Guess what, My elbows are currently pinned to my side and I am in the oxygen deprived cabin again!

Currently on my way home form Palma after dropping the boats ready for the regatta later in the month. But thats now, and there has been a lot going on since I last wrote.

I suppose a good place to start would be with the 2020 Campaign Launch Party Nik and I hosted. It was the first of two events, this time we were at my end of the country in what I can only describe as ‘the place of dreams’ Mylor Harbour. Nik and I teamed up with my favourite restaurant ‘Castaways’ in the harbour to put on a evening to raise a bit of money but more importantly engage and update people on our journey and route towards Tokyo 2020. I think its fair to say we were overwhelmed with the response and after selling over 100 tickets it suddenly became a little daunting. However the evening was a brilliant success, i believe everyone enjoyed themselves and it really was a pleasure to be able to share our endeavours with such a lovely bunch of local people. I must say a huge thanks to everyone involved int he evening but especially Toby from Castys, David for MC’ing the evening and of course Warren for a very fun auction! There were some amazing lots from some very generous donators, and we can’t thank you guys enough for your support! All in all it was a epic evening with a lot of laughter, a lot of prosecco and a lot of great people! 

We are planning another evening at Nikki’s end of the country next, so that some more of her gang can get involved and hear about our2020 adventure! We will be at Pevensey Bay SC on the 8th of April, Click here or contact Nikki on nikkiboniface@icloud.com to for more info or to buy tickets.

Following a weekend of great fun, it was straight back to business for Nikki and I. We flew back out Cadiz (what was becoming a winter home for us) for the third and final training camp with the rest of the British Sailing Team. Having spent so much time down there this winter, we were getting pretty comfortable with the area and it was a quick and easy transition back into the training camp. With Palma regatta on the horizon, we have begun to focus back onto a bit of speed work. It was great week of nice conditions and some really progressive tuning. Having the rest of the squad around us to help push us forward is so effective and it was nice to work and learn in that environment again. 

Half way through the training camp I retreated to London, to attend the annual RYA dinghy show. As ever it is a great chance to catch up with so many friends from the sailing world and meet lots of new one too. It also gave Nikki the chance to have a few days well earned recovery out in Spain after a hard week on the water. I was on a few missions this year at the show, There was a number of friend and sponsors I really wanted to touch base with, but most notably it was the Launch of the new written Catamaran Book. Dad and I, together with Fernhurst books have completely rewritten the original Catamaran book to bring it into the modern era, It is somthing I am particularly proud of and I hope will be a help to many catamaran sailors across the ability range. Once again I have to say a huge thanks to Jeremy and Rachael from Fernhurst who help dad and I throughout the process, also to all those who were involved. Its a brilliant book, and should provide fairly comprehensive advice whether you are just thinking about getting in to cat sailing or been around a while. Thanks to all those who were there for the launch, you all made me feel very silly signing books and taking photos! 

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Along side the book launch, it was also great to catch up with some of our personal and team sponsors, As ever the marlow stand was great fun, and I think having spoken with some of there technical team, I know we can work together to develop their already brilliant high performance rope products. Another personal highlight at the show was talking with some of the younger generation on the RYA youth Volvo stand. The ‘grass roots to glory’ initiative was a great way to hear all their enthusiasm for the sport, and I hope I gave them a few insightful tips to help them progress their sailing in return. Honestly after so many brilliant conversations I can safely say the future of our Olympic team is in good hands!

After the whistle stop tour of London, it was straight back out to Cadiz to finish off the second half of our training camp. Back on the race training, it was nice to remind ourselves what going around some marks felt like. The week finished with some fairly strong breeze, and it was good to know Nik and I haven’t forgotten everything and can still send the boat round the track in those kind of conditions. And then we had the pack up, after 3 big training camps in Cadiz, its impressive how spread out all ones kit seems to get! After some serious gathering, de-rigging and loading the trailer was ready to roll out. Rupert joined me for the drive across the bottom of Spain to Valencia where we caught the overnight ferry to Palma. A quick turn around on the beach to drop the boats/trailer off, and a friendly lift to the airport and here I am, trying to coordinate my cup of tea and laptop on the smallest of tray tables without elbowing the person next to me (she seems friendly). 

I am home for a week now, but have some fun media bits to do while I’m home, stand by for TP on camera.

Cheers all
TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Britain is very good at being windy and rainy isnt it, or perhaps I am just not used to it anymore having not really been here this year so far. AFter our training camp in Spain, I had a brief couple of days in the UK before Nikki and I jetted off to Miami for the first World Cup of this new Olympic Cycle.

Regatta Park SWC Venue, Miami. Photo by Golden Dusk Photography

Regatta Park SWC Venue, Miami. Photo by Golden Dusk Photography

This is always an interesting period of time in an olympic cycle, new teams appear on the scene and the old ones return after a winter of more individual training. Really its the first opportunity teams have to see how they are shaping up after all their winter training and endeavours. The good news for us is it seems to be paying off. 

Sending it downwind on one of the more breezy days. Photo Sailing Energy

Sending it downwind on one of the more breezy days. Photo Sailing Energy

Following the Rio cycle Nikki and I thought long and hard on the area where we had most opportunity to learn and gain. In nut shell these could be compared to racing in Miami. We wanted to work on sailing in lighter more shifty conditions, with a focus on starting. This time last year racing in Miami and those type of conditions posed a real challenge to us, so over the winter we have tried to isolate those areas and work on them.

The whole week in Miami was a fickle and shifty as ever, but i think it is fair to say that the hard work NIkki and I have done over the winter has definitely made a difference. We sailed a really solid week, including a few mistakes like everyone, but in the change able condition to not be ranked outside the top 2 overall during the whole regatta is a real achievement.

Boats and Skyscrapers. Photo Sailing Energy

Boats and Skyscrapers. Photo Sailing Energy

After a week of jostling between 1st and 2nd overall, we went in to the final medal race day with the blue jersey on (2nd place). Given the fleet and the racing so far, it was always going to be a big jump up to 1st, and with 3rd nipping at our ankle we decided to focus our race on protecting that. It was a great day and a fantastic experience to be racing in medal contention at a world cup for the first time. The media hype was like nothing we had done before, and it was really fun doing interviews and camera work like we were in formula 1 or somthing. The race itself we pretty much to plan, we kept a real close eye on the 3rd place Austrian and crossed the line 3rd in that particular race, giving us a very well deserved silver overall. 

Podium. Photo Sailing Energy

Podium. Photo Sailing Energy

Both Nik and I were so happy with the result, it shows great progress and really is a brilliant start to our new Olympic campaign. There is still more to learn and Develop, but it goes to show that we are heading in the right direction. 

The next stop for us is another trip out to Cadiz in Spain for another British Sailing Team training camp, Before we get home just in time for our Launch party, we have had a great response to the evening, but there are still tickets available if anyone is interested. details below

Right I need to get back to being british and complaining about the weather, so until next time sports fans.

Tom

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Hello dedicated sports fans, welcome to 2017. I hope everyone has had a very enjoyable Christmas break, I certainly did but now it is back to business. Like most of these things I am currently in the all too familiar, oxygen depleted, elbow cramped space that is an aeroplane seat.

