Sunday, April 29, 2012

French Olympic Week - One more step up the ladder

The French Olympic Week was a great training opportunity for most competitors.  We were fortunate enough to have a very windy event, which meant more practice for me in my weakest conditions.   The regatta was similar to the Worlds in Cadiz in which it was fantastically windy most of the event.  However, one more element made the event even more difficult:  crazy chop and big waves.

 For the first half of the regatta, the wind came from the famous northwest "Mistral" direction, which meant gusts of 30 knots and short, steep chop on starboard tack.  In the middle of the event, we had one day of more "normal" conditions  - 8 to 10 knots of southerly sea breeze.  The final days had an easterly "opposite" to the Mistral, with giant Mediterranean waves building across the open sea. 

I was able to work on technique over waves upwind, which isn't my strong suit, and dial in my big-wind settings.  Most importantly, after a month of very windy training, I've lost all caution in those conditions.  I'm having a blast going as fast as possible downwind and am attacking maneuvers aggressively.  I just have to improve more upwind!  On a very positive note for our one day of light wind, I had two top-10 finishes.  I am getting really fast in those conditions and I can still improve a lot more - I can't wait to see where those improvements take me before the Olympic Games.

I have a few more days of recovery here in France and then it's off to Weymouth, UK, to finish up the season training at the Olympic venue.  I'm really looking forward to starting up there.  I'd like to thank my supporters Compass Marketing, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation, the Olympic Sailing Association at New Orleans, and the Southport Sailing Foundation for all their help.  I am making major improvements and I hope to have a good result at Sail for Gold. 

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