RS Aero Tips and Tricks

RS Aero Tips and Tricks

Firstly can I just say it was an absolute pleasure to sail at the 2017 UK RS Aero Nationals earlier this month at Hayling Island Sailing Club and one of the best weeks sailing of my life. Not only did we have great weather with plenty of sun and wind but the class was incredibly friendly, welcoming and fun. I met lots of new people and really look forward to sailing at more Aero events in the future.

I learnt so much from the Aero nationals and I thought it would be nice to write up my top tips and give something back to the class. I hope you find them interesting and maybe even learn a thing or two!

Having a great time on the water is always an essential!

Having a great time on the water is always an essential!

The nationals were quite a challenging event held in a wide range of wind conditions, from a light 5-7 knots on day 1,  light-medium 6-13 knots on day 2 and finishing off with a strong 14-22 knots on the last day! Here are my key learnings, top tips and things to look out for that I discovered during the event and used on my way to winning the national title in the 7 rig:

Mainsheet

On Day 1 and 2 of the championship we experienced light to medium winds ranging from 5 - 12 knots and I thought that in these wind speeds your mainsheet trim was critical if you wanted to sail fast and point high on the upwind legs.

On the Aero the mainsheet changes the sail shape dramatically and can reduce/induce depth very easily and on Day 1 and 2 I thought if you played the mainsheet on the upwind legs you could be very fast and point high at the same time as long as you had the rig setup correctly (see next section).

My technique I was employing was in the light spots was to ease about a foot of main and then in the gusts I would squeeze the mainsheet back in a foot or so depending on the strength of the gust. With the mainsheet squeezed in you could sail higher (watch your tell tales carefully here!) and as soon as you hit a lull you would ease the main slightly and bear away a little which at least kept your speed through the water. In the two pictures below, by looking at the angle of the boom, you can clearly see the two differences between sailing in a lull and in a gust.

Looking at the angle of the boom, we can clearly see I have eased the main slightly and must be in a lull. Note the slack kicker, deep outhaul and no downhaul on at all.

Looking at the angle of the boom, we can clearly see I have eased the main slightly and must be in a lull. Note the slack kicker, deep outhaul and no downhaul on at all.

Here we can clearly see I am sheeted in more than the previous photo so must be in a gust, pointing higher whilst sailing fast. Notice the creases in my sail - more on that in the below Downhaul section.

Here we can clearly see I am sheeted in more than the previous photo so must be in a gust, pointing higher whilst sailing fast. Notice the creases in my sail - more on that in the below Downhaul section.

So by sheeting the main in and out and changing my upwind sailing angle very slightly I found I had a fast sailing mode in the lulls and the gusts, a powerful combination on the race course.

(I was using 13 metres of Marlow Excel Fusion 6mm as my mainsheet, rather thin for some but excellent for maximum feel downwind and easy flowing through all blocks.)

 

Rig Setup

At 45 seconds to go before any race start I always set up my sail to ensure that at go I was at my perfect setting and going my fastest. Here were some settings that worked well for me during the event:

5-10 Knots

In the light 5-10 knots going upwind I had a medium tension kicker setting (usually pulling around 40cm through the deck cleat), no tension at all on downhaul (more on that in the section below) and a surprisingly loose outhaul (usually a hand length and a half. Some might say this was too deep but being one of the bigger guys in the fleet I found it allowed me to point higher and it just felt 'good').

Downwind I kept the downhaul off completely, left the outhaul the same one and a half hand length deep but released the kicker off all the way (I quite liked a loose leech which felt great sailing by the lee).

10-15 Knots

Fully hiking weather + a bit more = depowering time. In the 15 knot gusts you wanted to be depowered but in the 10 knot lulls you killed your height and speed if you depowered too much. Combined with the difficult Hayling chop and that threw up some challenges.

I found that a tight kicker (approx. 60cm through deck cleat), a outhaul approximately a hand length deep and a light-medium downhaul setting worked well. On the upwinds I was keeping the mainsheet pinned in but actively playing the downhaul, releasing in the lulls and tightening in the gusts.

Downwind I released the downhaul completely, let the outhaul off to be one and a half hand lengths deep and released the kicker about 45cm so that it wasn't too loose whilst surfing waves.

15-25 Knots

I found that at these winds upwind I was fully depowering so I had max kicker on, a hand length deep outhaul when I wanted to point high, flattening off to half of that when I wanted to go low and fast, and a lot of downhaul on. The more overpowered you are the harder you pull the downhaul and kicker on! Other than that hike hard, move back in the hiking strap slightly and keep the boat flat and it feels like you can get the boat planing upwind. Very fun.

Downwind I released the downhaul and kicker a lot and if it wasn't too hairy the outhaul would come off too!

Hiking hard! Mind you I've never been good at pulling a good face whilst sailing...

Hiking hard! Mind you I've never been good at pulling a good face whilst sailing...

 

Downhaul

Now it could of been my sail specifically but in the lighter winds I was finding my sail got quite a few diagonal creases when sheeted on in an upwind setting. This might be due to the elastic bolt rope, but I'm not sure. Whilst it was very tempting to pull the downhaul on to remove them, if you watch the leech I found it was changing the whole sail shape and opening the leech, something you don't want and was making me not point as high. Obviously I didn't want this so I left my downhaul off and ignored the creases, which seemed to work well.

Note all the diagonal creases in the sail.

Note all the diagonal creases in the sail.

 

Strategy

My top strategic tip from the nationals was definitely SAIL IN MORE WIND. If you're simply in more wind than someone else it will be very difficult to go slower than them. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately it is not that easy.

The first thing I would recommend is trying to learn how to sail your Aero by feel and so if you look away for 5-10 seconds you can maintain a perfect course. As the picture below shows, the majority of the time whether going upwind, downwind or reaching I was constantly looking upwind to see where more wind is and where it will be in 30 seconds etc. The more time you can spend spotting gusts, the more gusts you will find and therefore probably the faster you will go. Free, effortless speed.

Here you can see me really looking upwind trying to find where the most wind is, where it will be and how I can best make use of it as I approach the windward mark.

Here you can see me really looking upwind trying to find where the most wind is, where it will be and how I can best make use of it as I approach the windward mark.

 

Hardware

So what physically was different between every Aero and would of made life easier/faster? Well I made a few changes to my charter boat but it was by no means perfect.

The first change I made was to fit a thinner, 6mm mainsheet. I prefer the feel and how smoothly it runs. It was a dream to use in the lighter winds.

I then fitted a masthead wind indicator which was very useful for sailing downwind as well as a wind indicator at the bottom of the mast just for reference.

I tied a slip knot in the main halyard, tied some elastic to that and led it down the boat to the downhaul block. This was used to pull the downhaul off when I released it, especially useful if you don't have over-deck controls.

36901729832_a5fb853607_o.jpg

I also tied elastic to the outhaul block and round the boom gooseneck to pull the outhaul off when released.

I tightened the top batten tension on day 2 by approximately 6 turns, leading to a more hooked sail. Felt good.

I flipped my boat over and gave my boat a thorough wash and clean. You'd be amazed how much grime, sand and dirt sticks to the hull even when wet so I would recommend doing this as often as possible!

Quite a few boats had over-deck control lines. These looked very cool, seemed to work a lot better and I was very jealous that my charter boat didn't have them! I have fitted a Rooster over-deck controls kit recently to another Aero at my home club and found it to be very high quality and simple to do with a nice video to guide you along the way.

