Last week I made a very exciting trip, I travelled to Oman in the middle east for the first stop in the Extreme Sailing Series (ESS). Having a bit more time following my olympic campaign set-back I was keen to explore and get involved with as many other projects as possible. A call to ask if I would be interested in helming a GC32 as part of a new team in the ESS was one of the easier answers I have ever had to give.
The GC32 is a big foiling catamaran, not unlike the Flying Phantom, just a little bit bigger. It is a 5 person boat and is used as part of the Extreme Sailing Series. This is a media/exhibition based racing circuit aimed at engaging with spectators as much as possible. Its fast, furious and gives spectators and great opportunity to get to know the sport. Made up of very experienced teams, many from the america's cup world, the racing is top class and highly competitive. I was racing as part of Team Mexico Extreme, a new team made up of some of Mexico's young sailing talent and a some more experienced international sailors. The team were a great bunch of guys, and despite all our different backgrounds, we worked brilliantly together.
It was always going to be a hard week results-wise competing against such professional and experienced teams, but we agreed this was always going to be a learning regatta and what was important was that we took lessons from every race and improved over the week. I dont think I have any words to describe how fun it is sailing a boat like that, to be up on the foils ripping down wind at 25kts on a 32 foot catamaran is incredible. As a group we may not have won every race but we spent all week laughing and smiling as our skill developed and we became more and more competitive. Our never give up attitude lead to some brilliant close finishes where we pipped some of the other teams. Needless to say over the week we improved a lot, that said we all know there is still a long way to go before we can fully compete with the established teams.
Im back in blighty again now, and have a good chunk of coaching booked in over the next few weeks getting some of the UKs finest young cat sailors a little more up to speed.
For now, Cheers All