Every time the first of the month comes around, we would normally have exciting updates to do with racing or training opportunities but we feel these last few months have been very monotonous. However, the fact we can continue training makes us extremely lucky and we are trying to take advantage of situations that would not be possible if we were abroad.
For example, we have embarked on a gruelling 4-week fitness block which sounded fun at the beginning but after day 3 and legs giving way mid-bear away, we slightly regretted our enthusiasm! The challenge is rewarding and in a time where the end goal does not seem near, finishing a 4-week block will feel especially rewarding.
Another great opportunity is that we invited Cyclops Marine to come down and test out their new sensor on our boat. Data is a recent revelation for sailing; if we had asked our parents what they used, they would have probably said the same loos gauge you are still using today, if that! Considering other sports such as F1 rely on these statistics to make their cars go that 1% faster or cyclists, who are constantly analysing their power output and where their incremental gains come from, it is surprising we do not use data more. Especially for a sport that has so many variables: the weather, sails, weight, sea state, rigging, masts, boats, etc, the list goes on!
Last year our coach invested in Trusail which was an eyeopener and gave him rock solid feedback that it was impossible to argue with. Taking points without any substantial evidence can feel extremely risky. Its challenging to move away from what we know and we can all admit we fall into a trap of becoming too comfortable and adverse to change. What the data provides us with is scientific facts, that either help confirm our knowledge or help us explore new areas that we would not even consider. With such a short time frame (yes 4 years is incredibly short in the grand scheme of things), cutting corners and getting to the correct answers quickly is extremely powerful.
Another argument for the data in these times, is the fact we have not seen a foreign boat in a year now. Memories pop up on our photo albums of tuning runs with the Czechs and Russians last February and these were the last boats we saw that were not our squad. As much as we love our squad and we all push ourselves to the maximum of our abilities, we cannot emulate the start lines or high-pressured situations that 40 boats mid-championship race gives us! We also have the danger that we could be sailing well off the curve on a completely different planet and when we rack up in Hyeres or our Europeans, we could be 10% slower and spat out the back. Fortunately, the data we are collecting can point us in the right direction. Yes, it is new and we do not have everyone’s numbers but we can at least aim for a golden figure that will help us achieve our ultimate goal of winning gold.
The Cyclops 5/16” smarttune was put on our forestay and recorded the load in kilos running through the rig. The smarttune helped support the data we have had from Trusail in the past and added another datapoint to our spreadsheets. We also used a smartlink nano on our vang – unfortunately in 0-7 knots, we run little to no vang in these boats. To make analysing simple, Cyclops refer to 3 terms for loading: static loads; which are our on the dock numbers; dynamic loads which are our live sailing numbers; and analytical loads; which we discuss in the briefing room and use for post-race or training analysis.
We wanted 15 knots and sunshine but we were faced with 4 knots and drizzle but at least that is better than no sailing at all! From the 2 hours we had on the water, we were able to see some huge ranges that we were not even aware of previously. It confirmed some of our technique choices and it opened a discussion as a squad on some other elements. All in 2 hours. Just 2 boats. First day of February on a cold, damp day. Wow. It makes us feel like we are getting somewhere!
Creating a relationship with a fast-growing company opens discussions and we can mutually benefit from any advancements they want to introduce. For example, we have discussed where we want to put another sensor on the boat. Also, cyclops coming down for the day and seeing the boat in action helps them to understand what we are all about and what could be relevant for us in the future. We look forward to what is in store!
We are very fortunate to have a great company supporting us and working alongside us and we would like to express our gratitude. Part of the day also involved some filming of us sailing whilst using the product which will be shown at the RYA Dinghy show at the end of February. Try and spot us if you can! We would be happy to offer any direct feedback if anyone has any questions and Cyclops Marine will be personally posting a blog post from us sharing our thoughts. Their website can be found below: