Post Worlds Update
It’s been a bit over 10 weeks since the Worlds finished for 2023 and I thought I would write a quick update on what’s occurring. When I first got home I was exhausted and took 10 days just to be in Perth with Elyse, play a little golf and do some relaxing coffee rides. The weather was so incredible for the first week I was back which definitely helped my mood.
After 10 days I needed to get home to see my parents. I always have and hopefully always will go back home to Esperance post a major regatta. I really feel like I get the time and space to reflect and do some deep work on myself when I’m in the country. After 10 days there I drove back to Perth with much more clarity of mind and feeling recommitted to sailing and looking forward to the summer.
My first session back in the boat was not in an ILCA though, it was actually in a Pacer at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for the annual Ron Tough Pacer challenge. This was my fourth time doing the regatta and was one I had been trying to win for a while but it had eluded me with light shifty winds the last few years. For those who don’t know, it’s an event put together by the foundation and WAIS as a way for the WAIS program to integrate with the sailing community. All the WAIS sailors (and a few extras that are invited) are made skippers and paired up with young sailors from all over Perth. You’re matched based on your combined weight so all the boats are quite fair and everyone races one afternoon as a dash for cash. For one reason or another my crew Nick and I had a day and posted a great scorecard, winning the event and getting our names added to the trophy. It was a great afternoon in the first seabreeze of the season to top it off.
After that I had a little bit of training in the ILCA just to start me thinking about sailing before I flew back to Esperance, a little last minute, for the Flying Fifteen States! This had been a plan since the start of the year when my friend Muddi had suggested it due to his skipper being away for the event. I couldn’t commit as I thought I was going to be double booked and had forgotten about it for most of the year until I bumped into Muddi again about 10 days prior to the states and we realized we still could do it together! Muddi quickly arranged the trip and did the drive with the boat and I flew down to meet him. This would be my first time steering a Flying Fifteen and my first time racing at home since the 2006 Pelican states, which so happened to be my first regatta ever! Needless to say I was very excited to be racing at home again.
We had a breezy offshore south wester for the first day of racing and we started with a bang winning the first 2 races. We backed this up with a 4th and a tightly contested 2nd in the final race behind Grant and Luke who were the current national champs and state champs. Day two saw a tricky easterly breeze with some choppy water. We finished 2nd again behind Grant and were equal points now. Things changed for us in the 2nd race and we worked through the fleet to win the race and with Grant having a bad one it meant we secured the regatta win with a race to spare. We still did the last race and finished strong with another win to cap off a great weekend. We had a lovely presentation dinner that night with a 3 course meal! Never get anything like that at ILCA events.
After the states I stayed on in town and coached the annual learn to sail course which was a heap of fun. I had a great group with 9 girls and 3 boys who were super keen and lovely to work with. By the end of the 4th morning everyone was able to sail a boat by themselves and was keen as mustard to do the sailing season which is the most rewarding feeling as a coach. That night I flew back to Perth to get ready for Westsail starting the next morning.
I’ve been thinking on how many I’ve done now and I’m pretty sure this is my 10th as a coach bringing my total Westsails to 14! It’s pretty cool to have such a great training camp happen every year in WA. It’s a core memory of my youth sailing and I could easily say I wouldn’t be in sailing today if it wasn’t for Westsail. It gave me the exposure I needed as a country sailor to get inspired by the Perth sailors and see how high the level was and where it could take me.
We had a few lousy days of weather to kick off Westsail this time but we had 20 keen ILCA 4 kids split between Ollie (the other coach working with me) and myself who all lapped it up. You never sleep as well as you do after a big day at Westsail and it was great to see everyone improve through the 4 days of training and then put it into practice at the two days of youth states. I’m really excited for the future of WA ILCA sailing.
Only a few days later it was the Freo Opening day and I was coaching a few of the sailors I had looked after at Westsail there. It was a lovely day to be on the water and I really was loving being out on the ocean again after being on the river the last week. Then just a few days later I was back at the airport again, this time headed for Hobart and their annual TAS Sail event. I had never done the event before but had been invited down by the Fader family who I had worked with the year before in Portugal for the ILCA 4 worlds. I stayed at their house and they were just the best hosts, cooking me homemade meals and everything! The weather was not kind to us for the 4 days of coaching though, a strong front had crossed the region with freezing cold and gusty winds. One of the morings of the youth states we woke up to snow on top of Mt Wellington even! After a quick 4 days in Tasmania I was off again for warmer climates and the first training camp of the season in Brisbane.
I hadn’t sailed in Brisbane since the 2018 Finn nationals but in all honesty not much had changed. All of us are in the same Airbnb close to the club which has been great vibes and we’ve got a solid hit of sailing in so far. The torture track is still just that, choppy and a grind to sail in but we’re all seeing the improvement from our good work. We’ve all had a cooking rotation which has been awesome and the yacht club has a small gym now which we’ve all been hitting nearly every day. We’ve had one day off so far and I got out on the water with my old buddy Ash for a fish offshore. We had a cracking day and even though the fish weren’t quite biting as well as we wanted I still managed to land a massive red snapper weighing in 8kg! I cooked it for dinner for the boys last night which went down a treat.
We’ve just got a few days to go before we’ve finished this camp up and I’m back in Perth for a hectic few days before I drive back across the country with my dad. I’ll let you know how that goes in a few weeks time but it’s going to be a big summer, definitely the biggest yet, I’m calling it now.
See you on the water,