Welcome to my blog, where I'll share some of my Olympic experiences - training, travelling, competing and in-between.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well, we are done. We finished 14th overall, which was not what we wanted, but that’s Star sailing for you I guess.

We’re packing everything up now – sails, jibs, spare parts etc etc - into the shipping container before heading home via the closing ceremony in Beijing.

The whole sailing team is flying to Hamilton Island the day after we get home to catch the end of Race Week up there. It will be nice to get home, and soon enough I will be back into the swing of work and home life.

Thanks to all my friends and family for your support and well wishes throughout this Olympic experience!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A frustrating first day of racing here as we went out, came in and then went out again to race at 4pm. We finally started a race in light breeze, and all was going well as we were placed in the top few boats. Then the breeze died and swung 80 degrees to the left and hung the leading group out to dry. So we placed 11th.

Following that we had a couple of very tough days on the water here with fickle winds making for tough sailing. In Race 4 we unfortunately broke our mast on the way to the finish whilst coming 6th, which meant drifting over 2nd last with the mast in the water!

Followed that race up with a very respectable 2nd though…maybe it was the spare mast!

My wife and daughters are having a great time over here in Qingdao, and it’s been good to have them here as my noisy Aussie cheer squad!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday went past quickly in the measurement tent. We were there till 3pm. Had to make a minor adjustment to the front of the keel which took an hour of boatbuilding. I just can’t get away from it!

Yesterday was to be our practice race but there has been little wind. We sailed for a couple of hours to check our boat and sails, but I think we were the only crew to venture onto the water.

Everyone who was meant to sail yesterday was pushed back to today, so it will be crowded out there!Stronger breezes are forecast for the next 3 days though...stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We sailed again yesterday against the Irish, Germans, Chinese and French. All seems to be going well - we used our spare mast to make sure it was OK and then in the afternoon sanded and polished the keel again.

No sailing today, as we are measuring up. After that we’ll assemble the boat back together again, and then do all our final checks, which will take most of the day. We’ll sail tomorrow morning to make sure everything is alright, but don’t plan to sail in the practise race.

We start racing on Friday, with two afternoon races per day for three days straight, then there’s a reserve day, followed by two more days of racing, followed by the Medal Race.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I returned from Beijing on Sunday night after a great couple of days there with my wife and three daughters.The opening ceremony and the time in the main village was unbelievable.

The day after the ceremony was a family trip to visit the Great Wall of China. It is just not believable unless you see it! I am amazed at how they even built the short part we saw on top of these huge hills, let alone thousands of kilometres …just incredible.

We were back into it yesterday with 3hours of short course racing against the UK, Ireland, Germany and France. We plan to do the same today and then measure the boat on the 13th.

The Aussie team is going very well - smiles all round!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The weekend just gone has been great!

We sailed every day, enjoying great weather - clear skies and nice light breezes. We have been doing a bit of training with the English and Americans on short course racing, which has been going well. Both Dog and (coach) Euan are well and we are all ready to get into the racing – just 11 sleeps away now.

My wife and three daughters arrive in a few days – it will be good to see them before I head to Beijing for the Opening Ceremony, which Dog and I plan to attend…what an experience!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Team Camp in Hong Kong started well, with everyone upgraded on the flight over. Not bad! We spent four days doing a bit of shopping, golfing and catching up on Team Admin and preparation before flying on to China.
We’re in Qingdao now, and have settled into the Olympic Village. Most days we plan to be at the boat at 9am, and sail from 11am - subject to weather of course. Today is our first day so we’ll be rigging the boat and getting ready to practice tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The past week has flown by at a frenetic pace, catching up with family and work, plus training and making plans for the next trip.

We fly out tomorrow to Hong Kong for a Team Camp, and then on to China, where we will settle into the Olympic Village on July 28.

Approaching the ‘business end’ of six years of Olympic preparation now, I really just want to get into the racing!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Having just returned from China on the weekend, I am back at work trying to catch up on the last few weeks’ goings-on. My diary is suspiciously free for the rest of this week, but I am sure that will not last long…
Our recent trip was pretty busy - shipping delays meant our boats were late arriving due to fog and customs clearance. When they did arrive a lot of work was done to the boat we plan to use at the Olympics – fairing and deck layout adjustments among other things to help us cope with the light wind conditions we generally experience over there. We also got some really valuable training time almost every day with George and Brian, who I mentioned in my last post.
The algae has also been brought under control by way of netting (about 30 miles) set up around the edges of the course, and of course the huge efforts of the locals out on fishing vessels and the military.
We fly out again in a week and a half for the final ‘Olympic’ trip to China…

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thick fog bringing visibility down to 40m or so, plus heaps of weed – certainly not your ideal sailing conditions…but the Chinese locals are certainly working hard to clean it up on a daily basis.

