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.
I am writing my first blog of 2018 from Sunny Miami preparing for the 1st World Cup of 2018 where we have so far enjoyed hiking conditions every day, I am working with Tuula Tenkanen from Finland and Lucia Falasca from Argentina and we have enjoyed some super productive training days working with Alison Young and George Povall from the UK, along with their coach Penny Mountford.
Well straight after I returned from Tokyo it was time to race again myself, this time at the Radial Inlands. A solid first day saw it all to play for but lack of focus and starting at the wrong end and overlaying the windward mark twice (once on starboard and once on port) on the second day pushed me down to third overall. It just felt as if I was out of phase all day! Having said that Ben Whaley was a deserved winner.
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.
Every year there is a key regatta (every 4 years it is the Olympics) and for me this year my key regatta was the Masters Worlds in Croatia. I arrived on September 19th, just in time to see the finish of the Senior Laser Standard Worlds Championships. It actually took our plane two attempts to land as with landing gear down and just a few metres off the tarmac, our Easyjet flight was temporary diverted to Italy due to bad weather. Fortunately, the bad weather delay meant there was no racing, so I didn’t miss anything
A while ago I said I would talk about grass roots sailing, well here we go. I started my sailing career in Toppers sailing with Crawley Mariners Yacht Club at Hedgecourt Lake before changing to the larger water of Weir Wood Sailing Club where I later progressed to sailing the Laser (there were no 4.7s or Radials when I started sailing).
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.
Jon is now Technical Director for the Malaysian Sailing Association.
Jon will once again be doing book signings at the Dinghy show.
We set out with probably our strongest team GB yet for the 2016 Masters Europeans in Hvar, Croatia.
He still races himself and in 2016 he topped the UK Radial Ladder and was crowned Masters Radial Europeans Champion.
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.
Look after your body and your body will look after you -
They say variety is the spice of life and I am always keen to learn. By doing different jobs it not only makes the coaching more interesting and enjoyable but new experiences make a great way to improve.