Coach Rod Davis blogs on the routine that rules his life…
This week we are Singapore for the last of the of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series regattas. The regatta venues sound pretty glamorous, Istanbul, Boston, Nice…..
Not that our location makes any difference to our day which is pretty much the same wherever we are. We rarely stray off the path from the hotel to the boats. Sightseeing and taking in the culture of a new land are not yacthies’ strong points.
The catamaran and stadium racing world has forced us to make major changes to the routine we had for Louis Vuitton and TP-52 regattas. Extreme 40 racing is more intense, but shorter, and starts later in the day. Typically with the Cats we leave the dock just after 1pm and are done and dusted by 5pm.
During Med Cup regattas we would leave the dock at 11am and be back before 6pm. The new world means we have the mornings off. Kiwis are not good at waiting for the competition to start. Europeans have a better mind set for hanging out, but we are learning to adjust.
Debriefings have moved from evenings to the next morning. This has an added benefit: that team can“switch off” as soon as the boat is put away, knowing they do not have to “switch on” again until the debrief and race briefing before noon
Not that the coach gets that same treatment. Here is my timeline for today, typical of a regatta day in the past year:
5.00 am: Read sailing instruction amendments and any notices for the day (I like getting up early).
5.25: Go through still photos from day before. We had some speed problems yesterday that we need to get to the bottom of. Photos are just a snap shot in time and don’t always tell the full story so you need to see a lot of them to get a true representation of what went on. Today we are concentrating on the mainsail, twist, depths, traveller position, etc and comparing that to the boats that were going fast.
6.00: Videos - it’s more off a matter of weeding out video, as there’s only chance to get three or four points to implant at the debriefing. Try for any more, and you lose the four you had.
6.30: Write and email out the “heads up notes” for the day… just a little peak of the topics for the debrief and what to expect for today. This should get their minds ticking over before the debrief, thus we should be able to get a running start on learning from the previous day.
7.00: My time. Run, shower, breakfast.
8.30- 9.00: At the boat. Load up the chase boat, make sure radios have charged and all the bits and pieces are set to go. Check notice board for any new notices. (Good tip: always check that the coach boat starts when there’s still enough time to fix it if it doesn’t).
10.30: Meeting with umpires – very boring meeting really. But we go over can go over calls from the day before, talk about how they are applying the rules etc. By the end of the week, I have to drag myself to that meeting!
11.00: Skippers’ meeting. Dean goes but I am there as a backup. It often it pays to have two people listen to the day’s instructions so this is no (less?) misunderstanding of what was said.
11.45: Debrief and race briefing during lunch
1:00pm: Off the dock
2.00: First start - during the racing we take pictures and videos for use the next day. Between races its water and food for the boys and an observation or two of how it looks form the side. That is the trickiest part of the coaching job. How to deliver the message so it gets an excellent reception.
5.30-ish: Put boat away, back to hotel for shower
7.00: Dinner. At dinner will decide on any adjustments to next day’s timing and, later, send an email so everyone is on the same page or, at least, has no excuse for not being on the same page when it comes to the programme for the next day.
You have to make a big push to generate the same energy on the last day as you did pn day one. That is a requirement and obligation of the job, but it’s not easy.