Over the past season I’ve worked really hard to improve in the Laser and have felt ready to finally reach that top level that I’ve been seeking for a long time. I was happy to make Gold fleet but 49th and the World Championships really wasn’t the result I was looking for. I then followed up a few weeks later at the Europeans with a similar result. I had really wanted to show my big improvements with great results at those event, so I was a bit disappointed with the outcome. I took a few weeks off to step back and re-evaluate my plans to attain my goal of becoming one of the worlds elite Olympic sailors.
During that time off I spoke with Kyle Martin and Riley Finch who are on the Canadian Team in the Finn class. They were both enthusiastic about the idea of getting me into a Finn. I spoke with a few more Canadian Team Coaches along with hours on the phone with my coach Vaughn Harrison. And then the next day I was driving to Toronto to pick up a Finn to use for the upcoming Finn North American Championship in Kingston. My plan was to just give it a try for the regatta, if I liked it, maybe switch to sailing Finn full time, if I didn’t like it, back to laser as usual.
The next few days were a steep learning curve. Finn is a much more technical boat than the Laser, so I spent a lot of time learning about tuning the rig and how to use all the sail controls properly, as well as just learning to sail the boat. I trained with the Kyle and Riley for three days leading up to the event, those days proved to be very crucial.
When the regatta started I knew I had to play to the strengths I have from all my days in the laser. I was focused on good strategy on the up-winds, along with proper surfing of the waves on the down-winds. I knew I would struggle against the more experienced Finn sailors in upwind speed and the unlimited pumping for the down-winds. The conditions for the most part ended up complimenting my strengths and I managed to come out with the win in the regatta.
Since then I have done a lot of thinking and considered all possible options, I have had hours of the same conversation with all the people who share my best interest. In the end all conversations lead to the same conclusion, Finn Class it is! The transition from Laser to Finn has been done by many and a large amount of the techniques and fitness elements in the Laser translate very well into Finn. Just thinking about the switch has given me a lot of new motivation I was having trouble finding in the Laser. I’m really excited about what is to come, and it’s a refreshing look on the goal to qualify and compete for Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
So now, for me the next major event is the Miami World Cup at the end of January, which will also serve as the last opportunity for Canada to qualify for a berth in the 2016 Olympics, and I plan to be the sailor get that spot for our country. In the time leading up to that event I have a ton of preparations to make and obstacles to overcome. Apart from just learning to sail the boat better, I have to gain another 15 pounds of muscle and raise enough money to do a proper campaign. Being competitive in the Finn requires a much bigger budget than I ever needed in the laser. Either way I am excited to take on the whole process which will lead me to the Olympic games.