Hey all,

Since Hyeres I have been in Sweden doing some physical training for 13 days and trying to improve my hiking position in the boat. I didn’t do much sailing but I did a lot of hiking related positions on swiss balls, back extension, floor etc. A general improvement of strength and hiking power was the aim. I felt really good arriving here in Holland.

The good thing about Holland is it always has wind and stroopwaffles. The problem is its under 10 degrees Celsius and often pouring rain so tough place to sail! The issue is when it rains its tougher to see wind on the water and it often also builds and kills the breeze as the clouds come through.

Today we sailed out and did three races pretty quickly. That was great because it was bloody cold! 

First race I sailed well off the start and took a left hand wind shift hen I could back to the middle. I was in the lead group and watched as the fleet sailed left and I kept digging right. Was a good call and rounded the top mark with a right hander in 4th.

After that I made a comedy of errors including getting rolled on the reach. Capsizing downwind in like 5 – 8 knots and getting stuck in the middle on the final beat and losing to 17th as both sides gained !!! terrrrrrible form. 

Race 2 I had a similar start midline near Burton and we both went left and waited for the left hand shift. When it came we made our way right but then tacked back to protect the left. I rounded in around 5th and had a solid first run.

By the bottom gate I was still 5th but held my lane out of the bottom gate and got into some new left hand pressure. Moved up to 4th on the second beat. Held onto 4th and on the final reach the guy who was headed lost buoy room on TB and so I managed to just get over the top of him to finish with a 3rd :) 

Race 3 I had a tough start as the boats above hooked into a right hander and when I got a left they still stayed in the right hand breeze a little longer. I got bounced back left by a belgian when I tacked and suddenly had heaps on. I started to play the right and made it look better to round the top in around 13th.

After the first run I was around the same but then I sailed right on the 2nd beat and rounded the top in around 12th. On the final run I broke away in solid pressure but got a yellow flag after gybing on to reach. Sailing across the face of the wave makes the boat annoyingly rocky. Would have taken the whole damn group. Still finished 8th or 9th.

So not a bad start. Too many silly errors. Tomorrow looks super windy so might see if all the fitness paid off.

ImageHey all,

Day 3 at Hyeres regatta today. It held to the forecast and was a range of 10 – 15 knots and being on shore it made some nice standing waves. Got my left arm taped up, ate two breakfasts and walked down to the club after some back strengthening exercises. Almost need to do those to get warm before launching.

Got on the tow with the boys and headed out to the course. Was actually quite soft, first race would have started in 10-12 knots.

Started about 20 boats up from the pin with a small but OK gap to leeward. Went high mode and worked hard to get height then vanged on and went low groove to roll forward. Worked well and punched clear of the fleet around me. Problem was guys to the right of me were on a high starboard angle so I waited and waited for the wind to go left and with pressure eventually it did but I was just above the layline.

I footed in hard and looked like I might round in 3rd but had to duck into a long line of 5 boats on the starboard lay. ARGHHHHH … frustrating. I tacked in the best gap but it was tight and I tapped the mark and had to do a spin. Cost = 4th – 9th … if I ducked the bunch I would be 7th.

Next was the reach, I got forward but had to come down and lost tonci down the inside. As I went downwind I went high on starboard and came down but just languished in too little pressure and on a bad angle to waves. Those guys who went low especially tonci shot away so fast. By the time I worked it out I fell to 13th by bottom gate.

Second beat fell back another 5 boats but then on the final downwind got myself together and motored back to finish in 14th. I thought to myself ‘OK, too many errors but ill take it’.

Second race I started OK and tacked onto port to clear the fleet from the midline in a solid left hander. I then hit a header and went back with the fleet. Worked perfect from a lift to a new lift and was away! soon the whole fleet was in my window below but a few guys to the right of me stood out. Wearny was away!

I tacked on lay and some others overlayed and I rounded in 5th. By the wingmark I was 3rd. Bottom gate I lost Jwest who went wide and came back in nicely. 2nd beat I rounded top in 4th.

