Luke Elliott – Laser Worlds 2022

Unexpected changes

My 10th Laser worlds (now called ILCA) is now in the books. I’ve done every single one since 2013 and I must say it’s been quite a journey riding the highs and lows of high-performance sport and also watching myself change as I grow up doing it. Despite its challenges I’ve loved every minute of my time doing this and I wouldn’t have rather spent the last 10 years of my life doing anything else.

The event here in Mexico has taught me once again some valuable lessons about racing and my own thinking that I can hopefully implement for the rest of this Paris campaign. I had arrived here in Puerto Vallarta with what I thought was an understanding of the venue and the way the breeze worked here. I now know that it was based on a one-time experience 7 years ago and that I really didn’t understand anything about this place at all. The wind last time made the racing a very right-handed race course and because the thermal here is so reliable and regular I wrongly assumed it would be working the same under all circumstances. I now have a much, much better idea of what this venue is but I more importantly know that it is always a trap to not just sail the wind you have in the moment. If you set a trap for the wind, you’ll get caught in it every time.

Winning the first race can either be a blessing or a curse and this time I feel it was the latter. Before this event started, I was bringing a lot of bias into my thinking from my last experience here which was a very right-handed course. Just about no matter what you did you had to get right to take advantage of a pretty consistent geographical shift. I did exactly this on the first race and it set me up to win the race. Now I’m certain the right is the must do strategy and I started backing that plan with no question to anything else. So, when the first left-handed shifts started showing up, I was confused and not ready to accept that the left could be an option. I wrote it off as a once off and that it wouldn’t happen again, until it did! Now I was scrambling and it pretty much summed up the story of how my event unraveled. It was only by the last day of the event that I let go of that idea and just sailed the races how I felt was best and I had a much better time.

I didn’t have any time to mope about it though as I had two more events to gear up for! My original plan was to finish the worlds and fly home but before the event started, I was given a chance to potentially coach the ILCA 6 Masters Worlds two weeks after my event and I jumped at the chance. I didn’t want to just sit around for 10 days though and with the help of Brett Beyer we scrapped together 12 sailors for me to look after for the ILCA 7 Masters Worlds. It was a busy week trying to remember 12 different water bottles and getting to know a crowd made up of Australians, an Argentinian, a Frenchmen, a Thai sailor and two USA but I had a lot of fun and I think they did as well. We got two Champs from the week with Brett winning his GM category and Andres winning the Apprentice division. More importantly we all became friends from a group that otherwise would have had little interaction.

With just one day off I was back to it again with the ILCA 6 group, a bit more manageable this time with just 6 older gentlemen from the States. I started a little unsure how to coach a group like this because most of them had plenty of experience but I quickly learnt you can teach old dogs’ new tricks and they were some of the most enthusiastic students I had ever had! We had a blast of a week accumulating with a really exciting final day that saw my sailor Boomer win the coveted Legends category (75 and older) on the final race which was truly exciting. I really bonded with the group and I know I’ll be seeing them in America one day, from the stories they told there are some places that I absolutely must see and sail at.  

So now after 5 weeks in Mexico it was time to leave, but not back to Australia. There seemed little point on returning home now with the team coming back to France in the middle of July so I decided to come here to Kiel in Germany to see my girl and race in the famous Kiel Week! This hasn’t at all gone to plan though unfortunately starting with all my luggage becoming lost on the flight over here and on top of that, me getting very bad food poisoning on my second night here. For 3 days I was feeling really bad and was stuck in bed while everyone else got to enjoy the sunshine and sailing. I did manage to get a quick sail in yesterday (in my new E6 boat) and compete in 1 race (which I won) but I felt the priority is to get better so I can start training properly again, rather than push through for little reward. It’s been a bit unfortunate but that’s all a part of being a campaigning sailor and you have to take the good with the bad. Hopefully they can find my bags soon because I’ve been in the same clothes for a week and I won’t have much luck training without the stuff inside them.

Next up is two weeks in my favorite place in the world, Lake Garda in Italy for bit of a fitness boot camp and to get some good sailing in before I meet with the rest of the Australian Team in Marseilles for a good block of training at the Olympic venue. It’s going to be a great next few months and is hopefully productive towards my campaign. Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to the Ron Tough Foundation for their ongoing support of my campaign. I’ve been supported by Ron Tough for over 10 years and the assistance has been essential to my continued success on the World Tour.

See you on the water,