Jo Aleh is getting used to the fact Polly Powrie won't be alongside her for the next Olympic campaign and admits it will be strange when she next jumps in a 470 dinghy and her long-time partner is missing.
Powrie last week announced her retirement from Olympic sailing, ending a successful eight-year partnership with Aleh in the women's 470. The pair won world and Olympic titles and in 2013 were named ISAF Female World Sailors of the Year.
"I had a great eight years with Polly," Aleh said. "I know her so well, so it's a big sad it's over but I support whatever she wants to do."
Aleh intends campaigning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will need to find a new partner but there's no rush, with the 30-year-old jumping into big boats as she takes a year out from the 470 dinghy.
Last month she competed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, having been a crew member on board the recently-refitted supermaxi CQS, which finished seventh.
"It was a pretty easy race, probably the easiest race ever," said Aleh, who was a trimmer on CQS. "I was hoping for a little bit of drama for some experience."
Aleh is all about experience right now and has her eye on trying to earn a spot on a boat for the Volvo Ocean Race, but this is proving difficult with only two entries so far confirmed for the race that starts in September - Dutch outfit Team AkzoNobel and China's Dongfeng Race Team.
Later this month she will act as tactician on board TP52 V5 for the Bay of Islands Sailing Week and she's looking forward to getting on a smaller boat.
"It was definitely a good experience on the 100-footer [CQS for the Sydney to Hobart] but I'm keen to go down to a 50 or 60-footer and get involved in a bit more of the action.
"On a big boat, you have one little job so it takes a bit of getting used to. On a smaller boat it's a lot more hands on, a lot more tactical. It made me appreciate what I have been doing for the last 12 years with Olympic sailing because it's all down to you. Everything is pretty special.
"I'm trying to get that hunger back and [the Sydney to Hobart] made me think about what I want to do. If you're on a big boat, I want to be adding something and the bigger the boat the less you can add."
Nathan Handley, who coached Aleh and Powrie throughout their partnership and who will this year work with Olympic 49erFX silver medallists Molly Meech and Alex Maloney, said they will work on finding the right partner to work with Aleh.
"While we don't have a lot of depth in 470 sailing at the moment, particularly in the women's 470, there are plenty of good sailors in New Zealand so it's just a matter of identifying who we think might have the goods and who Jo could possibly work with for the Tokyo campaign," Handley said.