Hugh Styles diary

After a disappointing season it all comes good for Team GBR's Tornado aces
After a really tough year we've managed to turn it around and end on a high note. About seven of the top ten Tornado teams in the World at the moment have chosen to train in the US this winter and the US Nationals was the first event following the 2002 World Championships for everyone to check out their winter development programmes. Last year the British squad trained in isolation in the UK and Portugal, but with insufficient benchmarking against the foreign teams we arrived at the first regattas of the year with a speed problem that hindered us all season. For once the season has started it is hard to play catch up, and although we felt we'd slowly closed the gap on the top teams during the year, the Worlds dealt us with some different conditions in which we struggled. To move forward we decided we needed to train over the winter with some fast foreign teams, and get a bit more regatta practice in during the 'off-season'. So following the Worlds we started training with the Dutch pairing of Sven Karsenbarg & Mischa Heemskerk, (Probably the fastest guys in a breeze in the World at the moment) and while many teams took a big break after the Worlds we spent a few weeks over in Holland, along with a load of UK training. So armed with some new sails from a Dutch loft we have now started to use, we arrived in Florida early and had a really productive week of tuning. It has been an exciting time, as we've learnt so much in the last few months. It appears that there is always something more to be learnt about sailing these boats! Sorry, enough of a background, on to the racing: We were treating the regatta as a good