Sailing on your own can be good too!
A lot has happened since my last post! After a long and tough selection process, I finally achieved my yearly goal of getting into the RYA Radial Transitional Squad 2013/2014, which I was of course very pleased about. I'd like to thank Rooster for their on going support, and Steve in particular for always having clear advice both on racing, but also on how to approach sailing in general: making sure you're always having fun!
The squad provides valuable days of training which really propel our sailing to the next level, but they have really emphasised the need to train and practise away from camps to make gains and turn what you've learnt into automatic skills. I've always done this in the past, training in Hayling with a group of Radials with quality coaches helping us. If I'm not training in Hayling, I'm at Queen Mary training with another Radial in the squad. But until two weekends ago, I had never, ever trained on my own for a day. I've now done 4 days totally by myself, and I've improved more in that time than I think I have in the last 3 months. Training on your own, with no one to see or judge you, lets you make all the mistakes and play around with new techniques. Training with a coach is great and helps identify weak spots, but you always have a desire to beat your mates or impress the coach, and so taking a risk usually ends up being a bad idea! On your own, it's a whole different story, and I cannot recommend it enough!
Quick hiking tip: try to keep feet and knees together, and ankles, knees and hips aligned. Point toe hike for maximum leverage and also injury prevention as Steve often talks about. I feel very fortunate that I adopted Steve's point toe style two years ago when I started, as most of my squad mates have to re-learn how to hike because they were never taught how to point toe hike from a young age. Rooster Pro Padded Toe Strap really helps with this, got one recently and is really making a noticeable difference. As a reference, try to keep the air gap between knee and side deck to a minimum (also means bum doesn't hit water so the boat can be sailed flatter = win). Happy sailing :)