I’m happy to report that Kiel week went very well this year! I kept up my building momentum from both Canadians and Europeans. My focus goal for this event was to have solid starts, and I managed that in 7/9 races leading to good results. The other two races I had a little too good of a start and received a BFD (scored as DNC by the race committee) and the other I got rolled quickly. After two days of heavy wind and two days of light wind, I finished the regatta in 18th place out of 60 sailors. I am proud of my result, as I met my goal of finishing in the top half. I think with a stronger 2nd day when it was windy with chop from all directions I could have made the medal race. I am keen to focus on improving my boat speed in those conditions so that next time there is a similar level fleet I ensure my participation in the race on the final day which is often broadcasted so everyone at home can watch.
I just got back to Kingston from the Laser Canadian Championships in Beaconsfield, Quebec. We didn’t manage to get off any races yesterday (Sunday) due to a lack of wind caused by rain. This did however leave me to win the regatta! After 2 days, 6 races and 8 points in mostly light conditions I was tied with Canadian Sailing Development Squad (CSDS) member Hugh Macrae. However I held the tie breaker since I had the last bullet and we had an identical scoreline of 1, 1, 1, 2, 3. I am ecstatic to be able to call myself Canadian champion for the next year. Congratulations to Hugh, and CSDS member Matti Muru for rounding out the podium in 3rd.
I have just returned from the hardest and longest event I’ve ever competed in. The Laser Senior European Championships just wrapped up in Porto, Portugal this past Saturday. Six days of racing against the best in the world was an incredible learning experience. From frustration in light winds over the first couple days to gruelling 23-minute upwinds in 20 knots in the last few the event offered every challenge imaginable.
I finished 127 out of 162 competitors and 5th Canadian. I was very pleased to have my best races come on the last two days in the heaviest winds of the event. This gave me confidence in my ability in the conditions I don’t generally favour. This event made me realize how much stronger these European fleets are and how much more time I need to spend starting next to the best to beat them.
Cardiovascular proficiency is a very underrated part of sailing. Last summer I bought my first road bike and was hooked instantly on the opportunity to change up how I train my cardio. Instead of long dreary hours on the spin bike or the erg I now am out on the open road. Cycling has long been touted as a very strong training mechanism for sailing especially laser sailing. It is great training for leg strength and hiking.
Look me up on Strava if you want to keep up with my training or some of these articles on cycling below:
Cycling for Hiking Cross Training
Justin Norton for ISA
Over Reading Week I continued the longstanding tradition of going down to Clearwater, Florida for the Laser Midwinter East Championships.
Overall I had a really positive event finishing in 11th place, my best finish ever by a significant margin. I improved on my finish of 24th (24/45) last year; however, the fleet was stronger last year. I had great starts all regatta and had the opportunity to duke it out at the front of the pack on numerous occasions. I had multiple top 5 finishes and feel with some better consistency in game planning and speed I could have moved up the tight leaderboard. I leave this regatta with a great motivation to improve my fitness over the next couple of months in the gym and prepare myself for my next event, the Senior European Championships in May.
Last week I had the opportunity to represent Port Credit Yacht Club, the Ontario Sailing Team and Canada on the world stage at the Hempel Sailing World Cup Series - Miami. This was an incredible experience to line up beside some of the best in the world relatively close to home.
The regatta brought forth numerous challenges from long 7 hour days in the grueling heat to tricky light winds that were often affected by clouds. With such a high caliber fleet, I was well aware that the qualifying series was going to be a challenge. Being my first world cup event, I dealt with some serious nerves that lead to a few poor nights of sleep resulting in me making some big mistakes in the qualifying races. I ended up deep in the silver fleet after a trying qualifying series.
However, for the rest of the event, I found a good relaxed groove that allowed me to leave the experience very positive and excited for what the future holds. I finished up 76th of 101 boats and I am looking forward to getting back out there again at Laser Midwinters East in Clearwater at the end of the month. In the meantime, I’m back at school in Kingston training hard in the gym.
Lauderdale OCR and US nationals was a very competitive event this year in the lead up to Sailing World Cup Miami. Additionally, it was the Canadian qualifier for the Pan-Am Games. This means that the top finishing Canadian would go to Lima, Peru this summer and represent Canada. This brought an added pressure to the event and 15 Canadian sailors.
I was proud of my consistency throughout the regatta however every time I was in a good position to finish well I would make a mistake that was easily capitalized on by the strong sailors around me. I finished 26th out of 54 sailors, improving on my 36th place finish from last year and 4th junior (under 21). I think my big takeaways from this regatta have to do with simplifying my decision making when around more experienced sailors. Instead of trying to outsmart them I need to stay with them and trust my own speed and my ability to not to make boat handling mistakes.
