Team Black Tidey 49er FX

Staying In the Loop – January 2022

Welcome to the first of Team Freya Black & Saskia Tidey sailing news letter. It is very exciting to join the team at GRP Boat Repairs and announce our official campaign to qualify Great Britain for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Thanks to the support of the GRP,RYA British sailing team and UK sport we can begin moving forward towards our goal. Winning medals for Great Britain in the 49er FX skiff.

We started our journey together in November 2021. Freya transitioned from the mixed Olympic 470 class to the 49er FX double handed woman’s skiff. Saskia is a double Olympian and recently competed in Japan representing Team GB in the 49er FX. This will be Saskia’s third Olympic campaign.

What are we up to now?

December 2021 – January 2022: December & January have largely been used to design the framework which we will build on for Paris 2024. During this time we allowed the opportunity for Freya’s introduction to FX sailing and gave Sas the appropriate time to reset after Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Back to basics – Our main focus in January has been boat-handling. Boat handling and practicing manoeuvres in a vital skill in a 49er FX. Vulnerable boat handling on a race course creates limitations when decision making. We located our team sailing in Vilamoura Portugal as we were guaranteed wind, waves and sun!

Our British Sailing Team coaches have helped us fast track a lot of the basics 49er FX boat handling skills and the learning curve so far has been very exciting. For both December & January camps, the sea state was epic and threw us into problem solving the manoeuvres and staying adaptable. Safe to say we have a long way to go but we are in a very good place to push the level on.

Team work & respect are two values we both share a passion for in our work. With our British Sailing Team psychologist help we have begun to explore and form our direction as a new team. We look forward to continuing to build on our team call book, learning what each other need, and streamlining the language and communication within the boat to stay aligned. This is a very important part of our sailing which needs to be robust when put under pressure racing.

The 49er FX is a physical boat. Pre departure for Europe we have worked closely with our sports medicine team to condition ourselves as much as possible for a sailing fitness heavy few months. The main focus for us has been movement patterns and physical shapes we pull in the boat. For Freya this has been a introduction to sailing standing up & keeping low and balanced through the manoeuvres. For Sas it has been about checking in with previous testing markers to see what post Tokyo Sas looks like after a break and resetting the momentum and vision of what a gold medal crew looks like in two years time. Lanzarote will be our base for February which we plan to avoid travelling back to the UK. This should allow us to settle into a rhythm of sailing fitness and physical maintenance.

Apart from the physical demand the 49er FX is a very technical boat. Last year the class made a equipment change which would come into effect for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. This was a change in mast builder (CST ) and a redesign of the sail material (3Di North). Long story short there are some global supply issues with production of this kit and its availability. Funnily enough this currently is working in our favour allowing us as a new team to focus on general skiff skill development and team building without the extra distraction. The new set up should be active to use for the World Championships in Canada September 2022.

It has been a very busy month with a lot of momentum building. There has been a lot of excellent input which has highlighted the importance of documenting, staying aligned with the team around us, setting very clear goals and reviewing regularly to make sure we stay on track and set realistic targets. We believe this is one of the most vital aspects of making our campaign successful. Because this carries so much weight for us we have privately invested in a campaign mentor. This financial outgoing is priceless to us.

Lastly once again we are very proud to welcome GRP Boat Repairs to join our Paris 2024 Olympic campaign as our official hull sponsor. This support will allow us to stay on track with hull selection for the World Championships in 2022 & 2023. Julian and his amazing team have made us feel very welcome. It is a honour to share this campaign with GRP.

What’s next? What’s our focus for the next month?

  • Boat handling focus in Lanzarote- keeping the consistency in what we have learnt so far and being exposed to other boats and the Lanzarote waves will give us the next level.
  • Continuing developing our vision as a team and how we set goals and review in the future with the help from our mentor.
  • Mobility!!! Very important as we go into a sailing focused month.
  • Balancing the extra fitness on top of on the water sailing.

Next stop – Lanzarote. January – February 2022.