Other than that my boat was a standard RS Aero charter boat, kindly supplied by RS (thanks guys!).

small3.jpg

Simply put, if you get a good start and sail fast in the strategically right direction you will win the race! Its the small things which put together make a big difference.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it! If you're feeling generous it would mean a lot if you might donate towards my Olympic sailing campaign here.

Any questions feel free to send me a message on the Contact page here.

I am also available for Aero coaching, please visit the Coaching page for more details.

Thanks!

Sam

2 National Titles Later

2 National Titles Later

Wow, what a month. After a very eventful July at the Worlds and Europeans it was nice to be back home in Swanage with lots of time to enjoy the British summer and get back into training.

Check out my story of the past month in the pictures below:

I resumed my training back down in Weymouth almost immediately with the Podium and Podium Potential squads. It was really great training against the double world champion and all the guys. Lots of learning took place!

I resumed my training back down in Weymouth almost immediately with the Podium and Podium Potential squads. It was really great training against the double world champion and all the guys. Lots of learning took place!

Summer is great back home in Swanage with lots of activities going on. After years of clashes and being away I finally was able to be around during carnival week and had a great time. Here is a picture from one afternoon watching the Red Arrows perform, shame I couldn't be sailing at the same time!

Summer is great back home in Swanage with lots of activities going on. After years of clashes and being away I finally was able to be around during carnival week and had a great time. Here is a picture from one afternoon watching the Red Arrows perform, shame I couldn't be sailing at the same time!

I then was around for RNLI week and entered into the build-a-boat challenge. 4 hours, 1 sheet of plywood, 30 screws, 30 nails and a whole lot of duct tape later and I had a boat to race across the bay! Unfortunately I finished second but I hope to be back next year with a better design for more.

I then was around for RNLI week and entered into the build-a-boat challenge. 4 hours, 1 sheet of plywood, 30 screws, 30 nails and a whole lot of duct tape later and I had a boat to race across the bay! Unfortunately I finished second but I hope to be back next year with a better design for more.

R.I.P Swifto. After being evicted from the family house Swifto unfortunately met the end at the local tip.

R.I.P Swifto. After being evicted from the family house Swifto unfortunately met the end at the local tip.

Anyway back to proper sailing! As well as my training in my Laser I organised a group of friends to sail the Waszp down in Weymouth. I was happy to find the Waszp fits perfectly on my corsa roof.

Anyway back to proper sailing! As well as my training in my Laser I organised a group of friends to sail the Waszp down in Weymouth. I was happy to find the Waszp fits perfectly on my corsa roof.

On the water rabbit run with Stu on the other Waszp in Weymouth. I did get rolled from here!

On the water rabbit run with Stu on the other Waszp in Weymouth. I did get rolled from here!

It was awesome to finally line up against another Waszp, race around Portland and then let the lads have a go at their first foiling experience.

It was awesome to finally line up against another Waszp, race around Portland and then let the lads have a go at their first foiling experience.

Check out the video from the Waszp session above! Pretty happy to pull off a relatively slick foiling gybe on camera.

After my hard days training in Weymouth it was nice to go home, take a walk and reflect on the day gone by. When met with sunsets like this it really makes me appreciate where I live.

After my hard days training in Weymouth it was nice to go home, take a walk and reflect on the day gone by. When met with sunsets like this it really makes me appreciate where I live.

On Saturday 19th August I volunteered to help out at the Upton House Parkrun. It was awesome to be involved in this wonderful community activity and I was impressed with the enthusiasm and friendliness I encountered. I really would recommend everyone to go to one of these and see what its like, whether you want to get into running or just want to experience the lovely Upton Country Park. It's fun, free and I definitely will be back to run myself soon!

On Saturday 19th August I volunteered to help out at the Upton House Parkrun. It was awesome to be involved in this wonderful community activity and I was impressed with the enthusiasm and friendliness I encountered. I really would recommend everyone to go to one of these and see what its like, whether you want to get into running or just want to experience the lovely Upton Country Park. It's fun, free and I definitely will be back to run myself soon!

I've also recently got into 18 hole putting at the local Beach Gardens in the evenings after sailing and have enjoyed many a round with my brother Ben. We're not great (yet) but we are getting better! The Masters 2030?

I've also recently got into 18 hole putting at the local Beach Gardens in the evenings after sailing and have enjoyed many a round with my brother Ben. We're not great (yet) but we are getting better! The Masters 2030?

After sailing the RS Aero only a handful of times I headed up to Reading on my holidays to compete in the Aero Youth Nationals. The 9 rig was very interesting to sail but at my 80kg I struggled keep the boat driving and felt quite over-powered in only 12 knots, leaving me thinking that a 7 might be better suited to me. Still it was a very, very fun event and although we didn't have any wind on the Sunday I had some epic battles over 6 races on Saturday with the likes of Ed Higson, Ben Rolfe and the rest of the fleet. There was a slight bit of confusion over the final results but I am pleased to say I am RS Aero 9 Youth National Champion!

After sailing the RS Aero only a handful of times I headed up to Reading on my holidays to compete in the Aero Youth Nationals. The 9 rig was very interesting to sail but at my 80kg I struggled keep the boat driving and felt quite over-powered in only 12 knots, leaving me thinking that a 7 might be better suited to me. Still it was a very, very fun event and although we didn't have any wind on the Sunday I had some epic battles over 6 races on Saturday with the likes of Ed Higson, Ben Rolfe and the rest of the fleet.

There was a slight bit of confusion over the final results but I am pleased to say I am RS Aero 9 Youth National Champion!

A couple of weeks later I headed to Hayling Island Sailing Club for the actual RS Aero National Championships where there was a huge 114 entries across the three rigs, with 73 in the 7 rig. Having been quite over-powered in the 9 at the Youth Nats I decided to enter in a 7 rig instead and after coaching the fleet the day before racing I watched with interest what the top guys were doing in the Challenge Cup, the practice race with a reward at the end of it! I was itching to sail but it was very fun and rewarding sharing tips with the rest of the fleet, I hope it made their racing better.

A couple of weeks later I headed to Hayling Island Sailing Club for the actual RS Aero National Championships where there was a huge 114 entries across the three rigs, with 73 in the 7 rig. Having been quite over-powered in the 9 at the Youth Nats I decided to enter in a 7 rig instead and after coaching the fleet the day before racing I watched with interest what the top guys were doing in the Challenge Cup, the practice race with a reward at the end of it! I was itching to sail but it was very fun and rewarding sharing tips with the rest of the fleet, I hope it made their racing better.

After 3 days of intense and close racing, especially with my brother Ben, I was very pleased and honoured to win the RS Aero 7 Nationals! We had a wide range of conditions, very light winds on day 1, light to medium winds on day 2 and finally some windy weather sailing on day 3.

After 3 days of intense and close racing, especially with my brother Ben, I was very pleased and honoured to win the RS Aero 7 Nationals! We had a wide range of conditions, very light winds on day 1, light to medium winds on day 2 and finally some windy weather sailing on day 3.

Whatever the weather conditions I was loving sailing the Aero. It was so light, responsive and fun to sail. Always had a smile on my face!

Whatever the weather conditions I was loving sailing the Aero. It was so light, responsive and fun to sail. Always had a smile on my face!

Congratulations to my little bro Ben for coming second, Kristo for 3rd and having some insane downwind speed, Steve C for coming 4th with his super quick windy weather speed and Steve Norbury who was very consistent at being up there with an impressive last race.

Congratulations to my little bro Ben for coming second, Kristo for 3rd and having some insane downwind speed, Steve C for coming 4th with his super quick windy weather speed and Steve Norbury who was very consistent at being up there with an impressive last race.

Awesome to have won this great trophy!