Then I came around and vanged off as much as I dared but it was too much. I was knees up and rolled to windward and couldnt recover in time. Capsize …………. 4th to 9th …….. worse I was actually parallel with charlie and rutger but post capsize was in a bit of shock and struggled to find form for at least 100m. Damn!

Anyway it turned out I had a very consistent day compared with almost the whole fleet. Total scores wise I would be around 4th. Obviously the new system is that you cant drop your qualifier position which becomes your first race but a drop comes in after today. A lot of guys around me are dropping BFD, 40s, 30 and high 20s. So now more then ever a consistent approach and not earning that drop too early will pay.

Tomorrow looks pretty breezy again. Should be another fun days racing in Hyere.

Posted by: brunning | April 23, 2013

Day 2 Hyeres

Better day.

Got a 7,5. Moved up 20 places to finish qualifier in 14th.

Wind conditions varied between 6 – 10 knots. Left looked good all day today.  just pressure seemed to fill through from there! Played the middle well on first beats but never around the top mark in top 5 but always in the game! Kept chipping away and making gains. Back to feeling good in the boat. Finding some balance :) Hard to explain but after some back pain you lose a lot of feel through your back in terms of spacial awareness and muscle stablisation. I often find myself over trimming or reacting too late or relying on my arms to feel or work or hold me while hiking. Pretty essential in balancing a boat for speeds sake to use your back effectively so its going in the right direction! Once able to catch waves downwind I had some speed. Not bad for a big guy in this lighter stuff!

Tomorrow looks windier with 15-20 forecast and a building breeze for next few days we will see some hiking! Feeling pretty good in the body with some lighter days. Think everything will be mixed up with a windy finals, a lot of new names in gold fleet so will be some interesting racing. Hopefully some modified training pre regatta and some daily exercises will help with my back endurance and getting some more hiking extension. A can of pepsi, an aspirin and a few coffees helps too ;)

Cheers! Ash

Posted by: brunning | April 23, 2013

Day 1 Hyeres 2013

Quick post.

Light air keeping us on shore it was a pretty chilled morning. Ate my baguette and drank a pepsi for some up and go.

First race was probably the windiest at about 4 – 6 knots. I started well and sailed with the front group to take an 8th. Was important to get to the new persistent shifts as I would later learn!

Second race was like the first but about a knot or two lighter. Started well but on the first run ended up on the wrong side and new pressure came from the other! Lost 5 boats, on next beat didnt commit far enough left or right and got stuck in the middle. Middle = death in 3 – 4 knots. Fell back into the twenties and couldnt recover.

Final race was a bit of a joke. I could not believe the race committee let it continue. Half way up a relatively short first upwind leg I was out with the right group. We started lifting on port and the wind became very soft. Notably Rob Scheidt tacked back from next to me and ducked around 30 boats to go left. He must have forseen or taken a calculated gamble that it would be a massive persistent left hand shift.

it ended being something like 30 – 40 degrees left and the wind died on our side of the course. Boom! game over and the further right you were the more behind you were. I rounded the top and the leader Jared West was over a leg ahead. I took a 6th last …

So while that wasnt a great end to the day, we have two races today! looking forward to producing a better day. Running 34th overall, Certainly a little more breeze today!

Posted by: brunning | April 5, 2013

Finished 17th in Palma

Some ups and down in Palma. Had a consistent qualifier and a slow finals. Often didn’t risk enough with starts or sides and paid the price.

Few body issues to manage which was tough after six months of good health down under and in NZL. relearning big fleet racing and how you have to sail once in the pack. Missed some big shifts today during the finals. In general too many unforced errors and not at peak performance health wise either.

Good thing about boat racing is there is always another race. That makes me happy. For me this year is about doing regattas as last year I was only doing two full major regattas in Europe where most top guys did 4-5 minimum. Injury is expensive! avoid and manage them well. Think that racing experience will help me find my mojo once more.

