Posted on 7:29pm Wednesday 13th November 2013
Lijia Xu has now retired, and as the ISAF conference draws to a close so does another year. Despite saying that I would never work for the Chinese again I decided to go and coach Lily for her final Radial regatta: the Radial World Championships in Rizhao.
Posted on 6:25am Monday 22nd July 2013
Well I have now finished working for the Chinese Yachting Association and as I look back I see a whole host of achievements: Seeing Lijia Xu (Lily) standing on top of the podium to collect her Olympic Gold medal was the proudest day of my life, her speech as she collected ISAF World sailor of the year made me cry, and it was wonderful to end things on a high note, with Lily winning this year's Sail for Gold regatta with a day to spare. I wish her the very best for the future and I am now eagerly looking forward to new challenges for myself.
Posted on 1:45pm Wednesday 1st May 2013
The day before the Qualifier I go and see Stuart Offer of SOS Therapy, who not only releases my muscles but then proceeds to tape me back together using Rock tape. My shoulder is now feeling much better. I had a series of Cortizone injections earlier this year which helped in the short term and I will have another one before Delta Lloyd regatta as I want to avoid surgery if at all possible, as any surgery has risks and also means a long time out of action.
Posted on 9:35pm Sunday 7th April 2013
I am now back in the UK to race at the Radial Qualifier in Hayling Island to hopefully secure myself a place for the Radial World Championship. The good thing about the UKLA qualifier system is it is a first past the post system, you have to turn up, whoever you are.
Posted on 6:14pm Saturday 23rd March 2013
Well I have had a big break from full time coaching; everyone needs some down time even if it is just to reflect on what the next step is. I feel I want to be fully equipped before returning to the World Cup circuit with Olympic Gold medallist Lijia Xu.
Posted on 5:22pm Thursday 15th November 2012
Well the Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards last week now seem a very long time ago. It is always a very tough award but especially so in an Olympic year. I really do not think that there could have been two more worthy winners than Ben Ainslie and Lijia Xu.
Posted on 12:09pm Monday 29th October 2012
Well this year due to my involvement with the Olympics I was unable to attend any World Championships, however I hope to make amends by attending two in 2013: the Radial Worlds at the end of August/beginning of September in Ireland and the Radial Masters Worlds in December in Oman. As a result of this I will be taking a little bit of time off at the beginning of the season as it looks like a long 'racing' year next year. However 2012 was not devoid of Championships. I feel as a coach it is vital to race myself, to keep understanding fully the pressures that the sailors all go through.
Posted on 10:08am Wednesday 12th September 2012
Well it is over a month since the Olympic Medal race took place for the Radial class. A day which I will surely remember for the rest of my life. I have just returned from a well deserved holiday, perhaps the first of many over the next few months in what is always a quieter period after the games.
Posted on 11:24pm Saturday 4th February 2012
Lijia Xu has just returned from her second World Cup victory in Miami in the Laser Radial class (to add to her win at the first event in Melbourne) to make it two out of two in the series. Xu who is coached by Jon Emmett from Weir Wood Sailing Club had a difficult World Championship in Perth last year being caught over the line twice and also disqualified for a rule infringement on the first day when she tacked in too late at the windward mark. However she still did enough to qualify herself for a spot at this year’s Olympics in the Women’s single handed class.
Posted on 10:52pm Thursday 15th December 2011
Well I have just returned from coaching at the ISAF World Sailing Championships at Perth, Australia, and it was certainly an interesting regatta and overall a very positive one with so many learning points to take forward to 2012. From here the only way is up.
Posted on 7:24pm Tuesday 6th September 2011
Well I spent most of the UK Radial Nationals trying to get a Chinese Visa and there were some very early mornings writing letters, booking flights and other administration duties, but it was worth it when it was finally done. In fact I was more pleased when I checked my Blackberry that my Business Visa had been sorted (allowing me to come and go freely over the next twelve months) than the fact that I had won the Nationals for the fifth time!
Posted on 10:16am Tuesday 5th July 2011
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Posted on 8:18pm Saturday 11th June 2011
What better way to see how you would perform in Weymouth in the summer than racing in Weymouth during the summer! It is therefore no surprise that for many federations the performance at this year’s Sail for Gold regatta is a key part of the selection for the Olympic test event in August.
