Will Street

  • Para World Sailing Championships, Seyboygan, USA, 15 to 22 September 2018

    For this event I teamed up with Jonny Currell and we sailed the new two person Para Sailing class, the RS Venture. The boats were supplied for the event but we had been fortunate to have been able to borrow a Venture from Tim Scott at Bewl and got in a several training days before leaving for the event. Tim’s boat did not have the latest rig and had an earlier, lighter keel but it was a great opportunity to get to know the boat. A huge thanks to Tim for the use of his boat and to 'Mariners of Bewl' for being so welcoming and allowing us to sail at the beautiful Bewl Water, the largest inland water in the south east of England.

    Although we had never raced the Venture or even sailed alongside another one, we got to Sheboygan with a degree of confidence. Initial tuning with past Paralympic medal winners confirmed that we were fast upwind, however, in the training races we weren’t so good. The course was short with a reaching start, downwind, upwind, downwind and reach to the finish. Despite previously developing good team work and communication with the asymmetric spinnaker up, we weren’t getting the performance we hoped for and soon dropped behind the quickest two boats. We worked on our spinnaker setting technique and this started to show through when the event commenced and continued to improve into a real strength.

    For the qualifying races we were drawn in the same fleet as Alexandra Rickham/Hannah Stodel so we had competition of the highest level. On the first day our starts were good and we were able to mix it with them for much of the race, however, their experience at boat on boat situations put them consistently ahead of us by the finish.

    On the second day we continued to improve all round and worked on our boat positioning into marks. In hindsight, we sailed the wrong side of the course in all races and our speed improvement was not so apparent to others, but our confidence was growing. The leaders of the two fleets got a bye straight to the final, but we were able to race again the next day and get in some more learning.

    On the third day it was light winds and we had some very close racing with the Italians but came out on top and qualified for the final. We were also able to refine our light wind techniques.

    On the final day it was one race, four boats and ‘winner takes all’. Light winds and forecast to drop and swing 130 degrees or so. We planned our race, knew what we had to do. We decided to stick to our tested leeward end start, which had worked really well for us during the week. Unusually only one of the other boats started at the windward end and unopposed, was able to start at speed and led round the first mark. We followed but just touched the mark and had to do a penalty which put us at the back of the fleet. The two favourites were up front and we knew that they would race each other which would give us a chance to catch up. Our plan was to sail fast, keep level heads and go out the side of the course that we expected the new wind to come in from. It worked, our speed was impressive and we passed the previous two leaders on the upwind but still had the Spanish ahead of us. Our downwind speed helped us catch them and a late gybe on the starboard layline enabled us to get room on them at the last mark. We rounded inside and led them into the finish. We were able to put all of our learning points from the week into that one race. Gold for us and World Champions! Results

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  • World Cup Event Hyeres, 25 to 29 April 2017

    My objective for this event was to finish in the top three, unfortunately whilst training in Hyeres pre-event, the shroud fixing point ripped off the side of my boat! With less than 24 hours before the start of racing it was not possible to fix. So as not to waste the trip, I was able to borrow a World Sailing/RYA boat, many thanks to both organisations. The boat didn’t have any of my adaptations on it and of course, no Jib Boom! We were able to fit my seat in, although it was really tough knowing I would lose 10 boat lengths every tack (that's an under exaggeration).

    Since I moved over to the jib boom my starting has been terrible so jumping back in this boat highlighted how much faster a conventional jib boat accelerates and this has reinforced my recognition that a different starting technique is required when I get back into my own boat. I had big problems with many things like my feet getting jammed in the foot pedals, the main and jib not cleating when I wanted them to and miles of rope getting in the way! Each day we did some small modifications to reduce my difficulty and time lost. My focus was on improving starting, developing some techniques to try to lessen the time lost tacking and getting to the first mark with the leaders at least once. Very frustrating but always things to learn and my revised objectives were achieved. Although I came last, I was still really fast upwind in a straight line! Results

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  • 2.4mR Open Queen Mary, 8-9 April 2017

    My main event this year is the Para World Sailing World Championship, Kiel in June. In order to do my best at this event I am working on improving systems on my boat to reduce the time I lose around the course due to my poor co-ordination. The jib boom has helped considerably, although it has taken some time to get it right and issues with it hindered my performance last year.

    Each time I have to grab a rope it takes some time and to reduce this delay we are trialling course and fine tune systems for the main sheet, jib sheet and backstay so that I have less rope to pull in.

    My main priority at this event was to test these new controls in a race situation. Also at the last event my downwind speed was very poor which we believed was due to a fault in my jib boom. This was fixed ahead of this event and I was very keen to see if my good downwind speed was back!

    This was a great event to test these latest modifications with very light shifty winds on Saturday and 12 to 16 knots on Sunday.

    The positives from the weekend were: Great downwind speed on both days! Prestart boat handling was much better with less rope to pull in and I made good starts. Once setup, my upwind speed was excellent.

    The negatives points were: Having to switch from pulling the course control to the fine took me some time and this meant I lost height just after the start and on leeward mark roundings. Letting off the fine just before the windward mark had the same affect! It was difficult to uncleat the course controls in the stronger winds. The boom frequently got snagged whilst sheeting out at windward roundings. A separate issue was me losing considerable distance getting the jib boom out. From a race point of view unfortunately the course on Sunday was one-sided so that meant I was not able to recover the lost distance. Results.

