Dylan Fletcher: Looking forward to Hyeres

Dylan Fletcher: Looking forward to Hyeres

Tuesday April 22 2014 Author: Dylan Fletcher Location: none selected

 Hyeres has happy memories for Alain and I, as this is where we won our first ever World Cup gold medal last year. It was also only the second place we ever competed in the 49er together back in 2007, and we were 13th, a really positive, encouraging result in our first year. It feels pretty exciting to be back here again.

People often talk about the importance of winning your first gold medal, and looking back I do think achieving that early last year did help us kick on for the rest of the season. After the disappointment of missing out on London 2012, we know what we want to achieve in this cycle and that included getting amongst the medals early on.

We started this season on the podium in Palma and, although we didn’t finish where we wanted to, given that we made the week difficult for ourselves at times, to still come away with a medal showed good character. Sailing out on one day we ran into a reef and smashed our favourite centreboard, and on the same day Alain was pretty ill and hadn’t been able to eat for 24 hours so we had our adversities to overcome!

We still managed to put into practice, and see gains, from a lot of the things we have been working on this winter, and we are looking forward to taking that on out here.
This is also the first time London 2012 champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, will compete in 2014. They were involved in Artemis and the America’s Cup last year, and only did the 49er Worlds, so it will be good to see how we go against them.

We arrived here on Tuesday, and it’s been pretty windy, so there has been some good training time spent on the water both on our own and with some of the other guys, including Nathan and Iain.

We owe my dad a big one for getting our boat and Volvo to Hyeres. I had a week’s Moth sailing scheduled, firstly in the 2014 Moth Grand Prix Series at Hayling Island and then training in Weymouth, so we flew straight back to the UK after Palma.

Dad was a hero as he flew out to Palma and picked up the car and boats and towed them up to Hyeres for us. He loved it; when we met him at the airport, he had a big grin on his face!

It is the sort of thing he used to do heaps when I was younger but since I’ve gone full-time it has only been a couple of times. He couldn’t stay out here for the regatta though as he doesn’t like following our racing and finds it too intense, even online! Mum has to tell him where we have come at events.

I was really pleased to get some Moth sailing in. I find it a struggle to switch off from sailing, but doing a different type of sailing I really enjoy and feel I get loads from.

You look at some of the legends training in Weymouth, Simon Hiscocks, Paul Goodison, Chris Draper, they have all got Olympic medals and are great racers. There is so much to learn from them, and I love seeing if there are elements of race strategy or boat set up stuff I can take into our 49er campaign.

It is a different kind of competitiveness and although it is very intense, I enjoy it for different reasons and I do feel fresher, and more excited about going back 49er sailing, after I’ve been Moth sailing.

You look at Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, and the Aussies like Nathan, Iain and Tom Slingby, they have all done loads of other sailing outside of their Olympic campaigns. Any time on the water is a constant source of new ideas and experiences to try different things that could improve your Olympic sailing.

It was lovely getting to spend a few days back in Portland last week. The weather was beautiful, we had a few BBQs, the clocks went forward, we had some stunning sunsets and it just felt like summertime, and the real sailing, season had arrived.

But now it is back to the day job of trying to win another World Cup medal. Hopefully Hyeres will prove as happy a hunting ground for us as it was last year.

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