From Lowly Lockdown to New Board and Hydrofoil Repair - By Isaac Lines
Early this year I found myself in Portugal training and getting used to the new olympic wind foiling equipment as part of the British Sailing Teams project 24, which had us in perfect conditions daily for hours and hours on the water, the team was making extraordinary progress every day as we found out more and more about maximising the new exciting foiling equipment.
There was always a sense of the worrying progression with the covid-19 outbreak within the uk and surrounding countries to Portugal. Is and the coaches were always keeping a side eye on the trends with the virus and the direction that other countries were heading. But with training to do and Portugal in particular the algarve region to which we were based being researched with extremely low outbreaks. Concerns were minimal in the team there wasn't much thought other than finishing the remaining two weeks of training in Vilamoura and heading back to chilly uk. Wow! How we were wrong. A swift team meeting had our coaches outlining the orders from the RYA and UK government to pull out of Portugal and effectively make a run for the border. With this movie-like panic scene unfolding away from getting ready for another two weeks of training suddenly had us in a mad boat park rush to get all our equipment packed into the RYA team vans and coach boats ready to hit the road the next day. A mad jumble of flights booked and kit packed the following day most us windsurfers were on our way back to uk safety.
The following days had us all back in the uk unpacking our kit back at our main training ground of Portland harbour in the rain and cold feeling rather sleep deprived and a tad disgruntled at our abrupt situational change.
As the dreaded 23rd of march came around I found myself at the beginning of a uk wide lockdown with my two flatmates on portland Jon a fellow team NewWave member and Dan a great friend, 49er sailor and boat builder working the same job as myself. With such a crazy change all three of us being outdoor adrenaline craving hooligans it made for a rather interesting couple of months.
At first it was uncertain for myself having time off my work (a composites and dingy repair workshop on portland) prior to going out to portugal and having the uk lockdown I no longer had a job working there an upsetting moment as i was massively enjoying working and learning every side of composite repair and working around and for the top sailors in the world the workshop going strength to strength with my knowledge i have from my past business prior which was mainly repairing windsurf and surf boards from my home workshop.
The first lockdown was funny knowing my head. I knew I had to keep busy to stay happy.
Quickly turning my flat's balcony into a mancave/workshop. And writing a big old list of everything I needed to fix design and create. From board repairs to custom camera mounts to get new and exciting angles for Team NewWave. There was no shortage of things to make and design this for me was one of the most crucial things to stay positive and focused. Every day I had things which needed the next stage done in lamination or repair; this massively helped keep my hands working.
There was also an aspect of planning which I settled into doing having stepped away from working for my local repairer I knew I wanted my own show a big step in my life but i had so much energy to implement my years in marine repair industry and become my own name in the industry using my strength and client base in the windsurf sector here on portland.
With eyes on getting my own workshop it was a time to learn everything and make all the things I might need going forward so when out of lockdown i'm set to just work and get the business off the ground.
As Well as trying to keep my brain busy, I knew the importance of keeping my fitness up was for staying positive through such an uncertain crazy time. With me and my flatmate Dan being both addicted to challenge lockdown was a perfect time for finding new places in our sufferfest paincave. This was stupidly started one evening with being nominated the run 5 donated 5 challenge the following day me and Dan ran to a rather conveniently placed durdle door a 25km trail run away… and back ending up being around a 54km day out running. This was an incredible challenge bearing in mind me and Dan are keen cyclists so running was never on our radar. In the time of national lockdown it was very easy to stay very comfortable and have no physical battles. So going and putting my body in a place suffering so far away from the norm was incredible learning. There no lying being extremely inexperienced in running let alone this quainity this hurt us both to new levels.
Coming home and barely being able to walk for a few days was an interesting new dynamic to lockdown. With a recovery fairly complete the following week found us back to do it again…. Not sure why at all in hindsight it was a horrific idea this time running to abbotsbury a local village again 25ish kms away and back i'll spare you the details but this was an even harder experience with evermore widened understanding of what a “hard” situation was. Suddenly supermarkets being out of toilet rolls and the harbour being closed for watersports seemed a very light problem in our life when compared to 40 km into our run with no food left.
When looking back on the first lockdown in the uk I took it as a very good time to try new things and learn new places in my head. This gave me time to pause and prep for the next step into business in my life. I'm now running my own business here in Portland specializing in board and hydrofoil repair. With a hectic past 4 months working flat out building a client base workshop and name for myself.