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

After a lot of build up and hard work from Nikki and I, finally the event had nearly arrived. In the final few days before racing we spent our time finishing the final preparations to the boat and competing in some last minute training races with the now we attended fleet. Despite a couple of the top dogs missing the Europeans was going to be as contested as ever.

I think it is fair to say that after such a fantastic training period in the lead up to the regatta Barcelona rather let us down weather wise over the race week. Like it seems at most venues, the commencing of racing turns the stable predictable weather on its head, and you are just left with a lot of confused locals saying 'its never like this'. The Europeans was no different. It is also fair to say that Nikki and I have made some great steps forward. The new boat 'Swifty' seems great and despite a battering (more info to come shortly) she did us hugely proud around the race course. That combined with Nikki and I moving forward pushed us to the front of a very competitive fleet. There were a number of 'incidents' good and bad over the week, so without to much of a structure here they are explained.

In the first race of the event, following a great start and the realisation that we had made a dramatic step forward in boat speed we found ourselves right in the mix on the first upwind. Only to see our outhaul rope give out as we tacked for the starboard layline. After as quicker fix as i could possibly do, we got back up and going only to sail straight into a huge piece of debris, this knock our rudder up and following another interruption we were finally back on our way. Using our new competitiveness we were able to climb back through the fleet to a respectable 19th.

On the same day with the breeze increasing, it became harder and harder to spot the what was now huge amounts of debris in the water. This wasn't just plastic bags and twigs, we are talking tree trunks and big logs. Having nailed another start and steaming up the first beat, we rounded the 1st mark in second, but in an unavoidable moment, we ran over a big log, it must have been pretty rotten because it snaped around the front of our dagger board, Nik and just about managed to resist being thrown around the front, but it wasn't over yet, despite snapping the log, it hadn't actually broken and was now flapping wildly under the hull. Nik impressivley managed the wrestle the board up and finally once we had cleared it we gybed and were back on our way. Having lost a couple of boats in the process, we did fantastically to sail back to 3rd place. After the impact the boat had taken quite a hit so, there was a some hours spent repairing her that evening before racing the following day.

When we thought the debris situation couldn't get much worse, we went out the following day and immediately bumped into a large log, having taken a fair bit of gel coat off the bow, we were a little worried we might be taking on water, a fine duct tape repair from Marcus made sure we didn't leak. And then Nik and I reached a fantastic milestone on our olympic careers. In race 2 of that day, we stormed to our first race win in an international event. Having not made life easy for ourselves by hitting the windward mark and some more logs that popped the rudder up we kept our heads and honestly we were flying around the course to a healthy lead and win. It felt incredible, it would be an understatement to say Nik and I were buzzing. So much so we got a bit trigger happy in the final race that day and started early, thus scoring a disqualification. A bitter sweet day, but smiling regardless.

Having missed a couple of days of racing dues to too much wind and then not enough, we were with a shout of the medal race, But due to our disqualification we could afford no mistakes, on a 4 race day in shifty conditions it was a tall order, but by race 3 of the day we were still in the mix, unfortunately that is where it all unraveled. Having just missed a port starboard cross, we fell into a bit of a downward spiral. and sailed our selves backwards. Nik and I were pretty dark as we crossed the finish line, we honestly had left nothing on the water, given it everything we had, but on this occasion the medal race would have to wait. After some serious 'coach carter' words from Marcus Nik and I were back focused, we had a final race the following day to get the most from. 

The final day of racing was slightly delayed while we waited for wind, we eventually launched and the breeze quickly built, we sailed a solid race and managed to finish a convincing 3rd, this dragged us back up the results after the previous days blunder and put us in a final overall position of 11th - 10th in the European Championships. So as close to the top 10 medal race as we could be, but not quite. Alas Nik and I were happy, there is no doubt our hard work is paying off, we were more competitive at the europeans than we have ever been, a number of people congratulated us on the progress we have made, and trust me we intent to keep steaming in that direction.

We have 2 months in the UK now where we still have area that we know we can make gains in, we are working closely with coach Marcus and have a great plan to get the most out of our time. As a team we are buzzing at the minute, Nik and I have always believed, but now we are just that little bit closer. 

Heres tot he next training block being fun and productive and the next Nacra event for us is in Rio just before christmas, Let see what kind of present we can give ourselves!

As ever thank you all so much for your support, we are here now because of you!

