Never say never again

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.

Unfortunately Lily had developed a serious shoulder injury, so it was nice to be there to support her, to tape her up each day to prevent it  getting any worse and I am very proud of her. She did her best in difficult circumstances and still managed a top ten in the Worlds.

She tried to race the Qingdao World cup afterwards but the injury made this impossible. Now she can have a well earned rest in her retirement - giving her body plenty of time to heal. Indeed she is now part of the ISAF Athlete's commission where I am sure she will do an amazing job, making things better for future sailors.

For me I had a pretty good year. I won the UK Nationals which I missed last year due to the Olympics. In the end it was between John Booth and myself, so in the final race I forced John into a poor start. After that he retired from the race, knowing he had second secured.

So I end 2013 back on top of the National rankings, although I made a bit of a mess of the final two regattas. In Whitstable I missed seeing the shortened course flag and sailed an extra lap in the first race which meant I missed the second race! I won both racing on the Sunday but having pretty much been absent from the racing on the first day I had a very poor result overall.

Therefore hoping to make amends I drove down to Plymouth early for the next event, to be well rested, for what looked like a windy event. However as I arrived in Plymouth Sam Barker kindly phoned me to tell me the event was cancelled, so at least I did not unpack my boat. I just hope I can give a better performance at the UK "Qualifiers" next year.

The final domestic event was the Inlands. Again an event I had to miss the year before the games, so as to spend as much time in China as possible. This was a windy affair and I was winning one race the Saturday and one on the Sunday when gusts of over 35 knots came through and caused the race to be abandoned. I won the event with a race to spare, so decided not to race in the re-sail, naughty Jon was more keen for an early shower, some hot food and a leisurely pack up!

So now I have a little break from sailing myself, although due to my coaching, I rarely have a day off the water...