Posted on 12:02pm Sunday 5th June 2011
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Posted on 11:56am Sunday 5th June 2011
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Posted on 6:04pm Thursday 12th May 2011
I was recently asked by Leonardo Ferrante from Argentina about the length of ropes to use for his new Laser. Now rigging the boat correctly is very important which ever class you sail but things are often changing as people test new ideas, and new materials become available, to try and get the best possible set up. However the basic principles remain the same.
Posted on 1:09pm Monday 18th April 2011
Failing to plan is planning to fail. My key regatta this year is the Radial World Championships in La Rochelle from July 16th to 23rd . I have just returned from the French Europa cup also held in La Rochelle , and hence a perfect warm up.
Posted on 7:25pm Wednesday 30th March 2011
Well the season has now well and truly started even if no one remembered to tell the wind. My broken elbow no longer stops me sailing although it does make some pretty horrible noises. I guess it sounds like having a ratchet block in my arm (you can hear it clicking every time I straighten or bend my elbow). However my physio assures me it is not bone on bone or I would be in unbelievable amounts of pain! So I continue to have physio twice a week to get the bicep to relax and let go, allowing the arm to straighten fully. I have also recently had acupuncture: after all if someone stuck pins in me I would let go! The good thing about having time off is that it has given me plenty of time to do some writing which also helps me think about sailing tactics, even if I have not always got it right myself! Also looking at the big picture: My first Olympic campaign was in a Laser: it is clear now that I was way too small for this to be practical; my second was in the 49er but unfortunately I had to pull out when two of the discs in my neck prolapsed, and my third campaign was going to be in the Tornado but this lost its status as an Olympic class. Currently I am committed this year to coaching both Sail for Gold and the Pre-Olympics and I wonder what 2012 will bring!
Posted on 10:16pm Monday 7th March 2011
I have just returned from the Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace which really marks the start of the UK sailing season and is a great place to see all the latest developments. I was on the Laser performance stand supporting the UKLA in my role as Training Officer. It was great to be able to show people the new Training Handbook which along with the training DVD every Laser Class Association Member will soon receive.
Posted on 9:04pm Tuesday 1st March 2011
In order to be successful in life (not just in sailing) you need to set goals. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail. Goal setting will be a key part of my coaching when I work with Olympic medallist and former World Champion Lijia Xu and the Chinese Radial team for the Olympic test event at WPNSA in July.
Posted on 6:44pm Tuesday 1st February 2011
I have recently been working with professional rigger Gareth Griffiths (www.thenottinghillriggingco.com) on updating the Laser rope systems. Many of the current systems in common use are woefully inadequate, where use of the wrong products is likely to lead to premature wear and breakage and prove expensive. For example, in the case of Vectran (which is UV sensitive) and Kevlar (which dislikes going round corners), Dynema would be a better product.
Posted on 5:24pm Saturday 22nd January 2011
Well I had a super holiday… It was great that both Burn Park and the Clowance Estate had health centres which did massage. So I actually came back in better shape than when I went! I even finally managed to get back on my bike once, but I took it very easy, just a very short ride in the daylight when the weather was good!. The highlights of the holiday included the Eden project and looking all over Tintagal Castle for King Arthur!
Posted on 2:22pm Friday 31st December 2010
The Europa Cup series has always been a stable part of my campaign for the Worlds. As I spend a lot of my time coaching, I take the opportunity to race wherever and whenever I can. The Europa Cup series is cheap to do with a good level of competition at venues all around Europe.
Posted on 9:34am Monday 20th December 2010
Nearly four months has passed since I broke my elbow. The actual bone was appropriately named Radial head. The nurse said I did a really good job of it (breaking the thickest part of the thickest bone in the forearm) but that was not really much comfort at the time! I wonder if the slow rate of recovery is related to the fact I tried to get through the pain and doing a full day’s coaching before I realised how just how bad the injury was (after all when I first started 49er sailing I seemed to be routinely thrown against the mast at 20 miles an hour so I am used to a bit of pain!)
Posted on 9:32pm Sunday 14th November 2010
Well it is now over two months since I broke my arm falling off my bike. The main reason for my getting a bike was so that I did not have to spend so much time on a stationary bike at the gym which is exactly what I have been doing recently. Despite a painful and expensive accident I really am very keen to get back on the bike and I hope to do so in the near future.