Christmas in the Phipps household is always good fun, but even more so this year as for the first time in many years my little sister made it home for the holidays. We are a family of games at the best of times and the festive holiday only heightens the trend. A new and now personal favourite game, and one I can particularly recommend if you are geeky like myself is ‘Betrayal at House on the Hill’. There were many laughs and a few tantrums thrown over small bits of cardboard, but it is always good fun.

A few other things happened over the break, most notably I was asked to speak at Penair school’s GCSE awards evening. As an ex-pupil it was a real privilege to be asked back, it was also quite strange wondering the corridors of my old school. The last time I had done that was queuing up for a class back in 2005! It was really nice to be able share some of my experiences since school with the recently graduated students, and all I can hope is that I didn’t end up waffling too much. Huge congratulations to all the students and especially those who achieved special awards.

Another exciting moment – well, for me at least – was the arrival of a drone at my parent’s company. Naturally as I think most guys would be, this was a very exciting toy. And after a few nervous early flights, I quickly became quite happy with it. And on some of the very stunning days between Christmas and new year I was able to get some of these great shots of the rest of the Windsport gang on the water

Enough of my board game marketing pitch – The makers of ‘Betrayal’ can pay me later – As I said I back in the sky on my way back to Cadiz in the south of Spain. Nik and I are on our way to the first full British Sailing Team squad camp of the 2020 Olympic cycle, it’s a really exciting time as we have a New squad, new coach and in a few months a new boat! Over the next few months before the new boat arrive, Nikki and I have a few specific things we want to work on Sailing-wise, but it is also about setting up the squad and working environment so that it works for the next 4 years.

Fortunately, we did a block of training out in Cadiz before Christmas which is great because we already have our bearing for the area and it save us trying to fit an entire nacre into our not so generously allocated easy jet hand luggage. After a few weeks of chilliness, we can wait to get back out on the water in Spain. Now with a coach and support boat, I should hopefully be able to get you lot a few snaps of us actually on the water sailing.

Lastly and as you may already be aware of, Nik and I are hosting a 2020 Olympic campaign launch party on the 25th of Feb, It will be a great night so if anyone is interested in coming or helping towards the evening, all the details are below. or click here

invite PDF.jpg

Stand by for some sunny sailing snaps!

Cheers all, T

 

 

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

In the words of House stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros - Winter is coming.
Apologies in advance, I have been catching up on 'Game of thrones' recently, and so you may find that this exciting installment of my blog contains a few more late medieval terms than normal. 

Right, when I last left you I had just returned from holland and was about to settle into another training block in good old weymouth. Things have been surprisingly good actually. October/November can be a particularly tricky time of year, with wild, unstable weather systems, but lucky for us on the whole we have got off rather lightly.

Regardless of what happens in the 2020 cycle, these boats are still flipping cool.

A video posted by tomphippsracing (@tomphippsracing) on

It has given us a great opportunity to get some solid hours in. A particular highlight over the last few weeks was the chance to race as part of the national ranking series. While only a small 6 boat fleet it was a perfect way to break up the uncoached training, which despite being on a nacra can become a little monotonous. The series was over 2 weekends, and in true weymouth style the weather gods turned the wind up and the temperature down for those specific days. The first weekend was a little warmer and Nikki and I were on form, we sailed really well and walked away with 6 wins from 7 races. During the next weekend the temperature dropped considerably again, and i think it fair to say the cold had a big effect on us. You have to laugh when it gets to the stage where you arent sure if you are holding the sheet or not because your hands dont seem to exist any more. Probably a good way to describe our 2nd race weekend would be..... clumsy! That said we muddled through and won a good chunk of races. 

We learned a lot over the 2 race weekends, but one of the biggest lessons which we seem to learn every year is that its time to head south to find warmer and more stable weather. At this level it is important to be able to get the hours in on the water, and unfortunately in the UK the inability to feel ones hands after 40 mins of the water is a little limiting. Based on that Nik and I are off to spain at the start of December for a training camp before christmas. The entire British sailing team will then join us in the new year where we have a number of full squad camps in the calendar. I think it's fair to say both Nikki and I are very much looking forward to some warmer climbs. 

In other big news, and this is the part of the blog where I become all serious, ISAF, or World Sailing had an important conference recently. It looks like the the class is being pushed in the foiling direction for this cycle. While I agree with foiling in principle, the way it has been rushed and forced upon us as sailors seems particularly unjust. I think all nacra sailors feel a little hard done by, and we have all been left in a fairly tricky position financially and logistically. 

The boat is changing significantly, to a stage where old boats are 'unraceable' and worthless. Both Nacra (Manufacture) and ISAF (World federation) are hiding behind the line it is an update to the original design, but it is clear now that older boats will not be eligible to compete on the circuit once the new design is introduced. While I agree the boat did need some modifications to improve strength and longevity of its competitiveness, the changes that have been forced upon us are huge and have taken place in a matter of months. As you may realise this has left us with boats that are now completely obsolete and essentially worth very little as they are ‘unraceable’.

There is no doubt that the new design is a better boat, but because of the hugeness and the time scale of the changes, it is a very big problem for those looking to continue smoothly from the 2016 cycle to the 2020 one. 

Despite many arguments from a lot of sailors including myself, this is happening and there is no way back. Nikki and I have worked so hard over the last year to put ourselves in such a strong position leading into this new Olympic cycle, and now we have a bit of a new hurdle. In order to continue competing in the class, we need to purchase a new boat that will conform to the new class rules. As you might understand these boats are particularly sort after currently, and Nacra are taking deposits to secure build slots for sailors wishing to acquire their boats soon. Being ahead of the game is so important in any sport, but even more so at an olympic level and particularly with the introduction of a new class.

Nikki and I have raised a deposit, and we are currently working on securing enough support to finance the whole boat, so that we can get hold of it as soon as possible. It is a fairly large amount of money, so I would stress this is a work in progress. Without crying out for support, I wanted to put all you guys in the picture, so you understand what we are up against before we even hit the race track. If any of you have any ideas on how you might be able to help, please get in touch, this is a critical time in the next 4 years.

The next step is for me to start selling myself on the streets of mylor, and no one want that!

Cheers guys

TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

So, I always seem to be writing these things while on a plane. I think it must be something to do with the oxygen deprived air, or near non existent elbow room that encourages me to get on and ramble. Either that or this is the only time in my life where I am force to sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time. Oxygen quantities, elbow room and stillness aside, it's about time I updated you all on my shenanigans.

Since the Rio charge came to and end, Nikki and I took some well earned time off, and during August we managed to have some great down time catching up with friends and generally enjoying the British summer. I was lucky enough to have a few goes in one of the 2016 foiling a cats, they are absolute machines and it was a great insight into what is likely to come for the Nacra in the new 2020 cycle. Along side thatI spent time helping on the farm - that jobs list is never ending -, seeing those I don't often get to and generally spending as much time in the sea as possible. It was a lovely few weeks off, but It's fair to say I was ready to get back on it by the end of it. 

Come September Nikki and I were back, we are in a strange part of the Olympic cycle where many people choose to take some time out after the hecticness of the 2016 charge. So for the most part we have been training and sailing alone. On top of that we currently have a bit of uncertainty with the class as to whether we will be adopting a foiling package or not, despite all of this strangeness Nikki and I are really focused at the moment, we are working hard both on and off the water and trying to get as ahead of the game as possible. 

