CHRIS RASHLEY is targeting further success this year.
The Stokes Bay sailor has been making waves ever since he first started racing International Moths in 2011.
A sensational rise to the top of the sport has seen him crowned European champion for four successive years, as well as claiming a second place at the worlds in 2014.
But the 26-year-old is maintaining perspective on how far he’s come in such a short time, and knows there is room for improvement.
Rashley believes his work with designer Kevin Ellway in building the Exocet Moth, alongside an obsessive attention to detail, has underpinned his success – and feels it will eventually result in achieving the one goal that has eluded him so far.
‘I watched the Moth Worlds in 2010 and it inspired me to have a go,’ said Rashley.
‘I really enjoyed it – I didn’t really have any expectation of success.
‘After that first European title, I think it got a lot harder because I wasn’t very good compared to my standard today.
‘Over the past four years, though, I’ve really come a long way and improved considerably.
‘Kevin has really helped ensure I’ve been racing the fastest and most reliable boat – he does a lot of work that often goes unseen.
‘I’m keen on making significant steps in the right direction in terms of boat performance.
‘The designing and testing we do feeds my creative side, while I really enjoy the engineering aspect.’
Rashley’s bid for the 2015 world title in January was only halted by a painful disc protrusion in his back, which was sustained just a week before the event in Sorrento, Australia.
He battled through the pain, though, to finish a hugely-impressive fourth.
Rashley said: ‘I went to the worlds with the objective of winning.
‘Training was really good, until I suffered a back injury, and a lot of people wrote me off.
‘At one point I’d written myself off, but I dug deep and did everything I could to race.
‘I wouldn’t have won that worlds even if I was fully fit.
‘Pete Burling, who won, was in a league of his own, and it’s taught me a lot about what can be achieved if you’re mentally prepared.’
The 2012 British national champion, who also works full-time as 49er FX coach for Olympic hopefuls Charlotte Dalton and Sophie Ainsworth, believes a change in attitude has helped him appreciate his sailing again.
‘A lot has changed in my own head,’ admitted Rashley.
‘At a training session at Stokes Bay last summer something just clicked for me.
‘I put a lot of things into perspective and I’ve just really enjoyed my sailing from that point.
‘I can now go and just enjoy being on the water. I’ve changed my outlook and that’s helped me move forward.
‘I now want to keep raising my profile, and the 2016 world title is my only on-the-water goal, the only thing I need to complete now.
‘It won’t be easy, though.’