Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brest is the Best

For the past few weeks I've been training in Brest, France.  This Atlantic coastal town is located just about as far west as you can travel in northern France, and it's one place where I spend a lot of time training.  The best thing about Brest is it's a really interesting place to race and train.  It can be extremely windy or very marginal and shifty, and there is usually a ripping current going through the bay.  There is also a great group of enthusiastic and skilled young sailors to train with.

The countryside is also really lovely - dotted with small towns, harbors, and there are many farms that grow delicious strawberries.

However, a lot of the time Brest looks like this:

Is that really France? Let's compare to south France for a moment:

I guess living in Brest builds character.  The food is great though.

Here I am working on technique and strategy in a group.  Since the conditions are so diverse, there is a good amount of thinking that needs to happen during each stage of an exercise.  All the thinking happening now is actually helping to create automatic responses to different events during a race.  It is great preparation for the RS:X Europeans coming up in Sicily.

Last month I also trained in Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, which is one of my favorite venues.  Here I worked on technique and equipment with a fast group. Both sessions have been productive and not too bad on the budget.

 Being on a budget means your $50 wetsuit from Decathlon is also 6 years old. Anyone want to sponsor a new sailing wardrobe?
I'm looking forward to training and racing in Sicily.  The event isn't "important," as it's not a qualifier for either the team or the country, but it will be very competitive and therefore a good test of the skills I've been practicing this month.  It will also be a performance benchmark before the Worlds, and will serve to delineate the most important things to improve before entering the major events of the fall and winter.

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