It was great to get back on our own Nacra after spending a lot of time sailing the rio based boats, and after a little time finding all the bits again Swifty was back up and running. Nikki and I have moved up to weymouth for this training period through until Christmas to make the most of it while the weather is still relatively warm. Because we are here for such an extended length of time we have decided to settle in properly and have brought the megatron trailer up to ack as a bit of a base while we are here. She is set in prime position and now stacked with lots of nacra kit and a few toys too!

As I mentioned a little earlier, the class is at a bit of a fork in the road currently. for a number of reasons Nacra are investigating adapting the current boat to a foiling configuration. There are good and bad bits to this, but in my opinion, and fairly selfishly I am desperate to foil. Having had a bit of a taste for it during my Phantom time this year, I know it is they way I want to move my sailing, and the opportunity to do that on an olympic stage would be incredible. Because of my previous foiling experience, Nacra asked Nik and I to go out to holland, sail and provide feed back on the newly developed N17 foiler. 

I dont think words can do the experience justice, so here is a bit of a video from the trials. For some context the boat the leeward is C-foil nacra 17 very similar to the original only with the daggerboards a little further forward. The footage was taken on a upwind tuning run and shows the potential in this new foiling platform.

We left Nacra HQ  in Holland with huge smiles and a lot of bruises! It really was an eye opener and gave us a great insight into the demands and intricacies involved in what could be the new class.  

Now I am on my way back to hopefully a very pleasant sunny weymouth for another training week, we have a National ranking regatta this weekend and while only a small fleet it will be great to do a bit of racing again. 

Stand by for some results from the weekend,

Cheers TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

I am writing this in a bit of a daze, so unfortunately for you guys this blog might be even more mistake ridden than usual. If it does in fact become completely illegible as I ramble on, feel free to give up and return to watching funny videos on youtube or what ever it was you were doing previously.

I best start with why I am in a daze, or at least a more dazed daze than usual. Well it is a combination of things really. Turns out the concoction of - a weeks phantom sailing, an alarming amount of pizza, a mildly stressful airport transfer, a 4 hr delayed flight landing at 0230 in the morning, an enjoyable but strange midnight uber ride from Gatwick airport around to Heathrow, followed by an unsociably short nights sleep, waking up and fighting my through Heathrow airport to board an oxygen deprived plane to Rio- will do that to you.

Ok so rewinding to before the dazed compression sock wearing Tom began. Last week on Tuesday, I met up with the rest of the DMS sailing team gang and flew out to the what can only be described as Sailing Heaven – Lake Garda Italy. For those of you who enjoy water sports and have never been to the Italian Lake, pack you bags and go now, it is the most truly beautiful and overwhelming place for sailing on the planet… only to Falmouth of course. Honestly though, its mostly predictable winds and perfect climate make it a stunning place to be blown around on what ever water craft you own. That combined with its flat water make it the perfect place for foiling, So it makes sense for the annual foiling week to based there.

Since the light wind regatta of Geneva this was first time Jon and I were back on the water. On a fairly nostalgic note, the last time I had been to Garda was also with Jon, only we were about 11years old and racing the beast of a 12 foot Hobie Dragoon. A fair few years on but not a lot wiser we were back to Compete in the Flying Phantom series. We had a bit of disappointment in Geneva with breakages, so this time round we had the bit between our teeth and were keen to show our true form. After a day of rigging and a quick training sail we were into racing. Nothing could have prepared us for the first day of ripping around a race course with a fleet of other boats in a good breeze, it was wild!!! I think the whole fleet would agree there was a lot of learning on the hoof! That said Jon and I became more and more comfortable over the day and the results came quite naturally. 3 races 3 wins, very happy sailors!

Day 2 and the fleet were also finding their feet now, that made mistakes a lot costlier but we continued to show good consistent form, and sealed another good day in the office. Ourselves and Walsh were really flying and it was so much fun battling with the guys around the course. Downwind was fast a furious, Jon and I clocked what I believe was the fasted speed of the week at 29.3kts, most probably just before and almighty wipe-out. It was some of the best sailing I have ever had, learning huge amounts and having the most adrenaline filled rush while doing it. I was concentrating so hard think I forgot to breathe for an entire run at one point. Everyone retuned the the beach that day buzzing.

One of the brilliant parts to the week was the fact we were sharing it with the GC32 series, it was awesome to watch 11 GCs fully foiling off the line together. Only trouble is, it has also wetted my appetite to get involved, sounds like I need to start playing the lottery, unless anyone has a space GC they are keen to lend me. I will look after it, I promise! On the third day of racing, the organisers had planned a 25mile long distance race. Due to a strong gradient wind, the classic Garda breeze didn’t fully establish. So after a brilliant start we sailed upwind into….. THE DULDRUMS. There was actually enough wind to race, and Walsh/Rick did a great job at picking their way up the course. We chased them down as much as we could but as they re-entered the pressure at the bottom of the lake they we gone. Very sadly for them, when back in sight of the finish they had a mast failure and lost their rig. Jon and I took the win, but really the other boys deserved it. After returning ashore, we borrowed a rib and went out to help the boys sort the mess out. It was a bit of a sombre end to tricky but fun day.

On the final day, and with sailors needing to get away that evening, the race committee took the sensible decision to more racing forward to the morning Northerly breeze. This was good, but did mean we were on an 8am start and thus in the boat park before 7! When we made it out on to the water I was happy but I have to say, at 5.50 when our alarm went off, I wasn’t quite as enthused. The final day wasn’t quite what Jon and I had planned, after a few bad lay lines in the first race and some gear failure which we fixed on the go in the second race, it wasn’t quite how we wanted the end the week. Though fortunately we had done enough on the previous days to seal the regatta win. We got back to the shore just as the wind died completely and the organisers canned racing for the rest of the day.

That was it Jon and I were foiling week champs. After some wild racing, some mega wipe outs and some scary speeds we were on the top step of the podium. I can remember the last time I stood next to Jon up there but it felt good!

We quickly de rigged the boats in the searing Italian heat and it was at this stage, the Dazed and confused Tom began, which is where I started this blog. So yes, I am currently on a very long flight back out to Rio to hook up with my other favourite sailing partner in crime Nikki. We have one last camp work with Ben and Nicola before they are ready and set for the Games. I have been doing rather a lot of sailing recently but I still can’t wait to go charging around Rio harbour again.

For now, me and my compression socks are going to try and catch up on some sleep.

Yew
TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

After such a hectic start to the year, the last month has been quite different. Since returning from Hyeres where unfortunately Nikki hurt herself, we have been forced to busy ourselves in other ways to sailing. 

Nik has been pretty solidly based in weymouth working closely with the brilliant team support staff and smashing expectations all over the place. After the initial diagnosis it was looking like we might not be sailing for a long time, but Nikki has been doing an amazing job with the rehab and is progressing really fast. We will be back on the water in no time. 

