Following up Sailing World Cup Miami event in January, the month of February primarily focused on training at home both in the gym and on the water to prepare for the European season.
The first event overseas would be the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain at the end of March, regarded as one of the top international events of the year. This time around, I opted to go over to the venue a couple weeks early to give myself plenty of time to adjust to the environment and sailing conditions as they can be very diverse here. This proved to be highly beneficial because during the early part of the trip, we saw several days in a row of sea breezes, which we didn’t see again until the racing. Getting that insight and comfort to that condition proved to be valuable.
During my three weeks in Palma, we saw everything from 25 knot offshore winds from the Northeast, gentle sea breezes from the Southwest up to 12 knots, and some strong frontal onshore winds bringing large swell into the bay. Palma always brings a wide variety of conditions and a great venue to tune your skills. Out of the 21 days that I was on the island, I managed to get on the water for 17 days, in conjunction with gym time to continue my bodybuilding program. I was tired by the end of my trip, but my preparation before hand proved to be well worth it.
Continuing my work with coach Chris Dold, we wanted to keep building on our playbook of tactical and strategic concepts on the racecourse that will lead to consistent, top end finishes. In addition, we wanted to execute well on the starting line. A lot of the speed and boat handling work was implemented into the training before the event. Therefore, when the racing started, we wanted to focus on the challenges racing provides.
During the event, only the first day of racing brought offshore wind, starting out at 15-20 knots, dying to 10 knots. The remainder of the event was primarily sea breeze conditions, consisting of a morning postponement waiting for the wind to build, then racing beginning around 1:00 pm, and then two races in 5-12 knots of breeze. Although the sea breeze is generally a stable breeze, in the bay of Palma, it is extremely tricky as the wind bends into all parts of the bay and up into the mountains, causing the breeze to become very fickle. Often times the details in the differences of the conditions are very hard to read. This was where my couple weeks extra weeks of training here proved beneficial.
I finished the event in 12th overall out of 134 Lasers, finishing top 10 in 5 out of the 10 races, including winning race 3. I was a bit disappointed to miss the medal race by a mere 3 points, but overall pretty darn pleased with the event. Considering my struggles with performing in Palma in years past, my struggles in Miami this past January, and the focuses we worked hard to chip away at to do well here, I am pretty stoked. As the event wore on, my skills on the starting line became more consistent and my racing concepts and rules of thumb became more clear.
Results are linked here. http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall
Also enjoy some pictures attached of me during racing and training.
I am now back home and have a clear list of things to work on to prepare for the World Cup Event in Hyeres, France at the end of the month. Unfortunately upon returning home, I picked up some sort of stomach bug with a fever, likely due to the natural irregularities of sleep and exhaustion after an event causing my immune system to break down. Ironically enough, my coach came down with the same bug when he returned back home. Resting up quickly so I can get back into the gym and on the water to prepare for France.
In other news, the most recent world rankings were released last month and was pleasantly surprised to move up to 10th overall, my best ranking yet. This puts me in strong position to qualify for next year’s World Cup circuit and other opportunities going forward.
Link to World Rankings is listed here. http://www.sailing.org/LaserRankings
Thank you again for your continued support of my Olympic Campaign towards Tokyo 2020. I am happy to see progress going in the right direction and a fortunate to have you joining me along the way. Please continue to follow along on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds for daily updates as well as my website chrisbarnardsailing.com. I look forward to reporting back after Hyeres!
Posted in: Regatta Report