Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hello From Palma!

Since we last wrote we have driven 9,000 km North America to Europe, pitch poled in the Mediterranean, been named to the 2014 Canadian National Sailing Team, and are now training Spanish style in Palma de Majorca. It’s as sweet as sounds. This spring training and competition block will take us all the way until the end of April! 
The convoy to Palma!
So far it has been two weeks of intense 4-hour on the water sessions combined with lots of on shore physical prep and video debriefs with our coach Mark, looking at exactly what we need to work on, how we are improving and what further steps we need to take to keep that momentum going forward. With upwards of 50 boats training daily, and 80 registered for the regatta, crowded practice races are forcing us to fight for the start line. Tough love. During the morning training sessions we have been working one-on-one with our coach on our boat handling, particularly fine tuning our footwork through manoeuvres and working hard on our communication, you would of thought we’d have figured that out after 18 hours on the ferry from England to Spain, but in the boat there’s always room for improvement.

We just completed our second 7-day training block with big breeze on the last three days! No matter how tired we are at the end of the week, making the most of every session comes first. But days like our last “power hour” of 25+ knots made up for the pain. Only a few off days and light training sessions stand between us the event, which starts March 30th.

Lift-off in Palma!
We also received some fantastic news last week, due to extra funding becoming available, John and I have been named to the 2014 Canadian National Sailing Team. This provides us with crucial financial support, coaching and the motivation to represent Canada.




For now we’re 110% focused on next week and sailing at the level we know we can, this means constant communication in the boat, correct boat handling and sticking to our game plan on the water! Wish us luck! 

 For a little extra entertainment, check out this short video from a big crash during one of the breezy days!

Monday, February 3, 2014

First World Cup of 2014!

Our first World Cup Championship of 2014 wrapped up on January 31 after a very long light winds and marginal sailing conditions. In such light winds the smallest of tactical errors could send you from top ten to bottom ten in one leg of the race. But on the flip side you could also make big gains by making smart decisions, sailing in the puffs and not getting caught up in one on one battles with other boats. Tactical prowess on the course was the name of the game as we only got three out of six races completed in the first two days and no racing whatsoever on the third day. We began with three deep races at the start of the regatta because we had slow accelerations off the line and took big risks trying to get back to the top of the fleet. 

After having the third day cancelled by heavy rains we finally got some much needed breeze on day four and had the chance to stretch our legs! The first race we rounded in the top 15 but lost 6 boats on a bad shift downwind and finished in 21. The second race we knew we had to improve our result and led the fleet out to the right hand side of the course and to the wind! We sailed in the top ten all race and with smart decision making made finished in 10th! The third race we kept the momentum going and after winning the boat end of the start we finished in 15th. 

This put us in a much better position and we started the fifth day of the race with an 11th and were top Canadian! Unfortunately it was lighter wind than the previous day and two costly tactical decisions in the final two races meant we finished the regatta in 28th overall and as 3rd Canadian entry. 

It wasn’t the overall result we were looking for as we wanted to crack the top-20. We realize how much we need to gain race experience (in light and heavy air) and work on our accelerations off the start line. We did solidify our position as one of the top-3 Canadian boats, We are looking forward to three months training and competing as we head to Europe this spring, we need it! 

For the month of February we have two and a half weeks of training with a few teams of American and Virgin Island sailors who are down here. We are focused on fitness and strength in preparation for Europe. 

After a couple weeks off in Canada we head to Europe for two events and training over March and April. March we will spend in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and April in Heyres, France. We are excited to get some serious training and competition with the big international fleets and to make big strides forward in our tactical decision making and starts! Stay tuned to the blog, our Facebook and our Twitter for more updates through-out all of it! 


-Arthur

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Full On 2014

It has been a seriously busy month for us! After exams finished up mid-December, John and I headed out west to Vancouver to join the rest of the family for a ski trip in Whistler. It was an amazing trip with lots of snowy terrain and a nice break after our exams. The Peak2Peak Gondola and glacier cliff jumping are more tiring than they seem however, and eight o’clock nights weren’t uncommon. Spending time with the family is the best kind of distraction,  and since our older brother is a pretty avid ice climber we spent a day ice climbing a massive waterfall. So much fun but really hard work (a competitive spirit runs in the family, so we weren't taking breaks). I’m not sure either of us have the nerves to do it again! But it hasn’t been all play – before we drove up to Whistler we had a couple sponsorship meetings here on the best coast. They were very successful and we will be announcing a new sponsor shortly! Unfortunately a late exam schedule didn't allow us to get down to Miami before Christmas to train with the other Canadian and American teams like we had hoped, but now we’ve arrived in Miami and after some baggage issues we’re ready to hit the water!


We’re looking forward to our first time training full-time and not having to balance both school and sailing. We have set ourselves up to focus 100% on sailing to improve every day leading up to the next world championships in September 2014. We have several goals we want to achieve before September, which include qualifying for the Canadian Sailing Team at the end of January and showing consistent fleet improvement over the course of our upcoming European regattas. Rest assured we will be keeping everyone consistently updated now that we have more to talk about in terms of training and competitions. We hope all of our friends and supporters have had an excellent holiday season so far and are looking forward to 2014 as we are! This year would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors and supporters – because of your support we are looking back on a 2013 filled with learning and looking forward to a 2014 filled with even more successes! We can't wait to share our journey to the 2016 Olympics with you in this New Year!