Cheers

TP

 

 

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Authortomphippsracing

As we closed in on the end of our training block here in Barcelona and few other teams started to arrive on site and we ended up with a very nice little fleet to come together at the end of the day and have a bit of racing. In the predominantly light winds Nikki and I were going really well. The wacky conditions were great training for us and trying to get the most out of an unsettled race course was hard but very rewarding. It was the perfect way to end a great couple of weeks training and we packed the boat up very content with the hours and progress we had made over the period. Having put up with me for 2 weeks straight i decided i was only fair that Nikki got some light relief, and so I dropped her to the airport for a brief spell at home. 

My next adventure was only just starting, and after waving good bye to Nik I headed for what is no fairly hallowed ground. After many regattas in my youth, and the annual olympic world cup, I have come to know Hyeres in the south of France pretty well. Though this time would be a bit different. I was meeting Jon and some of the other members in the phantom project for our first competitive event. We came from all over the place, I drove from Barcelona, Hugh and Jon flew from London, and Jay drew the unfortunate short straw and drove the van and trailer from Plymouth. Having had limited time on the boat it was all a bit of a work in progress, but we were just looking forward to lining up against a few other teams.

Lucky for us Phantoms most experienced team decided to attend the event so we knew we would have a good reference. These boys have been sailing the boat for the last 2 years and have been with the project from the beginning so we knew it was going to be hard. On day one of the 3 day regatta, it was pretty windy, to the point where the other phantoms decided not to sail, but lucky for us we had a support boat, so we thought it was as opportune time (warm water, and sunny skies) as ever to get some experience in the windier conditions. A couple of the Nacra 20 foilers came so we weren't completely alone. After a quick swim before the race started, we managed to sail the boat all the way round the long distance course, we learned a huge amount as we went and due to the slight lack of competition finished as first foiler. We returned to shore with the boat in one piece but most importantly our confidence boosted a little bit!

Day 2 wasnt quite so sucessful, but not because of any of the teams efforts. We launched into a quickly building breeze and by the time it came to racing it was windy, really windy. We flew up wind with the more experienced teams, keeping pace, and even a bit quicker at times. As we reached the first windward make along side the other boat, out jib clew connection gave out. After a few minute wrestling with the wildly flapping jib, we managed to drop it, and decided it was probably sensible to cut our losses at that stage and return to the beach to prepare for the next day. As it happens the race committee had the same idea and 5 minutes later the race was abandoned and everyone joined us ashore! and that was it for day 2. 

For the final day of the regatta the committee arranged a long race covering most of the bay. It was always going to be tricky as the sea breeze was due to take over from the gradient. We made a great port tack start and flew up the first leg where the breeze was most stable, having led around the first mark, we pulled out a healthy lead on the downwind leg, just managing to stay on the foil when others couldn't. But then it got wacky! we did everything we could to stay in the breeze but it was impossible to read. Having lost, gained, lost again, and regained the lead we were leading into the finish line. But with the breeze filling from behind the others we inevitably catching quickly. We tried everything to get up on the foil alas we were just in too lighter wind and by the time we got there 1 boat had slipped though. We had to settle for second. After the initial disappointment Jon and I were really happy with the result, we were fast that was for sure! when the breeze was stable we were always pulling out our lead or reeling in those ahead. We have been inspired to work harder on the boat handling side of things as there is no doubt huge gains there. As we packed the boats up back onto the trailer, a number of people commented on how incredible we (mostly the boat) looked on the water. 

Currently i have just arrived back in Barcelona, I have 2 days before nikki gets here, so alongside some jobs on the boat i aim to have a bit of a rest. We have our coach marcus joining us on thursday and from then on its full tilt through to the europeans next week! 

As ever thanks for the support and putting up with my very poor grammar!

TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Nik and I have been out in Barcelona for a week now, it's has been fairly relentless, even our lay day yesterday turned into a bit of a workout. We found ourselves in the middle of this

Unbeknown to us, the province of Catalana was staging a political march, campaigning for independence. We had planned to just cruise into the city for a bit of sight seeing and shopping, but due to the 1.4 million people that reportedly descended upon the city for the rally, our plans were some what thwart. It was actually quite an experience to be stuck in the middle of such an event, but when we decided to head home it turned out trams were not running and our only option was the taxi of death. After nearly mounting several pedestrians squeezing through gaps in the traffic which seemed to small for a moped let alone a car and heading in the complete opposite direction for most of the trip we eventually made it home. Our relaxing day off was not quite as we had imagined. 

