Sailing with sharks
Today was the last day of training of an awesome training block in Port Stephens, Australia. Port Stephens is one of the nicest places I have ever trained at. The natural scenery is stunning and there is tons of wildlife living in these waters, which was very cool to see. We saw lots of dolphins and even a couple of hammerhead sharks! I’m not going to lie; I’m not super excited about the whole concept of sailing with sharks, but I guess that’s just a part of sailing in Australia. Nonetheless, whenever I did capsize and fall in, I was in quite a hurry to right the boat and get out of the water! (My Australian coach found this quite amusing)
Anyways, this was a really great training block because I made some really meaningful breakthroughs with my upwind sailing in offshore conditions. Sailing in unsheltered waters is probably the most difficult condition to sail in due to all of the apparent wind speed and direction changes caused by being the boat being pushed around by big ocean swell. I’ve always really struggled in these conditions, in part due to the fact that most of my sailing experience is in fairly protected places like Vancouver. It seems that I was able to put together a lot of the things that I learned from my last period of training in Sydney. Right from day one, I was sailing way better than I ever had and things continued to improve from there. Another huge positive from this training camp was that my coach, Brett was able to help me identify what needs to improve about my downwind sailing. A lot of my biggest losses at the Miami world cup regatta were a result of poor downwind speed, so I feel a lot better now that we know exactly what needs to be done and have a plan of how we are going to do it.
Over the last few days, Brett has been racing in the Australian Masters (35 years and older) National championships. One of the really cool things about working with Brett is that he is not only an incredibly good coach, but he is also an incredibly good laser sailor. It’s pretty cool that he can hop back into a Laser at any time and be this dominant against some of the most experienced masters sailors in the country: there is still one more day of racing left, but he is going into the final day having won all 8 of the races so far.
Tomorrow, we are packing up and driving back down to Sydney where we will have a day off before we fly to Auckland to compete in the Sail Auckland regatta. I’m looking forward to testing out some of the things that we have been working on in a low pressure, but very competitive regatta.
Thanks for reading!