-Arthur

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Season's End 2013

Sadly the 2013 season has come to an end and we are both back in school full time. This season has been incredibly busy. Two weeks ago we returned from Marseille, France where we competed at the 2013 49er World Championships. This was our first world championship and it was an eye opener. The competition of 100 boats was by far the toughest we've ever faced and made for a great week of racing with a lot of learning. Without much training before the event due to very strong winds, the competition started with very light winds. This made mistakes that much more punishing. The first two days were difficult for us. Our poor starts had us fighting back from the very start. By day 3 we had improved our starts significantly and were getting off the line and into the top 15 rounding the top mark. The small mistakes however continued to drop us back and this persisted for the rest of qualifying. Placed in Bronze fleet we simply focused on working out the kinks in our boat handling. With one incredibly light day followed by two very breezy days, we got a taste of everything. The breezy days were a blast and staying upright was the name of the game. We worked to move up as far as we could in the short time available. We were happy with some of our improvements such as our starting and came away with a list to push through this winter.

This summer included a month long trip to Germany, and Denmark for competitions including the 2013 49er Europeans. It was a great trip and added a great deal to our non-existent experience with fleets outside of North America. We also picked up our new Ovington boat, our very first brand new boat! She's as quick as we could ask for! These trips provided us with invaluable experience with a highly technically and large 49er fleet.

Back in Canada for July/August we competed at 49er Canadians and finished a best ever 4th for us. We were battling the whole event and it was awesome just to race in Canada. With a growing fleet it just gets better every year. We also competed at CORK in August. A number of top US boats came up for the event and while we didn't finish where we wanted (6th overall) we had some strong moments and came away feeling better about our sailing and improvements over the summer. Starts had been a huge area of work for us and we really felt as if we'd improved them over the course of the summer.

This whole summer was a step up from previous ones and we are looking again at going that much further this year. We have enjoyed incredible support from the numerous individuals who have supported us financially and otherwise as well as our sponsors. Big thanks to Straight MacKay, our biggest corporate supporter this year as well as SPY Optics, Embody Fitness and The Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Without the incredible support we have received none of this would have been possible.

Stay tuned for more updates about our winter season!

-John


Monday, June 10, 2013

EURO

Its been a while since a post so there is a lot to tell but here it goes! Arthur and I both finished university and moved right into sailing mode. Our training began May 1st, and we have had an awesome first month of training. We have been  working with the folks over at EMbody Fitness to make sure we're in top shape for our peak events this season. Big thanks to Andy Smith and Debra Basch for their continued support!

We have just returned from a great 2 week training camp in Halifax, Nova Scotia with the new national team skiff coach Mark Asquith. A great experience, lots to learn and focus on what and where we need to improve. It is exciting to have the opportunity to work with Mark and to train with two other top 49er teams. We are now back in Toronto until Thursday and then it is straight off to Europe! We will pick up our new boat in England where a full set up will take place. We then drive to Kiel, Germany for our first event, Kiel Sailing Week. This will be a perfect warm up for our first major competition of the season in Aarhaus, Denmark; the 2013 49er Europeans. We look forward to this event and to racing in Europe. After that we will head south to Marseille, France where we will store the boats until Worlds this September. This will land us back in Canada mid July and we'll be training in Toronto and Kingston for July/August as well as competing at 49er Canadians and CORK.

We have a superior group of sponsors on board to support us in our campaign. Stright-MacKay are the premier Canadian marine supplier and provide us with GUL Sailing Gear and Lanex Yachting Line. They have offered us much needed support and we are pleased to have them on board. The gear keeps us fast, dry and warm! SPY Optic has also come on board and hook us up with top notch shades. And thanks to Steamwhistle Brewery for their help with our fundraisers. Top quality stuff from the best on the market! We are pumped to involve all these great brands in our campaign.

Our Pursu.it project was a huge success and we cannot thank everyone enough for the enormous support we have received. From the smallest donations to the largest ones, the outpouring of generosity has been amazing. The $10, 000 received was essential in the purchase of our new boat in Europe and the kick off we need to our 2016 campaign. We are working hard to get the givebacks out and you can expect them July to August of this summer!

Other then that you can expect lots of photos/updates (especially if you follow us on facebook/twitter/instagram) and what are sure to be interesting stories from the road. Wish us luck and we can't wait to begin our European 

-John


Monday, April 8, 2013

Ontario Sailor - April 2013

Check out Ontario Sailor's April 2013 Edition for a spread on Ferguson Sailing! You can see it here, or pick up a copy of the magazine!

- John


Friday, April 5, 2013

Pursu.it Campaign Update

Well we are almost half way through our Pursu.it campaign!! So far we have had great support from everyone. With 33 team members we have raised over $3,500! A big thank you to everyone who has shared our dream and a HUGE thank you to those of you that have donated. Be assured you will all be getting some awesome give-backs. But this is only a portion of what we need to raise. So we need to keep the push on, please share our story and contribute if you can! Every bit helps and you are directly supporting Canadian athletes in pursuit of their dreams. On that note, check out the second video on our pursu.it page here, and see how to get Arthur into freezing Lake Ontario!! If we raise $10,000 by April 12th he'll be going for a cold dip! We are so stoked to see the outpouring of support and the Ferguson Sailing Team grows by the day! So what are you waiting for?? Get on board!

On another note check the media section for a couple of articles on our pursu.it campaign and check out our Facebook page for more to come! We are getting pumped for spring sailing which is less then a month away!! Getting restless without any sailing but just 3 more weeks of school to power through then full time on the boat. Plans/details for our european trip are falling into place with some pretty exciting news coming in this month. Stay tuned!

-John

P.S. The website just hit 20,000 views!! Pretty cool for a little page I created two years ago, I used to be stoked about getting 500 views!