Taxi of Death

Taxi of Death

Outside of causing political unrest we have been doing a lot of sailing. We are working closely with a very nice German team, trying and testing new ideas and we seems to be making good progress. The new boat 'Swifty' is living up to her name. The sailing academy here in Barcelona is incredible, great sailing, all the facilities we could ever need, and for the most part it has been warm and sunny. We have seen generally light winds, so it will be nice to stretch our legs a little bit in the breeze that is forecasted for the next couple of days. Though as I write this I am starring out at one big old mirror. Let's hope the sea breeze kicks in soon! 

Cheers for now, more updates to come!


T

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Judging by the lack of posts recently you might think that Nikki and I had been taking it easy, well that couldn't be more wrong. After returning from the Dart Europeans Nikki and I had 5 days to our selves where I fully indulged in the well know rest and relaxation activity of kite surfing. Nikki was far more sensible and took the opportunity to stay out of neoprene for a couple of days. 

The evening I arrived home

The evening I arrived home

Following our contrasting rest periods Nikki made the long (but always worth it) trip to Cornwall, Over the the week we had some great sessions back on the Nacra, Nikki reminder her self what a dagger board and a spinnaker looked like, and I re-familiarised myself with my harness. during the training we had a great range of conditions, and fortunately we seem to have not forgotten anything and picked up from exactly where we left off. It was a really fun week, full of lots of hours on the water and a few fun activities in the evenings too. Nikki surpassed herself on her maiden wakeboard experience by popping up and riding around like she had done it 100 times before.  

Moving into the next week, Nikki and I welcomed a very shinny new member to the the campaign. As we go into the winter period we now have a new boat! This is a huge help to our campaign, and should provide a few more of those tiny percentages that go to making the difference at an olympic level. While still a work in progress we have a theme for the names of our boats, based on Blink and peggy sue we are going with Blink 182 song titles, there are some fairly dodgy ones, but feel free to suggest! 

Along side the collection of the new machine, Nikki and I relocated to weymouth where we spend some more good hours both on the water and working with the team specialists in the gym etc. The weather during the week can only be described as wet. It rained from start to finish, but that didn't stop us having some wild windy sessions on the water. Towards the end of the week, I took the new boat over to the isle of wright, to give her a little attention before the maiden voyage. Unfortunately due to a few delivery issues i wasn't able to get all the work done, and that leads us to now where I am once again back on the IOW with the correct part finishing off the work to to the new boat, before we head off in the direction of Barcelona for a training block ahead of the europeans. 

Using lasers to align the new boat

Using lasers to align the new boat

I would also like to take this opotunity to Welcome Deva Sail Racing to our Olympic family. Deva have come on board to help us on this adventure. Nikki and I are so appreciative of all our supporters help, and we particularly like it when we are able to work with good friends and fellow sailors. 

As i said before, we load and leave for Barcelona tomorrow, so stand by for the road trip goss and some Barcelona antics!

Cheers
TP

Posted
Authortomphippsracing

Since our wild world championships Nikki and I have had a chance to spend a little time at home. Though as ever it inevitably is not a rest. Windsport my families sailing centre in Cornwall is naturally becoming pretty busy as we near the peak of summer, on top of that and for reasons that will become clear shortly we have been flat out preparing the support trailer for the Dart 18 European championships. 

Now would probably be a good time to point out that for a change Nikki and decided to do some sailing. We are in flew to Pisa in Italy, then travelled to a town called Marina di Grosetto to compete in the Dart 18 Europeans. At a time in the year where Nacra events are a little more scarce it's important for us to keep our racing heads. The Dart is a great boat for it, very simple and very strict one design so it really is the sailor and strategy that make the difference. It had been a while since we last raced a dart, so there was a bit of a rustiness at the start but we got there by the end. Alongside Nikki and I racing, Windsport were providing the spares and support at the regatta so over the week leading up to the regatta, we were non stop making wires, ropes and all the other bits that go to support and keep the fleet on the water. A big fleet,  in such a stunning spot on the Tuscan coast, it was the perfect way to stay racing fit and enjoy something a bit different.

