SWS Newsletter

SWS Newsletter

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Season In Full Swing

Season In Full Swing

Since my last blog there has been plenty to report on with the sailing season in full swing once again. Now 126 days into 2019 time seems to be flying! Read on below to find out what I have been up to.

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Just before jetting off to Palma I had time to film the next episode of Head to Wind. This time it was Waszp vs Moth in a racing challenge using the new Beat Racing app. Unfortunately the wind didn’t really play ball and we had some very light winds but with the new Waszp foil I still managed to give the racing a good go. Check out the video below to see who wins!

Pretty cool right!

Heading home I had a few days to prepare before flying out to Palma, getting ready for Princess Sofia regatta.

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Palma usually delivers a wide range of fantastic conditions and this year was no different. Whilst a tad cold (its colder than it looks!) we had nice wind on all the training days.

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I had a bit of a nightmare with my accommodation and had to change places on the first day. Whilst not convenient, I did manage to share with some friends in a lovely villa just on the outskirts of Can Pastilla. The views were amazing!

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Racing got underway in some light and tricky winds. I had a pretty average start to the regatta but got into gold fleet, where the real work then began.

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On day 4 racing became incredibly wacky, with the wind coming straight off the mountains and over the old Palma city. It was great, fun racing and I spent most of the time laughing at the crazy events unfolding across the race course.

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After a tough week of racing i finished 39th out of 190 boats. Whilst I was reasonably happy with the result there was still a lot of points left out on the race track and I know I can do better!

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Post-pack up sunset. See ya later Palma!

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After flying back home for a few days I did a lot of mountain biking with my good friend Max. We had some lovely weather and got quite a few miles under our belts exploring the Jurassic coastline.

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A few days later and it was time for the next event: the Genoa World Cup. I made my way to London and then flew out to Italy. Genoa was an amazing city full of bustling tiny streets and the feeling of mad chaos really surrounded the city.

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The sailing club was some kind of old art exhibition centre which actually worked as the perfect boat storage facility. We never had to de-rig so it really was a dream.

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Whilst we had some nice winds for every training day beforehand, the regatta started in incredibly light winds. The windiest we raced in was about 5 knots!

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Above: Exiting a roll tack on day 1.

Below: Launched off the start.

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After 5 days of incredibly light winds, racing was over and it was time to pack up. Whilst I had a rather disastrous result it still was incredibly good learning and has taught me some valuable lessons to move forwards with.

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After racing I had three days free before travelling to France for the next competition so decided to use them exploring the city and hitting the gym pretty hard. Here are some photos from my travels in Genoa:

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I love climbing and stumbling across a wall in the middle of the city I couldn’t resist but jump straight on. Great strength training as well.

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After a great three days it was time to head to Hyeres for the SOF regatta. After a short 4 hour drive across the border we arrived and promptly unpacked.

After last years amazing start here at the Hyeres World Cup I had very fond memories of this very pretty place.

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We had some very nice weather as well - finally a taste of summer!

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Unfortunately the heat also meant with had some light and peculiar winds so there was a bit of waiting around…

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But for the last few days the wind really stepped up a notch and we finally had some windy weather sailing for the first time in almost a month.

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A slight weakness of mine in Palma, I have been working hard on my starting. Pleased to say that this was much better at Hyeres as this picture shows!

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The final day of fleet racing brought some incredibly strong winds and with 3 races it really was a game of extreme endurance and perseverance. Apart from a slight mishap in race 1 (where I almost sunk after a mis-understanding) I came back strong and got my best result in the last race, taking an 8th place.

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Above: The start of the last race - it went 20 degrees left about 5 minutes after this was taken so I managed to cross almost all the boats further up the line.

So part 1 of the European tour is over! With Hyeres finishing last week I have travelled home and am spending a week here preparing for one of the biggest competitions of the year; the European championships.

Held this year in Porto, Portugal, I fly out next Monday 13th May and have a good few days to get used to the conditions (supposedly big wind & waves) . Buzzing is an understatement.

I’ll keep you posted how I get on!

Cheers,

Sam

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Marlow Ropes Award

Marlow Ropes Award

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Very excited to announce that I have won the Marlow Ropes Award. This prestigious award is only handed out once a year and I am honoured to now work with Marlow Ropes to develop the best lines in the world. Below is the press release, which you can also read on Yachts & Yachting here.


British Sailing Team Laser sailor Sam Whaley has become the latest recipient of the Marlow Rope P3 Award marking a breakthrough year for the 22-year-old in 2019.

Marlow Ropes works closely with the British Sailing Team and is committed to helping develop new talent by making this award to a member of the P3 group, the Team's Podium Potential Pathway sailors transitioning from Youth sailing into full-time training. The Award is presented to sailors who best demonstrate the core values of passion and commitment to excellence.

After taking up sailing relatively late at the age of 14, inspired by his father who sailed around the world, Whaley has progressed quickly through the British Sailing Team pathway displaying a determination and focus that has meant that he has quickly established himself as one of the best sailors of his age and earning a place in the British Sailing Team's Laser P3 squad.

Whaley is a keen all round sailor, and as well as winning both the British Laser Nationals in August and Laser Inland National Championships in October 2018 he also earned a world title in the RS Aero and is regularly seen sailing his Waszp near his home in Swanage, spending a much time as possible on the water.