As for me during the sailing detox, I have been kept more than busy. Mainly based at home in cornwall, I have been working hard with the family business and helping where I can. Being a water-sports business, you can imagine this time of year is particularly busy for us so Mum and Dad were very grateful for the extra help. The weather has been quite stunning and don’t let the parents know but I rather enjoy bumbling around the farm in the sunshine. The pinnacle of my time on the farm was the glorious creation of some raised beds I engineered. Armed with a chain saw, and dodgy tape measure, the Phipps Family Organic Farm has been born. I can do commissions so please get in touch for more details 

On top of helping out at home I also found time to try and help out a few friends with their sailing. A young team from good old kernow are progressing brilliantly with the RYA youth program and I spend a very wild and windy day trying to give them an extra boost on their way up the ranks. I was also fortunate enough to spend some time working with some fellow Nacra 17 teams, only I was in the rib. Its really good to get another perspective on the boats as they sail around.

As if tractor driving, chainsawing and coaching wasn’t enough fun, I have also been up to a fair bit more. It was the time of year again where I time the 4 day beard, don some neoprene and bring out ‘blue steel’. Luckily the day of the shoot was blooming lovely and it was a really fun day working with a local photographer and good friends to get some shots of Typhoons 2016 wetsuit range. As serious as we look in the photos there was a lot of mick taking and laughing between the moments when the shutter was open. Based on the modelling performance during the shoot I suspect the ladies wetsuits will sell far better that mens.

It was also a great opportunity to catch up with some good friends that all to often I am not able to see. Together with some best mates, at home and I was lucky enough to be able to get some glorious surfing and kite surfing sessions in. 

While Nikki is working through her last few bits of rehab, I am lucky enough to be out here in Geneva Switzerland to finally get racing in the Flying Phantom Series. As you may know we haven’t had the best of luck with the phantom thus far so heres to everything going smoothly this time round. Having flown out yesterday I have met Jon, and today we spent the morning fine tuning the boat before getting on the water in the afternoon. There wasn’t loads of wind but enough to remember what it was all about again. Tomorrow we have another training day, and then racing kicks off on Sunday. I really can’t wait to sailing this boat competitively, as with most campaigns i wish we had done a little more training first, however mostly i just glad to be here! more info on the regatta here - https://www.facebook.com/events/156504328039566/

Check back soon for more updates on how the flying is working out. And after that it back to weymouth to see if Nikki can remember what a Nacra looks like! 

Yew
TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Honestly im struggling with motivation to write this one. After such a great initial build up to the Hyeres World Cup regatta, things have some what come crashing back down to earth. When I started writing this I was watching all the other Nacra sailors go out racing! there is something particularly sad about being left on the side lines, Alas i will start from the begining, and explain our disasters one by one. 

In the final few days training before thee regatta, Nikki took a whack to her right Knee, this left her with a bit of pain and on recommendation of the physio, we decided to rest her from then through until racing began on the wednesday. After the rest and come race day Nik was back in action and we were ready. 

As ever with day 1 of any regatta there was something a little odd, on this occasion is was the huge amount of wind that was blowing. As soon as we left the harbour we knew is was going to be an epic one. But after familiarizing ourselves and getting used to it a bit we felt ready to race. After a solid start the wind increased again and as we all as a fleet approached the windward mark the carnage began. There were boats capsizing all over the place, Nik and I rounded pretty well and started hacking downwind, we were flying! right up until we stuck the bow of the boat in a little, as much as Nik tried she couldn't quite stay in the toe loop. and with that we over in seconds. During the melee Nik managed to hurt her other knee, but this time is was clear to her that it was a bit more serious. After righting the boat and limping back to shore we found a number of other teams who also had had problems. Nik went straight to see the physio, and soon it was obvious that we would not be able to race for the rest of the week!

After getting over the initial disappointment, we made a plan and things began to click back into place. Nik was to fly home that evening to make sure she was available for assessment in england the following day. but just as we were getting organised to go, she was informed that her flight had been cancelled, after a rushed attempt to book another flight that evening we became aware that the french airport staff were staging another strike. After some appointment rearrangement Nik booked in for an early morning flight and things were back on track.

The journey up to Nice airport is about 1 and a half hours so after a nice early alarm Nik and I made our way up the coast. After squeezing into the airport car park and lots of crutch hobbling from there to check in Nik was on her way. I eventually found my way back to the van and starting driving back Hyeres to pack the boat ready to leave for the ferry on sunday. I never made it to Hyeres, about 20 km away while queing, a warning light poped up on the dash board and the power of the van dropped. I dorve really gently to a near by garage where I was told that the Van cant go anywhere until it is fixed and that wont be until Wednesday or Thursday the next week!

After some serious googling and some phone calls to people a lot more mechanically minded than me, I discovered that it may just be a sensor issue, and that by running the van a little it could just flush the problem though. With that I traveled back to garage and began and very entertaining exchange where I attempted to ask people that had told me the van can not move, to let me have the keys and take it for a spin. As you might imagine, this is quite hard in English but throw in the language difference and suddenly it quickly become some sort of comedy sketch. 

Eventually with the van keys back in my hand, I went for a drive. With the problem definitely still looming, the van did seem considerably better, so It was decided I was going to give it a go. It was only 1200km back across France to the ferry port, what could possibly go wrong. 

After leaving the south of France at 3pm in the afternoon, and after a huge amount of nursing, stopping, allowing the van to rest, starting again and the repeating the process I made it to the ferry port at 5.45 the following the morning. Needless to say I was quite tired by this stage, but managed a couple of hours sleep on the ferry before arriving in Portsmouth. Here I exchanged the van for a fully functioning Volvo, and finished my journey to Cornwall. I have never completed a marathon, but imagine the feeling I have when I made it home, is somewhat similar to that of someone who has just completed a marathon. My own bed never felt so good.

Now back to the important stuff, we have today heard back about nikki's injury. Unfortunately it is not particularly good news, she has ligament damage to her knee and the only way to repair that is by resting it. This means for the next month or so I am Nikki'less (not to be confused with knickerless) With that in mind, unfortunately we won't be going to Rio this month to sail with Ben and Nic, which is really disappointing for both of us. We are currently coming up with a contingency plan for the time Nikki is out, so hopefully I will come back to you guys with some good news in the near future. 

For now though, it's all about getting Nikki the support she needs to heal quickly and for me to clear up some of the technical problems we have come across in the last week or so.

Stand by, things can only get better!!!!

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Authortomphippsracing

Bonjour, and thats where my french stops, much to the dismay of the lady in the supermarket today. Based on the numerous awkward games of charades I end up playing, I really would like to and feel as though I should learn to speak another language, but as you will all be very aware, I can’t even communicate in english without a mass of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, imagine the mess i would make in a foreign tongue! 

Right my life skills aside, Nik and I are back in the what is now very familiar french town of Hyeres for the first of the european World Cup regattas of the year. This is an annual stop on the Olympic sailing circuit and is a very welcome change from the currently all too chilly waters of England. Honestly, I used to be hard, the cornish waters were embraced all year round, but having dipped myself in them a few times last week, I believe I can can confirm that I am now a fair weather sailor, must be the age. 

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Anyway we have been here for a couple of days now and the French Riviera hasn’t failed us. Glorious sunshine and good breeze has meant we have been able to get some brilliant training in. Like normal we have been working with our German friends and seem to be getting more and more out of the boat. 

Racing doesn’t start until Wednesday next week (27th), through until then we are planning to make the most of this champagne sailing. We have a few new things to test out so hopefully that will take us another step forward. As and when we do make to racing you can follow the results/pictures/tracking/etc here - http://swc.ffvoile.com/

For now we are all off for an early night as tomorrow looks like it could be a big day on the water. I will try to get a few pictures of us sailing out here, it really is brilliant sailing. 

