This week I will be embarking on the first multiple day offshore of the year. As part of a training run with the Lorient grand large training group we will have 11 boats doing a part of the Solitaire du Figaro race course with the aim of course familiarization and offshore training, something that is very difficult to replicate both on the physical and mental effects to the body as well as the tactical positions and decisions you are required to make.
Alongside the Artemis Clan there will be some good French Sailors including Adrian Hardy- always interesting to follow as he pushed hard and thinks outside of the box normally found at the extremities of any fleet searching for the next gain. Gwenole Gahinet - winner of last years AG2R and first rookie at the Solitaire du Figaro, Isabelle Joschke sailing under the prestigious banner of Genarali with multiple years of experience in Figaro and mini.
The aim for me for this training session is to focus on:
Not to lose distance- it's always easy to think of gaining by getting a good shift, sailing faster , been in more wind (especially over a small windward leeward course) but in offshore I prefer to think of not loosing distance (or time) to the leaders while still looking for the gains...
Speed at night - although I have been going fast in training (during the day time) last year I found reaching at night hard - with there been so many variables. This year I feel like I have better markings, calibration and understanding of the off wind angles so it is going to be great to apply in the offshore.
Ahead of the game on change- Change in wind strength/ direction, change in tide, change in course direction. although is sounds simple making small mistakes not changing sails quick enough can lose you a huge amount.
The picture shows a look at the course, taking us out side of the famous Raz de Sein & Ile of Ouessant and TSS zone. then up to the south west coast of England to the small rock called wolf rock where we turn east and head along the shore past the Lizard, start point black rock an in to Torbay.
At present the forecast we will see if been driven by a pressure system sitting north east off Ireland which seems very hard to predict with the different wind models not agreeing and changing large amounts on every newly published version.
Another up date when back on the English side and after a good English curry!