Awesome to have won this great trophy!

So what next for me? Well tomorrow I fly out to the senior Laser World Championships, to be held next week in Split, Crotia. Really looking forward to sailing against some of the best sailors in the world and giving it my all.

For regular updates about next week follow my Twitter @samwhaleygbr and Instagram @samwhaley97

I'll let you know how I get on!

Thanks,

Sam

Landscape%20Sail%20logo.jpg

4th & 5th at U21 Europeans and Worlds

4th & 5th at U21 Europeans and Worlds

Hi guys,

Yesterday I returned from a 3 week trip around Europe competing at the Under-21 European and World Championships. It certainly was a very memorable trip! Here is the story:

The first part of the trip was the massive drive all the way to Douarnenez, in France, for the Under-21 Europeans. Luckily I went with the rest of the lads in the team van so I only had to drive for a couple of hours. Cheers to Coach Dre and Millsa for driving the rest of the way!

The first part of the trip was the massive drive all the way to Douarnenez, in France, for the Under-21 Europeans. Luckily I went with the rest of the lads in the team van so I only had to drive for a couple of hours. Cheers to Coach Dre and Millsa for driving the rest of the way!

Arriving in Douarnenez late that evening I checked into my hotel - check out this lovely view across the bay from the breakfast room. Perfect for checking out conditions before racing every morning.

Arriving in Douarnenez late that evening I checked into my hotel - check out this lovely view across the bay from the breakfast room. Perfect for checking out conditions before racing every morning.

The view from our room over the surrounding town was very pretty.

The view from our room over the surrounding town was very pretty.

Stunning weather greeted us on our arrival in Douarnenez - for the first few days of training anyway!

Stunning weather greeted us on our arrival in Douarnenez - for the first few days of training anyway!

After a couple of days pre-event training we had a rest day where as a team we went and explored the coastline....

After a couple of days pre-event training we had a rest day where as a team we went and explored the coastline....

...And ended up surfing on a lovely beach just down the coast. Despite it being my first ever time surfing I learnt quickly and had a whale of a time surfing some awesome waves!

...And ended up surfing on a lovely beach just down the coast. Despite it being my first ever time surfing I learnt quickly and had a whale of a time surfing some awesome waves!

We then had a team photo - Alex, Jack, Dan, Dre and I.

We then had a team photo - Alex, Jack, Dan, Dre and I.

The next day racing started with variable conditions and close racing. I was pleased to finish day 1 with a score line of 3 and 1 to be 2nd overall.

The next day racing started with variable conditions and close racing. I was pleased to finish day 1 with a score line of 3 and 1 to be 2nd overall.

After a few more days of racing I went into the final day in 4th overall with a big possibility of a medal.

After a few more days of racing I went into the final day in 4th overall with a big possibility of a medal.

Heartbreakingly some silly errors cost me the chance of a medal and I ended up 4th overall at the U21 Euros.

Heartbreakingly some silly errors cost me the chance of a medal and I ended up 4th overall at the U21 Euros.

The next morning we drove all the way to Nieuwpoort, in Belgium, ready for the start of the Under-21 Worlds a few days later.

The next morning we drove all the way to Nieuwpoort, in Belgium, ready for the start of the Under-21 Worlds a few days later.

After a solid day of driving we arrived in Nieuwpoort to some epic conditions. Sun, wind and waves! We had one day of pre-event training before headin into the competition...

After a solid day of driving we arrived in Nieuwpoort to some epic conditions. Sun, wind and waves! We had one day of pre-event training before headin into the competition...

Day 1 of racing was a mixed bag. Scoring two 3rds in the first two races I was set up well for the last race when a 40 degree shift meant our upwind became rather skewed to one side - I did 0 tacks and somehow got overtaken by 10 boats :(

Day 1 of racing was a mixed bag. Scoring two 3rds in the first two races I was set up well for the last race when a 40 degree shift meant our upwind became rather skewed to one side - I did 0 tacks and somehow got overtaken by 10 boats :(

Determined to improve from the previous days nightmare last race I was focused and ready heading onto the water.

Determined to improve from the previous days nightmare last race I was focused and ready heading onto the water.

Big conditions on the water. I had some good speed but struggled with consistency and had some incidents on the water which set me back.

Big conditions on the water. I had some good speed but struggled with consistency and had some incidents on the water which set me back.

On my way to winning my second ever race at a World Championships!

On my way to winning my second ever race at a World Championships!

We had light winds on the penultimate day and despite attempting a start racing was soon abandoned for the day.

We had light winds on the penultimate day and despite attempting a start racing was soon abandoned for the day.

With a black flag and multiple big scores, I headed into the final day in 12th overall with a strong belief that anything was possible. Scoring a 3rd in the first gold fleet race I moved up to 8th overall. In the final race I had a disastrous first beat and rounded in the 50s but sailed fast and smart to move through the fleet considerably to finish 17th. This comeback pulled me up in the overall results and meant I finsihed 5th overall!

With a black flag and multiple big scores, I headed into the final day in 12th overall with a strong belief that anything was possible. Scoring a 3rd in the first gold fleet race I moved up to 8th overall. In the final race I had a disastrous first beat and rounded in the 50s but sailed fast and smart to move through the fleet considerably to finish 17th. This comeback pulled me up in the overall results and meant I finsihed 5th overall!

Whilst I am very happy to have finished 5th at the Under-21 Worlds what is very exciting is that I know I am capable of so much more. This result has made me more determined than ever to succeed and I know I can achieve greater things. Onwards and upwards!

Whilst I am very happy to have finished 5th at the Under-21 Worlds what is very exciting is that I know I am capable of so much more. This result has made me more determined than ever to succeed and I know I can achieve greater things. Onwards and upwards!

Overall the trip was very successful; I achieved my best ever Under-21 international results, won 5 international races and learnt so many things about my sailing which I have never come across before.

Looking forward I now have a month back home training in Weymouth and attending many smaller, more relaxed events before gearing up to the Laser Senior World Championships in September, to be held in Split, Croatia.

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Sam

Fun Times in June

Fun Times in June

Hi guys,

Welcome to the June blog, hope you are all well. It has been a very exciting month for me and everyday is more and more thrilling as we get closer and closer to the Under-21 World and European championships at the end of July. Here is my timeline of what I have been up to in the past month!

I started June off by coaching some young Topper sailors in Poole Harbour. Having never really been involved in the coaching scene before (I've always been too busy focused on my own development!) it was really nice to get out on the water in a rib and coach our next generation of sailors. It was very windy and they did a great job of coping!

I started June off by coaching some young Topper sailors in Poole Harbour. Having never really been involved in the coaching scene before (I've always been too busy focused on my own development!) it was really nice to get out on the water in a rib and coach our next generation of sailors. It was very windy and they did a great job of coping!

I then went on holiday to Perranporth in Cornwall for a relaxing few days on the beach mixed with a bit of surfing. Being the last time available for holiday before the Under-21 competitions, it was great to recover and refresh from my training and have fun in a beautiful coastal location. Check out how good this beach looks!

I then went on holiday to Perranporth in Cornwall for a relaxing few days on the beach mixed with a bit of surfing. Being the last time available for holiday before the Under-21 competitions, it was great to recover and refresh from my training and have fun in a beautiful coastal location. Check out how good this beach looks!

A lovely sunset whilst on holiday in Cornwall.

A lovely sunset whilst on holiday in Cornwall.

I then returned home for a couple more days of training in the Laser and the gym as well as mixing it up with some kayaking and Waszp sailing in the incredibly hot weather we had!