You can check out the results at the link below.
WRAPPED 2018 UP WITH ONE LAST REGATTA AND KEY LEARNING
At the beginning of December, I trained and raced leading up to the District-13 championships. Unfortunately, I got sick on the second day and was hampered by a bad cold for the entire camp. This limited the amount of time I was able to function at a high capacity on the water but I made the most of it and had a really productive camp working on starting and boat-on-boat battles. For next time I know I need to be more diligent about protecting my health. Doing a 24-hour straight through drive (with someone still on antibiotics for pneumonia) followed by a hard double session in the gym and then on the bike on the first day took its toll. The racing was held out of St. Petersburg Yacht Club and we had a great steady breeze each day in the 10-14 knot range with no shifts. Strong downwind speed carried me to 3rd place however I definitely feel that I could have been more competitive had I been at full strength.
TWO BIG REGATTAS TO KICK OFF 2019
I would like to wish everyone a happy new year and thank everyone for their continued support of me pursuing my dream. 2019 marks a year of opportunity for me and it is beginning this January with the biggest regattas of my sailing career with Lauderdale OCR which serves as the 2019 Pan-Am Games country trial and Sailing World Cup Miami. Later in the year, I will be working towards the U-21 World Championships as this is my last year of eligibility and I hope to make my mark.
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Earlier this month I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Sail Canada Team camp at the Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, New York. We spent 4 days in close quarters with dorm style living for 40 people. This was an awesome opportunity to be around more senior athletes who are years ahead of me in terms of experience. Getting an up close look at what they are doing day in, day out and their advice was invaluable. One piece that really stuck with me is that you need to put in work at the next level above where you currently are, not where you are now. At this camp we spent 3 days sailing and had a fitness test. I was disappointed with my scores in comparison to my previous tests but did finally break the 7 min mark on the 2k row test. I set a personal best of 6:59 but I know there is still significant room for improvement.
I will be continuing to increase my training load and focusing on my fitness in the lead up to my important winter events in Florida this January. In the meantime I am currently in Clearwater, Florida for a short training camp and then on to St. Petersburg, Florida to compete in the District 13 Laser Championships December 1-2.
Results for D13’s should be available here once racing starts.
Another year, another fall cork. It was great to supplement our fall training program with some racing. This year we got 2 days of light winds. On saturday the breeze was cold and came from the north bringing lots of puffs and shifts. It often would die off during races and required extra focus to stay racing the whole time. Sunday brought a light sea breeze after we waited a couple of hours for wind. I sailed consistently and finished up in 3rd place. I’m unhappy I was unable to defend my title but I was still within a shot of winning going into the last race so I was pleased with that.
I competed in my first Sail Canada Senior Championships from August 18 - 21 in the laser class. From a performance perspective I was unhappy with how I finished - 12th place overall. I opened the regatta with a 10, 4, 13, 1 on the first day leaving me in 4th place so my drop from there was tough. On the other hand I had a great regatta from a focus standpoint. I felt that I was on my game for the whole regatta even though the results don’t reflect that.
I’m looking forward to getting back to school this fall and putting in a strong training block before the winter regatta season. The next key event for me will be Lauderdale Yacht Club OCR in January 2019 which is the selection event for Canada’s spot at the Pan Am Games.
Laser Canadian Championships took place over this past Friday, Saturday, Sunday in St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia. Three days of extremely close racing left me in a disappointing 6th place. This is a good benchmark for my first Canadians in the Laser Standard fleet, and I’m looking to improve on it next year.
My mom took some great photos so take a look!
I have recently returned from a very beneficial trip to Europe for my peak event of the season Laser Under 21 Worlds.
In the week leading up to the regatta, we trained in steady winds from the north ranging from 8 to 20 knots each day. This changed drastically for the event itself as the first 4 days consisted of shifty offshore conditions from the west. Only on the last 2 days did we see excellent conditions from the north. It was a challenging regatta, and after 6 days and 12 races, I finished 67th out of 133 boats. While not as good an overall result as I wanted, I was pleased to achieve a top 10 finish in the qualifiers, and I happily achieved the first part of my goal by making gold fleet. Once there I learned how small the margin for error was in a trying finals series.
