Well, now with the cancellation of Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile in April (The French Olympic week - Hyeres regatta) it looks like I am almost a resident in Lanzarote. I am now eyeing the increasing number of new Covid-19 cases in Bulgaria, where we are meant to have the ILCA Europeans in May and wondering if that regatta will also be cancelled. We have been so lucky here in the Canary Islands where we have been able to continue to race and train in a very safe way.
This year is the 1st year that I have coached at the Lanzarote winter series and I have to say the atmosphere was great. I have always enjoyed being on the Canary Island and everyone was just so grateful to be racing again. It seems such a long time since the European Championships in Poland and with the recent postponement of the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma until October 2nd – 9th no one is quite sure when we will all be back racing again. Indeed, I suspect most of us will stay here to train until our next major regatta…
In this mini-series of articles, we shall be looking at the main sail controls for the Laser. Now whilst some things are personal preference such as, do you prefer an oval or cylindrical tiller extension, there is always a best way of doing things or at the very least an appropriate way to find the best individual solution for you.
We will start with the Outhaul system perhaps because it is often the most neglected control line and it really shouldn’t be. Indeed, in the dim and distance past long before the advent of the XD control lines we have now, the Outhaul was just ran along the boom to the cleat and many people didn’t adjust it all day or at most adjusted it once a leg!
Much as I love Weymouth it is slightly harder to convince yourself to go training in 2 degrees and a northerly wind than when the temperature is in double figures, especially when you need to be off the water by 16:00 due to lack of daylight. Hence my mind wanders back to Vilamoura and the great work Vilamoura Sailing did with the 2020 RSX Europeans and continue to do with the Portugal Grand Prix and hopefully the 2021 470 World Championships.
I guess my biggest project during Covid-19 crisis has been Restart Sailing. To get people back on the water sailing safely. We have of course seen extremes with some people very unwilling to leave their houses to others who just wanted to carry on as normal. Of course, this was perhaps led by their own personal experiences or scientific knowledge. Personally, I have had friends die and other friends who had the Corona Virus with absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. The good news is sailing is probably one of the best and safest activities we can be doing and the ILCA Nationals is one of the few Nationals going ahead this year and will be definitely be featured on the next show.
The aim of Restart Sailing was clear. To help people get back to sailing in a safe and fun way by carefully managing the risks. A packed changing room is obviously not a safe place if someone may have/be spreading the virus. Whereas once out on the water, hopefully on a nice sunny day and strong wind is perhaps the best environment you can be in! The RYA have done a great job here and I want to thank the RYA’s Racing Director Ian Walker for appearing on the Restart Sailing show. The show is shown live every 2 weeks on the Coach Yourself to Win Facebook page and then uploaded to the jonemmettsailing YouTube channel.
Hyeres has always been one of Tuula’s favourite regattas, and Hyeres 2019, just like 2017, came down to the final race with Tuula guaranteed Silver but needing 4 boats between her and Mari Erdi to guarantee Gold. A good start and good positioning gave Tuula the points difference she need. You can see her celebrating her win here.
Summary of the year so far...
Well the year is gradually drawing to a close and I write this as I pack to head out for Vilamoura, Portugal, for our 2nd Camp there. With the temperature in the UK dropping sharply we are able to access much warmer training here, on the same time zone, with just a 2 hour flight. Tuula enjoyed a long break from sailing after Japan and now is on the way back up while Lucia is working hard in Argentina, where the weather is much better than Europe this time of year!
It was wonderful to see 4 of our training group make it to the top 10 in Japan and therefore qualify for the medal race, with Josefin Olsson with SWE coming top with silver overall (Hannah Snellgrove GBR 4th, Tuula Tenkanen FIN 5th, and Alison Young GBR 8th)… with less than 2 years to go to the Olympic Games themselves and most MNAs (Member National Authorities, for example the RYA) are starting their Olympic trials in the next 6 – 12 months it is going to be a very busy time. Although it is interesting to note that Marit Bouwmeester NED not only won the event but her MNA selection as well (qualifying for her 3rd games at Tokyo 2020).
It seems as if I have been spending all my time in France recently, with Hyeres (World Cup), La Rochelle (Radial Europeans) and now Marseille (the World Cup final.) It makes me feel it would have been very helpful to have learned French better when I studied in school. Although I guess it is not just French, as in recent years I have been encouraged to learn Spanish, Finish, Chinese and even Hebrew!
It was with some sadness I travelled to Hyères in 2018 for the last Hyères World Cup. Hyères has been part of my life for well over twenty years and having probably spent an average of 3 weeks there every year during this time, I have effectively lived there for over a year of my life. A lot longer than I spent at some addresses in my younger life! From 2019 onwards, the European leg of the World Cup will take place in Genova.
As expected, the level of competition at Enoshima Olympic week (although this seems a misnomer as it was only a 3-day event) was higher than at the Gamagori World Cup, with many teams keen to get as much practice as possible at the Olympic venue.
Straight after the Radial Europeans it was back to the UK although this was not quite so smooth as with 3 bags and 2 hands I managed to get 1 piece of luggage stuck the other side of the automatic exit doors at Gatwick to me and my bike bag plus hand luggage.
Immediately after the Masters Worlds in Split I flew to the Radial Europeans in Barcelona, where I was coaching Tuula Tenkanen from Finland rather than racing myself. Gatwick Airport was extremely busy as it was the day sadly Monarch Airlines went bust. I bumped into Shirley Robertson who I worked with for the 2000 Olympics with no less than 8 large luggage's (full of filming equipment as she now works in media for CNN). Luckily for me I was travelling light, bag number 2. was already in Tuula's van where it lives along with my road bike all year long and meets me at continental European events. The last time I coach Tuula was in Helsinki the previous month where we did a few days training with Line Flem Host from Norway before Tuula won the Nationals and we packed the RIB and boats for Barcelona. The ferry from Helsinki to Bilbao took a week, then it was one day's drive to Barcelona, so Tuula had a little break from sailing and I just had time to race the Masers Worlds.
I have just returned from the South East Asian games in Langkawi, Malaysia, where I was working as Technical Director for the host Malaysian Sailing who were delighted to come away as top sailing country with medals in every event with a total of 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze.
The one thing all top sailors seem to have in common is the ability to take responsibility for their actions. You won't hear them talking about a bad wind or an unlucky shift. They will relish every mistake they make as an opportunity to improve themselves and make themselves even better.
Or to put it another way, failing to plan is planning to fail.
I have just returned from the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma were Tuula Tenkanen finished a very creditable 6th despite an OCS in the medal race...
The key to sustained high performance is looking at the big picture and considering long term benefits over short term gains every time.
He worked with Lijia Xu from China from 2011 to 2016, the highlight of which was her winning since the Gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.