This week we have had our training partners (George Szabo and Brian Fatih from the States) over here, to sail with / against us on one of our boats. Both George and Brian are really valuable people to have here, helping us to finalise our sail choices and techniques for the course.

Monday, June 30, 2008

So when not out on the water, we are working madly on the hull of the boat we plan to use at the Olympics.

We have rented some space in a boat factory in Qingdao and have three boats here at the moment. The boat we’re likely to use at the Olympics is receiving quite a bit of TLC courtesy of two boat-builders we have brought over from Sydney - Mark and Chris. They have been a great help so far, as have the team at the factory.

It’s all systems go here!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back in Qingdao, China for another couple of weeks of training and preparation on the Olympic course.

You could almost be forgiven for thinking I’d changed from a water-based sport and moved into track and field – the surface of the course in Qingdao is covered with some sort of green spongy algae!

You can see in this picture below, the surface almost looks like a bowling green…it certainly makes for interesting sailing!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So…back home last week from Croatia where the weather was really very unkind, as you can see in the picture here. It’s not much better here in Sydney now either to be honest!

I’m pretty much straight back into the swing of things with back to back meetings at work, and lots of catching up with my wife and daughters.

I’m only here for a week and a half before heading off to China again for a training camp – by the time I get settled, I’ll be off again!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Split Regatta

Well, Day I of racing in Croatia was very quiet, with very little wind but some thunder storms around. We towed to the race course before one aborted start and then we towed home.

Day 2 saw the race committee try twice to race without success. That leaves 2 scheduled days of racing and a reserve to get some racing in...fingers crossed!

Split is a really beautiful place…just not very windy at the moment!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lake Como to Croatia!

Well, we have just spent 5 days in Musso, Lake Como Italy. It really is quite a beautiful place, but we spent four days fairing and repairing at the boat’s builder, Lilia. Didn’t get to see much of the sights - but…the Star boat must be perfect!!

After some very long days we packed up again (me, crew ‘Dog’ and coach Euan) and headed off to Croatia – 1000km’s through Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Slovenia with the Star and coachboat both hitched to a trailer! That certainly slows you down.

Finally arrive to a warm and beautiful Croatia - Split looks to be a charming old city. We start racing tomorrow in the Split Eastern Hemisphere Championships…our last regatta on this trip before we head home to see our families.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

5th place in Delta Lloyd Regatta!

Here we are in action again in Holland. We finished 5th overall in this regatta, and placed 8th in the final day’s Medal Race.
The weather for all of the fleet racing was generally light winds and sunny skies. After the fleet racing, we were placed equal third...
For the medal race, the weather turned nasty - 20-25 knots and raining all day! We started well in what was very bumpy water, but unfortunately on the first mark five boats converged at the same time. This meant we had to dip three boats as we were approaching on port tack, and then quickly back onto stbd tack. This meant our boat speed dropped and we were washed sideways into the mark…so two penalties given to us from the on-water judges meant we had some serious distance to cover to finish in 8th place...
This regatta has been very positive for us in the lead-up to the Olympics, allowing us to gain some valuable medal race experience - now we need to work to maintain our positive momentum and keep rolling along!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Medemblik Regatta - Day 2

Having a great time here in sunny Holland, competing in the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik.

10 out of the 16 Olympic contestants are here which makes this regatta a good trial for August. After two days and four races, we are placed 5th overall and not too far back from those at the top! Winds have been light and from the east, with big changes in wind strength throughout the day – makes for interesting sailing!

It’s been quite cool as you can see from the beanies in the photos, but still sunny. The forecast is for a lot of wind and bad weather on the weekend…stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Training in Miami

I arrived last week in Miami little sore and sorry having sustained a bike injury whilst on a road training session in Sydney. Strapping, rest and physio all seem to be doing their bit though, thank goodness!

I am here in Miami with my crew 'Dog' and coach Euan until Friday, when we head to Holland for the Medemblik Regatta.