Kiel week lived up to its reputation with heavy wind and cold weather. This event threw everything it could at me from big breeze and a strong fleet to unpredictable racing schedules (delaying us all day then launching us at 7 pm). My results might suggest that I didn’t have a good event but in fact, it was a great learning experience for where I need to be in order to be successful competing in these types of fleets and at world-class events. Not only do you need to have a complete sailing skill set but you also need to be in the right spot mentally to compete at 100%. In the case of this event I was not prepared fully in either category. I did however spend the regatta focused on my starting and saw positive results in this aspect towards the end of the event. I plan to carry this onto u21 worlds in Gdynia! Overall Kiel Week was a great event, a fantastic learning experience and I’m sure I will be back in the future.
Today is Father's Day and I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to the man who got me into this sport. From the first day I stepped on a keelboat when I was very young to my trip to class youth worlds last year he has been there for every part of the journey as a coach, mentor, and inspiration. I’m super grateful to have him in my life and to be serving as a guide on my path to the top.
Another local regatta is in the books! Royal Hamilton Yacht Club was our host for the Lilac Regatta. After no racing on Saturday due to no wind, we sailed five races in marginal hiking to light wind on Sunday. Racing was extremely close, and consistency was the name of the game. I managed to secure the win after finishing in the top 4 every race. I stayed focused on my starts and upwind technique, and this placed me consistently in a good place at the first windward and allowed me to stay in the game every race. Racing in such a small fleet has its own unique challenges but I consider it good practice for the future when I look forward to racing in some medal races.
The local regatta season kicked off on the May long weekend with the Ice Breaker Regatta at Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club. We sailed for two days on Humber Bay in varying conditions. The first day brought plenty of wind from the east at around 12-17 knots and waves. I focused on my downwinds and starts in more breeze. I was happy with how I executed these and sailed very well. I sat in 2nd out of a fleet of 12 after the first day.
The second day brought fluctuating wind strength and direction from the north-west. These unsettled conditions lead to exciting racing with such a small fleet. I fell to 4th place and one point off the podium after a difficult second day. Big thanks to everyone who braved the cold to make this regatta happen. And my mom (Elle Bruce) who was out and took some great photos!
I am recently back from a great training session and the Midwinters East Regatta in Florida. While on my reading week I went to work in preparing myself for u21 worlds in Gdynia, Poland this summer. Four days of solid training with a great group of sailors including a couple of Olympians gave me a clear insight into what it takes to be at the top of this fleet. The four days of racing were filled with difficult and puffy conditions that tested even the best sailors. That combined with a very deep and competitive fleet resulted in more tough racing. I stumbled out of the blocks on the first day posting poor scores of 35 and 34 in the first two races. I followed that up with better and consistent finishes in the 20s and teens. I finished a disappointing 24th out of 42, but it is important to for me to remember that my focus for this regatta was on process goals and not placement goals. I found I struggled with my starts, so I will continue to focus on this more in the coming months. For now, I am back at school finishing up my semester and will be working in the gym continuing to improve my fitness until I can get back on the water again to train.
The best fleet I’ve sailed against yet in the full rig and challenging conditions both came at Lauderdale Yacht Club OCR/ACCs last weekend. The three days of racing brought difficult conditions. A shifty offshore breeze on day one meant my position in each race at any given moment changed drastically. Day two we had a big breeze and swell that continued to build throughout the day. Day three with a forecast of wind building to 30 plus knots race management elected to send us out early before things became unsailable. These conditions were exactly what I was expecting.
What I wasn't expecting were those challenges to be compounded by a large, fast and more experienced fleet. With the competition level high, it became a game of precision. You could be within yards of the top guys, but there would be 20 boats between you. I made a lot of mistakes and didn’t finish quite as I had hoped but my goals for this regatta were mostly process goals. There is a lot I can take away from this event from a learning perspective, and I will apply these to my next time sailing in the lead up to the Laser Midwinter East Championships in Clearwater, FL. I have a long way to go towards achieving my goals at u21 Worlds in Poland, and this is just part of the process. Thanks to all of those who made this event possible from the event organizers and volunteers to my coach and training partners as well as my parents and supporters.
I spent the final week of my school holiday break at the International Sailing Academy in La Cruz, Mexico. I learned a lot from this opportunity to sail with a great group of international sailors while getting Olympic level coaching. We spent six days of intense sailing in pristine conditions. The day would typically start with warm-up rabbit-start races followed by long upwinds consisting of lineups. On the upwinds, we focused on setting up the boat to add weight. This helped me to improve my steering through waves and timing of hiking significantly.
We would then sail downwind back to the marina. On the downwinds, we focused on separating our upturns and downturns with a setup turn. This was a repeat of what I worked on the last time I was there last April but I was happy to revisit this crucial skill. I would like to thank Vaughn Harrison for his excellent coaching and all those who joined me for a productive week.