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Olympic sailing on hold
updated about 1 month ago
This weekend (13-14 April), I’m going to be taking part in my first Moth event. I’m really looking forward to this, as I haven’t been on the water with more than a few boats before. I’m getting better in a straight line now although I still haven’t quite mastered going round the corners nor done a proper start yet so I’m preparing to be a little bit embarrassed, but its going to be fun!
It reminds me of learning to sail over again it’s a great challenge and everyday you go on the water you learn so much and get a bit better, its nice to be on such a steep learning curve for a change rather than just polishing the finer points.
Over Easter weekend I competed in the RORC Easter Challenge with Sir Keith Mills’ TP52 5°West. This was the first time I’d been Solent racing for a while. It was good fun with a great bunch of guys. Keith got better and better as the weekend progressed winning both races on the final day and taking the event.
In my mind Rio 2016 is still quite a way away. With that in mind I have chosen to take a bit of time away from the Olympic circuit to focus on other campaigns. I need to be fully motivated to really commit to whatever I’m doing and if I haven’t got the want to do it, whatever the short term incentive, then it’s not worth me wasting mine or anyone else’s time. There are so many people that help you during an Olympic campaign that if I’m not giving it 110% I’d feel guilty and I couldn’t do that to them.
That said, I really enjoyed being back in the Laser for the first time at Mussanah Race Week in Oman last month. I hadn’t been in a Laser since the Olympic medal race and wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was actually awesome being in the situation where I was ultimately in control of, and accountable for, everything that happened in that boat. I’m a bit heavier at the moment so wasn’t as quick as I can be in the lighter stuff but in the windy airs I was ok.
I was made up to finish on the podium, with a strong fleet of guys fresh from the Down Under Series. The fact the guys that finished one and two in Mussanah, finished the other way round at the ISAF World Cup Palma last week was reassuring to see.
Part of me was actually hoping I wasn’t going to enjoy Oman as it would have made my decision making a lot easier in terms of what direction I want my sailing to go. But I was actually surprised by how much I did enjoy it and found myself asking myself if I was ready to give Laser racing up, and whether I may even do a short programme up to the 2013 Laser Worlds, also in Oman in November.
I’m staying on top of my fitness as a matter of course, because if that drops off it’s really tough to start from scratch. If I’m considering doing the Worlds I’ll have to do as much Laser sailing as possible in between my other commitments. One thing I don’t want is to do anything half-heartedly and if I’m brutally honest the only Laser championship I’m really interested in winning again would be the Olympics.
It did feel a little bit strange not being out in Palma but at the same time I wasn’t missing it. It was great to see some of the other Brits putting in good performances across the classes. Alex Mills Barton did a great job in the Laser making the medal race and finishing top Brit in 9th its good to see all the work the guys put in over the winter paying off.
The next event for me is a Melges 20 regatta in Gaeta, Italy. I did my first event with team STIG at the Bacardi Sailing Week in Miami in March. As a new team we went in with no expectations but finished second out of 50 teams, so we’ve set the bar quite high! I’m doing a full season with this team, so I’m going to try to learn a little bit of Italian so I can understand when things get heated!
After that I’m back to the British Virgin Islands with the Melges 32s; the racing we did there earlier this year was some of the best I’ve ever done so I’m really looking forward to that. Then it’s over to Trapani, Italy for the next round of the RC44 Tour, which I’m doing on Ironbound for the season.
It’s going to be another exciting year with some new projects and challenges in some cool boats. Working in new teams and learning new boats is a good way of making your general sailing much better. I am sailing with some real legends and learning lots all the time.
Miami, Italian style
updated 2 months ago
Its been another busy few weeks with a mixture of sailing from a bit of mothing in Weymouth which was great fun but particularly cold, to Melges 20s in Miami and now Lasers in Oman.
I joined team Stig an Italian team for the Barcardi Cup, the final event of the Melges 20s Miami winter series. With 52 boats registered it was all lined up to be a tough event.
We had a good couple of days training but on the day before racing started we had a collision with another Italian team causing a whole in the boat. Not Ideal preparation as the boat had to be craned out most down and patched up.
After a mad scramble on race day we just made the start. The racing was tight all week with some ups and downs. On the final day we were in the running but had trouble leaving the dock. The boat had been padlocked to it as the bill for the repair had been disputed!
I prepared the boat while the problem was resolved leaving us last to leave the dock again…. We had a good last day to leave us 2nd overall a great result for our first regatta together.
After crossing the finish line I was rushed ashore and given a lift to the airport just in time to make my flight Miami to Oman. What a trip arriving 22 hours later in the early hours. After a few hours sleep it was straight in to helping the young Oman sailors on the water. It was good to see their progress from my last visit a few years ago. The following day it was time for my first day in the Laser since the medal race of the Olympics last summer. A little jet lagged and short of practice I was quite surprised to find myself leading two of the four races after a lap but dropped back a bit by the finish. Yesterday was much better with a 2, 3, 1 scorecard. I feel very rusty but its nice to be back out racing in the laser with some good quality sailors from Australia, NZ and Holland amongst others.
This morning there is no wind. First time in a while I have wanted this, it feels nice to relax a little bit and let my body catch up with itself….