Italy provided some of the best conditions i have raced in for a long time, Hot days, warm waters and epic sea breezes were the theme of the day for most of the regatta. Between myself Nikki and the brand new Windsport dart, we were flying... well upwind at least. Having just jumped off the Nacra before the dart, the downwind lets were a little alien for us, Nikki insisted on attempting to hoist a non existent kite as we rounded the windward mark, and I was a little lost on the whole low and patient downwind mode which seemed to be fastest. that said we made up for it on the beats and including a few great battles managed to go into the final day with a string of 1st. Nikki and I were European Champions!!!!!!! With the event in the bag, it was great opportunity for Nikki to get a bit of helming experience in a big fleet. After a last minute decision to try a port flyer where i took over and messed it up completely Nikki regained the helm and dragged us back through the fleet, ending up with a very respectable 9th, not bad for a first time (I'm watching my back already!)

It really was an amazing week, so nice to compete without the Olympic pressure, and all the Dart sailors really are the most welcoming and fun group of people. I cant thank everyone one in Italy enough, Nikki and I had an awesome time, and we are already looking forward to the next Dart event.

Now back in a far cooler UK, we start the build up for the Nacra europeans in September. Nikki is joining me in cornwall at the end of the week so she can remind herself to hoist a spinnaker as we round the wind ward mark. It is also falmouth week this week, Last year Paddy and I managed to win a very prestigious shrimper trophy, so hopefully I can find a bit of time and get out for a bit more of that. 

YEW!

TP

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Nikki and I have now been out here in Denmark for nearly a week now and we are starting to get to grips with the venue. Its a wacky one, with seemingly no real reason tot he breeze is incredibly unstable, large pressure and shift differences over worryingly small areas have made for some..... interesting sailing. 

Sunny Denmark

Sunny Denmark

During the weekend just gone, the local sailors hosted a training regatta for the boats who had already arrived. It was a great opportunity for us to get our eye in on the area, and as it happened the event was also well attended with over 30 boats racing. That said not all of the big boys were out to play but a good chunk of them made for some very competitive racing. Given the wackyness (yes that is a word, and the best one to describe the wind here) of the conditions, it was a case of snake and ladders, no one could string it all together, it was a case of getting as much right as you could. Over the 3 days of racing we became better and better at calling the wind, and in the final race we were leading until the final leg when we were jumped by a couple of boats. It was so valuable to do some on site racing, we learned a huge amount about the venue and already feel much better prepared  for the up and coming world championships. 

Warm up regatta results, we are '120'

Warm up regatta results, we are '120'

Since the warm up regatta, and after a rest day, Our coach, good friend and past crew Marcus Lynch has arrived. We intend to use these final few days as a speed workshop. Having made a few small changes to the boat, we are keen to get his opinions and line up against some of the other teams around us. Yesterday was our first day of doing so and things felt pretty good. As ever we were on fire downwind, and seem to have made some good steps in performance upwind as well. Also the 'heat wave' has just kicked in and Denmark is quite stunning when the sun is shining. 

Couple more days of training and then the World Championships begins. Not much breeze currently so we might end up on a slightly delayed start today.

Check back for more updates and tan lines soon!

T

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Authortomphippsracing

In some ways would like to say that I have had a nice rest and recovery since the madness of Weymouth World Cup, but a wise man once said to me that you can rest when you're dead, and bearing that in mind I have had rather a busy and exciting week. Having arrived home on the Sunday evening, the boat was up on trestles in the workshop by 7 the following morning. I had 3 days to get her back up to speed before leaving again. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were full of fibreglass and filler as we slowly identified and sealed all the internal leaks on the boat. As a bit of a rest from the hole plugging I made an afternoon trip to Plymouth where I collected the team van for the weekend trip. As you can see, it's quite a beast, I have now resorted to calling it the tour bus rather than van. 

1.jpg

Having covered myself in fibre glass for 3 days it was back up to Weymouth for some specific speed work before our worlds trip. It was a fantastic 2 days on the water, we made some great steps in set up, which should hold us in good stead for the up and coming world championships. This is a little video of us ripping across a beautiful Weymouth bay. Yew!

Get some

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Next up on my week of rest was the small matter of popping over to France for my first experience of Flying Phantom sailing. Words can honestly not describe how incredible the boats and sailing them is. The closest I can get is saying EDOTW, epic day on the water. Foiling is the future of high performance cat sailing and I love it. Over the summer I should be out on the FP a bit more so stand by for some awesome sailing and crashes!!!

