers.  More importantly, as the 49er reps for Chile in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, just a short hop over the Andes Mountain range from their native sailing waters.  Here’s a nice tribute to the Grez kids and their development from Scuttlebutt News:

Road to Rio: Parallel Paths
Run a Google search of parallel and it gives you the noun, a person or thing that is similar or analogous to another. This description could not be more accurate for two Chilean sailing teams who draw distinct similarities in their game of life.

Let us introduce you to brothers Benjamin and Cristóbal Grez as well as sisters Arantza and Begoña Gumucio who have followed the same pathway to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

At the turn of 2016, the start of the Olympic year, the Sailing World Cup Miami was an opportunity for sailors from North and South America to qualify for the upcoming summer spectacular.

Taking that chance and seizing it in the 49er were brothers Benjamin and Cristóbal and their female counterparts in the 49erFX, sisters Arantza and Begoña. They are two teams from Santiago, Chile, both in a high performance skiff  and made up of family members. It would seem that they were in-sync with each other, and you would be correct.

The sets of siblings are from Santiago, Chile and the double acts set off on their Olympic and sailing journey at the Club de Yates in Algarrobo, to the west of their home town at the same time. They were almost destined to follow the same route.

Reflecting on the relationship with the Gumucio sisters and the times they've shared in sailing, Cristóbal said, "They used to sail Optimists with us. They are around the same age as us. A long life together. We used to share accommodation with them and spend a lot of time with them."

Growing up together, following the same path in sailing and being on the road from regatta to regatta around the world has its benefits. Arantza recognises having the familiarity, not just within her boat, but in and around the boat park, "We are usually a really small team so having someone from your country that speaks your language makes it fun and easy."

Sailing alongside family members is not uncommon in recreational sailing and the same can be said in the Olympic fleets. Siblings will regularly be seen sailing together and the same question is constantly asked by peers, media and officials, are there any arguments?

NOTE- their mother Benita Grez is an excellent photographer, expect some gorgeous photos from Rio!