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Thought for the day - Where Next

Of course the answer is Spain for the IOM Europeans. There will be 80 or so boats racing so a tough week ahead.

Since the IOM Nationals I have been lucky enough to have a couple of tuning session one in particular with Craig Richards where I made a couple of significant learnings and racing at Emsworth, Datchet and probably Emsworth and Gosport this week and a bit of sail testing at Frensham. The goal is to pack in as much effective sailing as possible focussing on speed, good starts an avoiding contact with other boats.

My Futaba transmitter let me down a bit as I found the rudder toggle to be inconsistent. One moment it would be centred and then would centre to port by 5 degrees and then to starboard by 5 degrees or so but with no consistent pattern. It meant sailing down wind was interesting as the boat wandered at random and upwind the boat might suddenly luff up or bear away. I could tell it was the transmitter because when I looked into the Servo prompt on the menu, you can see if the toggle was miss centering itself on a graphic. Mine clearly was. I gave it a good spray with compressed air which fixed the problem in the office but not on the water where the problem resurrected itself. I had another go this morning and it seems OK now so the transmitter will be good as a spare. All this time I had blamed the servo which I now know to be wrong. As luck would have it, the Marblehead came with a Futaba T6K so I have swapped transmitter and fingers crossed solve the problem for the Europeans.

What are my preparation apart from all the sailing. Go though the three rigs and remeasure the boat. Check that all the sheets are set up with the correct radio setting. Check everything obviously and prepare a set of spares. You never know what can go wrong.

The plan is to drive down over two days and have 3-4 days acclimatising to the conditions. The forecast at the moment is for 5-10 knots from the East so a focus on the A rig in a Mediterranean chop, which I know from my 470 days is a little different to what we are used to on open water.

They are using the SHMS so after 7-9 races our position in the fleet will be determined as we are sorted into Gold Silver Bronze fleets etc similar to International dinghy events.

I will try to report on progress of the UK team and overall results via MYA downwind subject to a good phone signal.

I was thinking about what my goals should be for this event. The one I like is to be in the top 10 and certainly finish in the gold fleet. That provides no pressure and allows me to be creative in my sailing. Sneaking into the back of mind is the fact I could win the event if I can sort out some of my rough edges so maybe there is another goal to focus on.

What is the evidence for this.

I am a past world, international and national sailing champion so have done this before

I have packed in enough sailing experience this to deliver the result

The boat is tuned, fast and superbly prepared

My starting technique is sharp in large fleets

I won a race at this years Nationals so I know I can do well

My mental processes are much more focussed and relaxed after studying the psychology of top sports athletes, and techniques used by coaches psychologists and mentors.

Areas to continue improving

Avoid hitting boats

Get into good position to approach the windward mark without trouble

Develop further my consistency in events.

The run up to the Europeans was a bit of a mixed bag. 6th in the IOM Nationals was fair result for me. The nose bleed and retirement from the DF Nations whilst leading after day 1 was a bit of a hiccup. The Marblehead result was OK with a new untested boat with a couple of gremlins. In middle of this was an open meeting at Frensham with a perfect score. Whilst there was no top competition I delivered the result and could have easily slipped up. The tune up sessions have gone well and I could not be better prepared. Lastly I gleamed a bit as to why Craig Richards improved so much this year and am on a path to replicating that although he has 10 years more experience radio sailing than me.

Watch this space to see how I progress.

I was going to take a break after this but with an IOM and M ranking event in October and November plus a few opens, there is little time to rest.

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