Leisure Marine Sales Director Paul Honess commented:
"Partnerships with our BST award winners are very important to us; we enjoy being able to help them progress in their sailing by rigging their boats with quality products and it is a great way for us to gain product feedback and insights. These partnerships help all of us to be the best we can be. Sam has produced some outstanding performances over the last 12 months and we're sure he'll go from strength to strength so we are delighted to be working with him."

Sam Whaley commented:
"It is a real honour to win the Marlow Ropes Award, following in the footsteps of some incredible sailors. While we don't have many control lines on the Laser it still is incredibly important to make sure you have the very best rope to eek out every possible gain. I am delighted to become a Marlow Ropes ambassador and I'm especially excited to have the opportunity to help them continue developing the best ropes in the world."

Find out more at www.marlowropes.com

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Monthly Blog

Monthly Blog

Hi everyone,

Once again time has flown by and here we are already 72 days into 2019. Since the last post I’ve been very busy chipping away as per normal, and have been lucky enough to visit some pretty cool places along the way. Have a read on to find out what I have been up to over the past month and a half.

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Going back all the way to the end of January, I took this photo back home in Swanage just before leaving to get on my flight to Miami. I love exploring and seeing sunrises/sunsets so this did put me in quite a good mood heading to Heathrow.

Miami

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I love flights and this was my first long haul for quite a few years so I was feeling good heading over across the pond.

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Arriving in Miami this was our accommodation for the week. Quite a nice pad with a good bunch of friends meant it was good fun.

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The regatta park at Coconut Grove.

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Some nice views on the walk home.

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With some cool buildings!

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After a couple of days pre-event training we had a rest day the day beforehand and went to the local mall, which is quite a big experience in America! There there were some HUGE shops and even a Tesla store. Personally I love the Model 3 so it was pretty cool seeing one in person.

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Okay so definitely slightly off-topic now….

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Back to sailing and back at the boat park this photo perfectly captures the moment my UK Sport stickers wouldn’t stick to the hull properly… Doh.

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So rest day was over and racing got underway the following day.

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Unfortunately racing did not exactly go to plan and I had a mixed week in some tough conditions. Read more about it in my blog post here.

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Soon enough I was back on the plane and flying back to the UK having thoroughly enjoyed my time in the US but with lots of thoughts on how to move forward.

Back in the UK

First thing that hit me was just how cold it really was back in Dorset. Yikes!

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But getting straight back into ‘work’, I was off to Weymouth the next day to film the next Head to Wind challenge with British Sailing Team mate Jack Cookson. This time we were sailing oppies against each other. For people who don’t know, oppies are tiny little boats designed to be sailed from ages 5-15 with a maximum weight of 55kg. So with us both sitting around the 83kg mark it was sure to be fun.

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We hit the water in 18-25 knots and quickly set about racing, capsizing or in my case, sinking.

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Despite only sailing an Oppie once before (back in August when I already was 30kg overweight!) I had a great time and enjoyed razzing around Weymouth Harbour at roughly 2 knots.

After a few practice runs we got straight into racing. Check out the video above to see who wins!

Back Out To Portugal

Having had a good few days back in the UK recharging I was ready to head back out to Vilamoura for the final winter training camp.

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It’s a lovely place and a world away from the UK in the winter so it really allows us to get about 4 times as much sailing volume in as we could back home, making the trip very much worth it while. Plus there are some great bargains on flights, with Ryanair doing promotions over the winter of only £9 each way.

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After a few days training with our coach we got straight into a small regatta with some big names, including Robert Scheidt, who is making a return to the Laser for 2020. It was pretty cool sailing against him.

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A few days of high winds and big waves meant there was always going to be some carnage, with this guy accidentally getting crashed into and subsequently sinking. Never seen some abandon ship so quickly!

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Ouch.

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Chilling with the squad on the final day, waiting for the wind and waves whilst simultaneously looking like a boy band from the 90s.

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With the event wrapping up I finished a respectable 12th overall. A good mark but by no means my best.

That was it for my time in Portugal and what a fantastic few months it had been. By easily quadrupling the amount of time on the water compared to the UK I really feel like I had emerged out of winter a good 10 steps forward and ready to start the season.

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Flying back to Bournemouth I flew past the Jurassic Coast and saw Weymouth & Portland from a new and cool angle.

Back in the UK & Off Again

Arriving back in the UK I had a single night at home before I went on a family holiday for a week. It’s funny but this time of year is the only time any of us are free so we all clubbed together and went off for a nice relaxing holiday in an alpine environment (definitely was not skiing!).

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Back in the UK (for good)

After a great week chilling out I was reset, focused and ready to hit the ground running. Flying back to London I went straight to Alexandra Palace for the RYA Dinghy Show, possibly one of my favourite events of a year. There always seems to be an incredible buzz around the place and so many friendly people to talk to.

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It was an awesome couple of days and I spent a lot of time on the Sailing Chandlery stand, helping people out and giving advice for suitable bits for them and their boat.

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All questions here please. Hahaha.

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Whilst at the show I received fantastic news that I have won the British Sailing Team P3 Marlow Ropes Award! Read more about this here.

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After the fantastic dinghy show I headed back home and slowly returned back to normality and general training. A few days hard at the gym was enough to set me up well for the first spring Noble Marine Laser World & European qualifier, held at Weymouth last weekend (9th/10th March).

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Despite no racing on Sunday (due to winds of up to 50mph!) I had a good Saturday and was happy to have consistent speed with some solid decision making to finish 6th overall. Bit painful to be just outside the main bunch as I left 5 points easily out on the race course which would of set me up much more nicely but that’s racing and I’m happy to be moving in the right direction.

