THE turbulent waters off the coast of Yokohama are a world away from the tranquillity of the tides of Helensburgh where Charlotte Dobson first acquired her sea legs. The family house looked over the Firth of Clyde. The vessels drifting by provided a magnetic lure.

“It was kind of inevitable we were going to end up in the water,” she says.

From small crafts to dynamic dinghies, the 33-year-old has relished life on the oceans’ waves. But it is the Pacific ripples which now consume her interest as an Olympic year prepares to sound its klaxon.

Sixth at the Rio Games in 2016, the Scot is plotting her course to be a contender at Tokyo’s jamboree. Already selected for the 49er FX event with her partner Saskia Tidey, she, and the British team, have made the coastal fishing village of Hayama a second home in a quest to immerse themselves in the environment which will shape their fates come August.

Sailing time is precious. To instinctively learn the climactic ebbs and flows is to gain a priceless inside track. Dobson has acquired a comfort level at sea and, of equal import, on dry land.

“I can probably say about three words in Japanese,” she laughs. “But it's been really good to be out there. We've basically taken over this little fishing village near the Sailing Club and quite a few of the locals have become our helpers.

“They help us with all the language and things like that and it's been really lovely getting to know them and finding out what they do in their lives and how different the culture is. It’s so much better than walking around as a tourist. You're in amongst those people.”

And hopefully gaining another source of support for the Olympics. Yet Dobson is also thankful for those who have followed her journey from near and far, especially to those who dug deep to encourage her ambitions when the coffers threatened to run dry. Two seasons ago, she and Tidey sensed their momentum had stalled. Fresh stimulus was desired.

Paul Brotherton, who coached the so-called Three Blondes in a Boat to yingling gold at the Beijing 2008 Games, was the one-man brains trust on their radar.

“He’s just phenomenal,” Dobson says.

Possessing a data processing tool they were certain would provide an edge. Importing such expertise is expensive, however. A crowdfunding drive ultimately kept the pair afloat.

“And our parents helped support us which was great,” she says. “We found a sponsor who helped us with bits. It was basically beg, borrow - we drew the line at stealing - but basically just got as much support as we could generate without having to take loads of time off the water.”

Strangers and passing acquaintances chipped in, she reveals.

“We had an army that we didn't really know or have much contact with. So it was actually a really lovely process to do.”

Spare pennies and yen remain at a premium. Following the Games, she is due to marry fellow Olympian Dylan Fletcher at their main home in Dorset. They may sail for gold within minutes of one another. The dedication required dictated that their wedding arrangements should be mapped out months in advance to avoid any distraction.

“Basically, we had two weeks to organise a wedding,” Dobson laughs. “I don't know whether we're being completely awesome or naive in thinking that we've got this. People keep telling us we're completely delusional to not think that there's going to be some disaster.”

All in the planning, she trusts. So 2020 can be smooth sailing from start to finish.