What has been your priority over the winter in the Moth Class?
Working towards the worlds in Hawaii and it would be nice to improve on 19th in my first world’s, it would be good to get a top ten but it should be a tough worlds with a lot of the top Australians, Kiwis and USA guys entering.
I am still on a steep learning curve in the class and this winter I have been trying to do as much sailing as I can given the conditions. If I can get three days a week on the water, then I am pretty happy. This time of the year, there is usually not enough wind and it’s cold and not much daylight. The basic goal is to get on the water as much as possible, improving boat handling but also looking at rig and other refinements that can be made to the boat. It’s cold but well worth doing, time on the water really improves performance. I have been doing a few events but the UK Moth season really kicks off in a couple of months.
How do you keep motivated when it is so cold?
The Moth is so exciting, so I don’t need much motivation but getting the wet suit on is hard some days but once that’s on I am straight into it. I train for two hours maximum and the sailing gear is so good these days, you don’t really feel the cold.
Do you train alone?
No, usually with my coach, Derek Clark and as many other Moth sailors that make it out at Stokes Bay. I find it important to train with other people, it is pretty grim weather and just having another boat out there makes you work harder on boat handling and speed, it is good to have a bench mark.
What about weight, we all eat a bit too much and have a few pints at Christmas?
I have been trying to lose a bit of weight, I am down to 76Kg now and maybe I will get down to 72-74Kg and see how that feels. I have been doing a lot of running and watching what I eat; cutting out bread, pasta, all the chocolates and beer is bad. Basically cutting down the carbohydrates. I also take multi-vitamin supplements at this time of year, there are a lot of bugs about and it keeps your immune system up.
What about gym work, weights?
I still do weights but it is important not to eat too much, it sounds obvious but if you don’t feed your body then you don’t put on weight but you have got to keep your strength up, you don’t want your muscles to fade away, it is just about eating the right things and in smaller quantities. I try to get to the gym 3-4 times a week. Some people may say that its hard to get motivated for the gym or a run but I know that the effort makes me fitter, lighter, more agile and that makes my sailing better, that is a clear motivation.
Winter Moth Sailing Kit?
Base layer would be a thin thermal top under a Blind stitched - 5mm steamer, you can launch and essentially stay dry within your wet suit. It is critical to keep your feet and hands warm. Boot-wise I have been struggling but I have found some 6.5mm neoprene windsurfing boots and I don’t get cold feet. Glove-wise, most wet suit gloves don’t give you enough grip but the thermo builders gloves have great grip. A neoprene hat and a lifejacket finish it off.
What about your Foxer racing, where does that fit in?
We get 15-20 boats out on a Sunday in the Hamble River and there are good guys out there racing; Ian Southworth, Tom McWilliam, my brother Peter, Shaun Barber, Craig Burlton, with guest appearances from the likes of Geoff Carveth and Paul Larsen. It is tough racing; the Foxer Racing is probably one of the best Sunday morning, one design racing in the UK, right now. It’s proper grass root sailing, which keeps me sharp tactically. We often get in eight races over a weekend with some great competition, which is the key to it all.
How do you balance your professional sailing with your hobby or development in say The Moth Class?
My job is professional sailing, so work has priority. I have just had a couple of events cancelled, such as Key West, so that means I can train in the Moth. It would be great to get involved in a big campaign soon, a Mini-Maxi or similar but for me, the Volvo Ocean Race always looms in the not so distant future. For me it is a great race and I am still hungry for it. I don’t do it just for the money, I do it because it is a great race and I would love to do another one or two, but it is almost harder to get the gigs than do it.
So far now it will be a balance of dinghy sailing off my own back and big boat racing but there is never enough time to do it all.