Ian Vickers – Reflections on the 2015 IOM Worlds

Recently back from Foster City, Ian Vickers has taken the time to write down some of his thoughts on his experience at the 2015 IOM World Championships. As most of you know, Ian placed extremely well – 4th place.

“It was a fantastic event and well worth while doing. Catching up with friends and sailing against the world’s best was a big learning experience, and was a nice check in to see where we are at. It was a fantastic facility at Foster City and the Americans were amazing hosts. It may be remembered as one of the best. It was for me anyway.

I think that the top 3 sailors showed a lot of experience and confidence in their sailing which showed right from the start. Other sailors, like myself went through flat patches but could repeat good results once the mind-set changed and the mojo kicked in. To put it simply, when you could focus on speed and tactics without worrying about crashing, the racing starts to flow a bit better.

For me, near the beginning of the regatta, I had trouble trying to sail the 1st minute of the race and I think due to nerves it took me a little long to figure out why. In the mean time it shook my confidence in starting and I was digging deep to try to come back to a reasonable position, which was happening quite well fortunately. I had some trouble with the radio signal off the startling on one of the race courses which affected me, but I also made the decision to stand still after the start signal and really get my boat sailing well before I started walking up the course. But I was constantly losing sight of the boat and getting spat out the back. So for the middle part of the regatta I changed my tactic and started at the windward end, holding back the reigns, and starting with space, speed and visibility. This would not get me a ripping 1st leg, but at least I had some sort of foundation to work off and it seemed to work quite well with no more trips to B fleet. My speed seemed to be no problem, and in general I was sailing through the fleet most of the time. Working the shifts and letting it rip at the right times was paying nice dividends in the lifts and puffs, and in general, I had to set the boat up for neutral helm and keep fast the whole time or you would get rolled. There really didn’t seem to be the need for height, apart from the odd time off the start line. My boat was set up with quite a different feel from what I had been sailing at home in smooth water and in close visibility where you can sail the boat accurately by sight. I’m glad I cottoned on to that quickly, particularly on the course at the lower end of the lake where the waves were big and like a washing machine since they reflected off the solid wall where we stood. I needed to keep the boat bow down and pressed. Letting the boat slow down could cost a lot and it was very hard to get going again.

Finally the last day of the event I was beginning to start further down the line. I would run fast along the wall to maintain visibility and what do you know, a nice 1st beat and 2nd place. Finally the whole race was coming together and I felt a lot better about it. Some more good results that day and what was most pleasing for me, is that it was happening under the pressure of the 4th place spot that was up for grabs. It was like breaking through a barrier.

The good news for the local fleet in NZ is we are going pretty well! It would be an advantage to sail more venues and against different people such as going to Aussie regattas. Food for thought.”

[webmaster] Thanks Ian, and congratulations on a great result.

Ian has also put some thoughts on tape, so watch out for that later on

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