Matt Howard’s thoughts on the Finn Gold Cup 22.08.13

The Europeans at the end of July was a mixed bag for the Finn sailors, which it invariably is with a big squad, Pete (McCoy) winning the juniors and Ed (Wright) claiming silver at the Euro’s being the highlights from the event.  On reflection the euros came at the end of a particularly long string of regattas, which probably didn't help the sailors peak.  However the worlds is the main focus of the year for the and after a good break over the last few weeks the guys will have had a chance to rest up and refocus on the big one, that is coming up on the 26rd of August in Estonia.  

This really showed over the last week, where we’ve been based out in Tallinn, Estonia the venue for this year’s Finn Gold Cup. It’s been a very good camp with a range of conditions and other competitors to train against so all in all great training ahead of the regatta. Tallinn itself, well it’s a great city to unwind in, if you keep clear of all the stag dos!

The venue itself has all we need, and should provide a great championships.  The waters are tricky, with an almost closed bay and the wind generally comes off the land, very shifty and at times difficult to read.  With 100 boats and a 1 nautical mile minimum 1st beat, the leverage combined with the shift range could make for some exciting racing.  I may not have nails left by the end as I watch the guys tackle the racing!  But then, it’s always more nerve racking watching than it being out on the water doing the racing.  

Finn sailing explained by Ben Ainslie

The team spirit is high, the lads are all great friends and spend a lot of time together so naturally get along well. There is of course competition between the boys, but they are professional athletes so they have that element of competitiveness built into them. The hours the boys put in at the gym is fairly significant and I think that provides a lot of the ground work for being great mates. The Finn boys will on average spend 10 hours a week building their cardio strength and about 3 hours on weights. It’s a heavy weight boat so there is a lot of strength needed to manoeuvre the boat around a race course, and sustain the level of training on the water that we do. During the lead up to the major events we’ll be out on the water for about 3 hours a day training and that is a constant drain on the system so the guys need fitness and strength to be up to the job. We work closely with our sports scientists at the British Sailing Team to ensure that we are balance out the weights with core stability and fitness.

The other element that is massively important given all of the training we do is calorie consumption. The amount of food Finn sailors needs is fairly hefty so a word of advice is to make sure you are in front of the boys should you ever be queuing in the dinner line with them, because there won’t be much left if they get there first!

We’re back out to Estonia in the next few days out for measurement and registration, and there will be a few last minute tweaks before things kick off on the 26th of August. I’m looking forward to the event and seeing if we can bag some silverware.

Matt Howard, Finn coach