In the months following a strong 2nd place and top Canadian finish at CORK in August I have been hard at work training with Canadian Sailing Team teammates Lee Parkhill and Matthew Ryder in my hometown of Toronto. The time at home has allowed me to focus on specific skills and movements which I found needed work from the previous season. I find it very useful to have dedicated training blocks not close to any major event so that I can try new things and experiment on the water. Luckily the weather cooperated (could have been much worse) and we were able to sail in relative warmth up until the end of October.
Training with coach Steve Mitchell
Training on the water has been followed up with extensive work in my home gym of Quantum Crossfit, where I have been building strength, endurance, balance and cardio health. Additionally I have been making regular trips to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario for fitness testing and physio visits.
Pushing through the cycling test
Over the last two months I have also been keeping my skills sharp through training for and competing as main trimmer in the Canadian Match Racing Championships held October 16-18 at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Match racing is very different from fleet racing in that it is a who-beats-who battle between two boats. This type of racing emphasizes strong crew work, stellar command of the boat and superior knowledge of the rules. Match racing has helped me stay sharp when there are no Laser regattas going on and has greatly improved my knowledge of the rules.
Match Racing Recap
Next, I will be travelling to Sydney, Australia in early November to join an international group to train and prepare for the ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta in Melbourne, Australia. The trip will include 5 weeks of training and 4 regattas. I am confident the training and coaching I will receive will help refine my skills and push me to the next level. I will be home for Christmas and New Years before heading to Miami to prepare for the next Sailing World Cup regatta.
Thank you to all my supporters who continue to follow and fund me on this incredible journey! My next training update will be from Sydney.
This past weekend concluded the TS&CC Icebreakers Regatta // Toronto Pan Am Games Trials for the Snipe, Hobie 16, Lightning and J24 classes. My crew Alexandra Damley-Strnad and I sailed well enough in the Snipe class qualifying for the Pan American Games this July in Toronto! On top of that, my father Terry McLaughlin qualified for the Pan Am Games as well in the J24 class!
In February, I placed second in the Laser Pan Am Trials so it was great to get redemption in the Snipe class. At the beginning of May, I returned from Laser training in Lake Garda, Italy turning my attention full time to the Snipe. My crew and I worked long hours for two weeks fixing the boat and improving our boat handling ahead of the trials. We sought advice from top Snipe sailors from around the world and made sure we that were sailing without fault.
At our previous regatta together – the Snipe Midwinters – we were the top Canadian boat. We hoped to continue that at the trials. Even though we had been fast this winter, we weren’t sure of our boat speed. In the first race, the Jury gave us a yellow flag for an infraction right before the race started. This meant we had to do two circles as the fleet raced away from us. We realised we had good speed when we caught up from last place to 3rd in the race! Following this first race, we won the next six races thereby securing the regatta and trials victory. The racing was very close and great practice for the Pan Am Games. We won one of the races by only 1 meter!
Off to a good start
I am thrilled to be able to represent Canada in my home city. Qualifying for the Games is only the first step as we need to be very fast at the Games. Moving forward, I plan to continue training in both the Snipe and Laser full time until Laser Worlds in the first week of July, and the Pan Am Games in the middle of July. We have some great training organized already where we will work on speed, starts and boat handling leading into the Games.
A BIG thank you to my supporters who have kept be going thus far. In addition to my personal supporters I’d like to thank Volvo, Helly Hansen and Quantum Crossfit here in Toronto. I am so glad to have organizations, family, friends and RCYC members behind us as we compete for a medal. We have much more work before the Games so your continued support is appreciated!
Congratulations to the eighteen athletes who have qualified for the Games! Full list here: