Head to Head – Alonso Vs. Alba
Two of Spain’s finest female competitors are Silvia Alba (E-67), and Nayra Alonso (E-4 Fanatic / Severne). At 25 and 26 years old respectively the duo have fought some epic battles on the water, especially at their homeland events such as Pozo and Sotavento. Close encounters are guaranteed with these two, both during heats and on the leader board. Nayra stood in 6th place overall in the waves in 2006, just above Silvia in 7th place, whilst Silvia kept the upper hand in the Freestyle rankings finishing 5th above Nayra in 8th position. Here are their takes on each other’s performances.
What are her strengths?
Silvia: ‘She’s a very tough girl psychologically, has an aggressive sailing style and is really focused when it comes to competition. Normally she’s studied everything she needs to know and do to win’
Nayra: ‘She’s a Fighter! She’s also one of the only sailors I know that doesn't use watch to compete. This means that as soon as she hits the water in a heat she does as much stuff as she can non-stop, without looking anywhere until realizing that it’s over. She’s really good in freestyle and can really handle the pressure well I think’
What are her weaknesses?
Silvia: ‘Sometimes she can get really stressed quite easily, and that makes her lose her concentration in competition, so sometimes her sensitivity is responsible for a loss of her usual power’
Nayra: ‘I think sometimes her passion and temperament can play against her, and make her lose control of some of the situations in competition’
How many times have you beaten her or lost to her?
Silvia: ‘As far as I can remember this year we only competed together in freestyle and I think I won, and in waves we didn’t meet in any heats. Anyway, I think our level its really similar and either of us can beat the other anytime both in waves and freestyle’
Nayra: ‘I can't really remember. We beat each other more or less fairly 50-50. She’s beaten me more in freestyle I’d say, and I have beaten her more in waves so far’
What do you think when you see you’ve drawn her on the ladder?
Nayra: ‘I think...pfffffffffffff...tough one again. It is normally one of those heats that until they bring the scores out you don¹t really know who is gonna have it’
Silvia: ‘I never think that I’ll have it easy, but if I sail focused and I don’t make any mistakes I can win. Normally I get very sensitive when I compete with her because we have a very good friendship and I appreciate her a lot, plus I know that whoever gets through the heat will have deserved it’
Why is she hard to beat?
Silvia: ‘Because she has a high standard and she is good at competing’
Nayra: ‘I think because we know each other a lot. With other girls, you may not know how good they can be, so you just try to do your very best. But we know each other and what the other is able to do, so we know what we HAVE to do if want to beat the other. That’s extra pressure added to the competition!’
Over time have you had a particularly lucky or unlucky tour stop against her?
Nayra: ‘Mmmmm... not an especially lucky/or unlucky place so much. I think we are normally pretty equal and that the one that wins it at that time probably made that little bit extra to gain the extra point.
Silvia: ‘I don’t think it’s a case of being lucky or unlucky, in the end is the individual work either one has put into it’
What conditions favour her more than you?
Nayra: ‘Really strong or really light winds. She’s tough and can handle sailing over powered very well, and also, in Freestyle, she can do loads of things when you’re barely planing. I on the other hand, I just HATE sailing underpowered, and if I’m not planing, I come in and go home!’
Silvia: ‘I think strong winds are better for her than lighter conditions. Personally I like both, but I think I see myself better in stronger winds’
© PWA / Brian McDowell