On the Monday after the qualifier I saw conditions in the afternoon were a solid 15-20 knots WNW. With this in mind it got me thinking about doing another Weymouth - Swanage downwind run. Having done a few of these in 2018 the thought of doing another was pretty exciting.

It’s hard to explain the feeling but there is a massive sense of satisfaction/progress/adrenaline/fear when going for 4 hours downwind in some of the toughest conditions found on the south coast.

So with conditions still perfect on Monday morning Micky Beckett and I set off from Weymouth for the run back home.

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And we made it! Took a bit longer than usual, mainly because the tide was against us the entire way. Not usually too much of a problem until we got to St Albans Head, where there was huge breaking white water waves everywhere and it really became quite sketchy.

We also had our by-now-normal meeting with the Ministry of Defence, who were as usual thrilled to see us and advised us to change course unless we wanted to be shot by a tank shell. Happily we obliged and sailed further out to sea (hence the banana half way through the picture above!). All in all a fantastic day and some real progress forward, particularly in decision making.

Battling with the boat and conditions off St Albans Head.

Battling with the boat and conditions off St Albans Head.

So what now? Well tomorrow I head to Stokes Bay in Southampton for the second instalment of the Noble Marine Laser World & European qualifiers. After that I have another in Plymouth the following weekend before heading out to Princess Sofia regatta in Mallorca, where the Olympic trials officially start! Exciting times.

As always follow my progress on here or my social media:

Instagram: @samwhaley97

Facebook: Sam Whaley Sailing

Twitter: @samwhaleygbr

Thanks for all your support in these exciting times!

Sam

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At the RYA Dinghy Show? Come watch my talk!

At the RYA Dinghy Show? Come watch my talk!

Hi all,

Exciting news. Tomorrow the RYA Dinghy Show starts at Alexandra Palace in London and I am lucky enough to be doing a Laser top tips talk as well as much more.

I’ll be around all day but will be at the Sailing Chandlery stand from 11-12pm with my Laser Top Tips talk starting at 1pm at the RYA Knowledge Zone.

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Visit the Sailing Chandlery stand for a chance to win a days coaching with me. Don’t miss out!

Sam

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Darwin Escapes Joins The Team

Darwin Escapes Joins The Team

 
 

Very pleased to announce Darwin Escapes as a new sponsor for Sam Whaley Sailing.

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Darwin Escapes is one of the UK’s fastest growing travel brands with a growing portfolio currently standing at 22 holiday resorts. Each holiday park has its own unique character to ensure we can provide a wide variety of customers with the perfect setting in which to create a lifetime of happy holiday memories.

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They strive to help their customers have the perfect holiday and with over 22 UK holiday parks, you are sure to find the perfect location for you regardless of whether you are looking for family or singles holidays, short or long breaks, city or beach holidays.

Have a look at their website here:

www.darwinescapes.co.uk

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It's Not All Plain Sailing

It's Not All Plain Sailing

It's not all plain sailing! Unfortunately not my finest hour this week at the Miami Sailing World Cup. I struggled to understand the conditions and missed a few too many opportunities but aside from the result I’ve had a great time and learnt so much.
Looking forward to hitting the racetrack again soon.

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2019

2019

Happy new year!

What a year 2018 was. Best year of my life? Definitely. Full of so many great challenges, lessons and good times. It’s mad to think of the person I was this time last year and how much I have changed since, but I know that the process has brought me many steps closer to my goals.

Take a look through my photo diary below to find out how the end of 2018 went:

After another two week block in Portugal it was time to head home for Christmas. This time Jack and I had to drive back and after a rough night driving non-stop to make our ferry we made it on and was greeted by this lovely sunset as we left Bilbao.

Unfortunately the serenity didn't last long and as we headed into the open ocean we got caught in some huge storm swell which turned the entire ferry journey into a sickening rollercoaster! Not pleasant.

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Finally arriving home a couple of days before Christmas day I was keen to get in as much fun sailing as possible and headed out for a couple of Waszp sails in Swanage, hitting a new top speed PB of 24.7 knots.

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I also had time for a chilly windsurf session from Bramble Bush Bay over to Brownsea Island. It was great fun and although my equipment started falling apart in the middle of Poole Harbour I still managed to have a blast and make it back!

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Heading into the new year it was great to reflect on some of my best moments of the year….

…. before heading back out on the bike to get some miles under my belt…

… as well as plenty of time in the Laser training with some huge waves in Swanage.

Training in Swanage.

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Soon after new years I headed to Laser in Northampton to pick up my new Laser for the year. It was great to see the guys again and say goodbye to Joel, who has helped me over the last few years and is leaving to start a new job!

After a couple of days setting her up, my new boat was ready to go and I headed to Southampton to meet my coach, James Gray, who very kindly drove all our boats out to Portugal.

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Some sunny but mild conditions greeted us in Portugal and combined with some very light winds we had a very productive training camp - we only saw about 3 clouds all week!

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One of the only clouds of the week!

The cycling over there is always stunning and we ended up getting more than 150k done in over a week.

The road outside our accommodation. It is very relaxed and serene over there, not to mention cheap at this time of the year! My return flights were £18.

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Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and as our first training camp of the year concluded it was time to head home. Despite all of the negative press Ryanair receive, I have had a great experience with them over the past few months and the astonishingly low fares and good service has left me quite a happy customer.