I then returned home for a couple more days of training in the Laser and the gym as well as mixing it up with some kayaking and Waszp sailing in the incredibly hot weather we had!

Next for me was Kiel Week, held in Germany. After loading our boats onto a big British Sailing Team trailer we headed off in the van towing our boats all the way to Germany. Unfortunately this journey happened to be at the same time as the thrilling Americas Cup matches on TV so not wanting to miss it we set up a livestream in the front using our coaches phone and connected it up to the van speakers. Win!

Next for me was Kiel Week, held in Germany. After loading our boats onto a big British Sailing Team trailer we headed off in the van towing our boats all the way to Germany. Unfortunately this journey happened to be at the same time as the thrilling Americas Cup matches on TV so not wanting to miss it we set up a livestream in the front using our coaches phone and connected it up to the van speakers. Win!

After a day of travelling we arrived in Germany and unloaded boats and set up our base camp with our tents. To save costs I decided to camp as it was quite easy and having a nice small, comfy tent it wouldn't be too bad as long as it didn't rain! Unfortunately the weather gods weren't looking too fondly on me that week and there was a lot of rain...

After a day of travelling we arrived in Germany and unloaded boats and set up our base camp with our tents. To save costs I decided to camp as it was quite easy and having a nice small, comfy tent it wouldn't be too bad as long as it didn't rain! Unfortunately the weather gods weren't looking too fondly on me that week and there was a lot of rain...

We had to think outside of the box for some things whilst camping. Here we set up a washing line to dry our sailing kit using an old mast and a mainsheet strung between a lamp post and car trailer. It worked surprisingly well!

We had to think outside of the box for some things whilst camping. Here we set up a washing line to dry our sailing kit using an old mast and a mainsheet strung between a lamp post and car trailer. It worked surprisingly well!

Kiel Week is a huge festival not only about sailing and as a result there was a huge carnival style setup with many stands to visit. In the sailors lounge one company was giving away free cookies if we took a picture on the sofa so not wanting to turn away delicious food naturally my teammate Jack and I quickly agreed!

Kiel Week is a huge festival not only about sailing and as a result there was a huge carnival style setup with many stands to visit. In the sailors lounge one company was giving away free cookies if we took a picture on the sofa so not wanting to turn away delicious food naturally my teammate Jack and I quickly agreed!

Can anyone spot me? I am sail number 209493 and wear a blue bib.... The racing over the week was very close and exciting with a variety of different conditions. I really found my groove in the windier stuff towards the end of the week and was thrilled to record my first international senior race win in race 6 of the regatta! I then had a solid last day in gold fleet to move up the leader board even more to finish in 12th place overall out of 135 boats in total! Also being 2nd Under-21 I am thrilled with the result although know I can do a lot better which is very promising looking ahead. After the final day of racing we watched the medal race with the top 10 before packing up and driving back home ot the UK.

Can anyone spot me? I am sail number 209493 and wear a blue bib....

The racing over the week was very close and exciting with a variety of different conditions. I really found my groove in the windier stuff towards the end of the week and was thrilled to record my first international senior race win in race 6 of the regatta!

I then had a solid last day in gold fleet to move up the leader board even more to finish in 12th place overall out of 135 boats in total! Also being 2nd Under-21 I am thrilled with the result although know I can do a lot better which is very promising looking ahead.

After the final day of racing we watched the medal race with the top 10 before packing up and driving back home ot the UK.

Returning back home I was very excited to find my new kit for the Under 21 competitions had arrived. Many thanks to SANDILINE for supplying the kit which will enable me to perform at my very best (Loving the new design as well!).

Returning back home I was very excited to find my new kit for the Under 21 competitions had arrived. Many thanks to SANDILINE for supplying the kit which will enable me to perform at my very best (Loving the new design as well!).

I now have a few days back home to upgrade some parts on my boat before heading out to Holland for a final training camp with the Dutch Laser Squad before the Under-21 Europeans which start on July 14th. Exciting times ahead and I am feeling as confident as I have ever been. Lets do this!

Thanks for reading,

Sam

Delta Lloyd Regatta & More

Delta Lloyd Regatta & More

Hi guys,

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Time flies by when you're having fun!

It really has been a very busy period (as usual!) with lots going on since the RYA Youth Nationals. There has been a lot of training in Weymouth, a competition in Holland and fun times in the Waszp back home in Swanage. Scroll through the following pictures to find out what I have been up to:

Training in sunny Weymouth at the start of May was great fun and we had a interesting mix of conditions.

Training in sunny Weymouth at the start of May was great fun and we had a interesting mix of conditions.

I then travelled to Holland for the Delta Lloyd Regatta with the rest of the British Sailing Team Laser squad. This is the view from our lovely bungalow, just a few miles away from the sailing club. This picture also sums up the weeks weather pretty well!

I then travelled to Holland for the Delta Lloyd Regatta with the rest of the British Sailing Team Laser squad. This is the view from our lovely bungalow, just a few miles away from the sailing club. This picture also sums up the weeks weather pretty well!

We had a great mix of conditions out on the water.

We had a great mix of conditions out on the water.

And encountered lots of close racing at Delta Lloyd Regatta 2017.

And encountered lots of close racing at Delta Lloyd Regatta 2017.

After a close week of racing I finished 33rd overall and 3rd Under-21. A great warm up regatta to kick-start preparations for the U21 Worlds later in July. At the end of the week I was lucky enough to be able to go on the water and watch the Laser medal race action from the rib with fellow Brit and teammate Elliot Hanson taking the overall win.

After a close week of racing I finished 33rd overall and 3rd Under-21. A great warm up regatta to kick-start preparations for the U21 Worlds later in July. At the end of the week I was lucky enough to be able to go on the water and watch the Laser medal race action from the rib with fellow Brit and teammate Elliot Hanson taking the overall win.

Sailing causes some pretty bad tan lines as I found out during the week.

Sailing causes some pretty bad tan lines as I found out during the week.

Returning back home to Swanage thick fog greeted me - no sailing :(

Returning back home to Swanage thick fog greeted me - no sailing :(

The bad weather gave me a great excuse to do a spot of exploration. I love being able to explore our beautiful coastline and capture moments that I know I will always look back on fondly.

The bad weather gave me a great excuse to do a spot of exploration. I love being able to explore our beautiful coastline and capture moments that I know I will always look back on fondly.

Running up a huge hill was physically pretty demanding but a great challenge and worth it for this next shot...

Running up a huge hill was physically pretty demanding but a great challenge and worth it for this next shot...

Can you spot me?

Can you spot me?

The weather then cleared and allowed me to get back out sailing again! With no Laser around due to it being in Weymouth I sailed the next best thing - the Waszp. I finally managed to nail the foiling gybe and although I unfortunately didn't get it on camera I did get this awesome drone footage - check it out!

It's been an interesting month and one where I have learnt so much. I know I say it all the time but with every life experience I feel like I learn and adapt and ultimately end up a stronger person. I firmly believe that if I keep sticking at this, learning, developing and performing, then I can become a better person all round on and off of the water.

Thanks for reading and I'll keep you updated soon!

Sam

 

Bronze Medal at U21 Nationals

Bronze Medal at U21 Nationals

I'm very pleased to announce that last week I won a bronze medal at the RYA Youth Nationals 2017, held in Hayling Island near Southampton. 

On the podium with my teammates Dan Whiteley and Jack Cookson. Photo credits: RYA/Paul Wyeth.

On the podium with my teammates Dan Whiteley and Jack Cookson. Photo credits: RYA/Paul Wyeth.

