Ashley Stoddart - European Laser Sailing update

Ashley Stoddart – European Laser Sailing update

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First European Trip 2015: ISAF World Cup Hyeres and EUROSAF Princesa Sofia Trophy Palma

I’ve recently returned from my first trip of competition in Europe for 2015. I started off in Palma, Spain for the EUROSAF Princesa Sofia Trophy and this event was typical for the Laser Class with a large fleet of 117 competitors and this meant we sailed a qualifying series before splitting into Gold and Silver fleets. As usual Palma delivered unique conditions with an 8 hour opening day providing crazy racing in 5-40knots and some waiting in the unstable conditions. We had a strong fleet in Palma, with only one competitor from the Top 30 in the world rankings missing from the event and I finished the week in 16th position. From Palma I headed to Hyeres, France for a block of fitness training and then stepped back into the boat for some quality and worthwhile training a week before the World Cup began. Unknown-3

The ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres concluded a couple of days ago and the racing there was something of the next level – it was intense, close racing! The new racing format saw only 40 boats in each class competing and even the smallest of mistakes were magnified. I finished 24th place amongst the fleet of 40. Although some of my race results do not reflect my performance in the boat, I could see definite improvements in my sailing from the last few months of hard work that Jared and I have done while training and competing. Some of these changes and progress transferred well into the race environment, and others need more work, in addition to becoming automated. Unknown-2

This year we have chosen to come home between each cluster of events. The decision made sense with the way events have been scheduled this year and also takes into account the long year ahead because the Worlds are to be held in November late this year. By coming home we intend to keep the momentum and progression flowing through use of the resources and good training facilities here in Australia and enjoy the comforts home offers as well. Unknown

The latest ISAF World rankings were released a few days ago, and I maintain my position in the top 30 at world #24. This ranking qualifies me for the next ISAF World Cup in June at the 2012 Olympic Venue – Weymouth, UK which again will use the 40 boat format. Before competing in Weymouth I will warm up at the EUROSAF Delta Lloyd event in late May being held at Medemblik, Netherlands as it is every year.Unknown-1

Now it’s time to knuckle down into training here in Australia, as time passes so quickly and I’ll be back on plane to Europe for next round of competitions! I’m enjoying the intensity of competition nearly a year out from ‘Rio 2016’ and this makes getting stuck into training easier as theres no shortage of motivation.

Thank you again for following my journey, a special thanks goes to the Australian Sailing Team, Queensland Academy of Sport and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron whose continuous support is invaluable to my campaign!

Cheers,

Ashley