This is my first update in quite some time now and plenty has been going on with my Olympic campaign. With just over a year until the Olympic Games, now, more than ever, every moment spent training, racing or developing is more important than it has been.
This year is of crucial importance in terms of gaining Olympic selection. Being able to prove myself as ‘the man to select’ for the solo Olympic spot at the major events of the year is of vital. My target at regattas is to make selection, to be successful at the Olympic Test Event this year in Rio, and then subsequently go onto have a good regatta at the World Championships in Auckland at the end of the year in November.
Now with the 2015 racing season well and truly started, getting the correct balance of training, racing and testing is really where Matt (my coach) and I have been concentrating our efforts. The Finn is an Olympic class where there is scope to develop and optimise equipment to make sure that the sailor, boat and the conditions found at different racing venues matchup well. Over a three or four year cycle these adjustments, first work towards, and then culminate at an Olympic Games venue.
Since January my sailing has mostly involved training sessions around the two major regattas that I have completed, Miami OCR in January and just recently the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma.
Matt, Ben Cornish and I headed out to Miami early to make the most of the better climate and took the opportunity to get a good hit of hours under our belts. We spent a couple of weeks speed testing before the beginning of the regatta, which went well providing some good answers on changes that we’d made. The regatta was great and we were blessed this year with good winds, which made a nice change from last years lack of wind. I was able to come away with the win, a wonderful way to finish a good three and half weeks in Miami!
February was a pretty relaxed month in terms of sailing volume and I was planning to use it as a period to give my fitness some solid work. I was a little held back by a rather lengthy winter cold that I managed to catch from somewhere. This was a little frustrating but fortunately I still managed to get a little training in, so when I started sailing again my fitness levels were still good. It’s never the best way spend time away from the boat, but at least the cold didn’t strike over a regatta.
In March it was a familiar trip back to Palma, a venue that I’ve used almost every year to train and race. It’s a good venue because its warm and only a 2 hour flight away so we’re able to train for 5 days and fly home for a break. We tend to do a week in Palma followed by a week at home through March and then round it off with the Princess Sofia regatta in the first week of April. The training was great with a good variety of cycling, weight lifting and sailing. The regatta was a bit of a stressful affair with some very tricky racing with unstable breezes. It was particularly difficult due to the size of the fleet, we were racing in one group with 76 Finns on the course at once. A big fleet means a wide spread course which makes getting consistently good results a very tricky due to the leverage that boats on the course extremes have. I also had a bit of a bang with a Croatian Finn who didn’t see me on Starboard, the crash resulted in me having the foredeck of my boat separating from the hull. I had to retire from the race and use a replacement boat. Pete McCoy had unfortunately injured his shoulder pretty badly and had to fly home the day before, he kindly lent me his boat. It took a little getting used to but fortunately I worked out the differences between this boat and mine and did enough to catch up the regatta leaders to take the overall by the end of the week. A great test for dealing with some difficult circumstances, and a regatta win that I’m proud of.