It was a very tough week with a lot of close racing and although they weren't my favourite conditions I took a lot of things from the week and had a lot of fun at the same time!

My favourite conditions were on the Wednesday when we had a lovely 10-17 knots with awesome waves.

My favourite conditions were on the Wednesday when we had a lovely 10-17 knots with awesome waves.

A big well done to my brother who won gold convincingly in the Under-19 Laser Radial category, winning by over 28 points!

My younger brother Ben on his way to winning gold in the Laser Radial fleet. 

My younger brother Ben on his way to winning gold in the Laser Radial fleet. 

A bad picture of us both! Me with my bronze medal and Ben with his gold medal.

A bad picture of us both! Me with my bronze medal and Ben with his gold medal.

At the beginning of the month I also competed at the Princess Sofia Regatta, held on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. After a slow start to my first senior event of the year, I was pleased to sail progressively better everyday after that and finished on a high in Gold fleet, knocking in a 10th and a 11th to finish 40th overall. For my first Princess Sofia regatta ever I am happy with the result and made some good steps forwards in my sailing.

About to round the windward mark in 2nd place.

About to round the windward mark in 2nd place.

Brit 1,2,3 at the front! Me, Elliot Hanson and Micky Beckett.

Brit 1,2,3 at the front! Me, Elliot Hanson and Micky Beckett.

I've now got a small break to rest and recover after the very busy last period before getting back into training and attending Delta Lloyd regatta at the end of May. I also have just received my brand new carbon top section so am very excited to go out on the water and test her out!

Thanks,

Sam

Introducing MindOdyssey

Introducing MindOdyssey

I'm proud to announce that MindOdyssey are now supporting me on my Olympic sailing campaign.

Performance psychology aims to help athletes have a positive, winning mindset to focus on performing at their best in pressurised competitive environments. Through making marginal improvements in training, athletes develop the tools to build a stronger competitive mentality, which could make the difference between winning and losing.

Working with Sally is helping me to prepare psychologically and to put systems in place for both training and competitions. Having a positive and focused mindset in pressurised environments has helped me focus and maintain optimal performance to ensure winning is inevitable.

More details can be found at: mindodyssey.co.uk

I really look forward to continue working with MindOdyssey and learning new skills in the future.

Sam

 

 

March - The Busiest Month of the Year

March - The Busiest Month of the Year

Hi guys,

Weirdly enough this year March is my busiest month of the year and I've been at full speed making good progress in all areas.

Going back to the end of February I had my birthday and spent a few days back home with the family. I did however manage to sail the Waszp which was great fun. Think I got a new top speed record as well... Across Swanage bay in under 2 minutes! Here is a small video from the session:

Before I went I also went on a great mountain bike ride around the Purbeck hills with some awesome trials. It was great to be back on the Cannondale again and hopefully I will have as good weather next time I go riding!

Awesome section of the ride through the forest.

Awesome section of the ride through the forest.

Great view overlooking Poole Harbour and Studland Heath a.k.a mountain biking heaven!

Great view overlooking Poole Harbour and Studland Heath a.k.a mountain biking heaven!

The very next day I returned to Weymouth back to start another British Sailing Team squad camp with my fellow team mates. We had some extreme conditions during the week and on one day I unfortunately snapped my mast!

You know you are pushing hard when the boat breaks before you do!

You know you are pushing hard when the boat breaks before you do!

The snapped mast showing how much load goes through the boat.

The snapped mast showing how much load goes through the boat.

Luckily I had a spare at home and my mum kindly drove it all the way to Weymouth the next day to ensure I wouldn't miss any time on the water. Shout out to my amazing parents for all the continued help and support.

The next day was extremely windy and the squad went out for a short and sharp training session. We had great fun and had some serious speed on at times. As the photo below shows, it was very easy to dig the bow of the boat in and pitchpole! Oops.

The short, sharp chop of Weymouth Harbour threw up some challenges...

The short, sharp chop of Weymouth Harbour threw up some challenges...

I also got some great news that I had been selected for the British Sailing Team Marlow Ropes award! This award allows me to have a certain allowance of Marlow products which will enable me to rig my boat to the highest of standards. It is an honour to have been selected for this and I look forward to many hours of fun rigging up my Laser with the best ropes in the world.

The Marlow Ropes Award will allow me to use the best ropes available in the world and ensure my rigging is the strongest and most reliable in the fleet. A big thanks also to UK Sport who enable me to have world class coaches and training.

The Marlow Ropes Award will allow me to use the best ropes available in the world and ensure my rigging is the strongest and most reliable in the fleet. A big thanks also to UK Sport who enable me to have world class coaches and training.

Over the last few weekends I have also been competing at the second and third Laser World & Europeans Qualifier, at Weymouth and Stokes Bay SC near Southampton.

The second Weymouth qualifier was again a mixed bag. I had good, average and bad moments but ultimately I finished in 10th place overall and most importantly learnt so much. Its funny how you can spend an entire winter training in one thing and at the first competition of the year realise that you now have a weakness in something different.

Laser Worlds and Europeans Qualifier 2 - Race 2 Leg 2 Downwind.

Laser Worlds and Europeans Qualifier 2 - Race 2 Leg 2 Downwind.

I then attended the 3rd and final of the spring Laser Worlds and Europeans qualifier, held this time at Stokes Bay near Southampton. The Saturday was pretty windy with some harsh chop making sailing upwind and downwind rather difficult. I sailed fast and consistently to end up with a 5th, 7th and a 7th to leave me in 6th overnight.

Unfortunately on Sunday the wind was howling and after waiting around for a few hours the weather showed no signs of dissipating and the call was made to abandon racing for the day. Therefore I finished in a respectable 6th overall and first Under-21.

Results from the Laser Worlds & European Qualifier 3 at Stokes Bay where I finished in 6th overall.

Results from the Laser Worlds & European Qualifier 3 at Stokes Bay where I finished in 6th overall.

Unfortunately a error on my behalf meant I was forced to sail the event without any gloves. As someone who has worn gloves his whole sailing career this caused a few issues later on...

It was worth the pain!

It was worth the pain!

I have just flown out to Palma de Mallorca for the start of the first senior international competition of the year, Princess Sofia regatta. As a group we've managed to find a really nice, affordable apartment close to the sailing club which always makes it easier.

The lovely view from our apartment.

The lovely view from our apartment.

Thanks to Bolle I have some new sunglasses to test out on the water in the Spanish sun!

Thanks to Bolle I have some new sunglasses to test out on the water in the Spanish sun!

Racing gets underway on Monday and runs through until Friday. I am raring to go and feeling confident with my abilities!

Thanks for reading,

Sam

February Update

February Update

Finally! Days are getting longer, temperatures (slightly) warmer and the sun has even come outfew time down here in Weymouth. I was actually thinking the other day how I couldn't remember the last time sailing without being cold..

This past month has been a busy one as always. As a small hobby I've been lucky enough to be able to start learning how to sail a Waszp, a high performance foiling (or 'flying') dinghy. Using a hydrofoil under the water it generates lift in the same way an aeroplane wing does and rises out of the water at a certain speed. Its a awesome fun and great to learn how to foil, even if I've crashed and got wet loads of times!

The Waszp foiling dinghy which I am learning how to sail.

The Waszp foiling dinghy which I am learning how to sail.

Flying above the surface of the water you go very fast which leads to some spectacular crashes!

Flying above the surface of the water you go very fast which leads to some spectacular crashes!

...Such as this one!

...Such as this one!

We've had a range of conditions throughout this month from very light to crazily windy. The month started off quite light and we had some awesome training in the sunshine and fog. I was testing out combinations of different equipment which was great and allowed me to gain a bit more knowledge on what measurements I want for future equipment.

