Upon returning from Palma, I unfortunately came down with a nasty stomach bug. Coincidentally, my coach Chris Dold was struck as well, each of losing 12 pounds within a matter of days. It put a hindrance on my recovery and preparation for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, but I slowly was able to get my strength back in the gym and got my water weight back closer to racing condition.
Myself, Erik Bowers, and coach Dold arrived in Barcelona on April 18th, picked up the trailer with Lasers and a coach boat and began our trip towards Hyeres, France. Following was four days of training in the usual wide variety of conditions that Europe provides. We saw 25 knot mistral winds to light, onshore winds and always tight racing. Combining the on the water training with gym work to get the weight back on as well as briefings each day to start and end each session made for very long days. We then rested for a two days to properly mend ourselves for a long, physical regatta, which took place April 25-30 racing against the top 60 boats in the world.
I wanted to keep working on a key theme of the year and that was starting. I felt that if I could accomplish that I would put myself in strong position to have a good regatta. Fortunately, I did have a very high success rate with my starts, but did not lead to good results. Following my strong starts, I struggled to tic-tac-toe my way upwind and rounded nearly every top mark in the bottom half of the fleet. Very frustrating to say the least and really had to go back to the drawing board to discern why I was struggling. About halfway through the event, I came back to a very simple theme that was successful for me in Palma that came to light. I knew going into the event it was an important concept to keep in mind, but as the course of the regatta wore on, it became more clear to me how much I need to put this concept at the forefront of my thinking. To put it simply, it was making my primary focus on two things, the long tack and the “grain” of the fleet. As soon as this occurred, my racing consistency rose and I began to put myself in positions to make real gains.
As in the training, we had every condition across the board during the event, testing the all-around sailor. After struggling at the start of the event, I crawled back to finish the event in 27th. A disappointing result after a stronger finish in Palma. A few details and “if only’s” kept me from cracking near the top 10, but that is sailboat racing, and we will make the proper adjustments to perform better next time.
Although the finish was not what I had hoped, I earned a spot to the Sailing World Cup Final in Santander, Spain taking place June 4-11, limited only to the top 25 boats in the World. Excited for another opportunity of racing there. I will be more prepared for that event on what tactics need to be at the forefront of my thinking for racing. In other words, instead of widespread thinking about several things, cognitive thought will be more directly focused on a smaller number of things. Looking forward to it!
Thanks again for your support and glad to have you along for the ride!
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