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Welcome to Darwin Escapes, who are one of the fastest growing travel brands in the UK. They have a portfolio of 20 holiday resorts spread across various locations around the UK and have joined me on my journey for this year.

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After a few days back home it was straight to Weymouth for a weekend of youth squad training. Yes it was a bit chilly but we got some fabulous conditions with pretty much everything over a two day period and I thoroughly enjoyed sailing back in the UK.

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New sponsor stickers looking good on my new sail.

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What’s next for me?

On Thursday I fly out to Miami for the first Sailing World Cup of the year. I’m very excited and confident I can perform and whilst the fleet is going to be extremely tough I’m looking forward to the fight.

I’ll keep you posted!

Sam

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November 2018

November 2018

Hey,

After winning the Laser Inlands I have been awfully busy and winter training really has started for me. Have a browse of my diary of the last month or so in the pictures below:

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At a very, very cold Rutland Sailing Club for the Laser Inland Championships. Was lucky enough to be given a Volvo V40 for the weekend - a very comfy and powerful drive I must say.

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A tricky and typically shifty event, I was lucky to come away with the scoreline I did.

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But in the end did manage to bring home the trophy for the second year in a row!! Congrats to the Radial fleet winner Ben Elvin (on the left) and Harvey Leigh (on the right) for winning the 4.7 fleet.

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Heading back to Weymouth the next day it thankfully was about 15 degrees warmer and I got straight back into training with the other P3 lads.

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One day we were even joined by a friendly dolphin in the harbour. in fact he/she has been sighted many times inside the harbour so we are all wondering if they are trapped or just chosen Portland as their new home?!

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Going into some more training with the Youth Squad this time we had a pretty fruity weekend. After sailing for over an hour downwind we turned to look upwind to see this monstrous cloud only a few miles away. I had a bit of a joke and pointed at the cloud when this photo was taken but didn't quite realise what devastation this would actually bring!

15 minutes of a solid 45-50 knots was a pretty big shock to the system but it was great to spice up the training with a few new challenges (hahaha!).

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However what these squally clouds did leave behind were some beautiful sunsets for us to look at.

Pleased to announce that I am presenting a new sailing TV series called Head To Wind. Aiming to do cool/crazy challenges on anything water related it should be a great watch so keep your eyes peeled for future episodes and subscribe at rya.org.uk/headtowind

Anyway in the episode above I attempt to pick up bits of plastic in the sea whilst flying on a foiling Waszp. Have a watch and see what you think.

Returning back home I had a new delivery from Sailing Chandlery to keep me well stocked and warm over the winter. At the moment you even get a free hat for any orders over £50 on any products from a clothing firm which rhymes with Bike….

I try and run coaching sessions one weekend a month and this time I was at Hayling Island for the RS Aero Youth Squad training. A fabulously warm weekend with plenty of wind and waves, it was great to see so many boats on the water and I had a blast coaching the top guys in the 7 rigs.

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Some of you might have noticed that I now have a new official Sam Whaley Sailing logo. This is mainly to help keep my content branded effectively and more consistently, hope you like it!

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With winter sailing in the UK pretty much wrapped up for 2018 we packed up and loaded our boats onto a trailer and set off on the long drive from the UK to Vilamoura, in Portugal.

Why leave the UK for training? Well the milder climate makes it great to get long hours on the water and experience a vast array of different conditions than you might encounter in the typically windy UK winter. Great to learn and develop my skills without the risk of hypothermia!

Unfortunately our ferry journey was far from simple; a huge storm not only meant our progress was significantly slower and bumpier than planned but the ferry had to divert to a different port in Spain - not ideal.

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After ageing what felt like 3 years on the ferry we made it to Spain and set off for the long journey down all the way to Portugal.

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Luckily our drive was made significantly easier by being able to drive this beast. Honestly is the comfiest, coolest and most relaxing car I have ever driven. The technology inside has a massive wow-factor and she is pretty much self driving meaning you really can relax on long journeys. Volvo V60

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After a mammoth drive we arrived in sunny Vilamoura and set about getting ourselves ready for the intense block of 9 days training coming up ahead.

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Conditions varied, predominantly windy with sizeable sea state but we also got some light winds to really test our adaptiveness.

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Our training camp drew to a close with some serious hours done on the water and on the bike + in the gym. Here I am with team mate Jack Cookson celebrating the end of the camp on a pretty chilled out evening.

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So our first block of winter training in Portugal finished and it was then time to fly home to the UK for some rest and recovery.

I fly Ryanair so much I deserve a loyalty card….

The day after getting home I was straight into filming for the latest instalment of Head To Wind, this time a race against a foiling wakeboard. Unfortunately the wind didn't play ball and it was much lighter than forecast which meant I did struggle on the Waszp. I did, however, win the final race to at least keep my dignity intact.

After a few days at home I then flew back to Portugal, where I am now, and am staying until driving back a couple of days before Christmas. Luckily the weather is still relatively good here and we’ve already done two epic days on the water. Fingers crossed the wind stays here until the end of the camp!

Thanks for reading.

Sam

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Welcome to Actisense

Welcome to Actisense

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A huge welcome to my new sponsor Actisense!

Actisense is a market leader in the manufacture of intelligent marine electronic products. They aim to be the installer's product of choice by making navigation safer with the most reliable boat electronic systems. 

Signing the contract with CEO Phil Whitehurst.

