After being a bit apprehensive about the coldness and the wetness on offer from the Breton winter a while ago, this last week has been a total gift. Out training the last five days, albeit in full thermals, mid layers, boots, dry smock etc, I’ve spent more time being too hot than too cold, by loads. This could have been due to the super high intensity of my solo boat handling effort, which has been pretty sweat inducing, but hopefully its just some sort of chemical change that’s happened inside my body which means from now on I am impervious to the elements. I haven’t even been upset about getting waves in the face while taking jib photos or clipping on sails on the bow. Clearly all the years spent reading tales of Shackleton, Aubrey and Moitessier, singing shanties and drinking rum with water have caused me to morph into some sort of hybrid sea dog creature.
After an autumn spent tearing around the west country with Team Bomby, lurking in a paint shed seeing to the now flawless Redshift and a little bit of time on the water with super coach Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey, the end of date has now changed to 15 which officially means its business time. I’m now comfortably settled between the Nazi submarine bunkers in Lorient for the real business of practising. This month is about working on the simple stuff like getting reacquainted with where all the local rocks are and boat handling before focusing on the sailing fast bit from February onwards. I really like working on boat handling because it just takes hard work and only small amounts of thought, like how to prevent each little cock-up after it occurs. With a video camera, some notes and a few days on the water it’s not rocket science getting to a stage where you can sail these boats around the course without making it look really difficult. Sailing a tiny, tiny bit faster on the other hand takes a lot more head scratching. For now the rest of my intellect is being put towards planning ahead for the season so that details like where I’m going to stay during races and who’s going to fix my boat when it breaks won’t trouble me when I’m trying to win said races.