Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 2015 - an update on the Winter training programme

Winter Training – The story so far…

Following my comprehensive thrashing (on count-back) of a 13 year old Topper sailor in the Christmas Series, I’ve managed to embarrass myself in every race this year.
To be fair, the Big Ginger Nephew is in good form and he’s almost unbeatable in his Finn so it was no surprise that he kicked my butt in our last race.
Last week I let him sail the RS300. He stayed upright while I couldn’t find the strength to pull in the mainsheet on his Finn.
A couple of weeks earlier, the Steve Nicholson had confirmed my mental and physical frailties which I’ve been struggling to overcome all Winter.
We had a breezy Icebreaker race a few weeks ago which I was quite pleased to survive, although exhaustion in the latter stages caused me to make a number of silly mistakes, ending with a capsize shortly after the finish.

More recently, some modifications to the boat and a couple of lighter wind outings have given me the opportunity to work on my technique and I’ve improved my core fitness by attempting a push-up, falling off a balance ball, sitting on Ela’s hiking bench for 3 and a half minutes, and spending an evening assembling a so far unused rowing machine. 

Here's the programme in case you need fitness advice from an expert:
Core Stability Programme - Copyright @Team Arnell
Core Stability Programme - Copyright @Team Arnell
On the boat a lavish coating of surfboard wax (It's called “Sex Wax” which is ironic because if you smothered you or your partner’s intimate parts with it you’d be very unpopular and unlikely to have sex although you would smell of coconuts). Anyway – the sex wax is intended to stop me sliding around in the boat. I still fall over but I smell nicer. It’s all over my mainsheet and my sailing gear. It’s also all over Jack’s Finn from the time I sailed it. Jack’s mother was furious.
The “off the boom” sheeting is working reasonably well but the auto-ratchet on the cockpit floor was unpredictable. When you wanted it to hold the mainsheet it didn’t, and usually when a gust arrived and you wanted to dump some sheet, it gripped. So I spent a fairly large sum of cash (the equivalent of at least 10 lagers) on a new Harken ratchet block.
I’ve also replaced my front toe-straps and constructed some padding between the front and rear straps to hold them off the floor. So far it’s working well and I’m having to learn new, even more stupid ways to fall out of the boat.
Recording my outings with the camcorder mounted on the boom is a mixed blessing. I can review a lot of my techniques but I’m usually either frowning or making a sex face, and I spend a lot of time trying to straighten the camera after hitting the water with the end of the boom.
Overall, however, it’s been a good winter. I’m keen to get a "Tacktick" compass, in case we get something called a windshift this season, and something to hold my water bottle in place (gravity only works when the boat isn’t upside down).  Might have to ask Rover to construct something for me in carbon fibre so I can at least look like an idiot with lots of cash to spend (in other words, like a Finn sailor)
Our new Portsmouth Yardstick is 985 which is 5 points "faster" than last year. This is surprising as my contribution should ensure the RS300 fleet’s overall performance has declined since last July. The only good news is that the Finns (my nemesis at Christchurch) have been clobbered by 8 points so they'll have to find some new, even slacker, interpretations of Rule 42.
This weekend I’ve focused on the RS300 Winter Championships at Hykeham. Meaning I’m sitting here with a glass of wine looking at their results on the internet. Well done Steve Bolland.
My next race probably will be the Easter Series and I’m looking forward to the return of Luke. Time to get serious.

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