The last two weeks I’ve been training in Clearwater, Florida. It’s been great to get back to sailing in nice, warm, breezy conditions after some time off, spent at home in Toronto.
I drove down south two weeks ago with teammate Evert McLaughlin. We had intentions of spending a week training in Charleston, South Carolina along the way, but that was cut down to only two days, since we had a few trailer break downs on our journey. Anyway, it was still nice to check out a new place a get some sailing in before our training block in Florida. We trained with Quique Arathoon (El Savador) and Stefano Paschiera (Peru), they were also nice enough to host us at the house where they live practically right on the College of Charleston campus.
When we got to Clearwater it was business as usual, back to 3-4 hour on-water sessions with our Canadian Team Coach Steve Mitchell. With just four of us in our training group we spent most of the first week working on speed in the heavy winds that were on offer. It’s nice to now have a smaller group on the team. This allows us to make the training a little more focused and personalized. Although we did finished the week with some races where the Canadian Laser Squad also took part. In the first three races I made a few errors that had me trying to catch up for the most part. But after that, the breeze picked up and I was able to win the remaining three races on the day.
After a day off to rest the Norwegian Laser Team arrived and we had them join our small group for a few days. It’s great to train with people from different places, who have different sailing backgrounds. There is always lots to teach and lots to learn. We continued to work primarily on speed, and it’s great to see how each different style works well in different scenarios. On Wednesday we were lucky enough to have a 18 knot North wind which sets up perfectly for an downwind session. We are able to sail south along the coast for 30+ kilometres from Clearwater Beach to Madeira Beach then de-rig our boats and use the coach boat to tow them back up the inner coastal to Clearwater. This not only allows me to work on and refine downwind technique but also makes for a really fun high-speed session.
The next three weeks I will be continuing to train here in Clearwater, with lots of on water time and time spent working on fitness both in the gym and on my new road bike. Overall I’m feeling really good and focused, working toward my goal of qualifying for the Pan American Games next summer in Toronto. The qualifier takes place here in Clearwater at the end of February. The top Canadian finisher at the Mid-Winters East regatta gets to represent Canada next summer. Right now nothing would make me happier than being that Canadian representative in my home city. Although the ultimate goal is still of course the Olympics in 2016.