Looking forward to a break and some modified fitness before heading to Hyeres to start the second World Cup this year in France. Starts in late April. Already been overseas a month! Time flys

Cheers, ash

This regatta has been excellent training for our worlds in November in this venue. Came here to work on my light air and chop and definitely got some action in that regard. Tough to find that in AUS.

We have had a range of conditions but mostly light to moderate winds and it’s really warm. 14 races and bit of an endurance affair. The hotel is great, staff friendly and very service minded and the food is top notch and reasonably priced.

In terms of the sailing, I started seeing some light air mojo here again which made me pleased. i ad a pretty windy and successful summer in Australia and new zealand so was good to see these conditions especially before we are likely to see them again in Europe soon.

scorecard wasn’t optimal. had two OCS/BFD which I had to drop which is uncharacteristic of me. So had to carry every race after that. Last year I had one BFD all year! I then happened to break my new for this regatta vang system. The primary line of dynema snapped and must have been rubbing on sharp edge. Carried a 20th when finished the race in 10 knots with a 1 to 1 vang hahahaha.

Otherwise was consistently top 6 with more then a few top 3s. Ended up 6th on count back from Sam Meech which is alright as he sailed a more consistent regatta then me with all my issues! Next time I come back here it won’t be the same. Very glad to have got some experience in the venue as the Middle East is not a regular fixture in the World Cup but from what I see looks like it will be in time with excellent regatta management and a well thrown and raced regatta.


Hi all,

Today was the final day of sail auckland and as the forecaster said breezy! Full directional change today and we had a SW breeze starting at about 20 and finishing in the final race with gusts up to 35 knots. The RC had a bit on even putting up flags it was hillarious! but in true Kiwi style we started and battled around the course.

Race 1 – Started to leeward of the fleet and waited for a left hander to come back and cross. Found it near the lay and barely crossed Andy coming back from the right. At the top myself, Sam and Andy rounded in a row and made for a hectic and very loose reach and run. At this point the breeze was gusty and between 10 – 25 knots and it paid to sail to pressure. On the second beat Andy went to the left gate and Sam and I the right. Andy found a nice right hander and came back and tacked ahead of me to lead into the top. Sam was still close behind. Very tight racing !!! On the run we bunched up again and I went to the left gate with Andy and Sam going right. I tacked back so as not to split but Andy got on a huge right hander and literally tight reached into the top mark and pulled 100m on me. Sam also made a little gain but not enough. Andy was gone and had sailed the shifts better and I would have to take a second shot in race 2.

As the points squared up it was a race for first and second. Whoever won the final race would win (Andy on countback or me by 2 points).

To add to the stress of that situation for both of us the wind filled in steady and moved a little right and a constant 25 knots with gusts of up to 35 knots on the RC were being read. As the breeze went right it kinda came right down the harbor so it steadied out a bit.

After some waiting around I thought at two points they would call it off when I saw 49ers and Cats cartwheeling hahahahaha. The RC almost pulled up the anchor but then someone must have said nahhhhhhhh send the lasers. So off we went.

Race 2 – Started close to Andy about mid line and just wanted a nice gap to work in and to go for speed. Went block to block while possible and dropped sheet and footed and max plank hiking effort for around 2 mins. Punched clear of the bunch and tacked in phase with Andy. At the top we were a clear one and two. Let the battle begin!

First reach was just a plow fest. Could bearly see a thing. Right up the back corner and just dropping down in the big big gusts. Andy hot on my heels we bore away into the run. On the run I locked my feet into the back corner and on the front corner of the cockpit and went hard by the lee. The aim was to try and get speed and stability and when I could point back at the gate in the lulls or with a big wave I would. We rounded the bottom seperated only by a few boat lengths. On the second beat I held the lead but Andy sailed some fast port tacks and was chipping away at me.

The next run I held the lead again almost capsizing twice and Andy rounded right on my stern. I tried to tack and keep him with me but at the top he crossed me on starboard about 100m short of starboard lay. So i ducked and sailed out to starboard lay and came in fast. I didn’t catch him and he tacked just next to the top mark. What I did do though was get all my gear sorted for the downwind.

