Day six has not quite broken at the training camp in La Grande Motte and I am alone in the communal kitchen (with a few thousand ants) slurping tea and hurriedly trying to get few words down before we move onto Stage Figaro, which starts with a training session at the swimming pool.
Mini training was fantastic; I have learned a huge amount, become a lot more confident in my little boat and most importantly, with the help of my coach, I have an understanding of what I do not know and a set of defined goals to work towards.
I have a few decisions to make in the next month or so, not least of which is about my sail selection. Currently you are allowed a combination of six sails and two storm sails in the mini. I have only four, including a Solent (jib), a mainsail and two spinnakers; but this has left me with no arsenal for reaching; so I need to buy some second hand sails to have a go with so I can decide what I want my in final wardrobe.
Days have been well structured and full; starting with a group physical training session at the gym where our coach has assessed our areas for improvement and written us an ongoing programme. For me this is weight training and core stability as due to my running I am in pretty good cardio vascular shape.
After the gym we are straight down to the boats with an hour to prepare our ships for training, then to a debrief on the exercise of the day before (mostly in French); our coach Paul is no soft touch and normally we all get a telling off.
Then a briefing for the day and straight onto the water for a sail, all the time our every move being logged on gps trackers, which will be replayed in a debrief at the end of the day, normally to one or more sailors great embarrassment.
Evenings have been spent, fixing boats or doing homework, preparing for the day ahead, though yesterday was Italian skipper Suzi’s birthday so we did manage a ‘classe mini school trip’ into Montpellier for a quiet beer and to enjoy the Christmas lights.
It has been decided by the centre manager Franc Citeau that my next progression should be the double handed training in the Figaro class, which starts next week.
I was a little unsure about this as this is a very tough class and the sailors are top of their game, but when I questioned his decision, Franc firmly told me he knew what was best for me and that I need to concentrate on boat on boat tactics and a week ‘en double’ in the Figaro would be the next logical progression for me.
I have to admit to a lot of nerves, I saw the ‘figarists’ arriving in their sign written vans yesterday and felt very small – still Franc promised me my co-skipper looks like Brad Pitt so there has to be an upside to all of this!