The first warm day of 2017. Pretty cool sailing in the fog as well.

The first warm day of 2017. Pretty cool sailing in the fog as well.

We then had a squad camp where there was a huge range of conditions ranging from a mega first day and gently calming down throughout the week. We are getting a good number of boats out every session which is allowing us to have intense sessions and good racing.

TEAMwork.

TEAMwork.

Very close racing has allowed us to sharpen our racing skills up immensely.

Very close racing has allowed us to sharpen our racing skills up immensely.

The week after the camp finished we got a surprise visit from Alex Thompsons HUGO BOSS. This carbon fibre round the world ocean racing yacht recently finished the Vendee Globe and even after losing her vital starboard foil Alex raced her to her max and finished a very close second place. After the finish she was sailed to Weymouth where she was moored up and I was lucky enough to have a look on-board which was seriously cool. Its amazing how much attention to detail goes into even a 60 foot yacht!

4.jpg

I then had the first national competition of the year, the Noble Marine Worlds & Europeans qualifier held in Weymouth. It was great to have it at the place I live which simplified logistics considerably!

After a long delay due to lack of wind the first day of racing did not go to plan at all. I was being very ambitious with my starts and often struggled to execute my manoeuvres in the final few seconds meaning I was already on the back foot. I then made some poor decision around the race course which ultimately put me in a poor position overnight leading into the second day.

Day 2 of the competition went a lot more to plan. In the first race I had another disappointing 13th position overall however in the final two races I stuck to my plan, played the shifts and sailed fast to finish race 4 and 5 in 2nd and 1st overall. The weekends racing then finished and I was left in 9th place overall - not a disaster but a respectable result especially considering my first day dramas. I need to work on my consistency that's for sure! The next qualifier is once again held in Weymouth in March which should be great fun. Can't wait!

Great sunset on the tow in after day 1.

Great sunset on the tow in after day 1.

With my birthday being next week I am going home for a few days with the family before back in Weymouth for another intense squad camp. Fingers crossed the weather will be good!

Sam

Freezing January

Freezing January

Yep, its definitely got a lot colder now! Unfortunately the warm spell we had over December seems to have ended and the freezing sub-zero temperatures have returned, leading to some pretty cold sessions on and off of the water.

2017 started with some time with the family back home in Swanage. It was great to be back and relax, reflect and prepare for the year ahead.

I feel so lucky to call this place home.

I feel so lucky to call this place home.

It also was very nice to return home to find the local newspaper covering my story about being part of the British Sailing Team - thanks guys!

Great to see sailing taking the back page.

Great to see sailing taking the back page.

I then was at Hayling Island Sailing Club, near Chichester, for some training with one of the best coaches in the country. We had a solid plan and learnt so much which we will definitely use moving forwards.

First training session of 2017!

First training session of 2017!

Despite the cold my training always continues as normal. Sailing sessions have to be shorter and more intense but it's a good job I have some lovely warm winter kit to prevent hypothermia!

Thanks to Zhik and Sandiline whose products help keep me warm on these cold winter sessions.

Thanks to Zhik and Sandiline whose products help keep me warm on these cold winter sessions.

As part of my training I've also been putting in a few miles on the bike and have had some great rides with the guys. Apart from the cold it has been really nice weather and we've been exploring the local area. I even discovered an old railway track (now cycle path) which I had never seen before and in the process learnt quite a lot about the history of Weymouth & Portland! Crazy times.

Exploring the roads around Portland on my bike.

Exploring the roads around Portland on my bike.

2017 has also brought change in the form of a new place to live. Last week I moved into my new accommodation, sharing a lovely little house with a fellow sailor. It's the perfect setup and I even have a lovely view of the sea out of my window - allowing me to capture some epic sunset photos like this one below.

The view from my room.

The view from my room.

Upcoming I've got a busy month ahead, with a few week blocks of training with a coach before the start of 2017 competitions next month in February. Fingers crossed they won't be too icy cold...

Game face on!

Game face on!

2016 was undoubtedly the best year of my life. There was a lot of change, many tough decisions and countless obstacles but I worked hard to overcome the challenges and I now feel more at home than ever before.

So what's the plan for this next year? Well I have a few goals, a big plan and a lot of determination. Hopefully combined with a little bit of luck, 2017 will be even better than 2016. We shall see.

I'm doing what I love and what I dream about and for that I am incredibly grateful. Thank you to everyone who is, and has, made this dream a reality. Lets keep pushing onwards and upwards!

Sam

Palamos & Christmas

Palamos & Christmas

Hi guys,

So since my last update I have been very busy; travelling to Spain and competing in the Palamos Christmas Race. The journey to Spain itself was a bit stressful as at one point I lost my passport but after arriving safely in Palamos with said passport I quickly settled into my routines and had one day of excellent training before the competition started.

Day 1 bought light to medium strength winds with a quite unstable wind direction leading to some interesting racing. I was quick but unfortunately a few small errors cost me a few places.

One hectic windward marking rounding on Day 1 of Palamos Christmas Race 2016.

One hectic windward marking rounding on Day 1 of Palamos Christmas Race 2016.

Day 2 was a lot windier and the huge sea state made very fun and challenging conditions. I had improved my starting and decision making and coupled with good speed I had some good races where I felt like I really showed what I was capable of.

Unfortunately the following day it was very windy with monster waves rolling in. After waiting around for a few hours to see if racing would happen the decision was made by the organisers to cancel racing that day. A few people still went out and had a blast in the waves as the video below shows. I wish I had gone out now!

The next day was the final day of normal racing before the last days Medal Race. The medal race is where only the top 10 sailors race against each other in a short and dramatic double points race where anything can happen. Since I was in 11th position overall and only 3 points off 10th place anything was possible and I had total confidence that I could make it.

Unfortunately I was so confident that I ended up starting too early and was 'black flagged', or given a scoring penalty for being over the start line. Whist this ended my medal race hopes and moved me down to 12th overall I was not too disappointed but rather happy with some aspects of my sailing and full of ideas on what needs to be worked on next.

I arrived back home today and am now spending Christmas and New Year with the family before getting stuck back into training the first week of January. I cannot wait!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thanks,

Sam

Landscape%20Sail%20logo.jpg

Officially Winter

Officially Winter

Hey everyone,

The last few months have really flown by and I cannot believe that it is almost Christmas! With the days being a lot shorter and temperatures being a lot colder my training now has to be even smarter and more organised in order to still get the quality time on the water in. 

Despite the weather and limited sunlight every day, November was still a very busy month. I attended one of the British Sailing Team squad camps which included a very useful race weekend to keep our racing skills sharp. Straight after this I was lucky to be offered the opportunity to sail a Nacra 17 with my brother Ben for one day. It was great fun for both of us and a nice change where I could learn about another boat.

Sailing the Nacra 17 catamaran with my brother, Ben.

Sailing the Nacra 17 catamaran with my brother, Ben.

 After this I had a nice week to work on my program myself, catch up with emails and admin and recharge before another upcoming block of training. I got up to quite a lot of things including repairing a friends MacBook Pro (see photo below!) and going for a few rides with my friends.

 
Repairing a friends computer - one of my many hobbies I enjoy in my free time.

Repairing a friends computer - one of my many hobbies I enjoy in my free time.

 
The view from the top of Portland Hill overlooking Chesil Beach and Weymouth in the distance.

The view from the top of Portland Hill overlooking Chesil Beach and Weymouth in the distance.

