Another summer has come and gone with all the ups and downs it brings with it so it’s time to share a little bit of what I’ve been up to.
The Aussie summer is a big natural advantage we hold over our friends in the northern hemisphere because we can train and race while most of them are snowed in or have to travel away from home to get time on the water. The last two weeks of November were spent at a training camp in Sydney leading up to the first event of the summer, Sail Sydney. We had a great little fleet including the Kiwis, one of the best British laser sailors, some good Dutch sailors and a hot bunch of young Aussies coming up. The regatta started in some very tricky south easterly breezes with our course set up between shark island and the Point Piper. I held my own with some great comebacks but struggled with my starting and first beats. The last two days of the regatta turned it on with great seabreezes and a course area change. I had a few race wins but made a crucial error on the last race of the event which cost me the podium. I finished 4th, same as last year funnily enough.
A few days later I got in a car and drove the team trailer down to Melbourne for the next event of the summer. I had a bit of a late-night drive trying to get in which made finding my Airbnb a bit of an adventure but I eventually found it. I had a nice house for the week with Mitch, Greg and Etienne, a French sailor from New Caledonia. The first race of the event started off pretty breezy but as the day went on it got progressively lighter to the point where we were finishing the second race in a glass off. I had one of my best comebacks in that second race after a bad first beat but sailed through the fleet all the way up to 4th. The next day we only got one race in before a big storm front rolled over but I managed to finish 2nd in that race. The third day was a write off because of no wind so we had three races scheduled early on the last day to make up ground.
This was an interesting day for me, on and off the water. Unfortunately, my head wasn’t really in the game and was more stressed about checking out of the Airbnb, packing up the boats and getting onto the Spirit of Tasmania that evening. I went from an equal first position with 4 other boats to finishing 5th overall. Disappointing again to miss a good opportunity on the last day of an event. After speedily packing up in the rain Blackers, Ash and I got in our cars with our trailers in tow and made it onto the ferry with a little time to spare. Pheww! I’d never been on the spirit before and it reminded me a lot of the ferries I’d caught from Barcelona to Palma. The next morning Blackers and I met up with a local sailor who helped us store our boats on his property just out of Devonport where the nationals were to be held. It was a beautiful morning and made me remember just how pretty Tasmania is. After dropping the boats, it was onto the airport and back to Perth.
After Christmas at home in Esperance and all too soon I was back at the airport and on my way to Tasmania again. I was staying with Blackers for the regatta in a nice apartment near the Mersey river. The weather was quite nice for our event and even though we didn’t race on the first day to a lack of wind the rest of the event went smoothly. The only drawback was the days on the water where especially long with each day averaging about 5 hours on water. I had my moments throughout the event with a few race wins but lacked a little consistency which put me down to third behind Tom and Matt. I had a fun time in Devonport. It’s a cool little town and when I wasn’t sailing I spent my time on the golf course or riding with Indi in the mornings. We found a great cafe that we went to every time with the best waffles I’d ever had called Laneway.
The day after the regatta I drove with Zoe and Caelin to Hobart via Launceston to begin coaching at the youth nationals. I was filling in for Tristan coaching the NSW State Team, most of which I’d already coached at the Radial Worlds last year. I hadn’t been to Hobart since the 2012/13 Laser nationals and it was great to be back. It’s such a beautiful city and reminds me a little of home for some reason. Other than the coaching I had one goal in mind, I had to cycle up Mt Wellington, something I didn’t do last time but had always wanted to do. The regatta went quite smoothly and the kids where great to work with as always. Too soon came another big few days of travel. On the last day of the regatta I had to pack up and drive back to Davenport to catch a late-night ferry back to Melbourne. Then the following day I drove all the way to Sydney before finally catching an early morning flight the next day back to Perth. Getting good at doing all this travel.
This was my last time in WA for a while now. I did some more coaching, went back to Esperance for a little more time with the family then was back on a plane headed for Sydney. This next few months is just sailing now, focusing on the season ahead. I’m excited to see what this year brings, it’s going to be full of challenge but I’m feeling prepared for it. As always, I want to say a massive thank you to Fremantle Sailing Club for their continued support of my Olympic Campaign, it wouldn’t be possible without your support.
Regatta Report by Luke Elliott