Now I am on my way to meet Nikki before we start the long drive out to Aarhus in Denmark for our world championship build up. I have no doubt there will be some antics so get ready! Since writing that bit, I was unable to find any internet to post it so now I can confirm after 36hrs of traveling we eventually made it safely to Arhus. Straight into it tomorrow. Yew.

Cheers 

TP

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Authortomphippsracing

Given the all the boat issues and 'hamperings' we had in the lead up the the World Cup in Weymouth, I guess we should be happy we both made and were there in one piece. Though at this stage in the Olympic cycle just turning up doesn't really cut it, so we were determined and more focused than ever. 

Having raced the UK leg of the Olympic circuit 3 years in a row now, I am starting to think that it is, and will always be windy for that specific week of the year. This year was no different bar one day where there was no wind at all and thus no racing, other than that it was windy all week and we had been assigned course F. Which as it happens if very appropriately named, as it was F'ing miles away. Even in a Nacra at full speed it was an hours sailing, for the poor Finns it must have felt like a transatlantic crossing.

Now back to the racing, let's start with the opportunities. Throughout the week Nikki and gave it everything, but we were unfortunately lacking in a bit of upwind speed. As you can imagine this has a fairly detrimental effect on ones performance and in turn limits the options you have around the course. In some ways the fact that this was our major limiting factor is a good thing. We know where the gain is and it's just a matter of some further rig and boat development to gain that extra 1/2knt up wind. Have no doubt that between now and our worlds in a few weeks time we will be doing everything we can to make up those final horse powers. 

Honestly outside of a bit of speed, we were sailing brilliantly. Our starting was spot on and like in Medemblik we controlled and sailed away cleanly from pretty much all of the starts. Our downwind pace was awesome, both the coaches we worked with over the week were really impressed with our wheels downwind, and the control we had in what was some pretty fruity conditions.

All of that put together left us in 15th overall. The best result either of us have had at a World Cup so far, but we are firmly under the impression that given our extra 1/2knt of upwind speed we have all the ingredients for some seriously good results. So that is our focus now, the hours that we put in before the worlds will lend themselves to upwind speed and then by the time we get to Denmark hopefully we will be ready to fully unleash ourselves! As you may have read the team for the Olympic Test event has been selected now, and congrats to 2 friends of mine John and Hannah on that. But also know that the selection for the actual 2016 Olympics is on going, and Nikki and I are certainly moving in the right direction, and hey if not Rio, Tokyo would be pretty cool in 2020 as well! Regardless, rest assured we are on it.

Training over the next week and then of out to Denmark for our worlds preparation, stand by.

Cheers
TP

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After the disappointment of Holland, to some extent things could only have improved. That said, it does appear that we are back o track. Pete Jary from Zest racing has done an awesome job on the hull, honestly it looks good as new. 

Having collected the boat from Pete on Wednesday, Nikki and I have been making up for lost time. Over the last few days we have made great use of our time on the water. Generally it has been quite windy which has made for some epic sailing. Yesterday we literally bumped into the Sail rocket gang Paul and Helena as they got some fantastic shots of us. Stand by for more of them but here is a little taster.

Natually we are not just here to perform for the camera. Next week is the UK leg of the World Sailing Cups. There is something quite special about racing a world cup at home, not to mention it makes things 100 times easier. Having not been able to show our full colours in Holland Nikki and I are eager to make something of this one. All the information for the regatta can be found here, (http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/regattas/weymouthandportland_2015.php)but if any of you guys want to see what an olympic sailing regatta is like, This week n weymouth is the place to be. 

Lastly and most importantly, This weekend my Local sailing club is hosting one of their infamous Beach parties, I am mostly hugely disappointed i cant be there to enjoy it. They are always a great laugh and very funny to see some of those that don't very often let their hair down get a bit wild. If that isn't worth the price of the ticket alone I dont know what is. Alas there a still some tickets left so give them a call and enjoy the evening. I should also point out that the evening is also supporting my Sailing campaign, so know that every beer you drink is helping me a little closer to that podium!!!!

Cheers for now, stand by for more updates and pictures.

TP

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I feel a little as though I have just dropped a mirror, watching a single magpie while walking over 3 drains and under a ladder, if you catch my drift.

Holland for us was definitely a mixed bag. As you may have noticed from the little snippets of news we have been forced to pull of Holland regatta. A structural failure in the port hull due to a manufacturing fault lead to the boat splitting along its keel line, this not surprisingly is pretty bad and a big job to fix. Due to the fact that weymouth world cup regatta is now just around the corner, we felt it was best to cut our losses and make sure the boat is back up and running for then. 

