Andalusian Olympic week
After racing in Miami, it was back to Europe for our next training block, this time in Spain. Having done 2 camps in Vilamoura, we moved to Cadiz for this one, and started training as soon as Tuula had finished her latest exam. The advantage was it also meant that we were able to do a regatta, Andalusia Olympic week, where Tuula finished 3rd behind her training partners for the week, Sarah Douglas and Emma Plasschaert.
Actually, I missed the final race of the regatta as I needed to fly back to the UK to be part of the UKLA stand and also for the launch of my 2 new books at the RYA Dinghy Show: Tactics made Simple and Training to Win.
It was certainly an eventful weekend. Having arrived back to the Farmhouse at midnight, I proceeded to load Oren Jacob’s boat (and 4 years of equipment from an Olympic campaign) onto the roof of the car ready for a friend to use for racing the following weekend. Oren’s boat had no ropes or toe straps, so I had to source all these from my spares in Weymouth. Fortunately at the time I had enough… more on that later. Anyway, it all got done under the lights of my van.
The error I made was to leave the engine running for the late-night pack up which meant when I woke for an early start, I had a flat battery. My immediate thought was panic! Fortunately, it was possible to get some cables and I owe someone a beer for a very early wake up call. It meant no time to stop for any food on the way (I was also worried if I stopped I might not be able to restart because my battery was so flat the clock reset!) but I made it to Alexandra Palace in time for stand set up and the 9:00 live interview. You can see these interviews here as I try and put names to faces.
The atmosphere at the show was especially good this year. I enjoyed doing the UKLA presentation with Jack Kristian on the RYA Class stage. You can also watch that here. What was really nice was to see so many CCSC members wandering around the stage.
The other reason for flying back was to attend the UKLA Qualifiers but that turned into somewhat of a horror show for me. The day before the event I went down to WPNSA to do my preparation: I did some gel coat repairs, washed my boat and put on a new cover (I actually sold my previous cover to one of the kind people helping out on the UKLA stand. They really needed a cover without holes in it and it was a good excuse for me to buy a new one).
On arrival on Saturday morning I saw that my cover had actually been taken off, and on closer inspection the boat had been completely stripped. The ropes tying the boat down had been cut and the cover and everything under it (mainsheet ratchet block, deck cleats, toe strap and ropes) had gone. All I can say is that it made me feel physically sick and indeed it still does.
I then inspected my second boat which was next door, and this also had all my custom made control lines taken (kicker, Cunningham etc), but fortunately not the deck fittings. So, it was only with help from Max Hunt from Southeast Sailboats I was at least able to get on the water. At this point I can best be described as in shock. Somehow I made it to the start line with 10 minutes to go, although at this point, I realised that I hadn’t eaten anything. I threw my bag in the committee boat just before the 5 minutes. When I got to the windward mark I had no idea which ropes to let off because they were completely different colours to usual.
To describe my head in a mess would have been the understatement of the year. I cannot even remember the finishing order of the first two races. Somehow, I got my act together and won the final two races and no one was more surprised than me to see I won the event on tie-breaker. Results here. For now, I’m just trying to put the whole thing behind me but still the horrible feeling remains.
Next stop Palma for the Princess Sofia regatta. Onwards and upwards as they say.
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.