As I rounded I shot inside him and took his breeze for a moment while he was sorting gear before planing off by the lee. New pressure came in from behind me but more straight down the harbor so I got it first and pulled a solid gap on andy ahead to leeward. Then SO close to disaster I got hit by a big gust and lost control and spun out. I didn’t capsize but was head to wind and flapping uselessly. Andy came at me and I managed to do the bear away and just hold the inside though again parallel and only separated by a few lengths. My game plan was then simple. Get through the gate and gybe, doesn’t matter if you capsize to leeward you can get it up quick and keep going. I wasn’t watching Andy, I was afraid if I watched him i’d either run into him or bury myself into a wave. It was at least 30 knots and we had plenty on.

I was just five or six lengths from the gate and I heard a crash behind me but didn’t dare look back and kept looking forward and focusing on the gate. Planing down a wave by the lee I passed through the gate about 10m from the rounding mark for the final reach and just went for the gybe. I just made it !!! :) Sail flapping I looked back and saw Andy pulling it up quick from what looked like his boom just taping the water after a gybe. I bore away and sailed carefully through the finish to win the race and ultimately the regatta.

Obviously very pleased to finish Summer with a win in Sail Auckland but I felt it obviously could just have easily have gone to Andy. Luck and timing definitely played a part in a windy regatta where we were often only boat lengths apart. My fitness was much improved since Aussie nationals and doing some cardio on the bike with TB. I have really enjoyed and taken a lot of value from training and racing with the kiwi boys in Sydney and here in Auckland. Also thanks to their coach Mark for looking after my bag and including me in training now and in the week to come. Of course Thom Saunders too for looking after me in Auckland and Doc for his sweet as laser !!!

Next up a day off and let the body recover, key thing is 11 races in 15 – 35 knot range completed and feeling tired but strong. Plan is some cycling on the west coast with boys on Thurs. After that a few days training at Taka and then a coach run regatta on 12,13,14th Feb before coming home to Sydney.


Posted by: brunning | February 4, 2013

Day 3 Sail Auckland – Breeze on

ImageHi all,

Woke up today feeling the characteristic way you feel after hiking a laser for two days (six one hour races) solid AKA sore all over and cant squat or climb stairs to save your life ……..

Rolled down to the club and started rigging but the AP went up as strong northerly breeze. About 20-25 knots. In classic RC form they canned the 49ers and 29ers and sent the lasers and finns to test out conditions. Oh and some 420s and 470s.

Race 1 – around 15 – 20 knots in the lee of the island it was reasonably steady in terms of shifts but a nasty chop was developing. Started well but did not seem warmed up or switched on and made a lot of errors. Hiking felt like shit and often missed or badly timed efforts of when to hike and steer etc. Kinda felt like I was asleep and going through the motions. Was a bad move and missed a crucial right hand shift. dropping me from 3rd to 5th …

Finished the race and once I got my bag I jumped off boat and had a quick swim. Cold water woke me up pretty quick and then smashed down a V 500ml energy drink. I was basically vibing so much I had to have some water to dilute the sugar, caffeine and gurana.

Race 2 – Sailed off the line into 20 knots and building. Chop a little smoother as was change of tide coming up. Held lane just down from boat but tacked and ducked a stern to get right of the fleet. Was on a reasonable lefty and started getting some mojo and feel with the waves and wind. Very much about choosing when to hike and moving body around to keep the nose out of harms way. Sailed over toward the right lay but tacked what I thought might be 100m short. At first I headed a little but could see some boats up ahead high on starboard. Patience!

I switched modes and went for speed. Dropping sheet and trying to surf every downslope. I crossed the fleet by about 25m and then tacked into phase. Thom my housemate had gone a little further right and found an even bigger righty to cross me but he was alone. After ducking him I tacked off his hip to round the top in first.

