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This is the final flash from Sailing World Cup Hyeres

Hi Everyone,

This is the final flash from Sailing World Cup Hyeres.

Tough regatta overall. When the best fleet of 60 in the world races, there’s gonna be limited space and opportunity.

Goals for the regatta were improving the starting percentage and consistently passing boats after the windward mark.

Though I made a few positive technique tweaks to the starting, the percentage was 6/10. On the 4 subpar starts, my choice for location did not fit the wind and wave condition.

Passing boats after the windward mark was extremely difficult. Our courses for the whole competition were windward leeward courses with 2 laps. This meant that there was very little separation within the fleet. I lost boats on almost every downwind, which did me no favors for setting up the rest of the race.

8 of the 10 races were in physically demanding conditions above 12 knots. My gas tank was not there to keep driving the boat as fast as needed while making tactical decisions with the fleet and wind. Raw speed and the mental clarity to seize opportunities were just not there.

Training fatigue and racing fatigue are not the same. Training happens in much shorter bursts than racing with fewer decisions to make. So the summer training will include longer continuous drills in a more physically demanding manner. Both Chris Barnard and myself need to add resilience to our racing in 12+ knots. Gym changes will include adding some endurance training on the rowing erg and monitoring heart rate on and off the water.

Starting now, there’s plenty of time to shore up this weakness prior to the Worlds in September and our plan with Coach Dold includes specific training with minimal racing in the interim.

The good news here is that my result in Palma qualifies me for the 2018 Sailing World Cup series. The first of these events is in October 2017 in Japan, three weeks after the Worlds ends.

The near term plans include some coaching of younger sailors and May training in Long Beach. The Laser class just approved a carbon fiber top mast section, so we will be getting to know how it affects the boat.

Thank you all for reading! Onward and upward with the training.

Erik

Instagram:@Bowerssailing
Facebook: Bowerssailing
Youtube: Bowerssailing

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Flash update from the south of France in the town of Hyeres

Hi Everyone!

I am writing this flash update from the south of France in the town of Hyeres. This seaside spot in Provence annually hosts Sailing World Cup Hyeres. The regatta features all of the Olympic Classes, including a world class fleet of 60 Lasers. The championship runs from April 25-30.

Here’s a cool video video showing some of the conditions that Hyeres is known for.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV_BDNmUiLY
This regatta follows a quick 3 week turnaround after racing in Mallorca earlier in April. After the Princess Sofia Regatta, I returned to Long Beach and promptly got back into the gym. The second week in Long Beach featured some sailing out of ABYC with Chris Barnard. We worked on some “homework” drills given to us by coach Chris Dold after competing in Palma.

All three of us flew back to Barcelona on the morning of the 18th. After a rendezvous (we’re in France now after all) at the baggage claim, we took a train to the storage facility where our rental car and trailer were stored. We got on the road for a 6 hour road trip from Barcelona to Hyeres, passing the Pyrenees mountains and a few idyllic seaside towns that Provence is known for. We finally arrived in Hyeres late in the evening after 30+ hours of travel (worth it, of course!).

The next 4 days featured on the water training in various conditions, including 2 days of strong breeze and 2 days of medium breeze. The heavy days featured upwind work on tacking, gybing, accelerating, and basic hiking form. The downwind sailing was quite wild and all about keeping the boat stable and fast. A large portion of the fleet was out training, making for some fast paced action! Add in a couple tune up sessions at the gym and we are ready to go!

The fleet at this regatta is a world class fleet of 60. There is no qualifying series, so all 5 days of fleet racing will be gold fleet level racing. There are 2 races scheduled each day for 10 races total and one discard race.

The goals here are simple: high starting percentage, pass boats after the first mark, and execute better in a few common situations. Coach Dold will be giving Chris and I quality information before the start, helping us get a clean opening to each race.

Results will be available on the event website: http://swc.ffvoile.fr/

Thank you all for your support on this Tokyo 2020 endeavor! Excited to get into the racing tomorrow!
Erik
Instagram:@Bowerssailing
Facebook:@Bowerssailing
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This the the post-regatta update from the Princess Sofia Regatta

Hi Everybody,

This the the post-regatta update from the Princess Sofia Regatta here in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Racing wrapped up here for me on Friday. After 10 races in the Laser class, I finished the event 28th out of 135 international competitors.

The fleet experienced a wide variety of wind and wave conditions over the course of the competition. Though I left more points on the water than I would have liked, there were a number of positive takeaways.

To begin with, my percentage of good starts was 60% (6 out of 10). Though this is still lower than I’d like, it was a huge improvement from the last competition at Sailing World Cup Miami in January. This includes 3 races in the 60 boat Gold Fleet where I executed very well in a crowd at the left hand end of the start line. In these races, I was immediately clear and able to sail fast. This includes the final race of the regatta which I was leading at the top mark. In the other 4 starts, the difference was just a second or two on the timing and technique tweaks for the acceleration. The Men’s Laser is such a game of inches; it’s impossible to be too good at starting when there’s 60 guys biting, scratching, and clawing for position early in the race.

Upwind speed on the first leg was quite good as well. Coach Chris Dold was able to make some technique observations of the top guys and share these with me. In all wind strengths, he stressed that the top guys were more active in the boat. Once I started implementing these techniques, my speed improved. With good starting, I was able to match the top guys for upwind speed in the light to medium breeze gold fleet racing.

Pre start approach was quite strong as well. Coach Dold, Chris Barnard, and I shared specific observations about the wind and start line. Our accuracy for where to start and how to approach the first upwind got better and better as the regatta progressed.