Posted on 3:36pm Sunday 19th September 2010
After a brief chat to a First Aid first responder, and much to my embarrassment, they immediately sent for an ambulance and put me in the back and asked to me describe the pain which I said was 6/7 but 10 if you tried to move my arm! They then put me on “gas and air” or entenox like they give pregnant ladies… The effect was not really to take the pain away but more that I did not care about it so much any more. The gas also made me rather giggly and chatty… a similar affect to having ten pints but in about ten seconds.
Posted on 10:18am Saturday 21st August 2010
This week sees the start of the Youth Olympic games with the sailing being held at the National Sailing Centre Singapore. Sailing has been an Olympic sport since 1900 so it makes sense that there is sailing at the Youth Olympics. This will see the sailing contested in the single handed dinghy the Byte (a class in which I won the World Championships in 2008).
Posted on 7:36pm Sunday 25th July 2010
My preparation for the Radial Worlds in Largs was all held in light winds. In fact the last major event I did was the Dutch Europa cup where we managed to complete only three races in four days, and the wind was so light on the final day that you could not sail upwind and instead I opted to sail to the nearest beach where I got rescued by a RIB.
Posted on 10:29am Wednesday 2nd June 2010
The first day of racing things started well enough with a short delay to the start whilst the 83 Radials were sorted into four groups for the event, with each group racing a different group every day. Top competitors came from as far a field as Australia to compete so it was always going to be a tough regatta.
Posted on 1:36pm Monday 26th April 2010
I first really started sailing Lasers (Standard rig – the Radial fleet was very small and non-existent at Qualifiers at this stage) in 1993 and made it into the Youth Squad in 1994. I remember excitedly waiting for my letter from Jim Saltonstall, and it was somewhat of a surprise to get it as I spent most of the windy races upside down being relatively new to the class, but fortunately I had some top three finishes in the lighter races of Youth training.
Posted on 4:22pm Tuesday 13th April 2010
It always amazes me how few of the Brits do the Europa Cup series. The first event of the year in Hyeres had over 280 Radials taking part (plus 99 Standards and 137 4.7s), yet there were fewer than 6 UK sailors taking part. You think the Qualifiers are big, where the Radial fleet has to be split in half, well in Hyeres they had to have four Radial fleets!
Posted on 6:12pm Wednesday 24th March 2010
There are six Radial Qualifier events a year to decide who goes to the World and European Championships. These events are called Qualifiers because they qualify you to go to the international events. They also form part of the Radial ladder which is effectively the National ranking. You count your best four from the last six events (it is a rolling ladder) so it is often a good idea to do more than the minimum four events, just in case you have a bad event.
Posted on 10:27am Thursday 4th March 2010
At the end of last year I tore my hamstring which was possibly the most painful experience of my life. I had to take six weeks out of training and it took a full three months to return to complete fitness. I am still trying to shift those last few kilos of “injury weight” (which I put on whilst not being able to train aerobically effectively).
Posted on 4:42pm Sunday 1st November 2009
Well now the UK Qualifier season has ended we are into the training season. I am the training officer for the UK Laser Class Association as I feel that it is important to put something back into the class that started my professional sailing/coaching career. This means I send UKLA coaches to clubs as well has heading up the class regional training programme.
Posted on 10:20am Saturday 19th September 2009
Two years to the day (19th September) I elected to have two prolapsed discs removed from my neck (and the three vertebrae in my neck fused). This forced me to take over six months out of sailing but I felt it was my only option if I wanted to continue professional sailing.
Posted on 9:13pm Friday 28th August 2009
When I first landed in Canada (Montreal airport) I thought I was in France (everyone was speaking French and all the signs seemed to be in French!) However upon leaving the airport, I thought I was back in Japan as it was so hot and humid, especially considering it was late evening.
Posted on 6:47pm Saturday 22nd August 2009
STRAIGHT after the prize giving at the Radial Nationals (in Paignton) I headed back to Weymouth to drop off the boats and see my girlfriend, May, before driving to my parents’ house in East Grinstead (near London).
Posted on 1:41pm Tuesday 18th August 2009
Well my aim after the Europeans was to have a textbook regatta at the Nationals. However it was not to be. There were fewer than a hundred entries for Paignton, many sailors absent due to the timing (being so close to the Europeans and the Worlds), but as the defending Champion I decided I really ought to do it, and with the winds in Japan usually below 12 knots I decided practice was more important than rest (especially after making so many silly mistakes at the Europeans).