Coaching, cycling and sailing

My legs are still feeling a little bit angry after cycling home from Holland at the end of last week. Just over 200 miles into strong headwinds in an evening, a day and a morning were quite a test for my untrained cycling body. The main challenge was trying to keep up with the fast pace set by SB20 skipper and cycling fiend Rob Gullan as well as making small errors in navigation every 20 minutes or so. Luckily the roads along to northern Dutch and Belgium coast are incredibly cycle friendly with almost all our time spent on smooth flat cycle lanes or on short ferries between islands. The biggest dramas of the trip included Rob cycling over a bird and me having to end it’s suffering with my shoe as well as a bit of a rainy first day.

Before the big ride we had a good week at the SB20 Europeans in Medemblik. Whilst the 43 boat fleet was a bit down on numbers from the 90 we had in Weymouth the last time I did the event four or five years ago there was a good mix of strong UK teams and boats from Russia, Italy, France and Holland making the top end of the fleet pretty sharp. We were happy enough to finish 8th overall but with a bit more practice in the boat things could have been even better. Whatever the result it was a good chance to get stuck into some serious one design racing, experience that will certainly help in the early stages of the Figaro next year.

Apart from what is becoming the usual grind of sponsorship hunting and planning next season I have got some interesting coaching coming up. After supporting two teams at the student match racing worlds last month I am coaching some new Figaro sailors next week in Cowes before going back to my roots with the 420 class at the end of the month. As well as keeping the metaphorical wolf from the door I find it really motivating to do some coaching from time to time. Half of what I think about when I’m racing has come directly from good coaches I’ve had in the past and it would be cool if I could help inspire the next generation of sailors to consider taking a step off the well trodden RYA path and maybe into solo sailing…

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