49er Sailing Update

A lot has happened since I last posted on my blog, after struggling with an injury for a long time I made the decision that I could no longer keep sailing Lasers. I decided to switch to the 49er a class, which had always interested. I partnered up with Mac Morrin, who had done some 49er sailing previously, and started putting in a  lot of hours. The first month was really tough, we started with two weeks of training in the FX rig, which is the smaller rig for the 49er, which the girls sail in the Olympics. The first two weeks we sailed in  Vancouver so I could get a basic idea of what 49er sailing was like, then we headed out to Halifax for a month of training with the national team, were we switched into the big rig so we could train against the other guys. In Halifax we really go beat up it was cold, wet, wind and really shifty, and I love it! Sometimes we would get hit by a gust and the next thing you knew you were in the water, you really had to look around and see the gusts coming. We did a lot of swimming that month, but we weren’t the only team practicing our swimming technique.

At the end of May we packed up and headed to Kingston were we set up shop for the summer. Before we got back into the 49er though we went down to Oyster Bay, New York for a Match race regatta. Match racing is something that I have been want to do more of, as a sort of cross training to fleet racing.


Once we got back to Kingston we sailed for a solid month training with Rob Frost who kept us inline and gave us an extra push when we needed it. At the end of July we had 49er Canadians, the following week we had some training with the Canadian National Team who had just returned from Europe, before starting Cork OCR.

Throughout the last two events we had learned a lot, but sadly Mac informed me a couple days after Cork that he was planning on going back to school. I was disappointed but I understood his decision.


I was determined to keep myself busy sailing so I focused on match racing in the fall and did a few match race regattas with Landon Gardner and Six Match Racing. I filled the roll as tactician for two regattas and skippered two events with my own team.That pretty much wraps up the season for the year I will update you shortly on what I have planed next.







Oackliff Match Racing

This past weekend I participated in another match race regatta, this time in New York.  I sailed with Landon Gardner, Matt Ryder, Mark, and Amelia Leeksma. My job on the boat was main trimmer and tactician. The boats we used for this regatta were Swedish match 40’s which look a lot like a smaller version of the old America’s cup mono hulls.

We arrived on Friday and got a few hours of practice in, most of us had never sailed together on a team before so it took some time to figure out our jobs on the boat.  On Saturday we had steady wind over 20 knots with gust in the high 20’s, the race committee decided that we would race without spinnakers due to safely and to minimize damage.10408078_10100951031368121_5217341027469789822_n

In one of our matched we had an interesting situation where we entered the starting area for our start but the other boat that entered from the other side was not our competitor which we did not realize at the time.  We did most of our pre-start with the wrong boat and then at the last minute leading into the start we were joined by a third boat which was our real match partner.  Needless to say there was a lot of confusion and yelling and we even received a penalty while trying to figure out who we were sailing against.

The biggest take away from this situation was that we need to know specifically who we are racing against, not just what match we are and from what end we are entering  in case someone enters at the wrong time so we can signal that to the umpires.  Sadly the way the rules are written you can’t get redress for someone interfering in your match unless it is intentional which would mean it would fall under rule 2, fair sailing. It was a good learning experience and just reinforced that you have to cover all your basses so if someone else makes a mistake you don’t get hurt.

The forecast for Sunday was for well over 30 knots gusting in the 40’s so the race committee pushed to finish the round robin on Saturday, which resulted in us sailing from 10 am to sundown which was at around 6 pm.

Sadly like predicted Sunday was blown out with wind gusting in the low 50’s, so after a long debrief with the umpires were we went through some of the situations from the day before, the racing was canceled.  We ended up  8th of 10 boats with a 33% record, we felt that we should have won 2 or 3 more matches which we lost because of silly mistakes that we shouldn’t have made but in the end we were there to learn. One of the big things that held us back was that most of us had never sailed a boat that big in that much wind, so it took us a while to get up to speed with everyone else. The upside was that I got to spend some time in New York which was a first for me.

This was my third weekend of match racing in the last month I have really enjoyed it and I hope to keep doing it as cross training for laser sailing. The racing is very intense and each race is usually only 12-15 minutes long.  I learnt a lot over the last month and I hope that in the future that I get together with some of the other national team members and put a steady team together.


Fall Training

I rapped up my last week of training in Kingston last Wednesday, I had been training there with my new training group, the Canadian Laser Squad, and new Coach Murray McCullough the last two months. Over the last two months we have been working mainly on Speed, we focused mainly on upwind sailing but also did some reaching and downwinds.


We had a lot of days with wind well over 20 knots, which was great, it really gave us the opportunity to work on big breeze sailing on multiple days back to back opposed to when we just get the odd really windy day.



We did a lot of work with rope tiller extensions upwind and reaching which makes it really clear how much you are forcing the tiller because you can’t jab the tiller when using a rope. We also did some sailing with our rudders tied off to practice using our body weight more to turn the boat downwind; this made it really easy to see how much your body effects the way the boat carves downwind. I also found when I sailed with my eyes closed I sailed smaller angles downwind and I forced the boat around a lot less because Iwas sailing off the feel of the boat rather than sailing by visual input.


I made some big improvements over the last two months and I am much happier with my sailing then I was before I came to Kingston.  At the moment I am in Vancouver for ten days for a bit of time off from sailing, and to do some fitness testing and a boot camp with my trainer as well as catching up with some friends. Then I am headed to Clear Water, Florida for the second half of November and December for another training block.



Back at it!