On the top reach I had so much on. The boat was bouncing along and breeze in right phase meant it was pretty loose reach. Keep the nose up and get right down the back corner and dont spin out. At least 25 at this point. On the wing mark I used a set of waves to bear away and protected the leeward side downwind. Behind me closely was Maloney without a doubt. I played safe and conservative down the run and he made up around 50m of me and we were parallel going into the gate. He gybed to come over to my side but i think his boom tapped the water because suddenly i had a 50m lead again out of the gate.

Then it was just a battle upwind. Both of us hiking hard and we sailed away from the rest of the bunch. The next run I got away but spun out and lost some ground but luckily didnt piss it! Andy was right on my hammer. The final beat (cause we doing O3) I just stayed in phase and beam tacked. Held a little lead and on the final downwind again Andy was right on my hammer. We gybed for the final reach almost in tandem and were only a few meters separate at the finish! Bloody close racing and we had just left the bunch behind ……….. especially in 25 knots

Race 3 – Smashed about 750ml of flat coke and half a litre of water. Warmed up for 5 mins off the pin end. Started 1/3 down from boat in nice lane and found a set of waves going my way. Punched out and rolled over the leeward guys and the breeze went a little left so I tacked in phase. Lead the bunch back to the right with only the guys tacking off the boat further right. Sailed to the right lay and protected the right. Footed back down the right lay and even overlayed a bit so had to work harder to offset that loss.

Top reach again heaps on but sunk low with the pressure. Rounded the wing mark and spun out in a big gust but bore away again and got going. Andy again not far behind but also going high and trying to keep boat upright. On bottom gate went for the gybe and boom tapped the water. Spun out and couldnt lay the mark so had to tack and reach back to other gate hahahahaha. 25 – 30 knots and tall cross swell chop hahahahaha !!!

Tacked back as andy rounded the other gate and stayed in phase with him again. Lead to the top and kept her upright on outer downwind and no spin outs. On final beat did the same and protected the right and bore away with a solid lead. On the final run some of the gusts were making me nervous and I was self talking the whole way saying things like ‘stay smooth and calm, go with the waves, point to the gate in the lulls etc.’ It worked! and I held on to take my second win for the day!

Totally shattered now and off to bed. Took a quick cold bath and released what I could at home. Final day tomorrow and a completely different wind direction. Will try wake up and get in form a little quicker tomorrow … I find Caffeine and cold water immersion helps! hahaha what a surprise !!

http://rayc.org.nz/sail-wave/SAILAKL/2013/SINGLE.htm … Overall results

Posted by: brunning | February 3, 2013

Day 2 Sail Auckland 2013

ImageHi all,

Started off today with a hearty bakery breakfast (i have a custard bun problem) and loaded up some carbs. Definitely needed them and the breeze increased the whole day and another three ‘outer’ races were completed. My HR watch says 2593 calories while on the water for 4.5 hours today. Tough day on the body and legs.

Race 1 – Started just up from the pin and aimed to lock two major competitors in out to the left. Looked good for first 30 seconds but was a failed attempt primarily because a media boat was moving in front of them taking photos and Heiner punched out on the wake! Ridiculous that the media boat was on the course and making wake !!! Andy may have got on it later but those two were gonnnneee.

I followed them left and tacked underneath them. Waited for a righty to close the gap on Heiner as by this point Andy had pulled around 50m on me. Rounded just behind Heiner and gained on him plenty on the reach and the downwind. He lead back to left early on second beat and I tacked about a hundred meters further to the right of him. He scored when he found a massive left hander and HUGE super cruiser waves to come back and pulled all my gains back. Frustrating for me but hike on!

Meechy wasnt far behind so tried to consolidate third and settle with it. So OK first race.

