Team Black Tidey 49er FX

Staying In the Loop- February 2022

It has been a busy but productive month onboard our GRP 49er FX!

Since our last update we have been based in Lanzarote for three boat handling camps and competed at our first regatta as Team Black/Tidey.

Boat handling has been our primary goal for the past two months. Unlike a lot of other dinghy’s the 49er skiff is quite difficult to manoeuvre and slows the boat speed down vastly. It is hard to perfect but we strive to make ourselves as adaptable as possible to keep the boat moving fast through the water when changing direction.

Camp 1. ( Jan 27- 29th)

At the end of January we privately hired Tommy Ploessel as a coach (German 49er Crew x2 Bronze Olympic Medalist) to learn from his expertise in some specific areas of 49er sailing.

  • Slow boat pre start handling in light wind
  • Gybing in windy conditions

Tommy challenged both of us in our individual roles which has allowed us to make these new routines, bespoke to our team. It is important to always challenge ourselves with new ideas and check we are up to date with current International skills.

Slow boat handling in the 49er is a very empowering skill to have. The 49er is hard to hold station and with improved slow manoeuvring skills you can reposition on the line when you need to without causing an infringement to another boat or being out of control.

We hope to work with Tommy & more experts in our sport over the next three years. It is a vital part of our campaign to push all areas of our skills and fast track our learning.

Camp 2. ( Feb 1st – 8th)

In our second camp we put in some serious hours on the water with double session days. Generally this would total 5 hours a day sailing and practicing skills. In this camp we chose to focus on:

  • Tacking
  • Gybing

Tacking is the change of direction when travelling upwind & gybing one of the hardest manoeuvres in the 49er FX is the change of direction downwind. Both tacking and gybing have various styles and processes required for each given wind strength making them a vast topic to cover. Repetition of the manoeuvre and visual debriefs with a lot of video analysis made the biggest difference to progress. In hindsight the double session days not only allowed us fit in more focussed hours but also allowed us practice the reset for the second launch that can be an alien feeling when medal racing the same day as final series.

Camp 3. ( Feb 10th – 14th)

As this was our first regatta as a new team it was important to use everyday until Day 1 of the event to fit in quality training. It was so exciting getting to race against a fleet of 18 boats and express ourselves on a bigger race course. Freya got thrown in at the deep end with a range of conditions for her first 49er FX regatta and Saskia was reminded what an amazing feeling it is to be back racing after the last race which was the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

Our goals for the regatta were fairly broad. It was a perfect regatta to prompt scenarios, dabble in pressurised situations and see as a new team what we plan to tackle next in our sailing this March.

We had a lot of fun.

Our Psychologist  helped us pre regatta to set our expectations and mindset. It was important we were aligned on committing to a open minded, playful, fail to succeed approach.

We were happy with our finish,  9th place/ 1st British boat and a bonus opportunity to experience our first medal race together.

What’s next?

Saskia has just returned to the UK after delivering the boats from Lanzarote to Palma Majorca in preparation for our next training and racing venue. Transporting the equipment around the continent is certainly the less glamours side of the job. A rough 36 hour ferry crossing from Lanzarote to Cadiz followed by a sprint 8 hour drive to Valencia Port to make the next ferry crossing to Palma made for quite a busy weekend! Whilst Sas was ferry hoping Freya took control of sorting equipment at home in the UK. We have very short breaks at home in-between camps which are important to use for maintenance of kit and checking in with our support team at British Sailing, Portland UK.

Next stop is Palma Majorca. We will travel to Palma on the 6th of March to set up for the month of training ahead! The Princess Sofia Regatta which has been cancelled the past two year because of Covid will be held this year the first week of April. It is one of our favourite sailing venues with incredible blue water and a multitude of conditions.

Stay up to date with our Instagram pages to follow our month ahead! We have some snazzy new GRP sail stickers on our mainsail which look awesome!

Yours In Sailing,

Freya & Sas