A new beginning
A new beginning
Well I have now finished working for the Chinese Yachting Association and as I look back I see a whole host of achievements: Seeing Lijia Xu (Lily) standing on top of the podium to collect her Olympic Gold medal was the proudest day of my life, her speech as she collected ISAF World sailor of the year made me cry, and it was wonderful to end things on a high note, with Lily winning this year's Sail for Gold regatta with a day to spare. I wish her the very best for the future and I am now eagerly looking forward to new challenges for myself.
No sooner had I dropped Lily at the airport to return to China then I was off again, this time to Warnemunde, Germany. I had a great journey and did not even have to stop at the ferry to queue. I drove straight on and I was enjoying a steak breakfast at the Brasserie as we left Dover Harbour.
Although I was a bit disappointed with sixth at the regatta plus picking up a black flag on the final day, I am clear on the things that I need to work on and for the moment I now have a little bit of time to myself.
The next stop was the UK Masters Nationals. On route I once again popped in to see Stuart Offer who has done an excellent job of keeping me going, through massage and taping. I have not had to stop sailing or coaching and I was able to give Lily my absolute best effort right to the very end.
However it was mandatory that I raced at the Masters’ Nationals. This is a qualification event for next year's Masters’ Worlds, held in Hyeres during September, and having already missed the first qualifier at Brightlingsea because it clashed with the Sail for Gold regatta I have to do all the remaining events.
I felt I sailed better here and won the event with a race to spare in very similar conditions to the German Europa Cup. I have already started to address some of my performance issues.
First things first though, and having done what I needed to do I must now concentrate on getting my health back. At the time of writing I have just had very painful cortisone injections in both my elbows, so I am feeling incredibly uncomfortable. I hope that this will remove the inflammation in my tendons (known as Golfer’s Elbow, even though I have never played golf) and I intend to take as much rest for as long as necessary before returning to the water.
Golfer's elbow (or elbows in my case) is a repetitive strain injury caused by many hours of gripping - as I spend my days either driving a RIB (gripping a wheel) or in sailing a Laser (gripping a mainsheet) or driving (again gripping a wheel). In fact I did hope to return to cycling but there is no chance of that for obvious reasons...
Ironically in the second race of the Masters’ Nationals my ratchet block untied, so I had to spend over half the race taking the mainsheet from the boom and using my foot to hold the sail out. So when I went to see the Doctor my tendons were the most painful they have been for a long time.