Well where do I start, my last blog - "My Favourite Rooster Kit for 2014" became one of 'the' blogs of 2014. If you didn't get a chance to read it follow this link...
Steve Cockerill even decided to do his own rendition of it, which as you might expect became very popular. This blog post is going to be about capturing this season, my first in the Laser Radial. Following on from many, many happy years racing the RS Feva I took the decision late 2013 to have a go at single handed sailing. Outcome - absolutely hated it at first. No-one to communicate with, no 2nd opinion for decision making and the biggest thing, no spinnaker to put up at the windward mark to make you go faster. It felt like learning to sail again, which, in hindsight was a good thing and I'm probably a far better sailor for it now. So I stuck at it and at the end of the season, I sit here writing this blog thinking to myself that I really enjoyed it and have had a pretty successful opening season. Below is my honours list for 2014...
The highlight of the year for me was definitely winning the PSC Youth Regatta, an event I have come so close to winning for 3 or 4 years. It was a proper match racing duel with my old Feva crew - Luke Bilkey in his Radial. Such close racing in all 4 races and it certainly felt like I had been through the washing machine all day long. I was so happy to come away with the win, especially straight off the back of a Laser Open where I finished 3rd. I had never been involved in such nip and tuck racing before and to do it against my old crew felt very weird but there are no hard feelings between us now. Another highlight for me was getting involved with running some coaching for some younger racers at Porthpean, I really enjoyed that and learnt a lot. I am hoping to do some more next year.
Probably the low point for the year was Royal Fowey Regatta, after winning there in 2012 and coming 2nd in 2013, missing out on 1st by 1 point. I went into 2014 with real hope and expectation from not only myself but others and I failed at the first hurdle, scoring two 8ths on the opening day of competition. I was left feeling down, defeated and quite frankly humiliated! I went home that evening and read part of a certain book. - The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. A leading sports physiologist who worked with the British Cycling Team in the year of the 2012 Olympics and Sir Bradley Wiggins memorable "Le Tour De France" victory. The part of the book I read was about how to deal with defeat/disappointment and also how to deal with pressure/expectation. I am so glad I decided to read it that evening as day 2 came along and I was mentally prepared and managed to get a 1st & 3rd that day. That was such a huge confidence boost for me and if I find myself in a situation like that now I always look back to those two days in August.
Normally this part of all my Rooster Blogs is where I turn to my forte, advising on my favourite Rooster products. I'm sure that Steve, Izzy and the rest of the Rooster Team wouldn't mind if I use this time to thank everyone that has supported my throughout this year.
I think the best place to start is with my two "Main Sponsors" - Rooster Sailing and May Whetter & Grose Estate Agents. Both of these companies are an absolute god send and I cannot thank them enough for their support. Having them onboard (if you'd pardon the pun) makes everything so much easier. They help with covering the costs of events, sailing kit, publicity, pretty much everything. So from me a huge, huge, huge THANK YOU to you both!!! Also a very special Thanks to Steve & Izzy @ Rooster - you have been such a great help all year. I really look forward to continue working with both companies for many years to come. Secondly Niles Bakery. Here in Cornwall we cannot live without one thing. PASTIES. All you folk up country may think you've tried a pasty but until you visited a Niles Bakery and have one fresh straight out of the oven then you realise what they should really taste like. Thank you to the Niles family for keeping me well fed throughout the year, especially on cold, wet training days. I also should send a massive thanks to the Austin family - who have shown so much support over many years. Richard works for May Whetter & Grose and Sam is one of the Niles daughters. I also do some coaching for their son Charlie. Thanks guys!! I would like to thank everyone at Porthpean Sailing Club for always looking out for me, sharing my media coverage on Facebook etc. Thank you. Last but not least a massive thanks to my Parents, especially my Dad. Firstly thanks to Mum for not getting to angry when I fill the kitchen up with sails and kit bags on a weekly basis. But a HUGE thank you to Dad for taking me and the boat to all the events and for being my on the water coach from the Kayak. You are certainly one person I couldn't do without. And also as he's my boss I should probably thank him for letting me take time off work to go Sailing. Thanks Dad.
So looking ahead to 2015. The boat is in the garage currently drying out, then after a few gel coat repairs I am refitting every single block, cleat & rope on the boat. Then around mid January I plan to do some winter training at Restronguet SC, Falmouth. In the meantime I am focusing on gaining around 8 - 10kgs in weight to cope with the Radial Rig in all conditions. So lots of time in the gym and eating really bland and tasteless foods. Events on the planner next year include, RYA Youth Nationals @ WPNSA, SW Laser Grande Prix, Laser Nationals @ Mounts Bay and finishing off the year with the Paignton Laser Qualifier. Thanks for reading my blogs over the year and I'll keep you all posted over the winter.