While planning what to do this winter with my sailing I was pretty sure I want to go to Gran Canaria. But since I wasn’t sure if I can go there even once, there was a lot of advice given to me that perhaps it would be more beneficial to send my boat somewhere in Europe with someone so that I would for sure get to sail this winter. And even though maybe it would have given me more time on the water, now, after the Gran Canaria camp I know I made the best possible decision by sending my boat there. I knew I needed to be coached, so that I wouldn’t be just mindlessly doing speed tests or races with other good sailors. I knew I needed someone to be there for me and tell me how to improve my technique and give me some new knowledge about Laser sailing. And to feel like I have a team around me. And in Gran Canaria, training with the Sailing Academy gave me all that and so much more.
I trained there twelve days straight (48 hours of trainings) with two supposed resting days which still turned into days with trainings. I have never had my body ache so much and felt my coordination start to give up. But that was only the result of some very effective and good trainings. We had three trainings per day, starting with a morning fitness in a small gym. The focus was on improving strength, balance, coordination and mental strength. The cool thing is that most of the exercises in that training were not repeated during the twelve days I was there. As a bonus I made a step closer to standing on the fitness ball and almost learned how to juggle.
After that a quick breakfast and off to the water for 2-3 hours. After sailing there wasn’t much time for rest because we still had one physical training and a video debrief to fit in the day. Afternoon fitness was either gym, biking or yoga. We also tried slackline-ing, played beach volleyball and paddle so the trainings were never boring. And I can’t even explain how good the evening video debriefs were. I admit, sometimes they were super long, maybe too long even but my training diary is full of detailed analyses of all the things we worked on in this camp and that’s something I’m super happy about!
And as if having three trainings per day already on the first day wasn’t hard enough, we had four days of full-hiking conditions in the beginning, testing me both physically and mentally. Main focus on the water was on improving the technique and sitting/hiking position in the boat. It’s incredible how with only a couple days I managed to change some very small things that make a big difference in speed in hiking for example. I did not suddenly get strong enough and hiking did not get any easier, but the correct way of hiking just makes the boat faster. And me, who’s never been able to make good tacks or gybes has finally got the understanding how to make my technique improve. It might seem a bit silly to say for someone who’s already been to the Olympics but it’s true. Laser sailing has never before been this fascinating to me. Learning what I’m supposed to do in the boat to make it faster and more importantly, being explained to why each movement is necessary or should be avoided is the key for me. I have to understand how things work – that’s what fuels me.
I’m not saying that after twelve days my technique is perfect and I’m suddenly super fast in strong winds.. Not even close. I even cried on the water because I was so mad at myself for not being able to make the tacks or gybes the way I want to, but that’s just part of the process. I need to do thousands and thousands of tacks and gybes to try to get them to the level where they would be good enough but now I’m excited because I know what I should be doing to make them good. I still need a constant reminder to sit and hike the proper way because it’s so hard to get rid of wrong habits. And when my body gets tired it automatically goes back to old habits. So there might not be any big visible changes in my sailing yet but it’s a work in progress and now, after many years I finally feel like I have a clear direction. I believe that if I keep trying I will actually get better.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this exhausted in a camp before. I’ve also never been this happy about it at the same time. I had so much fun in the trainings and with all the nice people around me. I can’t thank the coaches enough for all the great trainings and Radial girls for all the fun on and off the water. It was great to be around other motivated sailors and see how much work they put in. This camp was everything I could have hoped for. So now I’m keeping my fingers crossed to have the possibility to train more with Tamas and go to Gran Canaria again next winter!
I would like to give a special thanks to Saku Vald for supporting my trainings in Gran Canaria this winter! And of course my biggest help, Piotr, without whom I wouldn’t have had the chance to go there!