Hi to my massive readership (Mum, I hope you are well).
Just a note to say G’day and update you on where things are heading for me.
My last trip saw lots of positive stuff happening, as far as work going forward is concerned. Basically, I spent six weeks in total with Team Artemis. Three weeks were in Dubai and three in Auckland. Team Artemis are a Swedish owned sailing team that have been campaigning hard in the TP52 MedCup circuit, as well as the RC44 class for the past few years. The team recently made public their desire to put together an America’s Cup bid. The team is well resourced and well organised. See the website here.
In Dubai, there were two segments to the trip. Firstly the beginnings of an America’s Cup team gathered and we had a week of high-level match race training in RC44 yachts. It was an awesome week, with two international umpires running the drills and a full race committee banging off the starts. We had really effective de-briefs, lots of video analysis and we were able to pull apart the scenarios and discuss options with the likes of Cayard, Hutchinson etc.. The winds were light, but that is perfect for the RC44’s. I was joining the team as a coach for what was then the upcoming Louis Vuitton regatta in Auckland. I was seen as a “floating’ crew member between the two boats. i had the chance to act as tactician for Cayard and Cameron Appleton on different days, as well as work in the middle of the boats. For me as a coach, this was an invaluable few days getting to know the boats and the blokes. By the week’s end, many of the verteran pro sailors were commenting that the week was the best training for a big team they had been involved in. I had to agree.
As far as Dubai goes – don’t rush to get there. Basically a bunch of big glitzy buildings in the desert. My disclaimer is that I only saw the hotel and the yacht club really.
The Artemis Louis Vuitton squad members not involved in regular RC44 sailing then departed and the amatuers arrived for the RC44 Maktoum trophy. For this, I acted as Coach for both the Artemis and Katusha RC44 teams. I got to meet the Artemis owner (Torbjorn Tornqvist) and I basically assumed a role that I have become very accustomed to in the farr40’s, mumm30’s, Stars, Etchells and 18 Foot Skiffs for many years now. It went well, with Artemis taking out the overall regatta (third in the match racing and second in the fleet racing). Katusha did not fair so well, but there is massive potential there.
From there, it was a sprint to Auckland for five days of one-boat training in USA87, the America’s Cup class yacht owned by BMW Oracle. This training was a great lead-in for Team Artemis to the Louis Vuitton event, which started on the 9th of March and would be sailed in NZL84 and NZL92 – the kiwi boats from the 2007 cup.
Team Artemis had their ups and downs in the Louis Vuitton Auckland event, but finished fourth overall out of eight very competitive teams. Basically the LV events have been organised in place of the vaccum in the America’s cup (caused by the legal problems and the deed of gift match between BMW Oracle (USA) and Alinghi (SUI)). Artemis were very close to making the final, losing a tight semi final 2-1 to the Italian team of Mascalzone Latino. Again, I acted in a coaching role, which is quite a challenge when working with 18 professional sailors – all of which have been around the AC scene for many years. However, with Artemis being a new team, everyone was very enthusiastic about making the team as polished as possible. So, it was a very positive time for me in my role with them.
I have been asked to join the team for the TP52, RC44 and Louis Vuitton events this year. See the schedule here: http://artemissailing.com/pages/racing It is a very busy few months coming up. As far as an America’s Cup campaign goes…. Well the new holders of the Cup (Oracle – USA) seem to be saying all of the right things about the future of the event and getting it back on track after the courtroom debacle that was the 33rd cup. Until they announce plans of when, what boats, and where, it is hard to plan too far ahead for teams and individuals. Not expecting too much personally, so if it all gets going, it will be a bonus.
To keep it real, I am still planning to sail the Etchells worlds in Dublin in August with John Bertrand and Tom Slingsby. Now more than ever, I need to sail and compete. It can get all too theoretical in the coach-boat.
Whilst I was away, the boys in the Seven Skiff stepped up really well and won the JJ Giltinan (the 18ft skiff “worlds”) for a second time. Iain Murray had to step in as coach, as I departed for Dubai on the day of the first race. He did an awesome job in identifying some errors in the rig tune early in the event, helped to repair a broken mast and generally help keep the boys on track. They had to overcome being several points down going into the final weekend, but they did that by executing their racing skills better than the rest and by being bloody fast. It was tear-in-the-eye stuff for me – on the other end of the phone line in Dubai. I have worked with Seve, Sam, Tom and Rob for four years and they (and the red boat) have become a big part of my life. On a sailing front, I have learnt so much more about the sport by being exposed to the skiff scene with Iain and the boys. On a personal front…well, let’s just say it has been great training for when my kids become teenagers…. Plenty of challenges, but lots of rewards. In four years the boys have recorded finishes in the JJG as follows: 2nd, 1st, 3rd and 1st. Not too bad!
Currently home for a week. It’s hectic, as our family is packing up the house, as we are moving to the UK for at least six months. We have rented the house in Avalon for 12 months, so when (actually Kate refers to the “WHEN” more as an “IF”, but I think a couple of chilly october days in Cowes will sort her out) we return after the northern summer, we will have to wing it re where we live. the current plan is for Kate and her mum to home-school the kids to the aussie system. We’ll see how that goes. Assuming kate is still sane after the first week…. Anyway, where we end up after the first six months is largely dependent on what is best for the kids schooling etc..
Next is Auckland again for a week with Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk in the NZL starboat. More one-boat training, working on boat-skills, sailing fitness and boat optimisation.
Then Palma Vela in Majorca, Spain with Artemis TP52.
Will do my best to keep in touch.