When you have raced singlehanded boats at almost all levels, Open Meetings, Nationals, Europeans, World Championships and Pre Olympics - there is not many parts of your game that you can improve on. One's ability can reach a plateau. Single handed sailing demands high levels of fitness that we can find hard to maintain. Its not that bad, in fact I know that many of us Masters Laser sailors are trying our best to hold back the decline as the years go by. Perhaps that's the challenge for us. Every major World Championships we aim to have repaired our bodies, practiced our skills and steeled ourselves for the mental test that makes regatta sailing exciting.
For some, its hard to maintain this level of intensity and I know of a very successful international Masters Sailors who works up to his peak performance each year after a long break. Many have an enforced break due to the local weather. I always like to quote my friend Jyrki Taimenen from Finland. I once called him up in April and said isn't it great weather for sailing? His answer was priceless - "Yes the weather is good for sailing, but the water is still a little stiff!"
So its rare that I find the act of sailing a boat thrilling. Rare that I am able to learn new things, rare to have finished a weekend with only exciting new lessons to take away to work on. The 4000 has become the perfect family boat. My Laser Sailing Wife is still on a journey to become a top class crew and I am certainly in a similar position when it comes to finding the upwind and downwind angles through the different conditions helming the 4000
. The learning becomes that much sweeter as finally I can enjoy it with someone else. Its hard to blow your own trumpet when you have sailed an excellent race. Who wants to hear about the big head after the race? But when the journey and the learning curve can be shared, it becomes so much sweeter.
Last weekend at Rutland we had the perfect very windy yet testing conditions with the breeze relatively steady at around 22 knots. There were some tantalising shifts with extra pressure on the upwind legs to make footing (sailing free) a bonus so you can reach the next shift sooner. The 4000 fleet and the conditions were constantly challenging us upwind and downwind. Our biggest excitement was that we feel that we have finally licked gybing. In fact we can't wait for the next big wind day to continue to practice and practice the manoeuvres that are still exciting and new, in readiness for our big regatta, the 4000 Euro Cup in Quiberon, France. The most exciting aspect of the regatta is that we are expecting 9 Italians, including last years Euro Cup Champions, 25 French including a two times 470 World Champion and a British Fleet who also boats a past Euro Cup Champion.
All this excitement from a boat that cost me £950 plus one suit of sails that retail at £1425. What an absolute bargain :)
Gear guide from this weekend. Conditions 22 + knots. Air Temp 8 degrees.
Helm Gear Worn:
Pro Aquafleece Beanie
, Aquafleece Neck Gaiter
, Pro Race 2 Gloves
, Pro Aquafleece Top
, Poly Pro Top
, Supertherm Longjohn
, Supertherm Top
, Superstretch WetSocks
, Pro Laced Boots
, Race Armour Lite Shorts
, Rooster Hike Pads
, Optimum Time Big Yellow Watch
, Rooster Black Diamond Overhead pfd
Pro Aquafleece Beanie, Aquafleece Neck Gaiter, Neoprene All Weather Gloves (thumbs cut off), Pro Aquafleece Top, Poly Pro Top and leggings, Supertherm Longjohn, Supertherm Top, Superstretch WetSocks, Pro Laced Boots, Optimum Time Big Yellow Watch.