😔 On route home #flexiisnotsexy

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It wasnt all bad though, despite leaking like a sieve we managed to sail the first 2 days of the regatta and considering it all we weren't going half badly! Having spent a lot of time working on our starting they had drastically improved and we held of every start. At the start of the day and in the training we did prior to racing our boat speed felt great, a combination of changes seems to have been really effective.

We now have quite a bit to sort out with bits of boat in different place but dont worry both us and the boat will be back stronger for Weymouth world cup, so stand by. 

Cheers

TP

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Authortomphippsracing

Nikki and I have been out here in holland since Friday evening, and we haven’t wasted a second. Following an incredibly slow trip from calais with all of holland’s bank holiday traffic we eventually arrived in the pretty town of Medemblik in the late evening. Because of the lateness we were forced to abandon our original plan of rigging that evening, and instead retired to our very quaint bungalow park and found our accommodation.

Dutch home.

Dutch home.

Saturday we in the dinghy park early and quickly started to rebuild the boat, there were as ever a few changes and upgrades adding while we put her together and by the afternoon Peggy Sue was looking great and ready to roll. We had an epic sail that day, with much more wind than expected, and the famous Medemblk chop conditions we testing to say the least. Our pace felt good, especially downwind where we seemed to be really quick. We both returned to the beach buzzing from a fun session on the water. There was some final tinkering before the boat was put to bed and then it was home just in time for tea. 

Sunday was a lot calmer, warm sunny conditions set up a battle between the gradient and sea (lake) breeze, and at time on the water everyone was sat in the doldrums. During the periods of slightly more consistent breeze we were going well, but on a day with big pressure difference and large shifts it was hard to get much meaningful speed work in. We decided to work on some of the areas of boat handling instead. When we made it back to the shore we finished the day but applying the amazing amount of stickers required for the event. 

Today is Monday and the final day before racing starts. Following a slightly more leisurely start to the day we have had a good shake down sail, most of the other Nacras were on the water so that provided a good opportunity for training races. 

As I said we start racing tomorrow, results and live tracing can be found at  http://www.deltalloydregatta.org/ 

Cheers

TP

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Right well as you may have seen from my previous posts there is quite a lot going on at the minute. Nikki and I have been working tirelessly and everything is in full swing as we near the business part of the nacra season. A few hours at home and we are off again, Im glad im so stoked for this next trip because leaving this would be tricky!  

Stunning Mylor

Stunning Mylor

In an attempt to clarify everything that is going on I am going to for the first time on here adopt bullet points. Also it will hopefully mean that you wont have to read through so much miss-spelt phippsy waffle, a little like the current paragraph. 

  • Course Rio, I have now sat down with Dave the director and had the first screening of the documentary we have been working on. The team have done an amazing job, somehow out of the hours of me bimbling around in front of the camera they have created an awesome and very professional edit, which even makes me look a little dignified. We have a few tweaks to make and a little more footage to gather and then it will be out there for your viewing pleasure!
  • Peggy Sue, she is the new addition to the armada. I perhaps didnt make it very clear before but she isn't a new boat, she is new to me but nikki has had her a while. She is a little less used than dear old blink and thus is our new racing machine for the rest of the season, though I think we need to come up with a way of getting old of a shiny new one soon!
  • Eurofit join the team, Mike Gomme a friend and fellow catamaran sailor heads the company which has come on board as part of our support. Its great to have the guys behind us and their help will most definitely go a long way in moving us forward. Have a look at our sponsor page (click here) for more info


  • Off to holland, following all of our training and what feels like a couple of hours at home, we are now off to Holland for delta lloyd regatta. As i write i am sat on Nikki's sofa, before we head to dover first thing tomorrow morning. I am really looking forward to our time away. Between the changed we have made to the boat and all the hours we have put in training on the water, i feel as though we have made some great steps. It will be good to put some of them to the test against the big guns out in holland.

Stand by for some more updates in the next few days, we will be rigger and ready hopefully tomorrow evening!, so sailing commences on Saturday! YEW!

TP

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Authortomphippsracing

Over the last 5 months I have been working closely with Script to Screen Productions and Falmouth University to create a short film about my Olympic endeavours. The final edit will be dropping soon but as a taster have a look at the facebook page and this, 

Stand by, for the full edit soon!

TP

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