Scratching the Itch

Copyright: Ian Roman

With the festive season approaching, all of us tend to look back on the year and also think about the future. Although it's been a couple of months since the Moth Worlds in Hawaii, it still feels just like yesterday. 5th overall was better than I thought and with seven top ten finishes, it was also very satisfying to show some consistency. I love the Moth Class and I will continue to put in the hours practising, when the winter weather allows. My personal racing highlight of this year was winning the British National Moth Championship. It has been a long time since I was racing against top competition solo and I haven't been racing the Moth anywhere near as long as some of the class, so I was really chuffed to bits.

Sailing in home waters brings its advantages and Cowes Week is an event that I have enjoyed since I was a nipper with my dad. This year racing with Keith Mills' 5 Degrees West was very special, taking five bullets in a competitive class, with Keith at the helm, who has really come on as a TP52 driver. The crew were a great bunch of friends and top class sailors and we really enjoyed the week and celebrated in style winning IRC 1.

Looking forward to next year, I am setting my sights on the Volvo Ocean Race. For me, the race is the ultimate test offshore and for me the one-design class has added to the attraction. I have experienced the highs and the lows of the race for the past ten years and I know that the next race will be no different in that respect. The Volvo is a long long project and to see it through, you have to be fully committed from the start and have the backing of those around you. Leslie knows only too well how the race takes over your life and she has always been a rock and so understanding.

There has been a lot of talk and discussion about the decision to go one-design and I am sure the debate will continue for years to come but the fact is, I think that everyone knows that Azzam was not the quickest boat last time out and that is a huge disadvantage. Going one-design will not make all of the teams equal but the quicker boat will be down to the skill of the team racing it, rather than the designer or boat builder. How you tune, trim and drive and the tactics employed will decide the outcome and that is a big attraction to me and one of the main reason I have decided to put myself forward. If you had asked me a year ago, if I was going to do another race, I would have said no. But it is the ultimate test and I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, the Volvo is like an itch and I can't stop scratching it.

Happy Christmas to everyone, I hope 2014 is a great year!