An Artemis Offshore Academy update from Performance Director John Thorn: 11.02.13

An Artemis Offshore Academy update from Performance Director John Thorn: 11.02.13

Tuesday February 12 2013 Author: Artemis Offshore Academy Location: United Kingdom

Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director John Thorn joins the full-time Development Squad for a week of training in Centre d'Entrainement Méditerranée, La Grande Motte with GBR Finn coach Matt Howard. Meanwhile, the part-time double-handed squad continues with weekend training in Cowes UK and work towards their Yachtmaster qualifications, while the Academy Mini 6.50 is back on the water in Lorient, France. 

For the past week, the Artemis Offshore Academy full-time sailors have been training  in boat handing, maneuvers and fitness with one of the UK's top performance coaches, Matt Howard. Howard first worked with the squad at the Selection Trials and is now able to see their progress so far and spend a week developing their training both on and off the water with them. 

Read Matt's report on his week with the Academy sailors here.

Coach Matt Howard works with the Figaro sailors in La Grande Motte ©  Artemis Offshore Academy

Howard has a wealth of experience of coaching high-level performance sailing and is also a very experienced strength and conditioning coach. Each training day began with a coaching session in the gym or swimming pool, followed by a weather briefing, before heading out on the water for a long afternoon of sailing. After a day training, the squad were given a video de-brief and discussed tactics over dinner, amongst other things. 

'Big Thursday' leaves the sailors on land discussing tactics over lunch © Artemis Offshore Academy

The weather throughout the week was clear and dry, but with strong winds due to the Azores high pushing in towards central France and squeezing up against a fairly slow moving low pressure area. When these conditions occur, the classic Mistral or Tramontane winds form and result in a strong north-westerly wind. When high pressure meets low pressure, the resulting winds are increased in strength and combined with the geography of the Massif Central and Pyrenees, the wind gets a turbo boost. The squad trained with Howard in 30kts all week, experiencing gusts of up to 43kts on Tuesday! Fortunately by the end of the week conditions had calmed down somewhat. 

Jack Bouttell during training with coach Howard © Artemis Offshore Academy

Despite the rest of the Centre d'Entrainement Méditerranée (CEM) taking a week off, it has still been very busy at the center, with the French Nacra 17 Olympic squad training under the expert guidance of CEM director Franck Citeau. The French squad have been out training every day and follow a very similar routine. What was alarming however, was how many of the young Olympic squad sustained knee and joint injuries during the week.  There were young sailors hobbling around on crutches everywhere and that can't be good! They have already decided to wear helmets.

Meanwhile, the Part-time Academy Development Squad sailors have been busy training on the water and continuing with boat work and maintenance. Alongside their training, double-handed sailors Robin Elsey, Lizzy Foreman, Dyfrig Mon and soloists Mark Andrews and Ed Hill, who do not currently hold a yachtmaster certificate, have been preparing for the seamanship and navigational test as part of their overall Yachtmaster offshore exam. Boat handling under power in confined spaces, night pilotage and navigation all helped to make for a great couple of days practice in the UK.   

Lizzy Foreman, Robin Elsey, Nick Cherry and Alex Gardner with coach Paul Wallis © Artemis Offshore Academy

Alex Gardner, Robin, Lizzy and Academy Graduate Nick Cherry also attended a day of fitness testing at Chichester University with strength and conditioning coach Paul Wallis. The sailors have received no official results back yet, but Wallis has described some really good improvements since the time most of the squad were last tested at the Selection Trials last September.

Academy Mini-ist Nikki Curwen © Artemis Offshore Academy

Over in the north of France, the Academy Mini 6.50 is well into its electrical refit and will soon be ready for Nikki Curwen to begin her on-water training in Lorient later this month. The new blue livery looks great and the boat is also having new electronics fitted.. Qualification for the 2013 Mini Transat is still our goal for this year and the planning for the race programme to accomplish this is well advanced. 

Read the Academy 2013 race programme announcement online here

Join us online at the Artemis Offshore Academy Facebook community and on Twitter for the latest news as it unfolds.

Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director John Thorn.


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