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….
February 06, 2013 22:44
It has been a busy couple of weeks traveling to some great locations for some fun sailing.
Januarys first escape from the cold was to Murcia in Spain for an Olympic training camp. We had some productive meetings planning for the next four years and deciding what we needed to do to be in the best position to deliver in Rio. I spent most of the day time out on my bike. The temperature was ideal and cycling with friends was a nice way to do some riding after quite a break post games.
The next stop was Key West. After missing my connection in Miami I was a little delayed but didn’t miss too much. I was sailing on Leenabarca, a Melges 32. The weather conditions were amazing all week with sun and breeze coupled with some great racing. We started off a little slow with some problems in race one but seriously got things together as the week progressed. After winning the last three races we came close to victory but it wasn’t to be, finishing two points short. Second was a good result as we plan to build on this for the next regatta in the British Virgin Islands next month, I cant wait.
After Key West it was the long journey East to Oman for the first event of the RC44 season. Key West, Miami, Zurich, Dubai, Oman. Quite a trip arriving not knowing what time of day it was? I was sailing on board Ironbound an American team with a mix of Kiwis. It was quite an intro to the RC44 with a crash in the first match race and then not the best of days only winning one match against Artemis.
The fleet racing started well until the third race of day one when Aqua tacked in to our stern scoop, eventually snapping the stern off! After a protest we were awarded redress of 7th after we had been 4th and 6th in first two races??? The 44 class do things a little different.
It was a busy night for the guys to try and get a new scoop section to fit the back of the boat. After Aquas didn’t fit Artemis leant us their scoop and the boys made the best of it. We had about a 5mm deeper rear end than the rest of the boat not ideal. We struggled a little in the remaining races for speed in the lighter winds before the final day was blown off after arriving at the start line to see 32 knots on the wind speed dial. We ended up 7th, which was a little disappointing but something to work of for the next one.
I have spent the day putting my Moth together in Weymouth, it would be nice to sail it this week if I can brave the cold…….
December 14, 2012 00:12
As I’m writing this I’m looking out at a beautiful but freezing Weymouth wondering if I can muster the will power to go out sailing.
I’ve just got back from Florida where I enjoyed probably the best days’ of racing I’ve done all year at the Melges 32 Gold Cup event in Fort Lauderdale. The actual event was a bit of an end-of-season ‘fun’ regatta, if there is ever such a thing, and I was sailing on a new boat, Warpath, filling in for Morgan Larson, who was off doing the Extreme 40s.
But the sailing was immense; 20 knots onshore every day, enormous waves, 25 degrees, sailing in t-shirts, it was perfect conditions and the downwinds were awesome.
After the Gold Cup event finished I went down to Miami to sail in a Melges 20 event with Barking Mad, as well as do a bit of 49er and Moth sailing.
I am loving Moth sailing at the moment. I’ve had my own Moth for about a month and I’m so excited about it. I even did my first foiling tack in Miami, which I was really buzzing about!
It’s quite weird getting to grips with how to sail the boat, compared with how you sail a Laser. I’m back at square one again and the learning curve is massive. It’s like learning to ride a bike, once you’ve sussed it you just keep wanting to do more of it. I’m quite fast downwind but not so much around the corners yet!
There are a few of the British team sailors, including Stevie Morrison, Ed Powys, Simon Hiscocks, Dylan Fletcher and Richard Mason, who have got Moths down in Weymouth now. We’re all learning together and are getting really competitive amongst ourselves. The 2013 Worlds are in Hawaii and I’ve definitely got aspirations to see if I could be competitive there.
I’ve been really busy doing loads of different types of sailing since the Olympics and that’s the main plan at the moment for next year too. As well as the Moth stuff, I’ve got some really great opportunities in big boats, including more Melges 32 sailing, racing with the RC44s and in TP52s. I’ll also still be keeping my hand in doing bits of Olympic Laser sailing.
It’s not just been about sailing though. I got a new Orange mountain bikes last month and had an awesome time in Wales, doing the trails in Afan Forest Park. It was about six degrees, pouring down with rain but such good fun.
Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me this year and I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year.
October 06, 2012 04:46
Well it’s been pretty busy couple of months. With the Olympics behind me the focus has been to get the body fixed so I can enjoy some sailing…. With more physio and a rehab routine things are starting to feel back to the normal, which is a huge relief.
I have been involved with the Oman extreme 40 teams for the act in Cardiff. My primary role was coach for both Oman boats, Air and Wave but I did manage to get onboard to do a bit of sailing before the regatta. The boats are great fun and the racing a little crazy in restricted waters. I enjoyed learning about the boats and watching them in action, it was quite a change for me to be coaching rather than sailing. The guys sailed great taking the top two spots on the podium.
The next campaign was for the Melges 32 World Championships in Newport, Rhode Island. I was calling tactics for a different team to normal, the talented Samba Pa Ti, with a mixture of US and Italian sailors. The guys were really welcoming and made me part of the team straight away.
We had a good week of practice out in the Ocean with a mixture of conditions, some easier than others before the racing got underway.
With 34 boats the fleet was real tough with a huge amount of talent on display. We didn’t get off to the best start with a bit of a disaster on day one. After a 720 at the first mark we blew up a spinnaker on the run in 20knots, posting a 20 and 8 on the score board. Not the ideal start we were after. The following days saw a change of pace with four race wins and some good results.
This left us with a five point lead going in to the final day with only one race to go. After a general recall we got away hesitantly but soon positioned ourselves in front of the boats in second and third. We went on to finish fifth in the race and take the World Title. The excitement on board was incredible as we crossed the line and the Italians burst in to song, jumping around.
It was a fantastic achievement for the team to take their first Melges 32 World Title. Special thanks needs to go to all the support and sailing crew for their resilience and effort. John Kilroy did a great job of driving the boat all week and providing the recourses to facilitate the team.
After a few days at home it was nice to get out windsurfing one day and then yesterday a quick kite surf before I leave for San Fran. I’m really looking forward to catching up with the boys and seeing the AC45s in action.