After concluding in late October that Toronto’s waters were too cold for sailing, fellow Canadian Sailing Team member Tom Ramshaw and I drove down to Clearwater, Florida on November 10th. On the way down we stopped in Charleston, South Carolina where we were able to train in a new location with Quique Arathoon (El Savador) and Stefano Paschiera (Peru). Charleston was a beautiful city, and it is always very productive training with people of other nationalities.
As soon as we arrived in Clearwater we resumed normal training of 3-4 hours each day on the water with Canadian Sailing Team coach Steve Mitchell. Training in a small group allowed a lot of focused coaching and feedback from Steve when working on technique and speed, while we were able to also join the other Canadian sailors for starting and racing practice. Part way through the camp, members of the Norwegian Sailing Team arrived to train with us. It was fantastic to learn from them as their sailing styles and boat set up can vary in many conditions. On one day with a northwest breeze of 15-20 knots, we all sailed a downwind down the Floridian coast for about 30 miles to Madiera Beach. After then de-rigging the boats waist deep in water, the boats were towed up the inter-coastal back to Clearwater. Long downwinds provide great opportunity to repeatedly work on a skill and improve my downwind speed.
In between the pair of two week camps, I headed home for a week to rest and to take my wisdom teeth out.
On December 5th, I was back down for the final two weeks of training. We started with a training regatta at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Racing was light on both days – less than 10 knots – and the shifts were large, and sometimes unpredictable. I was able to put up a few good races including two race wins, but was inconsistent in others and finished 5th place. Unfortunately, I had to be on quite a bit of medications during the regatta and in the first week of the following camp because I had an infection from the wisdom teeth removal. After making a full recovery, I ended the training camp strongly, working hard in the gym, and on the water on speed in the mostly light air conditions, as well as practicing a lot on starting.
I am home now for the holidays, recovering, working out, and visiting physiotherapy and massage at the Canadian Sports Institute of Ontario. On January 2nd, I will be back down south cross-training boats by racing a Snipe in the Miami Snipe Invitational in Miami, Florida. After, I will be back in my Laser and training hard in Miami in preparation for the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Miami on January 26 – 31, 2015.