Ben Ainslie reports on his Miami OCR and his training plans for the next few months.
I hadn’t competed in the Miami OCR regatta for 15 years but it felt very familiar and it was great to get some more good training time on the water in a good climate with fellow Brits Giles Scott and Andrew Mills before racing got underway.
The Regatta began with two days of reasonably strong winds and flat water. Giles started very well with four straight wins, making the best use of his great speed in these conditions. Both Giles and Andrew were really going well on the downwind legs where their fitness really kicked in and helped them to make the most of the ‘free pumping’ rule that was in place. I struggled a little in these conditions but felt that with every race I was developing the technique and getting stronger.
By day four conditions had lightened somewhat and this gave me an opportunity to start pulling back some point’s. My case didn’t end up being helped by the second yellow flag disqualification I picked up in race six for over-pumping and working the boat too hard (The free pumping rule having been removed as the wind strength was now under 10 knots). I hadn’t had a yellow flag for three years so to get two in as many days was disappointing but in some ways perhaps I needed it to find out where the line was in terms of how far you can and can’t push it.
Being penalised in a race, especially when you are disqualified, is always pretty tough psychologically because, as was the case in this instance, I suddenly went from being in a strong position overall to a precarious position. All you can do is get your head right and respond positively in the next race and so it was nice to go out and win the next race, finishing the day on a better note.
The Medal Race was a close affair. I won the race with Andrew Mills third and Giles Scott fifth. Giles fifth was just enough and he did a good job to hang on and win the Regatta overall.
Over the next two months I’m going to be spending a lot of time on and off in Palma before the Princess Sofia Regatta at the end of March just gettingthat all important time on the water and improving my sailing fitness even more. Much of the time will also be spent testing equipment. It was great to have Juan Garay out in Miami. Juan designs my sails and Miami gave us a great opportunity to discuss some changes we can make over the coming months and hopefully find an extra click of pace.
The smallest gains, are always the hardest part to eke out and it is those final few gains we will be working really hard on finding as we head into the most important regattas this summer. Next Events
ISAF Sailing World Cup Event: Princess Sofia Palma Regatta 02 - 09 April 2010
ISAF Sailing World Cup Event: Hyeres Olympic sailing week 23 - 29 April 2010
Ben Ainslie website