Yew!
TP

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Authortomphippsracing

I'm sorry, recently I haven't had the time to think straight, let alone muster the brain power it take a dyslepstic like my self to write a blog update. Though by the very nature of you reading this, it would suggest I am beginning to at least, find a bit of time. That said, attempting put something legitimate enough together while your elbows are pinned to your side in the smallest of easyJet seats is neither easy or efficient. Stand by this could be my messiest and potentially longest post yet!

Right where to begin..... When I last left you we were finishing up our training Palma before a brief spell back at home. I use the word 'home' in the loosest terms. As ever, and like with most things I made life hard for myself on the way home. While trying to collect my hire car, I was informed that in today's world you are required to have your National insurance number with you, due to both my naivety and my age (mostly my age) I am not particularly familiar with my National insurance number, and what was worse is that the one person who would be familiar with it - my mum (I'm such a grown up) - wasn't in the country to offer assistance. After a few disjointed phone calls with various neighbours and friends, Windsport legend Elizabeth came to the rescue. Throughout the Melee I ended up chatting to the car hire staff a lot, and after taking pity on the tired bumbling Cornishman, they very kindly upgraded my hire car and I rolled home in a little more style and a little later than I had anticipated. 

I had a few days at home where I did a number of things including cut down a tree, mowed the fields and generally tried to make sense of the spaceship car I had ended up with. The weather was so nice and it reminded me of how perfect Mylor can be. Despite that, I really was only home for a few days, alongside my Olympic sailing I am also finding as much time to spend on the Foiling catamarans as well. We had arranged some days training in Weymouth where we could work with another boat and try to push our selves forward as much as possible. It was a brilliant few days, after spending so much time sailing around on our own Jon and I relished the chance to match up with another good team. I think we learned more about the boats that week than we had done in all the time sailing them last year. It was all in preparation for the up and coming event in Cannes early the following month (more info on that to come later in this mess of a blog)

The final day of Phantom sailing was a bit of a battle from start to finish. Following a slightly longer morning sail than planned, I was already slightly behind schedule. That combined with some 'lovely' good Friday traffic made getting the the airport.......challenging. Finally I met Nik and after creating a mega bag with all sorts of boat parts in it, we raced through the airport for our flight out to Palma. The first relaxing part of the day happened at 22.00 that evening after we landed and in a bid to make up for the craziness of the day went straight to the frozen yoghurt place for a come down. 

We were back in Palma for the princess Sofia regatta. Despite the slightly aggressive time schedule Nik and I felt quite well prepared going into the regatta. The training earlier in the month and time on the water for me back in the UK had been really productive. It was the first time we has raced our older boat 'Peggy Sue' in a long time. I'm not entirely sure but I would imagine she was probably the oldest, or at least the most used boat on the beach that week. As racing kicked off, it was clear that Peggy Sue and ourselves needed to get to know each other again. It's amazing how 2 boats that are 'exactly the same' can feel so different. Day 1 for us was a sighter. But as the week went on we began to find our feet on the old girl again. Nik and I became more and more competitive in the full range of conditions, it's clear that we have made some great steps forward of late. It felt really good to be consistently racing at the front of the fleet. We had some cracking races in some perfect Palma conditions. After our disaster start we fought our way back through the results and by the end of the regatta we got the chance to compete in our 2nd medal race. With large point gaps either side of us we consolidated a fantastic 7th position with 5th place in the medal race. With all things considered Nik and I are absolutely over the moon with another great result. The consistency is getting there. 

While away in Palma we have managed to now put together our calendar for the majority of rest of the season. Very excitingly we are headed back out to Rio for some training camps alongside Ben and Nicola. This will be great experience for us and we will do everything we can to assist the guys in the build up to the summer. 

On top of all that excitement, after Racing in Palma I was off to the south of France to drop the Nacra before the next Hyeres World Cup and then go onto the beautiful Cannes for the first of our 2016 Flying Phantom regattas. This is what all the training pre Palma had been for. However we haven't had the best of luck with these phantom regattas, and very very unfortunately this was no different. After a fault on the team trailer when the guys were only just on the French side of the channel, there is just now way we can get the boats to Cannes safely and in one piece. Because of that Cannes for Jon and I is another missed opportunity to push ourselves at the front of the phantom fleet. We are really dissapointed with the situation, but surely now we have used up all our bad luck in the Phantom world. The next regatta will go blissfully, I am sure! And that just about brings us up to now, with the Cannes regatta over before it had begun, Jon will stay in the UK and I am as I mentioned earlier on one of Easyjet's finest somewhere about France. 

I will be home for a little longer than planned which in someways isn't a bad thing, will give me a chance to wash some underwear for a start. There is only so many times you can wear things before back to front and inside out still doesn't work! The next trip for us is towards the end of the month, when we go back out to meet Peggy Sue in Hyeres for the ISAF World Cup regatta. It's an important event for our German friends and training partners so we will both be looking to build on our good results in Palma. 

For now its back to sitting with my elbows pinned to my sides, put on some good music and as they say 'sit back, relax and enjoy the flight' ... Is that possible? Beats me!?!

Yew! TP

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Authortomphippsracing

Having left Miami regatta with a list of things to work on, and an unrivalled drive to improve we launched into our 2016 world championship build up. With only 5 days between regattas it didn't leave lots of time to recover and then prepare. We started by choosing to take a day away from Nacra land and made use of some of the beautiful surrounding beaches, despite the water being a tad cold we fully embraced the Floridian way of life for a day, and our bodies were very grateful for the rest!

Nik and I quickly got itchy feet though and given our fast approaching Worlds it was time to get back to work. As a class we were sharing our world championship with both the 49er and 49erFX classes, so the boat park was a hive of activity with many many sailors all getting into gear for the worlds. We spent some time putting the boat back together and checking her over thoroughly. With a mix bag of weather forecasted we made use of our time and sailed in all conditions. Building on the lessons learned in Miami things seemed to be clicking into place. We were working closely with our coach Marcus and he helped use check off a lot of the improvement opportunities. What did become clear during the week is that the sea state coming in and out of the harbour can be pretty wild, we survived but some of the teams had some big wipe outs just getting out to, or in from the bay.

Before we knew it the Worlds was upon us,

Day 1
In true World championship fashion, day 1 is always a little perculia. With a big forecast and the wind blowing against the tide some sailors were sceptical before we had even launched! However when we arrived on the race course, the conditions could actually have been described as quite tame. And they stayed like that right up until we just started the race, suddenly a huge left shift and a lot of wind rolled across the bay. I think it is fair to say there was a fair bit of carnage. Having been the wrong side of the first shift, it was a game of catch up for us. Our great boat handling and good speed saw us cut our way back through the pack. As we finished in a solid 15th there was a lot of wind, and the waves were picking up very quickly. Before things got completely out of control the race committee made the sensible decision and sent us back to shore for the day. 

