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SWC Mallorca – Finn Class World Number 1 still on the learning curve

by Rob Kothe, Sail-World.com on 30 Mar 2014
Finn / Oliver TWEDDELL (AUS) - 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne Jeff Crow/ Sport the Library © http://www.sportlibrary.com.au
ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca 2014 - 23 year old Australian Oliver Tweddell, now the top ranked Finn sailor in the world, led into the ISAF Sailing World Cup medal race but was beaten by Giles Scott (GBR). Ahead of the battle in Mallorca, with a highly competitive 99 boat Finn fleet, Sail-World talked to the young Aussie.

‘Miami was a difficult medal race. It was maybe three knots of breeze and very tricky conditions. The whole week was difficult and I think the race committee did the best job they could with what we had for the whole week we were there.

'That’s the first time I have gone into a medal race leading and with quite a big points lead I had. Obviously I was devastated to lose but it was great to be in that position in first place. It’s probably been a while since someone stuck it to Giles, so I was happy to be in that position especially given the wind strength that we had that week too.

'It’s all part of the learning process and I am still on the steep part of the curve.

‘I missed out on a Gold medal at Sail Melbourne to Bjorn Allanson from Sweden and I learned quite a lot there as to how not to win and again the same thing happened in Miami so every time something like that happens it cut me deep. I learned quite a few lessons and I won’t be making the same mistakes again, that’s for sure.

'We have been training hard under John Bertrand. Jake (Lilley) and I are training really well together. You know we have both got very different strengths. He is very good in strong winds and I am very good in the light winds so as a training group we complement each other very well. His strengths mean I have to train harder in most conditions to keep up with him and vice versa. The two of us are pretty confident that moving forward as a team that we are going to be pushing the best in the world for quite some time to come.

'Bjorn has been joining up in with us. He has been training with us when we are out in Melbourne and he joined with us in Miami and the same thing here as well and we have also had Ross Hamilton from Ireland training too. We basically try and keep our training group as open as possible. Helps us keep in touch with the rest of the world.

'Bjorn has different philosophies and ideologies on things and sometimes he says stuff that neither myself, John or Jake think about so it is quite good keeping an open group like that.

'It helps. The more brains thinking over things the quicker you are going to learn and the more things you are going to be open to so having Bjorn has been great.

'Miami conditions played to my strength. I would say at the moment my fitness is not where I would want it to be to sail in the Finn but having said that I still sail very well and when it is breeze I will be free pumping too as I showed at Sail Melbourne. Yes Miami was perfect for me. It was quite light winds and very shifty. That suited me.

'I was pretty happy to be up there. Obviously Giles had been quite busy with America’s Cup stuff but to still be there pushing him was pretty great. Shame I couldn’t quite get the job done.

'This one is going to be huge. I think we have got around 100 boats here which is awesome. We have got all the major players that are in the Finn class.

'It is going to be good just to check in and see where everyone is at and where our training has been going since Miami. A great test to see where we are all at at the beginning of the season.

'We have got our European Championships as well so we are doing them after Hyeres too. So we have those three events then Rio and Santander.

'The Brits have been dominating the class for 15 plus years now so yes the fact that they have got a big squad and they have got quite a few new young guys coming through as well. Yes they are definitely the squad that everyone is aiming to emulate and surpass. They have been doing it for so long now it is a bit of pressure for them to keep that mantle there.

'Everyone will be watching them here, Ed Wrights definitely an extremely fit sailor and same with Giles Scott and they are both very smart and they have been doing it for quite some time so their definitely going to be the benchmarks. Obviously you have got the French and the Kiwi’s and quite a few others. We have got a pretty strong fleet so it is going to be very interesting to see how everybody goes.

'I have just bought myself a new Devoti hull. Roman (Devoti) took some time with me and discussed what they have done to I, they have put a lot of effort into this boat to make it quite fast and I am really happy with how it has been going so far. I am actually quite excited to spend a bit more time in the boat and try and utilise and maximise it as best I can.

'All in all the training has been quite good. We have had a mixture of conditions, directions and wind strength which is excellent for training. Here they have got a bit of slop that we don’t normally get back home so it is quite good to train in that. It mixes it up quite well. We have had quite a big training group here, sailing with Bjorn and Ross and the Americans and Canadians. It has been very interesting conditions and just basically trying to suss out the venue more than anything as well as trying to test out some new sails too.

'In some conditions where I felt the sails were going nicely and others where they weren’t but all in all I am feeling pretty quick. Hopefully just sailing simply, get off the line clean and then it should be ok from there but it is a lot easier said than done.'
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