Other notable events which have occurred is the British Sailing Team Awards Dinner, an event designed to celebrate the achievements of every sailor over the past year. It was a very fun night and great to meet so many new people! It did feel weird not seeing everyone in sailing kit though!

A fantastic evening with many friends new and old at the British Sailing Team Awards Dinner.

A fantastic evening with many friends new and old at the British Sailing Team Awards Dinner.

I've also been looking at how I could maximise my learning from every session I do. Personally I learn the quickest visually and so knowing that video footage is particularly effective at maximising my learning I've been interested in buying a Laser GoPro mount to properly film my sessions and replay them back to analyse my performance at a later time. Instead of paying £100 for a third party mount I thought I could design and build my own which was a great experience. I ended up only spending £17 for materials and after a couple of hours work I had a mount which would fit onto my boat!

My home made Laser GoPro mount -made of a carved wooden base with copper tubing.

My home made Laser GoPro mount -made of a carved wooden base with copper tubing.

My £17 GoPro mount fitted to the back of my Laser.

My £17 GoPro mount fitted to the back of my Laser.

Now all I have to do is test it....

The picture from the GoPro mount was insane! Big thumbs up from me.

The picture from the GoPro mount was insane! Big thumbs up from me.

Despite being December the weather this particular day was stunning and I captured some amazing pictures whilst training.

Despite being December the weather this particular day was stunning and I captured some amazing pictures whilst training.

So the GoPro mount was a huge success! I captured some great video and it was very interesting watching myself back on the video.

Unfortunately it was all short lived. I put the mount on for my next training session and whilst out sailing my friend Jack accidently crashed into the mount, destroying it and ruining any chance of using it again. I did manage to save my GoPro from sinking though! Oh well I'll just have to make it again. Watch this space...

On another note I am currently working through half a weeks training with one of the best coaches in the country. I have been working on a few key areas which could make a big difference to my sailing and I feel like I am moving in the right direction.

After this I am down in Weymouth until next week before preparing for the Palamos Christmas Race, a regatta held in Spain just before Christmas.

Thanks for reading!

Sam

 

 

Autumn

Autumn

Hey guys,

So autumn has well and truly set in now. With it now being the start of November it should be obvious that autumn has been with us for a while but after such a whirlwind year I still feel like I'm stuck in the middle of summer. I'm definitely finding it hard to believe that Christmas is only next month!

Autumn leaves back home in Swanage.

Autumn leaves back home in Swanage.

With the year starting to draw to a close it is a perfect time to reflect on my year to date. I've had plenty of highs and a few lows on the way but the most important thing is that I have learnt so much about myself, my sailing and my life. I am incredibly lucky to have sailing as my job and every day I live the dream the only a few can ever experience.

The support I have received over the year has been truly amazing, especially since joining the British Sailing Team in September - I am very excited for my future as part of the team.

I've also been very confident with my development and learning this past year. Sometimes its very hard to see improvement even if you have done everything right but I have had confidence in myself and my techniques to critique every part of my sailing.

One thing I think is very important when being a full time athlete is to participate in many different hobbies and dedicate some time every day to them. I find it allows me to properly relax and reflect on my performance from the day as well as learn new and exciting skills. Since moving to Weymouth in September I have participated in many activities such as golf, 5 a side football, countless trips to the local cinema, cycle trips and much more. I also have a huge passion for design and technology and using my skills that I learnt at Microsoft last year I have started designing and programming computer applications. I have created a variety of different applications (all of them related to sailing in some way) with my best to date being SailPlan 2016. This application is the ultimate sailing tool for serious sailors and by using computer algorithms to process and display huge amounts of data in one single interface it allows you to effectively brief and debrief your sessions, maximising productivity. Whilst the app currently only runs on the Windows operating system, I am in the process of creating an iPhone and iPad version. Watch this space....

 
 

As I settle down and prepare for the upcoming winters training I am looking to carry on this momentum into next year and hopefully it will bring a lot of success and learning along the way.

Looking forward to the upcoming classic windy Weymouth winter!

Looking forward to the upcoming classic windy Weymouth winter!

Thanks,

Sam

British Sailing Team

British Sailing Team

Hi guys,

I am really excited to announce that I am now part of the British Sailing Team! After the U21 Europeans I qualified myself for the newly formed Pathway to Podium Potential (P3) squad.

I had to take a photo after sticker-ing up my boat!

I had to take a photo after sticker-ing up my boat!

Since hearing the exciting news I have now moved to Weymouth to continue my full time sailing. It has been a great introduction to the team and I still can't believe how lucky I am to be in surrounded by the best support team in the world.

What has also amazed me is the friendliness of everyone in the team - Olympic medal athletes often come up and introduce themselves, asking how my day has been etc. It really is an honour to now call these people my teammates.

Training out in Weymouth Bay with Portland a few miles in the distance.

Training out in Weymouth Bay with Portland a few miles in the distance.

Since starting training here in Weymouth I have been fortunate to train with some legends in the Laser, including Alex Mills Barton who made his return for the Hayling Island national qualifier.

The first autumn national event took place on the 17th/18th September in South Shields SC - some 9 hour drive up north! I was very lucky to have my parents take my boat and I up for me which saved me a lot of stress the day before the competition. On the Saturday I had a really strong start having figured out the conditions and almost beat Elliot Hanson, who is ranked in the top 20 in the world. I had some other consistent results which left me 2nd overnight. Unfortunately Sunday dawned with no wind and after a few hours waiting onshore no wind arrived and the day was cancelled, leaving me 2nd overall at the event.

A few weeks later on the 8th/9th October was the second autumn national event at Hayling Island, near Southampton. I had another good first day, lying 4th overnight but unfortunately a slightly disappointing second day meant I finished the event in 7th overall. Although I lost a few places on the second day I did learn a huge amount in the tough conditions and it will make me a stronger sailor in the long run.

After these events I have just had a P3 squad camp down here in Weymouth which has been really good to make new friends and learn from the useful talks which have been put on throughout the week, including one from double Laser world champion Nick Thompson about his journey.

Next week is also my first proper rest week which will be great to reflect on the lessons of the past month and prepare myself for the next block of training to make sure I return stronger than ever.

Thanks for reading!

Sam

U21 Europeans 2016

So the Under-21 Europeans 2016 have finished. Held in Split, in Croatia, it was a great event for me both on and off of the water.

Just before the start of Race 9 with all the boats jostling for position.

Just before the start of Race 9 with all the boats jostling for position.

I managed to solve many of the problems which had plagued me at the previous week at the worlds and sailed a very consistent series. Of course, as with any sporting event, there were a few ups and downs and the weather did turn unpredictable and funky at times!

Adjusting controls mid-reach on one of the windier days of the regatta.

Adjusting controls mid-reach on one of the windier days of the regatta.

In the end I finished 8th overall which I am extremely happy about especially considering that I will be back next year hungrier and faster. This is also the first ever international competition I have ever finished inside the top 10 and I believe this shows just how hard I have been working over the last few years.

Jack Cookson, who narrowly beat me to 7th overall, Clemmie Thompson who did very well in the girls fleet finishing 5th overall and me with my trophy after finishing 8th overall.

Jack Cookson, who narrowly beat me to 7th overall, Clemmie Thompson who did very well in the girls fleet finishing 5th overall and me with my trophy after finishing 8th overall.

And that was it for my summer of competitions! I'm proud at my progress and results but at the same time will miss the travelling and competing. Next up was the journey back home to England!

Leaving the lovely warmth and sunshine of Croatia....

Leaving the lovely warmth and sunshine of Croatia....

....To the cloud and rain of England!

....To the cloud and rain of England!