Day 2
Having lost races the previous day, it was always going to be a big day on the water, however with good breeze and left over waves. It could only be described as full on! For us day 2 was a bit of a mixed bag. There is no doubt that Nik and I have moved forward a lot in the breezy conditions. But with such short races if you made any early mistakes your we heavily punished, and there just wasn't enough time to fight your way back. During the day Nikki scored our first ever world championship win! This was a big moment for us, and shows how far we have come in conditions we struggled in before. We finished the mega 4 race day with 2 good and 1 not so good and 1 brilliant result. But it seemed everyone was having a fairly turbulent regatta so the points we still close. 

Day 3
This was the first of the lighter days, Nikki and I have always been pretty strong in those conditions. We kicked of the day with a brilliant first beat and lead the race for the first lap. On the second beat the fleet split and we tried to cover all bases letting a few boats passed but remaining safe and finishing 6th, in the next race went one better and scored a 5th. At this stage on a really hard day we doing very well, but like all good things, they cant continue for ever, and unfortunately in the final race after a bad start we couldn't find a way back through. Like the previous day it was the same for everyone and our 2 good results dragged us up the overall a bit further

Day 4 
Another light day, but it took Nik and I a while to put our finger on it. Following a slow start where we just didn't have the speed needed to compete with the front bunch, we made some changes and kick our sleves into gear, to finish the day with 2 solid top 10 finishes. Following the races we had a quick chat with the camera here is a very sun kissed, weather beaten Tom and Nikki.

Day 5
This was the final day of full fleet racing, we went into the day in 11th overall. As you guys might now be aware, only the top 10 boats are allowed to race in the final medal race the following day. It was another fairly windy day on the water, and the breeze increased as the day went on. We needed 3 good results to be in with a shout of the medal race. And that is just what we did. Without leaving to much to spare nikki and I sailed fantastically and just snuck into the 10 top shoot out. It was a great feeling, and a lot of people congratulated us on making the medal race. 

Day 6
Medal racing is a bit different, having not sailing in a medal race for some time now Nik and I went down to the boat park early to get everything ready and check the boat over. The medal race is designed to engage the public and spectators and is so generally is race close in to give those ashore something to look at. Naturally with racing close to the shore the wind tends to be a bit fickle and shifty. Our medal race was no different. One very exciting part was that it was broadcasted live so that friend and families at home were able to watch. With nothing to lose and with it hard to go forward in the results Nik and I went into the race relatively stress free. It was great to be racing along side the top 10 other teams. We had a good race in testing changeable conditions to finish narrowly in 5th. Despite the good race we unable to move forward overall leaving us in 10th.

Watch the live replay below, our start is at about 8 mins in.

With the world championships coming to a close it was time to reflect on the week. Nikki and I are so proud of what we have done. To perform at a world championships in an olympic year is not easy, the fleet is at its best right now and it feel incredible to be racing at the front of it. It is also important for me the congratulate Ben and Nic who also had a good result for the brits in 6th. We have a bit of an open calendar now, while some important decisions are made. But one this is for sure Nik and I are very excited about what ever happens and cant wait for the next chapter!

Stand by as Im sure there will be some more info to come in the next few weeks, until then im off the the gym to work off the millions of american burgers i consumed in the last 6 weeks!

Medal racing with the worlds best.

Medal racing with the worlds best.

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Authortomphippsracing

In my last blog we were on the eve of a BDOTW (Big Day On The Water for those who aren't familiar with my ridiculous acronyms), Our start time was brought forward and the maximum number of races per day was pulled for the sailing instructions. Over the day we had a fairly strong breeze which slowly fizzled out, we also had 5 races! For us guys without a coach at that stage, it was a bit of a struggle to ration food and water to last that long, but fortunately it hadn't quite turned into a 'Lord of the Flies' chapter by the end. Nik and I sailed well and were going pretty quick, conditions were hard with gusts and shifts all over the place. We sailed a very consistent top 10 day and ended the regatta in a respectable 7th overall.

It was great to be racing in Miami again and was the perfect reminder of the tricky and changeable conditions which are so common here. Following the punishing day on the water and after an unrelenting training block we had earned a rest day. Not that we needed it but to help us off to sleep that night, we participated in a very cultural engagement. Nik and I to on the beer pong table. Following a rapid education we were actually quite good at it! But before we had a chance to get too good, tiredness took over and we retreated to home. 

After a well deserved lay-in, we used our rest day to get lost in what I can only believe is the worlds biggest mall, Jan and I made our mission to try and visit all of it, however I think we may have just wandered in circles as we seemed to pass the same shops fairly often. A few new t shirts and and roughly 47 million steps later we escaped. That evening we were lucky enough to get tickets to watch the Miami Heat play basketball. Despite all my best cheering and shouting the heat didn't quite pull it out of the bag, but we had a great time buying a big foam finger and waving it at a bunch of very tall men chasing a bouncy ball around a court!

Since then it has been back to business, Marcus our coach has arrived so we have spent most of our time checking in with him. We have done a lot of speed work to confirm the new sails which are feeling good. As i sit here now we are on a non sailing day before Miami world cup starts, we have registration and some boat work to do, and short sail and polishing tomorrow and then things kick off on Monday. 

The event website is here, 
http://miami.ussailing.org/

Cheers all for the support, you are Legends.

TP

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Authortomphippsracing

The really wasn't much rest bite at home. Following a great christmas with lots of laughs with friends and family, it was pretty much straight back to business. As I explained before we have 2 major regattas located out in the U.S. The annual Miami World Cup is directly followed by our World Championships on the other side of Florida in Clear water.

Because of the closeness of the two regattas, in order to get some good training time on location in Clearwater we had arranged to sail there at the start of January before moving to Miami for the world cup. This unusual schedule meant Nikki was able to be there for quite all of it, and so in a bit of a 'blast from the past' scenario good friend and old crew Richard Glover donned a wig and exchanged his normal key board for some sailing gloves. Having meet rich in London we headed for the airport and the lads headed state side. As far a journeys go, it was a particularly good one, for what ever reason I managed to be upgraded on the flight, and so enjoyed champagne and some very fine dinning as i crossed the pond. On landing the car hire staff took a liking to a pair of bumbling brits and we were given a what can only be described as 'very american' car. We found our way to the accommodation which again was a great success. Despite arriving at night the private pool and hot tub needed to be tested!

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The following days were full of sailing. Rich and I wasted no time in getting the boat together and experiencing the venue. I was really glad we managed to spend some time training in clear water the conditions were really challenging. Despite launching in at the deep end it didn't take too long for rich to find his sea legs again. Working closely with Jan and Lea our german training partners we managed to nail down some of the set up required in those kind of conditions. I also made sure rich got introduced to some of the american experiences including a very enjoyable evening at Hooters. Just as rich was starting to feel comfortable on a catamaran again his trip came to an end, and like a proper wrestling tag team he left as Nik arrived.

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It was great to have Nik back, she has been working hard at home and was fit and fresh for the up and coming regattas. The first part of this chapter was to get the boat from Clearwater across to Miami. Working with John and Hannah and after some wizardry wiring and trailer light skills we were road tripping across the sunshine state. After spending so much time in Miami last year, we are pretty familiar with the city now. So Nikki and steamed into action and after finding our apartment spent the most rainy day ever building the boat. Honestly the Miami storm made cornish rain look tame!

We are now half way through a warm up regatta, Unfortunately due to too little and today too much wind, we have done a grand total on one race. The final day of racing is tomorrow, its expected to be a big day to try and catch up on the lost races so far! So stand by for a big update on racing tomorrow.