After taking some time off to take care of an injury and do some off season gym work, I am back on the water. The last few weeks I have been training in Kingston with my new training group, the Canadian Laser Squad, and new Coach Murray McCullough.  Kingston has not disappointed we have had classic Kingston sailing conditions with wind from the southwest ranging from 12-20 Knots most days.  I feel we have accomplished a lot as a group in a short period of time with really focused training. The focus of the training has been mainly on upwind technique. I have been focusing on the accuracy of my sheeting and steering through the waves.


This coming weekend we have the Fall Cork Regatta, which should be a lot of fun, the rest of the Canadian Laser team should be here and it will give me a chance to line up with the rest of the guys. After this weekend I am in Kingston training till the end of October, then I head home for a few weeks before heading to Florida mid-November.

IMG_1075 IMG_1080

Garda, Italy

1959423_10152381961395609_8514419218186129799_nGarda is a great place to sailing the wind fills in at one o’clock in the afternoon and builds to nice 12-16 knot breeze almost every day. Garda is also a great place to bike, which is what I have been doing in Europe as my cross training.

For me Garda was a training event with the focus being to improve my starts. It was great to have Royal Van coach Al Clark over to coach for the training and the regatta. Before the event we worked on lots of starting drills especial time on distance and fighting for position on the line.


The venue is actually quite similar to Squamish in many ways, it has fairly flat water and is surrounded by beautiful mountains on 3 sides. Just like in squamush it is important to get to the right hand side of the course on the inner-loop because of a persistent right shift from the land. On the outer loop it was a bit more complicated with big puffs rolling down the course, sometimes it would pay to play the shifts other times you had to dig in and get to the left shore.

Due to the bias of the course it was important to be able to start near the boat, tack and go right early.  So being able to start in congested areas was very important which was perfect, because I have been working on that exact skill which made this regatta perfect for training.

Though it was frustrating to miss gold fleet at this event it was nice to be able to race at the front of silver fleet, which let me practice my tactics of being amongst the leaders in a race.


I feel that I am starting to make progress, though slow I am happy to feel like I am making forward progress.


Post Miami

It’s been almost two weeks since Miami OCR ended I had a mediocre event finishing 51 of 90 boats. Conditions during the event were tough we only sailed 5 races in qualifying and no finals racing. We missed two days due to no wind and only got one race off another day. I struggled to get to the first windward mark in good positions throughout the event, but I am happy to say that my downwind speed has improved over the last month.  Good news is my result was good enough to qualify me for the 2014 Canadian Sailing Team, which means more support and more funding which will make my life a little easier and hopefully help me on the road to qualify for the Olympics.


Bad news is that I sprained my ankle a few days ago, so I had to head home early which means I won’t be able to Sail Mid Winters East, but I am looking forward to spending a productive month at home to make sure I get everything sorted, ankle and other wise. I am confident that I will be ready for Palma which is my next major event at the end of March. 12197706873_21822dcb63_k

Short Training Block in Miami

I had two weeks off after worlds, before heading to Miami on the 3rd of December where I trained for two weeks before heading to Germany for Christmas. The first week in Miami I did some informal training with some of the guys who were around; it was kind of a mix pot with different people going sailing each day. Most people were just getting back in the boat after taking some time off after worlds. The second week I joined in on an Ontario camp for a few days, before the National team camp started then I headed to German were I am now for Christmas till the 31st. Then it’s back to Miami for some more training and Miami OCR.Edit_DSCN1430

Day 6 in Oman

I have been in Oman for 6 days. I have been getting used to the conditions on and off the water. The temperature has been almost the same each day, around 30 degrees. The wind seems to be fairly consistent. During the day the sea breeze builds around 11 am and in the evening the wind blows the opposite direction. I have been sailing for the last four days, most of the days have consisted of me and the other Canadians doing line ups as a group to the racing area. There we join in the racing with a huge group of boats from other countries.

Right now my training focus is to peak my technical and tactical skills. I am trying to get into race mode my focus has been on things like executing my game plan and keeping my air clear on the downwinds. I have also been working on keeping my head out of the boat as much as possible, because being in pressure has been the deciding factor in most of the races. On shore I have been doing light workouts to maintain my fitness building up to the event.

Today is a day off from training. I am keeping my sailing mentality sharp and ready for the event to start! The next two days I will be back on the water for a bit more training before the event. Saturday will be either a short sail or another rest day, before the event starts Sunday.photo IMG_0147

Day Two In Oman

Today was my second day in Oman and my first day on the water. I woke up early again due to jet lag, but felt far more rested then the previous day. After a good breakfast I went sailing with the rest of the guys, we did some speed tuning till we reached the course area, then we joined in on the practice racing. The practice races were classic pre-worlds rabbit starts with some of them being over 60 boats. It was good to get out there to make sure everything was working properly and get a few hours of training in. Only seven days left till racing start on the 17th check back for more updates as I get ready.

Getting Ready for the Laser World Championships

I arrived in Muscat, Oman late yesterday evening, by the time I got to the hotel it was around three in the morning. After a few hours of sleep I woke up and had breakfast provided by the hotel, which was very good, much better than most hotel breakfasts. Then I went to pick up my boat, like most Laser World Championships the boats are provided by the regatta to make racing as fair as possible. Once I had unpacked and checked my boat for any damage I rigged up and got everything ready to go.  Now that I have my boat sorted the plan is to take it easy for the rest of the day and just recuperate from traveling. From what I have heard and seen today the wind seems to come up fairly early in the morning and builds to around 10-14 knots in the afternoon. If the wind is like this most days we should have some great racing. The first day of racing is on the 17th which means I have a few days to adjust to the time change and the hot climate. Check back for more updates as I get ready for the event.

View of the marina from my hotel room

View of the marina from my hotel room