Signing the contract with CEO Phil Whitehurst.

Based in Poole, Dorset on the south coast of England, Actisense has established an enviable world-wide reputation within the specialist field of marine electronics. This has been achieved by providing an excellent level of service to our extensive client base and through the design and manufacture of prestigious marine electronic equipment.

Check out their website and social media here:

www.actisense.com

www.facebook.com/actisensenews

www.twitter.com/actisense

YouTube

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Laser Inland Champion

Laser Inland Champion

Very pleased to announce that yesterday I won the Laser Inlands Championships for a second year in a row! It definitely was one of the coldest events of my entire life, with the average temperature barely above 5 degrees on both days but I found a good rhythm with the conditions and managed to notch up four wins out of 6 races.

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Travelling in style thanks to Volvo Cars UK.

Travelling in style thanks to Volvo Cars UK.

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Huge thanks as always to Sailing Chandlery for kitting me out with the best kit for the conditions.

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10th at the RS200 Nationals

10th at the RS200 Nationals

Just finished another brilliant week at the RS Games in Weymouth, this time in a slightly different boat to usual, the RS200.

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The RS200 is a double handed, spinnaker hiking boat so very different to the sailing I'm used to! Teaming up very last minute with my friend Sophie Dawson after her helm pulled out, I turned up in Weymouth on the Sunday to sail with her for the first time before the racing against 120 boats started the next day.

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The racing was extremely hectic and we didn't make it easy for ourselves, sinking in the first race and having to return to shore before various other incidents during the week such as a couple of capsizes here and there - not fast! Gate starts were also a totally new experience for me and proved to be incredibly hard to judge.

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Still, we managed to finish in 10th overall, something I'm really happy with especially considering my very limited 200 and spinnaker boat experience and having never sailed with Sophie before. It was great fun racing against many of my sailing friends new and old and I really hope we can make the nationals next year. Talking about the nationals next year does this means we're pathfinder for race one next time then?!

Sam

RS Aero World Champion

RS Aero World Champion

Very proud to announce that yesterday I won the RS Aero World Championships in Weymouth as part of the RS Games, one of the largest sailing events ever held!

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It truly was a superb week full of tough racing, wacky conditions and great onsite support & activities. The fleet was huge; 206 Aeros in total with 103 in the 7 fleet alone. Split fleet racing was required and was very tough with Aeros firing in from all sides of the course at any moment which made it essential to pick the right time to tack back in.

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The 5 day long event started off with light winds before progressively getting windier as the week went on. By racing on Friday we had gusts over 30 knots during racing which made it a wild ride onboard but great fun with smiles all round. 

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I put quite a bit of time before the event figuring out some good settings for high and low modes and it was very pleasing to see during racing that I had great upwind speed, allowing me to work my way to the front of the fleet even when things did go pear-shaped!

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Downwinds were great too and the wider angles I were doing in the event really seemed to pay off. Don't be afraid to reach!

My starting generally was also very good with the exception of one race, which was also very pleasing as there were many many black flagged starts (usually a small weakness of mine seems to be picking up these!).

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My boat was also working perfectly and I knew all the control lines inside out which always helps. I could have tweaked them mid-event as they were slightly out of range but decided to stick with what I knew and left them as they were. Used some great new ropes from Sailing Chandlery.

Overall it was a wonderful week full of great racing, great conditions and great people. It feels great to be world champion and I look forward to hopefully defending my crown next year!

Laser National Champion!

Laser National Champion!

Very excited to announce that last week I won the prestigious Laser Nationals, held in Plymouth over 6 days against some of the UKs best sailors.

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It was a fantastic week down in Plymouth and despite 2 days being called off with a lack of wind we still managed to get 10 races completed in some really tricky conditions.

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GBR 213719

GBR 213719

Unfortunately due to one bad event for me at the very start of this season I have not qualified for a space at the World Sailing Championships. I'm furious I'm not there but am determined to go and prove that there has been a big mistake made. I am not going to rest until I win. 

Instead I am going to be competing at the RS Aero World Championships, in Weymouth. These are going to be great fun and I really cannot wait to start racing on Monday. Going to go out there with fire in my stomach and an open mind and see what I can do! 

Had the pleasure of meeting Mike Bushall from BBC Breakfast the other day. What a nice guy he is. Looking forward to working with him in the future. Watch this space!

Had the pleasure of meeting Mike Bushall from BBC Breakfast the other day. What a nice guy he is. Looking forward to working with him in the future. Watch this space!

Cheers.

Sam

June - RS Aero Nationals & Kiel Week

June - RS Aero Nationals & Kiel Week

June started off for me at the RS Aero Nationals, a great event I went to with my younger brother Ben. Read about it below:

 

RS Aero Nationals 2018 

 

With the past three months being a whirlwind of activity in many different counties it was nice to return home and go do a fun event with my younger bro Ben. 

Having both had an awesome time at the RS Aero nationals last year we were eager to return to the great atmosphere and racing, making the drive up to Abersoch, in Wales, with much excitement a few days beforehand. 

It was Ben’s turn to repay me for all the free taxi rides I had given him over two years and so he drove, with me being in DJ/entertainment in the passenger seat. 

Some amazing scenery on the roads to Abersoch.

Some amazing scenery on the roads to Abersoch.

Arriving on the beach in Abersoch we were greeted by cloud and rain - not ideal!