For now I am watching the sunset over Miami and preparing for what is sure to be a BDOTW!

TP 

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Authortomphippsracing

Rio

After the what can now only be described as the Honeymoon to Bermuda, Nikki and I continued our trip in the direction of Brasil. Well actually we went backwards first. Our connecting flight was from New York. That left us with a few hours to kill in the big apple. 

The first thing we learned about our trip to NYC is that the airport is a bloody long way from Manhatten, After weighing up our best plan given the small amount of time we had, and after deserting one minibus because it was taking so long, we eventually made it into the heart of the city. A few hours of walking around and seeing all of the incredible buildings, exploring the popular landmarks, drinking coffee and generally being as touristy as possible and we were pooped. I spent most of the time comparing places to how i had seen them in the films. Then after a short taxi ride, a big pizza and a long flight we touched down in Rio, Brasil. 

We had arrived to compete in a regatta called 'Copa De Brasil' its and annual regatta, but on this occasion it was particularly important for us as we near the olympic selection, and was a chance to sail on what will be the olympic waters. Due to a lack of boat out here we had arranged to charter a boat from some of the other sailors in the class. Inevitably when you are using equipment that isn't your own, there is a fair bit of tinkering and changing to try and make things a suited to you as possible. 

We spent the first few of our days in rio rigging and preparing the boat before we were able to hit the water. Before the Copa De Brasil, we had a chance to compete in a warm up regatta, it was the perfect way to introduce us to the venue and race areas we were likely to use. During the training regatta we learned a lot, and most of the time it was to expect the unexpected. Rio as a venue is unreal, the mountains create an unbelievable back drop, the weather is very changeable, and the current seems to have a mind of it own! As to for the water itself, well that is Rio's downside, years of neglect have meant the water quality is really poor and there is a huge amount of debris around. Its so unfortunate because bar that, as a sailing venue I don't think i have seen much better (other than Falmouth naturally)

The training regatta was an eye opener for Nik and I, The racing was so close. The was a relatively small fleet but it was super competitive, bar a couple of boats, it was basically the world top 20. Another thing we learned over the training regatta, was despite changing the charter boat to how we would normally sail it, it just didn't quite feel the same. Alas we agreed that it is what it is, so we would just do what we could in the other areas. We got to know a few of the race courses during the training regatta, and given the time we have had, we were as ready as we could be for the Copa De Brasil

there was a few days between the two regattas, following a rest day - where we decided to climb up a mountain - we spent a couple more days training on the water trying to learn as much as we could. 

The regatta its self was pretty different to all of the sailing we had done up until then, but its fair to say the racing was hard as ever, over the 5 days of racing we saw most parts of Rio harbour and bay. We honestly threw everything we had at it, everyone was having ups and downs so it was a case of just trying to fight your way back as far as possible when you were not having a good one. Nikki and I never gave up and fought for every point in every race. Though on this occasion in rio it just wasn't meant to be. Despite some great sailing where we once again proved that we have moved forward, we just missed out on the medal race by a few positions (13th). 

As ever in a situation like that initially we were both pretty gutted, but on reflection we know it certainly wasn't through lack of trying, and actually in a fleet like this, where everyone else is using there own equipment with full coach support, they are are 100% more experienced at the venue that you are and know the waters far better, we didn't do half bad. We have learnt so much by being here, and I know if we were to race here again we would use that and for sure move forward. 

Now Nikki and I are about to jet home for christmas, It will be great to spend time with friends and family. But before my tan fades too much I will be back out to florida in early Jan to begin training for our up and coming world championships. 

For now have a great christmas and I look forward to updating you all in the new year. 

Cheers

Tom

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Authortomphippsracing

I was hoping to at this stage tell you about all the incredible racing we have been having out here in Bermuda. But unfortunately that isn’t the case, in fact far from it. After a handling error by the shipping company, where having been unloaded in Bermuda, the container with 10 phantoms (majority of the fleet) was then reloaded on to the ship and sent to New York, the decision was taken to abandon the event, based of a number of factors. I have to say, we weren’t personally involved in the meeting, and the so didn’t have any say in the decision. My thoughts were to race, even if we had started late and only had a couple of days, but that was that and there was no changing it. 

Because Nikki and I are flying on from here to our event in Rio it made no sense to return to the UK and thus we have been left with a number of days here in Bermuda. Ordinarily one would be quite excited at the prospect of a week relaxing on a tropical Island, however given my inability to sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time, and the alternate phantom sailing missed opportunity, we have been force to be a little creative with our time. 

There have been a few highlights over the last couple of days, Before Jon left to get back to the UK we managed to find our way to a snorkelling beach, however when we arrived it had been closed and fenced off for the winter. Nothing stops these intrepid explorers, after a slight reroute through the crazy golf course we found our way in. It was incredible swimming around the artificial reef, the fish were so bright and strangely friendly. In one particularly power bust of speed underwater i managed to swim so fast that both my contact lenses were washed out my eyes. After a short futile attempt to locate them somewhere in the atlantic ocean we gave up, and everything remained a blurry mess for the rest of the day. Bar mistaking a lump of foam for a swan i think i did ok. 

Another good day was yesterday when we asked if we would like to join the race committee on board the start boat for the racing on the remaining Phantoms. It was great to be up and close with the boats even if i wasn’t sailing them. I actually learned quite a lot, and the Artemis boys aren’t the worst example of how to do it. 

Outside of that i have been practicing my sitting still, its getting better but every now and then i can’t resist running off to do a bomb into the pool. Fortunately there is a gym in the hotel, so Nikki and I have used our time to keep up to speed, and it gives me something else to do when the sun lounger is becoming tedious. 

We have a couple of days left here now before we leave for Rio. Stand by for more antics and the next trip!

Cheers TP

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Authortomphippsracing

I apologise for the lack of update recently, but rest assured i aim to put everyone back in the picture with some of my forever poor-grammar spattered writing. As a word of warning i have once again be indulging in some of Bill Bryson's finest recently, so in respect the great man i may find myself waffling a little bit. 

Adding to the literacy themed introduction, and as a good way to start, it seems sensible to cover the fact that i have begun to contribute towards my first book. I say ’first’ book in a way that suggests there will be more, however i suspect that may not be the case. Some of you avid and exceptionally geeky Cat sailors might have come across an old, what can only be described as Cat sailing bible, by a man with a beard and who was a lot skinner at the time of writing than he is now. Well that is my Dad, and between us we are updating the Cat Sailing Book, besides renewing the back and white photos where the sailing gear is……..hmmm……Traditional, we are trying to bring the book into the modern era, with skills used on the new breeds of Catamaran. Any way over the last couple of weeks we have begun to get the ball rolling on that front, and don’t worry, its a bit more than dad and I sat on front of a word document. By the time any of you see anything, a publisher will have turned our faulted ramblings into a masterpiece. Though thanks to this very blog, you lot all know the truth!

