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.
For me it has always been a case of normalising things, so whether it is a club race or the Olympics you have your little routines that you can relax into, making it feel just like another day at the office. After all you cannot win a championship on the first day (unless it is a one day championship hehe) but you can lose it. So preparation and consistency of approach is key. After that it is just a case of going out and doing your best in every way, just one step at a time: a good start, a good first beat, a good windward mark rounding... just getting the processes right and fighting for every available point.
This year I managed to do only two major Championships, the Radial Europeans, followed by the Masters Europeans. So after the disappointment of the Radial Europeans where I finished fourth it was great to come back and win six out of eight races at the Masters Europeans. I have not done nearly as many regattas as I would do normally and this has really showed in my race performance. I won three consecutive races at the Europeans to lead the regatta overall but then followed this up with a black flag, forcing me to count a 17th place. Any reasonable result here would have seen me lying second overall, but it was not to be. So it was especially nice to win the Masters.
Sadly I won't be able to do the Masters Europeans next year as it is the week before the UK National championships, which I feel I must attend, especially as I missed the event this year due to its proximity to the Olympics. However I shall be doing the Radial Europeans which is combined with the Worlds in Ireland at the end of August in 2013.
I am going to take a little time off at the beginning of next year before returning to sailing: to spend more time with friends and family and to allow an old shoulder injury to recover. I feel the element missing from my sailing has been the international races. At the last two UK World Qualification events I attended I won 2 out of 4 and 3 out of 5 races respectively but I failed to find the consistency that I needed to win the events overall. So my goal is clear.
One of the things I stress when coaching is regular racing at top competitions, to keep good habits. As always I need to follow my own advice but there is only so much time in the year. Already I am inundated with coaching requests and it is hard to know what to take up. Certainly the 2016 Olympics may seem a very long way away but actually experience shows that it will be here before you know it, especially with the possibility of the Laser and Radial class having a new rig to get to grips with.