Dan Slater - Fitness needed in English cold - Finn class at Weymouth

Dan Slater from New Zealand racing in the Finn class on Day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue.

NZL Sailing Team member, Dan Slater, reports from the ISAF World Cup, Weymouth event in the Finn class.

Dan Slater talks with his support boat
Dan Slater
4 Gold this year was two months earlier than last year and there is no doubt the English summer hasn't arrived yet.

62 Nations and 1072 sailors came to this regatta with 320 coaches so as you can imagine it was quite a big regatta.
The temperature over the week was round 12 degrees and on the water six miles from the boat park the Finns and Stars sailed. We were wearing everything we owned on the water to stay warm.

At the start of the regatta the forecast was for a light- moderate first day and then for it to ramp up for the rest of the week.

Day one we had just one race in 10-12 knots and I had a win which was the perfect start to the regatta.

Day two the first race the breeze was 12-16 knots and in the second race 20-25 knots and I sailed well to win the first race and was 3rd in the second race at the first mark and dropped back to 10th after two bad down-winds.

Day 3 was the freshest of all and the race committee didn't send the 49ers out so put the Finn and Stars in closer on their course area for two races. with the breeze 18-20 knots at the start it soon became 30 knots later in the day. I sailed very well and had some good speed upwind with two top 4 first mark roundings but my fitness level really kicked in and I was struggling to keep up in the later stages of the day. I scored a 4th and 10th on that day and was relieved to be sent home at the end of that day.

Day 4 proved to be the day that finished most of the fleet off. We sailed three races 1 hour 20 mins long in 15-20 knots this was brutal and I can only really say you can not be fit enough on a day like this and I scored a 9, 10 and 17th despite rounding the top mark in the top 4 in all the races.

Day 5 was the final day before the medal race and there was a reprieve in the wind as we sailed the first race of the day in only 8-12 knots and I finished 2nd.

Dan Slater sailing upwind on one of the lighter days at Weymouth 2011
Dan Slater
In the final race I didn't have a great start and clawed my way back into the top 10 till the final beat when I just missed a left hand shift and lost the lot to finish 23rd.

Going into the medal race I was 6th and mathematical chance of 3rd but that was going to be mostly out of my control.
The medal race I sailed the most part really well. I didn't commit to a side at the top of both beats losing two places both times and on the down-winds not gybing at the right time cost me a place as well on both runs. so I crossed the line 7th and finished 6th overall.

I'm pleased with my performance and I now have five weeks at home before coming back for the Pre Olympics. I think a solid five weeks working on the fitness will be on order to try and get on the podium for the next regatta.

I would like to thank Grant Beck for his coaching support this week he was really great and Shell who has put up with all my racing in what she likes to call the Olympic sailing bubble for the last 3 months here in the Europe.

Dan
HIGH PERFORMANCE SAILING

Finn racing at Weymouth 2011
Dan Slater