After nearly of solid month in the yard in East Cowes working on refitting the fleet of five Figaros and getting three ready for the journey down to La Grande Motte it has been nice to get out on the water a few times in the last couple of weeks. Training with the new academy recruits was both refreshing and encouraging. Refreshing to see the excitement and enthusiasm the guys have brought to the squad and encouraging as I was able to show them a thing or two about getting a Figaro around a small course alone. Getting out for a couple of sessions on my own this week has reminded me of the pleasures of sailing alone, the freedom and the physicality of the boat.
Although it is still 2011 the focus at the moment is very much on next year’s season with the Olympic Games causing the Solitaire to be moved earlier than usual resulting in a very compressed calendar. In order to get to know the race area around the north and west coast of France, and line up with some of the top guys, myself and Sam Goodchild are planning to do most of our training over the winter in Brittany not the warmer climes of the med. Hopefully the short icy days and frost bitten fingers will be rewarded by a sense of familiarity with the rocky French coast and confidence in our boat speed in Atlantic waves and weather.
In the short term I have a training session back down in la Grande Motte for three weeks before Christmas with the rest of the time being divided between planning next year, searching for sponsorship and fitness. Partly in order to build up my endurance for solo racing and partly because I happen to like it I have rather foolishly entered a 33 mile ultra marathon around Weymouth in two weeks time. Although I have managed a couple of runs over 20 miles my training has not been what I would have liked so I think I am in for a good deal of pain come race day!