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Emirates Team NZ- Coach's Blog - Up-skilling in the Extreme 40

by Rod Davis on 7 Oct 2011
Emirates Team NZ (nearest camera) Extreme Sailing Series 2011 - Act 7. Nice. France Lloyd Images © http://lloydimagesgallery.photoshelter.com/

Emirates Team NZ's Coach and sailing scribe, Rod Davis writes on the method behind the multi-multihull event racing program being undertaken by the worlds most successful professional sailing team. He writes:

Next week we are back in the Extreme 40 in Almeria, Spain. Last week it was Nice, France.

The fickle winds of Nice have not been good to us. They weren’t on our side when we sailed the LVC series in 2009, although we got second. They weren’t on our side last week either.

What I should add is that we were not good to ourselves as well. We made way too many mistakes in the lead up to the regatta and on the water. Thus we got beat up pretty good, and it hurts.

A truly bad regatta is something that has not happened to ETNZ since the America’s Cup of 2003. We usually dish out the pain at a regatta not take it. I fully expected to win, if not, at least be to be in the top three. All the stars were lined up. Dean back on the helm (he had won his last 40 regatta in Boston), we were leading the Extreme 40 series overall and had two good AC45 regattas behind us.

Then we hit the perfect storm. Nothing went right. I keep going over it, what if we had done this or that. The disappointment runs deep. Losing is one thing, sailing badly is another. To not be in the hunt for the podium, well it is grating me now. But there you go. We have one week to make corrections and then its back up on the horse.

For Almeria, Adam Beashel will be back on the helm; Razor, (Ray Davies) on the main sheet; Jero Lomas and Derek Saward make up the rest of the sailing team. Tyson is boat captain, Dylan as boat builder and me as coach make up the support team.

The sailing team is a new combination. It is all part of 'up skilling' our sailorswho are not part of the AC45 or Extreme 40 programs. That means grinders, or if you feel brave or fast on your feet, the 'Goons'. I am neither, so I stick to calling them grinders! If we don’t up skill them now, they go from assets to liabilities when we launch the new AC72 next year just because of the lack of exposure to cats.

The task of training the big boys has been skippered by Adam. This will be his third regatta at the helm, each time with a different crew. In the big picture of winning the cup it is a top priority, but it will cost us in the short term in terms of performance on the race course.

And therein lies the quandary: Emirates Team New Zealand is a performance oriented team. We demand and expect exceptionally high standards of ourselves. That is not some punch line, it is ingrained in our culture. We take any lack of performance personally.

Over the next two days, I will pencil out the targets and a game plan, as usual. With Nice still ringing it my ears it better be good!

Coach

For more from Emirates Team NZ see www.etnzblog.com or for their list of sites www.emiratesteamnz.com or their America's Cup page http://www.americascup.com/en/Teams/Emirates-Team-New-Zealand/Latest!click_here

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