These things that went well are the foundation for successful racing in the Laser fleet.

OK now on to some of the areas for improvement.

Downwind speed is still a work in progress. Only in 1 race did I move up dramatically on the downwind legs. Most of the time, I lost a few boats or stayed roughly the same. I need to do a better job of feeling connected to my boat and understanding the wave pattern around the boat to make the most of wave surfing opportunities. After a good first upwind, downwind speed cements a top race result. It also helps with escaping midfleet and saving bad races.

Tactical decisions after the first mark also were off by a bit. Only average downwind sailing in the gold fleet set me up for some difficulty in races where I was doing well. In three of the races, I was 9, 4, & 3 at the halfway stage of the race, but had difficulty finding the handle on these races early on the second upwinds. In each of these races, I lost significantly in the second half of the race. Situations where I was feeling conflicted about decisions saw me lose out as well. In these situations, I generally sailed on bad angles to the next mark or sailed for too long in disturbed wind. In the Gold Fleet, this is very costly as many other boats are able to sail faster. The good news is that the situations that tripped me up have a quick rule of thumb that helps with the immediate priorities. So even though I made mistakes, the lesson is there to get the call better the next time.

Maneuvering in strong wind is not up to par just yet. Accelerating at the start, tacking, and mark rounding was off in both the training and the first day of racing. The best guys are polished and consistent with these skills.

So from here, I will head back to Long Beach for some training with teammate Chris Barnard in the next couple weeks. I felt we worked well together with Coach Chris Dold at our first event here. Chris Barnard and I both had personal best results for this annual competition. We have some specific drills from him for our Long Beach training. Then we are back over here to Europe for our next event, Sailing World Cup Hyeres. The regatta runs April 25-30 in Hyeres, France. All the top guys will be racing and I’m super enthusiastic about getting back in the gym and on the water in Long Beach.

Thank you all for following and supporting me on this journey. Check out the social media for some pictures and videos!

Erik
Instagram:@Bowerssailing
Facebook: Erik Bowers
Youtube: Bowerssailing

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This is the pre-race update for the 2017 Princess Sofia Regatta

Hi Everyone,

This is the pre-race update for the 2017 Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
The regatta features all 10 Olympic Classes and runs from March 27-April 1. My class, the men’s Laser, has 150 entries.

I got some solid training in Long Beach prior to coming to Palma. The training group included Charlie Buckingham and younger sailors William and Henry Marshall. Mark Littlejohn was coaching. I was there for 4 days total. We had some great sailing in light to medium conditions with nice waves.

Then it was onto a 3 flight saga with LAX-Atlanta, Atlanta-Madrid, Madrid-Palma. Luckily, I was able to move to the exit row and stretch out a bit.

The venue for this competition is the Bay of Palma on the southwest side of the island of Mallorca. This bay was seemingly designed for sailing with consistent springtime breeze and blue-green water. Springtime here can deliver a wide variety of conditions, from light sea breezes to strong offshore wind and everything in between. It’s an amazing place to compete. This is the 5th straight year I’ve come to the regatta and look forward to the strong level of international competition again this year.

This is the first regatta in 2017 where I’m collaborating with teammate Chris Barnard (aka Barny) and coach Chris Dold (aka Dold). We are staying in a three person apartment on the 11 floor overlooking the beach and bay. We’ve had a chance to establish a nice daily rhythm that we’ll look to carry into the competition. Prior to the regatta, we’ve had 3 training days in medium to strong wind with nice waves up to 5 feet. It’s been awhile since I’ve sailed in waves of that size and power, but it was awesome and ultra-helpful to do so. We put in solid work on the meat-and-potatoes boatspeed and tacking work. Strong basics count for so much in big breeze and waves.

The schedule for the regatta is 2 races per day for 5 days. Followed by a medal race on day 6. The first two days are the qualifying series prior to the fleet split into Gold, Silver, and Bronze. It will be super important to come out of the gate fast with a solid day 1.

Thank you all for following me on this journey. It would not be possible without your support.
I will write again after the regatta.

All the Best,
Erik

Instagram:@Bowerssailing
Youtube:Bowerssailing

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Midwinter’s East Regatta

The regatta took place from February 23-26. Clearwater is located near St. Pete, with racing taking place on the Gulf of Mexico. I was coaching the Lauderdale Yacht Club Radial team. The team consisted of 8 kids from the ages of 14-17. The Laser Radial fleet at this regatta consisted of 102 boats split into 2 fleets, with a gold and silver split for the final 2 days. This regatta has one of the top Radial fleets in the country for junior sailors to test themselves against. Over the 4 days, the sailors dealt with a variety of conditions. The first day featured nice breeze in the mid teens with 3 races total and some tricky late day shifts. The second day brought light air and current that made for challenging starting. The third day showed more light air that took a long time to fill. The final day had shifty light to medium breeze. Patience was tested while waiting on mother nature. Three of my sailors made the Gold fleet. They were the brothers Carrson and Carrter Pearce as well as Christian Ehrnrooth. Carrson was the US rep at the Youth Worlds last year where he finished 3rd. Regatta coaching is very different from the training setting. To begin with, the coach can only talk to the sailors pre-start. The coach’s role in a regatta is limited to helping the sailors figure out where to start, how to position themselves on the first leg, and how to exploit the course orientation and current (if any). So my goal was to communicate this information clearly to help eliminate most of the possible choices for where to start the race. Fewer choices lessens the burden of deciding.