What a year. It's been 13 months since Elliot was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly the journey to the Olympics dramatically changed.
I have only just got to the crux of reflecting on it all and what I want to do moving forwards. The 8 month build up to the Olympics with Twiggy was a totally unique journey. To attempt to put a package together that might have a sniff at an Olympic medal was an amazing challenge and one that has shaped some new skills and perhaps brought out things I didn't realise also.
One of the main things was how much I could learn in so little time. My eyes were opened to the amount of questions you can answer and things you can achieve in one week, let alone one year. It forced me to be far more logical and matter of fact and leave egos to the side. There simply wasn't enough time to allow emotion get in the way of fact. Fast tracking teamwork was high on the list of priorities and it involved both coaches and experts as well as Twiggy and I in the boat. Quickly we had to find the right people to do the right things - the clock was racing!
An interesting thought to live with was knowing we weren't going to able to do everything we wanted to. That's unusual because in a normal 4 year build up you imagine this wonderfully ‘perfect’ package that you'll forge in that time. Now of course, you never quite reach perfection but you get close to reaching something you feel is unbeatable. Yet I knew going into the games in Rio, we were always going to have some reasonably un-polished parts to us. And as ever, the whole world has an opinion on what we should be doing, but we trusted our process and the people helping us. If we only walked away from this with one thing?
• To be proud of what we did.
I am proud of the result of Twiggy, for stepping into Elliot's shoes with the humbleness of a Buddhist monk! Of the way we conducted ourselves through it. And we always had the mantra that somebody had to win. Why not us? We really weren't that far off at the end of the regatta.
So where next. Tokyo 2020 is firmly in the sights. I'm excited at the prospect of putting together something hard and honest with slightly more time on my hands! This Olympic journey I've been on for over ten years still has some story left, I have unfinished business with it. I'll be on the startline in a 470, flying the flag and with a package put together that hopefully emulates all the good from lessons learnt and all the skills we’ve honed over such a long time!
But there's more. Since I was a wee boy, I used to watch what was then called the Whitbread race, clearly now the Volvo Ocean Race. It has always got me in a way the Olympics gets me. I would love to skipper a team to winning one day. So I want to start building some offshore miles, get out in that sea to get salty and weathered! I think it's important to have some longer perspective in the sport. I can't wait to start this adventure alongside. Hopefully I'll get a wee look at this ocean race in the flesh and get a flavour for it all.
Thank you to Volvo and to everyone who has supported this life in winning sailboat races. I'm the luckiest Scotsman in the sea!