March 31, 2014 02:58
Its been a super busy start to the year with a lot of air miles collected and at times a very confused body not knowing when to sleep and when to take on some caffeine to stay awake.
Its been great to be involved in a wide variety of sailing from my moth in Weymouth in 6 degrees to sweating it out in Singapore and Oman in the extreme 40s and Miami with the Melges 20 and 32.
Things have been progressing nicely in the moth getting on the water when the weather allows with a good bunch on Brits. The weather has been a little challenging with some cold and very windy spells but we have pushed on and been out flying around the harbour with big smiles, so much fun. I even made it up to Queen Mary for the first grand prix event of the year with an impressive 38 boats turning out. The racing was good and I was pretty pleased to finish 3rd in my first time racing in an event.
The extreme 40 has been a very challenging learning curve with BAR racing. Pretty under prepared due to the lack of practise that’s down to shipping schedules and the ability to get our hands on the boat, the team has had to learn quickly. It’s been fun but not all the time, learning to race multihulls in some pretty crazy and constrained racecourses can be quite stressful. Its feels very rewarding though when you learn so quickly and can implement the new skills the next day racing.
Team Samba are back up and running in the Melges 32, we have had a few crew changes since we last sailed together winning the worlds in 2012 and the game has moved on a bit. Its going to be a nice challenge getting back on the pace in preparation for the worlds in December but its going to be fun, Miami is a pretty good spot especially out on the ocean! I’m also sailing the 20 with Samba this year, with around 40 boats at the last 2 events the racing has been great and I’m sure will only get better as the fleet continues to grow.
I’m really enjoying the variety and the amount I’m learning at the moment, its really refreshing to be on a steep learning curve again. I have just arrived in Miami ready for some more 32 sailing before heading back home to take delivery of my new moth….. A very lucky boy!
July 11, 2013 10:16
Its been quite a mix of weather this month with a trip to Marstrand with the RC44’s and then on to Garda with the 20’s.
It was my first trip to Marstrand and it didn’t take long to realise what a special place this was. We managed to arrive a few days early for a couple of days on the water training and mid summers weekend. What a fun weekend, great sailing and a fun social program.
Racing started on the Tuesday with the match racing. Very light and tricky conditions which caused some problems, we walked away with 2 wins from 6 races which isn’t great but a step forward again. The four days of fleet racing proceeded with some great sailing conditions. We had a slow start to the regatta really struggling to hold lanes but kept fighting on. On day three we won our first race this year and again on the final day with gusts of over 30 knots the crew did an amazing job to get us round the course first leaving us 5th Overall. We are making progress and getting better all the time, it was nice to be in the hunt in the final few races.
After a late flight back to the UK on Saturday night I got back to Weymouth at 4am. Up at 8 I was pretty excited to get out moth sailing for the final day of the UK National’s. After getting out to the race course I had a few problems with my ride height adjuster. I struggled to foil in the first two races, a bit the boat more my weight and the light winds! In the final race a solid 10-12 knots arrived and it was much easier to foil. Finally getting off the start line on the foils in the 70 boat fleet, I rounded 3rd and finished 4th which was a bit better for morale. Its a tough decision, I either have to loose a bit of weight or get some bigger foils to compete in the light stuff!
After a relaxing day at home it was off again, this time to Torbole with Stig for the 20s. It was a new venue for me, sailing at Torbole for the first time. Another great spot although I didn’t enjoy being on the water at 7.30 for the morning breeze.
In the first race after a 8.30 start the wind shut down as we approached the leeward gate in 2nd, race abandoned and back to shore to wait for the afternoon breeze. It was a tricky regatta with big place changes in each race, we did a reasonable job of fighting back to leave us with 2nd overall. Another good result for Stig that gives us the lead of the series going in to the final event and European Championships next month.
Time now for a few weeks at home, its gorgeous weather but no wind……..
June 19, 2013 09:32
It’s been a difficult few weeks with the passing of one of my closest friends. We had spent so much time traveling around the world together sailing but mainly having a lot of fun while growing up and then maturing. Bart was like a big brother to me, always looking out and helping me out when it was needed. An amazing guy that I will miss so much.
After a special send off for the big man I escaped to Italy for a bit of a break before heading to Elba for Act 3 of the Melges 20 circuit. Portoferraio was a beautiful spot with the winds not so beautiful, light and shifty conditions from the sea and then gusty and strong conditions from the mountains.
After a fourth in race one and then being clear of the fleet in second, round the bottom mark and rounding the next windward mark in the teens it was clear it was going to be a tough regatta.
The final day of racing was great for team Stig with two wins and a fourth to take the overall victory. It was nice to finally win a Melges 20 event after coming close a few times.
I’ve enjoyed a bit of time at home, filling my days with a bit of moth sailing and too much housework! I’m off to Sweden this weekend for the next leg of the RC44 tour with Team Ironbound. We still have lots to work on but I feel the team is getting stronger so hopefully the results will show that this time!
April 10, 2013 19:55
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.
March 14, 2013 08:05
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….