At the Helm: Training Done, Opening Tonight

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen… all that our sailors, and Olympic sailors across the world, have been working towards for years begins tonight. Tonight is the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Games, and we are ready to go.

I’ll write in tomorrow’s post a lot more about the Opening. In today’s post, I would like to respond to one of our readers (we listen intently to our readership here at “At the Helm”). Bob Billingham asked for more information about our training period, so here we go.

Women’s 470 team of Amanda Clark, coach Udi Gal and Sarah Lihan get together to discuss the day’s training

We’ve been here for two weeks, and over the last four years our 16 sailors have spent literally thousands of days here. And each of those days, whether it occurred in 2009 or in July 2012 had the same strategic purpose – to get comfortable here in Weymouth. The Games are such a different experience, that whenever you can create some sense of normalcy, you have done a good thing for your team.

So what has a typical day over the last two weeks looked like for our 16 sailors? They’ve been very consistent, and some would say boring. We’re not walking around pumping fists, high-fiving, and getting all jacked up for the Games to begin. This isn’t football or some other kind of adrenalin-driven sport.

Our sailors and coaches walk around, going about their business in a calm, confident manner. Most days begin with breakfast around 7am or so, followed by a morning workout for most, some of the staff might go for a walk or a hike.

Eventually the team congregates down at team headquarters, Camp Billingham as it is known around here, and some might get some early physio work in, some might work on their boat, some might meet with their coach and plan out their day. Team meteorologist Doug Charko has already sent out his forecast, he usually does an update mid-morning, and he’s around to speak with anyone who wants to talk weather.

On most days, the team has been going out for a sail late morning, until early to mid-afternoon. It depends on the team and the day. Everyone is sort of on their own program. Each team has their own goals, and their own training plan. Everyone has worked a day off or two into the routine as well. These are not marathon training days.

And then once sailing is done, people are back here at Camp Billingham for more physio, coach debriefs, or even a few games of foozball or XBox soccer to relax. Dinner usually happens around 7, and then in the Village, there are always movies or games of spades being played at night in the three USA apartments. (Be careful of coach Luther Carpenter in spades… he’s the master.)

That’s been our routine these last two weeks. Pretty simple. the goal has been to sail enough to stay sharp and excited, but not so much that we get over tired. Lots of sleep has also been the order of the day most days.

All that changes now on July 27, today. Today is the Opening Ceremony, and I’ll write tomorrow about that.

I’ll close with a big shout out to my friends at the Venue Sports Information Desk, Viv, Dawn and Sally. Thanks for putting up with everyone’s inane questions! You guys make life a lot easier for everyone.

Sail fast,

Dean Brenner, Team Leader

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