Well I now have my little routine well sorted. I attend the UKLA Radial Qualifier and head to Europe the next day. First it was Stokes Bay before going to Malcesine, now I have just done Hayling island before going to Hyeres. Then next month it is Pwllheli before going to Medemblik.

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.


Well I won the Hayling Island Qualifier and actually this is the first Qualifier I have won since I started working for the Chinese. John Booth who was second at the Le Havre Europa Cup also took second at the Qualifier.  It is funny how when "you have a lot on" that things never seem to go smoothly! I was hoping for a quick get-away and stripped all the ropes and blocks off my boat ready to take to France in record time but a nail which decided to jump into my front tyre had other ideas. Many thanks to fellow Radial sailor Ben Elvin who helped me do a speedy change...

So with just a week to go before the regatta started I tried to get to Hyeres as quickly as possible: I flew to Nice (as the next flight to Toulon airport (which is actually in Hyeres, 5 minutes walk from the boat park) was on Wednesday). However when we got to Nice there was some fog so they would not land, so we went to Marseille and after sitting on the plane for a couple of hours they refuelled and we went back to Nice... just a 29 minute flight, however half way there the captain did say maybe the fog had come back.  Well I did get a good view of Hyeres, as we flew over it twice!

After all that there was no need to rush as when I finally got to Hyeres Lijia Xu was taken the next day to go and watch the racing at the America's cup. So I had a pretty quiet time in France... In the end we only managed to go on the water once before the regatta started. I just have to admire how professional she is, having not been in a Radial since Weymouth...

Ultimately we felt unprepared for a regatta. It is always hard to jump straight into racing if you have not done any training but I can only imagine what it must feel like to have your first experience of hiking at a World Cup event at the end of April when the last time you hiked was at the Olympics, at the beginning of August. After such a long break it must have been a huge shock to the system!

It is clearly important to see the big picture and therefore we always want to get the best quality training, to keep us moving forward in the right direction. The results are not important at the moment but what we achieve for the long term is. Therefore after a windy and wavy day's racing it seemed sensible to have a rest day. So as to sail to the best of our ability the next time we were on the water, as opposed to going on the water and simply "sailing round the buoys" to get a better overall result in the regatta.

Of course the first year of any Olympic cycle is the least important so it is nice to have somewhat of a "normal life". My next stop is Wednesday evening race at Castle Cove Sailing Club in Weymouth, with good food, good beer and a good chat afterwards!