There was a tingle of excitement as the national squad met again after two months of not seeing each other when our weekend in January was cancelled because of the snow! A lot had happened in those two months; Christmas, New Year and not to mention my Birthday but whilst we were in minus eight degrees Matthew and Benjamin Lullham Robinson and Emma and Rachel Grayson had been in 25degrees C (which Matt said wasn’t too hot!) at the mirror world Championships so there was a lot to catch up on and congratulate them on! It was really interesting finding out about the Australia and the different conditions (27 knots most days!)
After we had found all about Australia it was time to get down to business with some very useful fitness, strength and balance exercises from the superb RYA Physiotherapist Isy Hutchinson. The main message from Isy was about knowing when to be strong like a bull and when to be agile like a cat which also tied into things such as knee alignment and neutral spine.
As well as having to remember that, on the water we were also doing lots of work on how to make our boats the fastest so we were put into pairs and had to try and be the fastest boat; I found this exercise really useful but it was really important to talk to your partner as much as possible. The wind was about 15-18knots with not much chop so perfect for these kind of exercises. All the exercises on the Saturday worked really well and I think the main message from them was how important it is to keep your boat flat. The only exercise that didn’t work so well was the one when the leeward boat tacked and ducked behind the fleet (we called this Quackers...!). I think this didn’t work because people tacked at the wrong time or people got too far apart but apart from that it was a great day! Saturday afternoon was even better than the morning as everyone had improved a lot and we were in generally in a better frame of mind for sailing because a lot of people hadn’t sailed for a while before the morning. We carried on with the work about trying to make our boat go faster and also holding your lane; we also worked on our boat handling with doing some tacking, gybing or spinnaker drops on the whistle. This was probably my favourite exercise on the Saturday because I felt I got the most out of it!
Sunday was a bright and early start for all as we had to be doing fitness by eight in the morning but it was worth it as I then felt warmed up and alert and it also gave me lots of new ideas for exercises to try at home. Sunday was slightly lighter winds than Saturday and it was dropping all day. In the morning it was about 14-16kts and in the afternoon about 11-13kts. On Sunday we worked on more boat speed work and had a chat to find out the settings everyone was using and it was quite interesting how different they all were. We were paired up with different people and had to work really hard to try and make our boat the fastest because if you weren’t flat you just went sideways fast and forward slowly! We also did more gybing on the whistle and then some gate starts so we could again practise holding our lanes. I felt our strong point was the upwind work.
In the afternoon we had three races where it was all very close. The wind was lighter than it had been for the rest of the weekend so everyone had to be careful to get their settings right and get in the right mindset for the lighter weather. Madeleine and I won the first and the last race which were absolutely delighted with and Millie and Nick Pugh won the middle race so well done Millie and Nick!
I really enjoyed the weekend and I think the rest of the Mirror NJS did too so thankyou very much Ross Kearney, Alex and Catherine you were all great and everyone learnt loads. Thankyou also to Isy we learnt loads from your sessions!