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Luckily the weather did clear and things were quickly made up when we found out our charter boats were brand new, so it was a delight unpacking everything from the wrapper - thanks RS Sailing for the amazing service.

One of my personal touches - elastic pulling the downhaul and outhaul up and off. 

One of my personal touches - elastic pulling the downhaul and outhaul up and off. 

I also fitted a smaller, thinner mainsheet (just personal preference) and put my watch in front of the mainsheet boom blocks.

I also fitted a smaller, thinner mainsheet (just personal preference) and put my watch in front of the mainsheet boom blocks.

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Unfortunately the weather forecast did not look good at all for the 4 days, with some very light winds predicted with little chance of a sea breeze.

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Indeed the first day greeted us like this! No racing.

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Luckily the sun came out for the next day and we finally got some wind.  

Over the next two days we got in some good racing, with extremely tough conditions in winds ranging from 3-12 knots. 

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Unfortunately there was no wind on the last day and no sailing but after putting myself in a good position after the previous two days it was an amazing feeling to win the Aero nationals for the second year in a row!

Bringing the trophy home for the second year in the row!

Bringing the trophy home for the second year in the row!

Returning home to Swanage it was amazing to see the paper covering my story at the Aero nationals. It was, however, much tougher than simply ‘easing’ to victory!! 

Returning home to Swanage it was amazing to see the paper covering my story at the Aero nationals. It was, however, much tougher than simply ‘easing’ to victory!! 

Following on from my article I wrote last year about the Aero Nationals (found here) I have started work on a intructional video series, aimed at showing how to get the best out of your Aero across all areas such as setup, technique, decision making and more. Here is a small promo video:

 

 Back to Swanage

 

The following day after getting back I jumped straight back into my training. Below is a photo of my favourite cycling route, a challenging 23km route with over 500 metres of climbing over a mixture of terrain and beautiful landscapes. Highly recommended!

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Dream team. 

Dream team. 

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Whilst home for those few days I also did some coaching in the RS Vareo with a local sailing club member. It was great fun and always useful to learn and understand how every boat ‘works’ and what I can do to drive every little bit from the boat.

I also went out for a big day in the Laser just off of Durlston Head with a friend of mine, Ben Flower. It was great windy training with huge waves to test our boat handling skills. Learnt some valuable mode settings in conditions where knowing when to go high or low was vital. Check out the video of Ben and his wipeout!

 

Back in the Laser 

Weymouth Harbour 6-7 knots.  

Weymouth Harbour 6-7 knots.  

Straight back into my Laser I went to a youth squad camp in Weymouth for a couple of days before setting off to table to Germany for Kiel Week.

  

 Kiel Week

 

After driving for an entire day from England to Kiel in Germany I was greeted with cold rain (there seems to be a trend with rain on my arrival!). Luckily some of the showers passed and I was able to set up camp in my tent.  

Kiel is great for camping as the site is right next to the dinghy park and the facilities are good so it’s usually the one camping event of the year.  

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Kiel Week is much more than just sailing and so the place is really alive and buzzing with people from all over the world. This means the ‘sailing club’ is also awash with pop up stalls of all kinds, live music and a great atmosphere all round. 

Setting up base.

Setting up base.

Fireworks on our first night there.

Fireworks on our first night there.

Tent life isn’t too bad!

Tent life isn’t too bad!

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It was nice to be next to my brother Ben with his 470 next to me in the boatpark.

It was nice to be next to my brother Ben with his 470 next to me in the boatpark.

After a couple of days of lovely sunny conditions and shifty but entertaining training we set about racing for 5 days. 

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Well it certainly turned out to be a windy, wet and cold week! I had a strong start to the regatta and whilst I had a few minor hiccups along the way I finished 19th overall/120, a respectable results given the seriously tough fleet this year with numerous Olympians in the racing. 

I was really happy with my thinkings having improved my process execution considerably as well as my starts, only getting one bad start during the week.  

However still lots to improve!

Returning back home to Swanage in baking heat and sun, if not a touch too little wind! 

Returning back home to Swanage in baking heat and sun, if not a touch too little wind! 

With the UK summer now in full swing there really is some beautiful scenery around back home.

With the UK summer now in full swing there really is some beautiful scenery around back home.

So that’s the end to another big month. July looks to be even bigger with training out in Aarhus, Denmark, and the Laser nationals at the end of the month. 

Stay tuned! 

 

Sam 

Medemblik Regatta

Medemblik Regatta

Despite being back home for less than a week I was back on my travels once again, this time heading to Medemblik, in the Netherlands, for the annual Medemblik Regatta (formally Delta Lloyd Regatta).

With just my coach and fellow British Sailing Team Laser sailor, Elliot Hanson, we drove out in one of the team Volvos and went straight into our training.

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We got one fantastic day on the water, with some light and shifty wind making training very interesting.

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Unfortunately I had a disastrous start to the regatta and was immediately on the back foot going into day 2.

My performance throughout the week went from strength to strength and I really found my form upwind in the last three fleet races, leading around every first windward mark.

Despite my performance getting better throughout the week I missed out on the medal race and ended up finishing 13th overall, not a result I am happy with.

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On the plus side I did get some fantastic rides under my belt in the amazing Dutch weather.

Up next for me is a small rest before heading off to the RS Aero Nationals later this week with my brother Ben, I'm really looking forward to be racing this fantastic boat again!

Thanks for reading.