Race 2 – Same game plan as didn’t want to contest a tightly contested pin. Worked fine but the breeze again slowly went left and Sam and Andy came up on me slowly but surely on our way out to the left. I tacked and ducked a few sterns and punched out close to left lay! some of the others i ducked went too far and so I rounded the top in a close 4th. On the first run I sailed down the rhumbline and made a great gain to round the bottom in first. On the second beat Andy and Sam came back at me but it was Sam who stayed close. On the final run I got mixed up with some OK dinghies and Sam went around the outside. I caught back up by gybing on to port and had a little duel but gybed back onto starboard once inside him and had no feel for that gybe ……… lost the inside overlap and finished second just behind Sam. Andy was close behind us too! We had pulled hundreds of meters on the fleet. Tight battles really pushing us to the limits.

Race 3 – Decided to contest the pin based off previous few starts and won it. Andy tried to hook under me at last minute but I was watching and stopped him ‘sharking’ me (as we aussies call it). Gun pin end start just clearing the pin boat anchoring line and extended on the fleet. Found some waves to foot on and switched modes constantly from grinding block to block to footing. Sam was right off my hip but I slowly edged away from him with a lucky set of waves and tacked and crossed. At the top I had a lead of about 50m and on the reach I managed to extend it a little. On the run I sailed hot on port in pressure and only lost a little ground to Sam and the bunch.

The second beat I changed into conservation mode and beam tacked the nearest threat. I let one split go and lost a little ground so made the choice to sail more conservative next beat. On the run Sam gained as again I caught the back of the OK dinghy fleet and fumbled around a bit passing them. Around the bottom gate around a 20m lead.

As previously decided I went conservative and stayed in phase with Sam. I hiked hard and took sets where I could. I wanted to be ahead and to windward. Managed to do it well and lead by around 50m at the top. Final run went smooth and final reach too. Finally took home a win today!

Bloody challenging day as reasonably steady and just a drag race everywhere. Awesome racing in the top group and looks like the same tomorrow with another breezy day at 17-23 knots.

Good recovery, getting plenty of food and fluids in and a good sleep ahead. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Results overall – http://rayc.org.nz/sail-wave/SAILAKL/2013/SINGLE.htm





Posted by: brunning | February 2, 2013

Sail Auckland 2013 – Day 1 Laser Mens


Hi all,

First update in a while since Aussie nationals finished in Hobart.

So been hanging in Auckland a week now. Staying with Thom Saunders (NZL) on the south side of the harbor city in a suburb called Orakei. Only 5 min pedal to the yacht club! bloody brilliant ….. Doing some training with the kiwi boys, bapsy and heiner out of Takapuna before Sail Auckland event started. Bit of sailing, cycling and gym which has been feeling great to start to get back to in the last few weeks after our Aussie nationals.

Ended up selling my old bike and buying a new bike and having it custom fitted for IP. Went in looking for a comfortable road bike! and surprisingly, came out with one and I swear I didn’t even look at TT bikes! Now I am much more upright in the saddle and far less in flexion. Not very aerodynamic but at least I can push some pedals! The key has been inverting the stem and putting as many spacers as possible in the head tube. This way, the handle bars are right up high and not much extension to get to them. Kinda more like a old fella on a town bike !!! hahaha

So today Sail Auckland started but we are sailing from a place called Akarana YC. Our course is outside of the main harbour but still some solid tide, tall chop and today a steady 10 – 15 knot easterly breeze. Quite a contrast to old Takapuna! more like a quieter version of Sydney harbour.


Results were 1,1,3 today.


Just sailed solidly with some good first beats and finally a bit of upwind speed mojo. Definitely helps when you aren’t puffing your lungs out because you have done a bit of fitness! Back to the old upwind tactics maxim, don’t let them cross !!! Working hard to keep the boat moving through the chop and sailing the long lifted tacks in steady breeze.

On the downwind, it was about putting together some nice sets and trying to stay in pressure though it is damn hard to see on lighter colored water. Keep the boat planing and you’ll be smiling at the bottom. Try not to get mixed up in duels etc.

Anyway, three races a day and a windy looking regatta !!! Might get a bit shiftier over land soon too … http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=25747

Max effort on recovery with a nice cold bath, stretch and the ol baseball in the back and glute treatment and look forward to gaining some more racing experience tomorrow.


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