To walk away with a silver medal from the IFDS Worlds in Halifax, Canada was a nice end to a tough week.
It was a difficult Championships; we never really got the conditions that had been predicted, and I had to handle a lot of disappointment. But I’m pleased I was so competitive in the medals even if I missed out on gold by just one point.
I hadn’t raced the 2.4mR for two months, since Kiel in June. I seem to sail better when I’ve had a bit of a break between regattas, and having a pre-Worlds event in Halifax before the main event was a useful way to get back my sharpness and iron out any mistakes.
We actually had 3½ weeks in Canada, quite a long time to be away in one go. There were a few days of training but the best training I could hope for was the pre-Worlds. With 10 races crammed into three days it was pretty intense! By the time the Worlds started I was hitting the ground running.
The biggest thing for me from the Worlds was my consistency. Frustratingly that would have won me the gold medal if we had not had three races abandoned.
In each I was either leading or in the leading pack with all three of my main competitors right down the field. All of them were already carrying big scores from starting penalties, and another finish in the 20s or 30s would have been their regatta over. But each race was canned! By the third time it happened it was pretty hard to take.
I began thinking I must have done something to have upset the race officers! The others were racing on a knife-edge but I didn’t carry anything higher than an eighth in the whole series. That’s the sort of consistency you need to win events, it was just frustrating this one got away from me in the way it did, but that’s our sport.
Going into the last race knowing I couldn’t do worse than bronze was a nice place to be. In that position you have nothing to lose, everything to gain and we had probably the best race of the whole regatta.
Heiko (Kruger) and Damien (Seguin) were leading tied on points with me in third going into the final day. The racing in the last race was so close between all three of us, really battling it out. I found some downwind pace I’d been lacking all event, usually unheard of for me, and I managed to get boats between us. But I couldn’t quite get the two boats ahead of Heiko I needed to get the gold and he clinched it.
I’d never been to Canada before so it was all quite exciting seeing and sailing in a new place. It only rained once or twice the whole time we were there and it’s a really beautiful place, with striking coastline and some stunning lakes. Where we stayed reminded me a bit of Mylor or Falmouth in Cornwall. It was pretty hilly and cycling too and from the club each day was quite a challenge, like interval training!
In a couple of weeks I’m in Canada again for the 2.4mR Open World Championships, this time in Toronto.
I do feel like I’ve got a bit of a score to settle at the Open Worlds, after the disappointment of losing gold in the final race at last year’s event. It would be fantastic to win it, and add a new title to the collection, so we will see what happens. Hopefully last year wasn’t a missed opportunity and I get that opportunity again.
In the meantime I have a bit of time to catch up on all the bits and bobs that don’t get done when you’re away from home for a long period and get the right rest too.
This week it’s exactly two years since I won gold at London 2012 and with Rio now edging closer we are looking at getting out there for good training block in November. The RYA has invested in a number of 2.4mR boats, and four are getting shipped to Rio so we can use them. With the Olympic classes guys having recently had the Test Event there is a lot of information we can tap into already.
I have been to Rio once before last December but I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the venue more and more over the next two years.
It’s been a good summer so far. With our main events in the late summer/early autumn I’ve been able to combine training and ‘real life’ really well.
My husband Steve and I enjoyed some time cruising in our Westerly GK29 around the Solent, something we hadn’t done for about six years, visiting places we had never been before and exploring the Isle of Wight. It was so relaxing and just what was needed before heading out to the IFDS Worlds.
I also enjoyed a few days at Cowes Week with my Para-equestrian friend Lee Pearson, who is now loving sailing after trying it for the first time last year.
We went out to watch the action on the water onboard the motor yacht, Rum Jungle, with Volvo Cark UK guests and I provided some race commentary. I then acted as guest skipper on a Farr 65 racing yacht with UKSA and Volvo. Volvo Ocean Race teams, Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi also provided guests with the opportunity to sail on their VO65s, which looked very, very cool. They are awesome boats!
While in Cowes I also did a sponsored 100ft mast climb for UKSA, who I’m an official Ambassador of. I’m usually ok with heights, but there was one bit right near the top where I switched my handhold and as I let go I swung out a bit. At that moment I had a bit of a panicky feeling going on and suddenly thought, “Oh God, I’m really high!”
I think I’m definitely safer on the water!