Sam

Introducing Sailing Chandlery

Introducing Sailing Chandlery

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Very excited to announce Sailing Chandlery as a new sponsor to my Olympic sailing campaign! 😃
Sailing Chandlery are an online chandlery with great prices, fast delivery and are now even an authorised Laser dealer! Check out their website: www.sailingchandlery.com

Laser Europeans 2018

Laser Europeans 2018

Upon finishing my successful first ever world cup I then made my way straight to La Rochelle in the team van, ready to prepare for the upcoming Laser Europeans, one of the biggest events of the year.

Getting straight back into training once we arrived we were greeted with some of the craziest on the water conditions I have ever sailed in. Massive pressure differences, 60 degree shifts and variable tides meant it really was an exciting build up to the event!

Getting straight back into training once we arrived we were greeted with some of the craziest on the water conditions I have ever sailed in. Massive pressure differences, 60 degree shifts and variable tides meant it really was an exciting build up to the event!

Racing was like a game of snakes and ladders.

Racing was like a game of snakes and ladders.

Exiting a tack in training. Really need to work on my facial expressions!

Exiting a tack in training. Really need to work on my facial expressions!

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A busy start line in training.

A busy start line in training.

After 4 days on the water training I finally felt ready to go out and give it everything. 

After 4 days on the water training I finally felt ready to go out and give it everything. 

But first a rest day! And what better way than to go and explore the beautiful city of La Rochelle celebrating Nick Thompson's birthday.

But first a rest day! And what better way than to go and explore the beautiful city of La Rochelle celebrating Nick Thompson's birthday.

La Rochelle City

La Rochelle City

La Rochelle City

La Rochelle City

Finally race day was here! We had some awesome conditions...

Finally race day was here! We had some awesome conditions...

... and I got some awesome starts!....

... and I got some awesome starts!....

.... a trend which continued throughout the week.

.... a trend which continued throughout the week.

Despite my good starts I didn't sail to my full potential as I struggled to really understand the conditions. I qualified for gold fleet and set myself the task of moving up through the fleet. Whist my starting wasn't quite as good I still had some great moments and finished in 48th overall and 34th European.

Despite my good starts I didn't sail to my full potential as I struggled to really understand the conditions. I qualified for gold fleet and set myself the task of moving up through the fleet. Whist my starting wasn't quite as good I still had some great moments and finished in 48th overall and 34th European.

So the Europeans finished and luckily this year it didn't require a trip to hospital! It was very nice to have had some great starts but disappointing to just miss my target of top 30 European. I know, however, that this will sort me out very well for the rest of the season and am looking forward to putting the hammer down. 

Lovely sunset over the Isle of Wight viewed from the ferry on the way home.

Lovely sunset over the Isle of Wight viewed from the ferry on the way home.

It's great to finally be home after being away for almost 2 months and even better that the weather is now completely different - it's actually summer! As you can see from the video above I've been enjoying sailing the Waszp a bit as well as really putting a lot of effort in at the gym and on the bike exploring the beautiful Purbeck countryside. 

Next up for me is Medemblik Regatta, in Holland, on Sunday where I will be away for a week. Really looking forward to getting back at it!

Thanks for reading,

Sam

Hyeres World Cup

Hyeres World Cup

After flying home from Palma, going straight up to one of the Noble Marine Qualifiers in sunny Pwllheli (where I finished 2nd overall) and then coming home for a quick 12 hour pitstop it was time for me to head off back to Europe once again; this time for my first ever sailing world cup, held in Hyeres from the 24th-30th April. Read about my journey from leaving Palma below:

A lovely sunrise greeted me in Palma as my plane was about to take off.

A lovely sunrise greeted me in Palma as my plane was about to take off.

I flew home and got straight back into my car, driving up to Pwllheli in North Wales for one of the World and European Noble Marine qualifiers. We had a wide range of conditions from light stuff on Saturday to a bit more breeze on Sunday leading to some very tight and exciting racing. In the end I finished 2nd overall.

I flew home and got straight back into my car, driving up to Pwllheli in North Wales for one of the World and European Noble Marine qualifiers. We had a wide range of conditions from light stuff on Saturday to a bit more breeze on Sunday leading to some very tight and exciting racing. In the end I finished 2nd overall.

Returning back to Swanage a day of perfect winds tempted my coach and I to head down Weymouth for some WASZP sailing. Unfortunately whilst he suffered minor 'technical' issues I still managed to find someone to race against, Sam Ross on his foil windsurfer! It was fair to say in those light conditions he definitely had the edge!

Returning back to Swanage a day of perfect winds tempted my coach and I to head down Weymouth for some WASZP sailing. Unfortunately whilst he suffered minor 'technical' issues I still managed to find someone to race against, Sam Ross on his foil windsurfer! It was fair to say in those light conditions he definitely had the edge!

The very next day I was off on my way to the Hyeres world cup, flying from Southampton with a quick stopover at Geneva before my final destination of Nice and a short car journey to Hyeres.

The very next day I was off on my way to the Hyeres world cup, flying from Southampton with a quick stopover at Geneva before my final destination of Nice and a short car journey to Hyeres.

It was very hot when I arrived in Hyeres and I quickly realised how well run and organised the World Cup program is. It really did seem like the perfect event!

It was very hot when I arrived in Hyeres and I quickly realised how well run and organised the World Cup program is. It really did seem like the perfect event!

Meanwhile on the accommodation front we managed to bag ourselves an amazing villa in the hills for a ridiculously low price. It was amazing been ale to go for a morning swim everyday ready for sailing!

