Over the past few months we have been a bit light on competition training, and focusing more on getting the finer details right. The difference between the top of the fleet and the back of the fleet is huge, but the difference between the back and solid mid fleet racing is tiny, and every little detail and technique which is executed smoothly gains you those millimetres on the teams who don’t. And when it is just millimetres which will determine whether you come out of the leeward mark rafting with your nose in front or not, it all equates to tens of positions on the results board. Over the summer we have been using different training exercises to help us smooth out the corners, and make sure each of our movements on the boat result in minimal boat speed loss. This has meant many many tacks, gybes, hoists and drops. As well as the slightly less exciting task for the crew, of holding station. This allows us to find our spot on the startline, defend it and then get out the blocks with the front row when the gun goes. This all sounds simple enough, but when you are competing against the best in the world who can do all of this with their eyes closed, it then puts the emphasis on being able to repeat the drill time and time again. Getting 9 out of 10 right is not going to be good enough, if that 1 out of 10 happens to be the start of the race at the world championships!
The next big event on our calendar is the World championships in September. This year the championships is going to be held as part of the ISAF World Champs in Santander, Spain. This will prove to be a tough event, with the first of the Rio 2016 Olympic slots being allocated to the top 10 nations over all. In our build up to this event, we have the UK National championships coming up next weekend. This will help us evaluate our skills which we have been working on, and highlight which ones we still need to practice. Racing against some of the top teams in the UK will be a great change from sailing around Southampton water without a training partner while doing our boathandling drills. We can fine tune our rig settings and make sure we are happy with our boatspeed. All good things in the run up to the Worlds.
Prior to the worlds, we will be doing some training which the 49er class has organised for the smaller countries. This will be a 7 day training clinic down at Santander prior to the World’s registration days. This will again help us with ironing out our techniques, work on our boatspeed, and allow us to get familiar with the local conditions.
We have quite an exciting time of sailing coming up in the next couple of months and a big thank you to our sponsors who help us with equipment, as well as to our never ending support from our families and friends. To keep up to date on our progress, “like” our facebook page www.facebook.com/RSA49er or follow our twitter feed at @RSA49er as well as our team page on the 49er website, http://49er.org/willcoxtarboton