We are nearing the end of our journey - only two more days and we get to come home! Yesterday we had a great day of training out in the Bay with around 15 knots of breeze. We did some short course work to start off, which was challenging with the puffy shifty breeze close to shore. The mechanics of our tacks, gybes and mark roundings are correct we are now working to make them smoother and faster. We then headed upwind and out into St. Margaret's Bay. Jacob and Graeme had to head in due to a breakdown so they came back on the water in the coach boat. Coaches Dave and Brian switched them into boats and moved people around so at one point no one was sailing in their own boat or with their usual partner. This was really cool, as we got to see how the other teams do things. It lead to a great discussion in debrief about how and what each person communicated in the boat and also some insights into which boat set ups we liked better. I got to sail with Jacob while Jen steered for Karen, and we both learned a lot. Afterwards we had a team dinner at Karen's house. We made pita pizzas and shared stories.
Today there was a big storm cell predicted to hit with 35 knots of wind. We hid in the clubhouse while it poured rain, and finally started to rig. Unfortunately Jen was unable to sail due to the pain in her forearms, so I headed out with Teddy driving the boat. The breeze came up to just over 20 knots as we launched. We didn't stay out long; although Teddy is an excellent sailor, we have never sailed together before and communication and teamwork is key to keeping the boat upright in breeze. We headed in and watched from the dock as the other teams raced around. They didn't stay out too long; unfortunately Karen and Dana broke their mast when they capsized while doing a pin change. We re-grouped on shore and had to explain to the firetrucks, ambulance and news crew who turned up that we were fine; no one was hurt; and this was just a normal day at the office for us.
One of the perks of a national team camp is the support from the local sports centre. We have had a physio out twice and a massage therapist out every day after sailing. After 3 months of sailing Jen and I are nursing some repetitive strain injuries. Jen's forearms are injured from sheeting the mainsheet while my right shoulder is out of sorts. Adnaan the massage therapist is awesome - he has been working on us both every day. The hard part is that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Our bodies have learned to function with our joints locked up and starting to release them is very painful. We are both looking forward to a couple weeks off of sailing to rest and recover.
The forecast for the next two days is for sun and light wind. Tomorrow we begin racing to decide our national champion. Since there are only 5 boats, we have agreed to continue with some training in the mornings and to keep the races short. This way we can get in as much training as possible and benefit from having to excellent coaches available to us.