Meanwhile on the accommodation front we managed to bag ourselves an amazing villa in the hills for a ridiculously low price. It was amazing been ale to go for a morning swim everyday ready for sailing!

The media coverage out at the World Cup was insane and it was amazing to see all the hard work going into the event. I got more photos taken than ever before!

The media coverage out at the World Cup was insane and it was amazing to see all the hard work going into the event. I got more photos taken than ever before!

Racing started in some lovely 7-13 knot winds with sizeable sea state. 

Racing started in some lovely 7-13 knot winds with sizeable sea state. 

After day one I was lying in 8th overall - not bad for my first ever world cup!

After day one I was lying in 8th overall - not bad for my first ever world cup!

The week progressed with some very light and tricky winds.

The week progressed with some very light and tricky winds.

I had some great moments...

I had some great moments...

... and some big learnings along the way.

... and some big learnings along the way.

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At the end of the 5 day competition I finished in a respectable 42nd overall and 27th European sailor. Not bad for my first world cup but I knew I had potential to be many, many places higher. 

At the end of the 5 day competition I finished in a respectable 42nd overall and 27th European sailor. Not bad for my first world cup but I knew I had potential to be many, many places higher. 

Checking out of our accommodation on the final morning before leaving to drive to La Rochelle for Laser Europeans preparation. 

Checking out of our accommodation on the final morning before leaving to drive to La Rochelle for Laser Europeans preparation. 

Overall I had a great time at the Hyeres World Cup and it really did massively help me in my preparation for the Laser Euros. Read about how that went in my next post!

Sam

Princess Sofia Regatta - Palma

Princess Sofia Regatta - Palma

Hi all,

Long time no post! Been incredibly busy over the past two months going from competition to competition in one big European tour. Now I'm finally back home in England for more than 12 hours I've got some time to write up about my progress over the last few months starting off with Princess Sofia Regatta, held in Palma de Mallorca. Read all about it below:

Just before leaving to go to Palma the UK experienced some pretty weird and wacky weather conditions, with freezing snow and ice descending to the usually warm south coast. Unfortunately this meant no sailing (again) but at least we could still get outside and do some form of fitness pushing giant snowballs up hill!

Just before leaving to go to Palma the UK experienced some pretty weird and wacky weather conditions, with freezing snow and ice descending to the usually warm south coast. Unfortunately this meant no sailing (again) but at least we could still get outside and do some form of fitness pushing giant snowballs up hill!

Swanage covered in snow.

Swanage covered in snow.

On my final few days in the UK the weather cleared and normal life resumed. I had great fun one Saturday doing a Parkrun at Upton house with the family. 

On my final few days in the UK the weather cleared and normal life resumed. I had great fun one Saturday doing a Parkrun at Upton house with the family. 

The sailing club with the snow clear.

The sailing club with the snow clear.

All the bad weather meant I had a bit more spare time and I was able to create this custom carbon fibre compass mount for my Laser, thanks to  Neaves Rowing Services Limited    who helped me make this.

All the bad weather meant I had a bit more spare time and I was able to create this custom carbon fibre compass mount for my Laser, thanks to Neaves Rowing Services Limited who helped me make this.

Finally I was off to Palma!

Finally I was off to Palma!

Arriving there I was greeted with the classic Mallorca sun and some great wind. A couple of days training and I felt ready for racing.

Arriving there I was greeted with the classic Mallorca sun and some great wind. A couple of days training and I felt ready for racing.

Unfortunately after a promising start I had one bad day which put me back into silver fleet, a real disappointment.

Unfortunately after a promising start I had one bad day which put me back into silver fleet, a real disappointment.

At least we had some stunning backdrops to our racing!

At least we had some stunning backdrops to our racing!

I sailed well on the windy day of racing.

I sailed well on the windy day of racing.

Difficult racing in Palma. Whilst I didn't finish the regatta as well as I hoped I knew what I had to do to improve and the fire inside was definitely burning!

Difficult racing in Palma. Whilst I didn't finish the regatta as well as I hoped I knew what I had to do to improve and the fire inside was definitely burning!

Reflecting on the week on the last night before the P3 training camp started the following day.

Reflecting on the week on the last night before the P3 training camp started the following day.

No time to rest as we went straight into a group P3 training regatta. We had some fantastic conditions in a wide range of weather, here is an example of some of the nicer stuff!

No time to rest as we went straight into a group P3 training regatta. We had some fantastic conditions in a wide range of weather, here is an example of some of the nicer stuff!

Classic Palma light winds & chop.

Classic Palma light winds & chop.

Our last day of training was MASSIVE. 20-25 knots of wind, sometimes more, with huge swell rolling into the bay. Check out this short clip below of one big wave I encountered on this day!

Unfortunately when our planned ferry was cancelled our coach was forced to leave a day early with our boats meaning we had a day free to explore the island.

Unfortunately when our planned ferry was cancelled our coach was forced to leave a day early with our boats meaning we had a day free to explore the island.

A small group of us decided to climb the highest open peak on Mallorca, a very scenic and wonderful 5 hour trek with some spectacular views.

A small group of us decided to climb the highest open peak on Mallorca, a very scenic and wonderful 5 hour trek with some spectacular views.

So overall a very informative trip full of many learnings and experiences. There were highs and lows but overall I had a great time and there is nothing more satisfying than progress. Onto the next one!

Sam