The Big Extension

It’s been a bit of a break since my last post again, mostly due to a lack of major competitions to report on but I want to keep the blog continuous so it’s time to fill in the gaps. The last time I wrote on here I was doing my 14-day quarantine in Perth after returning from NSW which is funny because I’m back in Sydney as I write this. Here we go:

Exploring Little Island off the beach from Hillarys Boat Harbour
  • Finished quarantine at the end of September and went straight to work coaching at Westsail (in its new location, Hillary’s Yacht Club) with the next generation of WA’s Laser sailors.
The crystal clear water of Esperance. It looks like we could be in Fiji! Honestly the best place to grow up sailing
  • I backed that week up with a week coaching the learn to sail course in Esperance. This was an amazing week and I had the best group of kids I had ever coached. All were aged between 8 & 10 and were fully frothing on sailing. It was great!
Sunsets off Fremantle coaching the Laser Squad
  • After spending a few extra days at home, I went back to Perth and started getting to work. I started slowly coaching a few shifts a week while juggling normal sailing (3-4 times a week) and my normal training load (gym twice a week and cycling 3 times a week) but pretty quickly it became 7 days a week coaching! Summer was near and all the clubs in Perth were buzzing with courses and group training which was awesome.
River loop with Elyse
  • Towards the end of October the first major club event of the summer came around, the Sail Freo Regatta. We had a cracker two days for it and I sailed really well, unfortunately losing my picket fence scorecard on the last race of the event, on the last upwind of the event. Wasn’t meant to be I guess.
Grinding upwind on day one in a ripper seabreeze. Photo: Drew Malcolm
  • Amongst all this I was also preparing to do the Tour of Margaret River, a six-man, three-day, five stage bike race through the best wine country of Western Australia. The race covered 235km with three team time trials and two stage races with nearly 3000 meters of climbing. I was with my friend Tim’s team and we had an amazing time, earning our spot in C Grade through our opening TT efforts and holding our own the stage races. Elyse came to support me and we stayed in “The Bird House”, my sisters tiny home based just outside Margret River. It was honestly one of the highlights of 2020 for me.
About to begin the stage 5 TTT back to Nannup
  • Back to 7 days a week work for me and sailing in-between. Something that was great was coaching the Freo Laser Gang, especially Zac and Ethan who I got to coach and train against every week. The boys progressed massively throughout 2020 and are with the Australian Squad now training against Matt and I in Sydney.
One of the summer school groups I got to coach
Ethan, Zac & Stefan about to begin the grind back home into a storm after a long downwinder
  • The WA state championships camp around, hosted by FSC. It was run over two days and for the first time ever I won the event. I hadn’t done a state titles in many years just because I’m usually away overseas or interstate so I haven’t been able to compete in it. Ethan pushed me hard most races and pipped me in one but I was fortunate to win the other five which was very nice.
Ethan chasing hard during the states at Fremantle Sailing Club
  • The International Classes Regatta came and went, RFBYC’s annual event. It was a cracker weekend of racing with a tight race course and Freshies classic, unpredictable conditions. Zac got off to a hot start winning the first two races but I was able to hold steady and claw back the regatta to win, just not comfortably. It was great fun.  
  • Christmas was spent in Perth with Elyse’s family and my family came up to meet them for the first time. All went very well and it was a classic hot summer day for it. Elyse and I got away out to Rottnest Island a few days later and had a great time. New years was spent at Crown Casino which was a heap of fun and before I knew it, it was time to do some racing again
Christmas with my sisters Lauren & Sally
Perfect day out at Rottnest Island
  • ‘Nationals, not nationals’ was the unofficial title of the event because it was replacing what would have been the nationals if Covid hadn’t cancelled the real nationals. We had a few people come from interstate so we had a good little fleet and some very fresh and shifty Easterly winds to race in. I had a bit of a shocker despite sailing quite well I thought. My outhaul came undone on day one of racing while leading around the bottom mark. I managed to fix and finish the race but finished almost last. The next day I made a judgement error and broke the line to get myself a UFD (max points penalty for being over the line. To finish up I did the same mistake on the last day so with that many big scores I finished 4th overall.
  • Not long after that there was another event on at South of Perth Yacht Club which was great because we had Matt join our racing as well. Unfortunately, he was far too strong this event and I couldn’t even get a race win off him so I had to settle for 2nd place. To be able to get to do racing like this at home was great and isn’t something I’ve been able to do in ages.
Meeting the locals at Cape le Grande
Joining in for the club race. Not long after this image we managed to blow out side stay and subsequently snap the mast 🙁
  • By now it was looking certain I would be heading back to Sydney in early February so Elyse and I decided to get away to Esperance for one last trip away. I hadn’t been home since the coaching clinic so we took the chance to explore for a week and I could enjoy some nice time with my family. This trip was perfectly timed because a few days after arriving at home Perth went into a 5-day snap lockdown due to a Covid positive test in the community. Esperance was outside the lockdown boundary though so we had the freedom to enjoy our holiday which was a great stroke of luck!
  • The time at home went way too fast and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Sydney. It would be my first-time training in Sydney since October 2019 which is crazy to think because I usually come here 3-4 times a year!
Plenty of challenging conditions in Sydney
  • I came over with the plan of training for a few weeks before we all went off to Hyeres to compete but just a few weeks ago we got news that the Mayor of Hyeres had made the call to cancel the event which ended our hopes of going over. Just the way it is.
  • We started off with 2 weeks on, one week off, twice. In the second week off I had a bit of a whoopsie and crashed my bike giving myself a concussion ☹
  • I had to go through the full concussion protocol which meant not much activity all week unfortunately but luckily, I was able to get back on the water for the following week when the kiwis came across to join.
“Hey Ma, the rains are here!”
  • I’m now a further two weeks into training with the kiwis which has been great. I hadn’t seen Sam or George or Mark since the Melbourne worlds and it’s been so good to see them and catch up. The way things are going we’ll be doing a few more weeks in Sydney before we start to migrate north in search of warmer weather.
  • Now we’re waiting to see if and who can go to Japan to train and when that might be. Our time line is quite unclear but we have to keep pressing on as best we can to get Wearny prepared for the Games. Here’s hoping all the effort pays off. I’ll do better to keep this up to date as more action starts to unfold.

See you on the water,