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A busy week in Enoshima race prepping for the Tokyo Olympics

Adjusting to the time zone is tricky when flying to Tokyo 8 hrs ahead. How and what works for one to acclimatise is very individual but with some daylight management techniques it went fairly easily, keeping in darkness or using sunglasses during mornings till an appropriate wake up time if I woke early. The last thing your body needs is to think it’s wake up time with bright lights.

Im here to coach Josefin Olsson the Swedish ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) sailor. Racing this class at the games means using provided equipment, already ready for us when we RRIVED, THANKS @TOKYO2020 and Performance sail craft Japan. We arrived collected the boat checked it all through and next day we’re on the water. Unlike some of the other classes who had days worth of boat preparation to get their ships in shape before hitting the water.

Meanwhile the other part of my role as a coach is helping prepare the two containers which will be home from home, for the Swedish Sailing Team at the venue for the next 2.5 weeks. Container setup is a competitive game and some of the support services that teams are now able to deliver from the inside a 40 foot container is pretty impressive. This has to cater for six classes in the Swedish Team, each with a coach, then we have additional staff like physio, chef and meteorologist, all of which utilise the spaces in different ways at different times, so the containers have to be really versatile. A meeting, debriefing space one moment and then a gym and physio treating room, whilst also a canteen and changing room and kit storage facility.

All of which has to be achieved while still providing the opportunity to put ribs in for the return journey back to home in Europe at the end of the games.

Over the last 7 days of sailing we’ve had good weather from the South. We have been learning the nuances of the various different course areas that we will be sailing on at the games. Three different course areas are available for the ILCA 6 classes, Kamakura, Enoshima and Fujisawa, one used per day.

The focus of our training has been two fold; one understanding what the wind aloft, as well as the water beneath the boats, is doing and trying to match up any forecast modelling with what we are seeing on the water. Second, optimising sailing techniques to maximise both speed and decision-making learning on the field of play.

The other aspect that’s a little bit different to normal it’s all the extra procedures required to manage health and safety regarding COVID-19 at the Games. We’re used to operating in a secure environment at previous Olympics, but for this Olympic’s it’s rather different. Only allowed to transit and from from one’s hotel by car or guarded bus to the venue (in the past one would ride a bike or walk if staying close enough). At the venue everyone is PCR tested every day and operates in a “masks on” protocol at all time’s unless on the field of play.

What’s amazing is all of the effort which the organisers and teams, from all over the planet, put into being able to conduct the Olympics. It’s incredible to see and a delight to be helping bring such an amazing spectacle to life. I think we’re in for a treat this Olympic’s with some excellent sailing athletes and some amazing organisation.

The Olympic opening ceremony is this coming Friday and the competition for the sailing medals starts on Sunday. I want to wish all of the athletes the best of fortunes and especially to Josefin Olsson of Sweden ! All of your hard work is going to help make you sail “Higher and Faster”.

My next update will be on the 24 July just before we start the regatta. All the best for now.

Hugh Styles

ILCA 6 Coach for the Swedish Sailing Team

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Jul 22, 2021

Great insight, we will follow with interest, thanks Hugh. In the meantime, its heads down for the 2H Channel Race which will be used for the Euro/Worlds selection

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