I also have some very exciting news which I will announce in the next few weeks so watch this space....

Sam

U21 World Championship Review and Preperation for the Europeans

U21 World Championship Review and Preperation for the Europeans

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the lack of updates over the past month. It has been a very busy few weeks in preparation for two of the biggest events of the year for me - the Under 21 World & European Championships, held in Germany and Croatia.

First up was the World Championships in Kiel, Germany. I arrived with plenty of time to spare and settled in nicely to the venue and my accommodation. We had some excellent couple of days training pre-event before the first day of the competition arrived.

Preparations onshore ready for the start of the U21 Worlds in Kiel, Germany.

Preparations onshore ready for the start of the U21 Worlds in Kiel, Germany.

The regatta consisted of 2 races a day for 6 days in a row. A small mistake on the first day meant I didn't get the greatest beginning to the regatta however throughout the week I fought back hard to move up the rankings considerably and enjoyed some success, including a cheeky race win!

After my first ever race win at the World Championships!

After my first ever race win at the World Championships!

It all came down to the last day of the regatta where things did not go my way. I was starting well but struggled to piece together the first half of the race to leave me with two poor results. This unfortunately dropped me down from 16th to 30th place overall, leaving me rather disappointed at my performance over that last day.

The start of Race 3 at the U21 World Championships.

The start of Race 3 at the U21 World Championships.

Although my last day was not what I was hoping for I was happy with how I was sailing over the week and took a lot to learn away from the competition. It is also an honour to be ranked in the top 30 sailors of my age in the world and moving forward this result will only make me stronger as a person and as a sailor.

Immediately after the worlds finished I then had to fly to Split, Croatia, in preparation for the U21 Europeans which start tomorrow. Whilst my boat was kindly being driven from Germany by the team coach, I had a couple of days to relax and reflect before getting back into training and making sure I was fast & prepared for the competition ahead.

Flying from Kiel, Germany, to Split in Croatia.

Flying from Kiel, Germany, to Split in Croatia.

The heat got too much for the team during a training session in Croatia!

The heat got too much for the team during a training session in Croatia!

Celebrating the return of Croatias first ever Olympic medallist in Sailing, Tonci Stipanovic.

Celebrating the return of Croatias first ever Olympic medallist in Sailing, Tonci Stipanovic.

The view from the sailing club marina looking over to the city of Split and the mountains in the distance.

The view from the sailing club marina looking over to the city of Split and the mountains in the distance.

With the Europeans starting tomorrow I am approaching them with a focussed mindset, positivity and a deep desire to win and hopefully should I perform well I can prove that I am one of the best and am here to win.

Sam

Back to the UK

Back to the UK

Hi guys,

As always I have been very busy since the last update!  After successfully traveling to Warnemunde, in Germany, I competed at a big Europa cup regatta where over 270 sailors competed. After a tough first day I spent the rest of the week playing catch up and whilst I had some promising moments the first day really dragged me down the leaderboard. I ended up finishing 14th overall which whilst I was not completely happy with the result I was extremely happy with the knowledge and confidence gained throughout the week. 

After the event the team then packed up the trailer and we set about the 2 day journey back home. Check out the picture of the van!

Trailer & van all loaded and ready to go. 

Trailer & van all loaded and ready to go. 

Upon arriving back in the UK I had a few days of recovery and light training at home in Swanage before heading off to Hayling Island for some training with Mark Rushall and my brother, Ben. We had three days of excellent training in a wide variety of conditions and most importantly felt more confident and had a lot of fun in the process!

Getting towed back in after training at Hayling Island.

Getting towed back in after training at Hayling Island.

After a solid day of boat maintenance my boat was looking good! 

After a solid day of boat maintenance my boat was looking good! 

One of my sponsors, TracTrac UK, stickers on my boat.

One of my sponsors, TracTrac UK, stickers on my boat.

Currently I am having a rare few days off relaxing before hitting the final block of training hard in preparation for the Worlds & Europeans in August!

Another photo I took of the sunset over Weymouth & Portland one evening whilst exploring.

Another photo I took of the sunset over Weymouth & Portland one evening whilst exploring.

I'm looking forward to the training and competitions ahead and am feeling more confident than ever!

Thanks,

Sam

Adventures in Germany

Adventures in Germany

Hi everyone,

So a lot has been going on in the last few weeks! Since arriving in Germany it has been a busy rollercoaster ride full of adventures, lots of sailing and many awesome experiences.

The first week comprised of a large competition based out of an area called Kiel, where my Under-21 World Championships will be later on in the year in August. After a slow start I felt like I sailed well for the rest of the week but most importantly I learnt a lot about the venue and the conditions. I am really looking forward to returning in August!

Next was travel to another venue in Germany, Warnemünde, for a second international competition. I arrived with a few days to spare and have had two days of great training on the water in some great weather conditions. I am really excited for the start of the competition tomorrow and hopefully I can take on the learning from last week and apply it to this week’s racing!

In the meantime check out some of the photos from the trip so far:

The rare luxury of flying to sailing events!

The rare luxury of flying to sailing events!

View from the Olympic Sailing Centre in Kiel, Germany.

View from the Olympic Sailing Centre in Kiel, Germany.

Many freebies from Kiel Week - thanks guys!

Many freebies from Kiel Week - thanks guys!

My accommodation for the week was surprisingly comfy and enjoyable.

My accommodation for the week was surprisingly comfy and enjoyable.

After travelling to Warnemünde I was greeted by this stunning beach!

After travelling to Warnemünde I was greeted by this stunning beach!

...And then later on in the evening was greeted by an equally stunning sunset.

...And then later on in the evening was greeted by an equally stunning sunset.

Playing around in front of a stunning sunset.

Playing around in front of a stunning sunset.

ISAF World Cup Weymouth & More

ISAF World Cup Weymouth & More

So this past week has been the ISAF Sailing World Cup event, which has been held in Weymouth, Dorset. A collection of the top 40 sailors in the world gathered for what looked to be more super tight racing and whilst I was not racing, I was lucky enough to be able to get out on the water watching with one of the best coaches in the world. Watching and analysing the decisions of every sailor, it was a great few days seeing everything from a completely different perspective and has allowed me to gain a lot of confidence and knowledge in my thinking and decision making.

Towing out to the race area after a very light wind morning.

Towing out to the race area after a very light wind morning.

Looking forward I have a busy few weeks ahead! On Sunday I fly out to Kiel, Germany, for Kiel Week 2016 – a large international regatta at the same venue where my Under-21 World championships will be later on in August this year. Whilst this is not a performance regatta it is one where hopefully I will be able to learn a lot from and leave me in a good place heading into the world championships in a few months’ time.

In order to keep down costs I decided to buy a tent and a few camping accessories and will be camping for the entire 2 and a half weeks I will be in Germany. Wish me luck!

My accommodation for the next 2 and a half weeks!

My accommodation for the next 2 and a half weeks!

Sam

A Good Week Training

A Good Week Training

So over the past week I returned from Holland and went straight into training down in Weymouth as part of the British Youth Sailing team. It was a great week with a varying range of weather which threw up many difficult conditions. Luckily as ever we had world-class coaches and Jack Wetherell from the British Sailing Team also joined us in his Laser; sailing against us and keeping us all on our toes.

Talking over one of the practice races after a particularly windy downwind!

Talking over one of the practice races after a particularly windy downwind!

So heading into next week I will be doing some in-depth anaylsis of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth on and off of the water, followed by a short training block back home before flying out to Kiel Week 2016, held at the end of June in Germany.

I'll keep you posted!

Thanks,

Sam