In and around my new authoring skills, I have also been trying to develop my Nacra ones too. Though as I’m sure you are aware, Blighty’s good old weather has been rather, not on side. Its a real kick in the teeth because as I write this it is sunny and calm, but up until last weekend, i have never known such a long sustained period of relentless wind and weather. After such a successful October on the water, i guess it was a little to be expected. Nik and I have done our up most to make the best of it, between the 50knt gusts we have managed a surprising amount of time on the water, and one thing is for sure our breezy sailing has improved a lot. That said there have been a couple of days which were just too windy, we have been using that opportunity to get in the gym and show it what we have. I have moved on a lot which is great, is so nice when you start to see the benefits of training. Over the last few weeks we have once again been working closely with our german friends. Having spent a good chunk of time with the guys now, we all get on so well. Plus given some of the missed sailing days its been great to have another team to go off and enjoy an activity with. I think the most enjoyable non sailing day was a day in the surf, I borrowed a spare surfboard and spent about 3 hours mostly being pinned to the bottom of the ocean by huge dumping waves. When I eventually made it back to shore, I was breathless, bruised, cold, but smiling. Who knew a physical assault from the ocean could be so fun! 

Alongside the Nacra sailing, I have also had the phantom in Weymouth, to be honest with all the crazy weather I definitely haven’t sailed it as much as i would have liked, but Jon and I did manage to sail it a couple of times. On one occasion the wind got pretty strong while we were out there, we scored a new top speed just 0.2 shy of 30kts which was a little frustrating to be honest. Alas it has inspired us to get the rest and more next time! Anyway while yachting along at a modest 28kts or so, the foil decided to ventilate, the boat went from 28 to 2kts in roughly a 10th of a second. I managed to stay in my toe loop so just shoulder barged the hull as hard as i could, Jon didn’t manage to stay in his toe loop and so while the boat stopped, Jon continued at 28kts. I remember looking forward and seeing him still attached to his trapeze hanging way out ahead of the boat. Subsequently he came swinging back down the leeward side, and unconsciously decided to use the daggerboard and a crash matt. I think you can imagine who won that coming together, and the size of the bruise.

Last Friday was our final day sailing in the UK this year, from now on for next 3 months we are back and forth to far sunnier climbs. However that did mean some serious organisation over the weekend to make sure everything is in the right place to go off in containers and aeroplanes. We spent the whole of Saturday organising Swifty and her kit to send out to Florida for Miami OCR and the World Championships. Swifty had only just returned from having a bit of TLC from the brilliant Zest Racing. Now she and all her kit is ready to be loaded in the container and shipped across the pond. 

Before we meet Swifty for our American adventure, we have a couple of trips on our own. Incredibly I am off to Bermuda on Thursday to race the flying Phantom. It is the last in the Flying Phantom series and given the location of the event I’m sure we will be surrounded by Americas cup sailing royalty on the water. It will be a brilliant opportunity for us to move our foiling forward with the best sailors in the world. Jon and I are so excited to get out there sailing, we haven’t done quite as much as we wanted but we have done everything we can. More info - http://www.phantom-international.com/2015/08/2015-flying-phantom-series-final-act-in-bermuda/

Nikki is also joining us in Bermuda for 2 reasons, firstly she will be a great team support, she knows exactly whats involved in these kind of events and so will be invaluable when this get a bit close or tricky. Secondly she is then in prime position to travel on with me to our next adventure. 

Direct from Bermuda Nikki and I are traveling to Rio for an important Nacra event. As i have said before, we are getting to the business end of the olympic cycle now and events are becoming more and more important. There is a Nacra event in rio just before Christmas, Nikki and I and aiming to build on the success of the europeans and all of our winter training to secure a good result before the america trip next year. As you may have read Rio while beautiful is not the easiest of places to sail from. Should be a very interesting couple of weeks in what will be the Olympic waters next year!

So as you can see, it is all go, and I can’t wait. I will be taking lots of pictures and writing as much as i can in the coming weeks. Keep up to date right here!

Cheers all, this is because of you lot!

TP 

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Authortomphippsracing

I am now home in the beautiful Cornwall after our first long training block in weymouth. The training has been great, and we are learning more and more each time we sail. It has been fantastic to work closely with our coach and other teams. We have managed to make some really structured sessions with clear objectives which we are slowly ticking off. 

Video Analysis post sailing

Video Analysis post sailing

The improvement checklist is a long one and never ending but we are doing everything we can to move down it as far as possible before the business end of the olympic cycle kicks off. In my last message I mentioned that we were trying to raise money to finance a coach as the up and coming important regattas. Without being to specific I want to personally thank a few local people who have been in touch with me. You generosity is unparalleled, and rest assured Nikki and I will do everything we possibly can at our end.

A certain special lady's family have been overwhelming generous, I smile every time i think of my Dad being thrown around the dance floor by her!

On top of that I also want to mention another dear friend who has followed me from a very young age, I will miss seeing your dart in the dinghy park. Your advice has been invaluable over the years.

Unfortunately as ever we are still looking to raise some support to go towards our coaching support. So please drop me a message if you can help in any way big or small.

During my time at home, I have spent a day doing the final hand over on 'Blink' and she is now in the hands of a very excited young sailor. For now 'Blink' will stay locally so I will be keeping a close eye on her, but I hope she bring as many smiles to her new owner as she did to me! I have also managed to get out for a kite surf, which was so much fun. Following a morning of wind and rain, it seems someone was on my side because as we launched the breeze steadied and the sun came out to play. It was a perfect kitesurf. And now it is Sunday, and what a way to wake, the view on my morning run was pretty inspiring!

Mylor Morning Run

Mylor Morning Run

Back up to weymouth tomorrow evening for the training to start again, we will be rested and ready to crack on through the improvement checklist.

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Authortomphippsracing

For the last week Nik and I have been back on the charge here in weymouth. Working with our Europeans coach, we have been nailing down a few of the areas we identified we wanted to cover following the Europeans. The chilly UK weather was a bit of a shock initially, but i think its fair to say we are fully acclimatised now, and actually the breeze has been perfect for a very productive week on the water. On top of having Marcus (coach) we have also been joined by the German team that we had trained with before Barcelona. It has been great to have a solid sparring partner and we have learned a lot from the 2 boat testing.

Another very poignant happening this week, is the departure of an original member of the team. My first Nacra 17 'Blink' has been moved on to a new home. She was my introduction as a helm to the class and has done a sterling job over the years. However I am very happy to say she has been given into the hands of an extremely keen and competent youth sailor, who will no doubt get endless fun from her and do 'Blink' proud. I look forward to racing against her in the future, but i would ask if she would mind finishing 2nd to us ;) 

Bye bye blink.

Bye bye blink.

After a very solid 5 days of training, we are taking today as a rest before a British Sailing Team camp starts tomorrow, over the week long camp, Nik and I will get the opportunity to work closely with the specialists off the water, and move our campaign forward in that department. Naturally we will of course make plenty of time for on the water training as well. 

We are pretty set up here in weymouth for the next month now, we have rented a small house so that we can stay close to the academy and maximise time on the water and time with the specialists. In essence we are throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this, however we do still need help. We are currently looking for support in order to cover coaching costs while we are away racing in America early next year. We had some fantastic help which allowed us to employ Marcus in the build up to and during the Europeans, and its clear that worked out pretty well. With the situation as it stands we need to finance the majority of the coaching fees and expenses our selves. Like employing any experienced professional there are pretty large costs associated, if you could or know any way in which you can help us towards that, we would be hugely appreciative.  

As ever, Cheers all

TP

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Authortomphippsracing