    It often seems to be like this, one step forward and two back! This just shows how vital it was to do these trials. It is likely an alternative system is required, however, with Hyeres in just two weeks more practice will be completed and hopefully some tweeks and better techniques can be worked out, otherwise it will be back to the old setup for the event.

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  • RYA National Ranker WPNSA, 4-5 February 2017

    My last racing events were the 2.4mR Inland/National Championships in Rutland (results) and then a nice training regatta, out of the Royal Southern, to help Helena with her final preparations before the Paralympic games. They were in August! Since then I have been recovering from ligament damage in my ankle and have done little sailing over the winter. It was great to go racing again even though it was at Weymouth in February (results). Very rusty and lots to work on and I get started tomorrow at a training camp!

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  • Open Europeans Bordeaux France, 2-10 July 2016

    This event was for able bodied and disabled sailors with 43 entries. The majority of the athletes selected for this year’s Paralympics were not competing and so it was an opportunity for me to have a more relaxed fun event, although I still had things I wanted to work on and achieve.

    Firstly the event would give me the opportunity to improve my starting, check out my speed in different conditions and hopefully restore some of my confidence!

    On the first day we had 5 starts and I was able to win the pin end on each start, even impressed myself! My starts were good all week.

    I did get a couple of penalties early on in the week, which cost me a lot of places. I also found how critical it was to position myself early on the downwind so as to be able the take the correct gate buoy. By getting this wrong in a couple of races I lost loads of places. I have worked out the factors which make this decision more critical for the future such as; shift angle, shift duration and distance between the leeward gate buoys.

    I also took this opportunity to test two different jib designs on the reasonably flat but fresh water of the lake. After the first two days I swapped to a different design which proved better for these conditions. I have been working on improving my lighter wind speed upwind and my downwind speed in all conditions. The setup changes we have made all worked really well and I am confident I have made performance gains in these areas.

    On the last day the wind was slightly more at around 10 to 12 knots, with a short phase shift pattern, which I like. I was out early and confident of having a good day. With three races I was keen to get in some good results and got two seconds in the first two races. This took me to 5th overall and another good result in the last race would enable me to consolidate it. Unfortunately I lost my watch on the first day and had been using my velocitek for the countdown. This worked really well but due to my poor coordination I needed advance warning of the 5 minute signal so I could position my fingers on the button. My coach was a great help here all week, by counting down to the gun on each start. Unfortunately my coach went AWOL during the last start sequence and I did not get the start time right. In my frustration I didn’t have the presence of mind to work out an alternative process and was slightly late at the start and could not take the first shift. I had to battle through the fleet to get a 14th by the end!

    This was a really enjoyable event. I finished 7th overall and was very pleased with my performance and the lessons learnt. Results

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  • Para Sailing World Championships Medemblik Netherlands, 24-28 May 2016

    For me this was the most important event of the year. I arrived early with time for rest and relaxation before getting the boat ready. I got four days training in before the event and my speed was very good. In the event I had some good races but suffered a bit from operational problems with my jib boom and lost places. In general my starting was very poor and i found it difficult to get on the right shifts and to the right side of the course. I was very disapointed in my ovrall performance and fininshed 19th, results.

    After the event had had the jib boom and pedals modified and got in two weeks training in Weymouth consisting of speed, boat handling, racing and most imporantly starting practice! Let see if I can put that into practice at the next event!

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  • Hyeres ISAF World Cup Event Hyeres France, 25-1 May 2016

    It's hard to make my event in Hyeres sound positive while looking at the results page! I had great preparation to the event and recovered well from my illness and all my sailing in Palma, but I let my pre-match-nerves leave me with just 2 hours sleep for the first race day..The positives are massive!! I've finally found my light wind pace again also downwind pace with using some tips from the other jib boom God. I even made a few good starts when my energy slowly came back through the week! I feeling very happy for my World Championships in Medemblik Holland. I leave on Friday after a quick trip to Weymouth tomorrow!

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  • Princess Sophia EUROSAF Event Palma, 28-2 April 2016

    After some great training, I felt very fast in my new boat and everything was feeling perfect.

    Looking back at the last day of training I felt absolutely shattered after only one of about six training races with H, Bjørnar and Dee. I put this down to sailing for a long time. I had two days rest before sailing with the Germans. Everything was looking great and I was testing the main man Heiko (who won the event).

    I then took four days off before the event started. Every rest day I seemed to sleep less and less and felt worse.

    On the first day of the event, I had 3 hours sleep, headache, ear ache, no energy and a sore throat. In the two races I came almost last after some some sailing skills I never want to see again. Day two was much of the same but this time my ear had burst and I could barely pull my sails in...Excuses are in place now!!!:) I didn't compete after that. I went to hospital and the doctor quickly diagnosed it after he peered into my throat as a nasty bacteria flu thing that in his words "Wipes patients out!!!"

    He has given me antibiotics and said total rest. This kind of messes up my plan of training for the rest of the time I have out here but hopefull after 7 days I will be okay to do the second week. I finished 15th out of 16. Results

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  • Sail Melbourne World Cup, 7-13 December 2015

    I felt better for this event after one weeks rest. We also improved some setting for downwind which really made a difference. I was much happier with my performance and finished 6th out of 15. Results

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  • Para Sailing World Championships Melbourne, 26-3 December 2015

    My build up for this event was not ideal. Having sailed the SKUD with Megan I had only raced two events in the 2.4 over the summer. With my older boat on its way to Australia two months before the event I decided to bring forward the project to modify my old boat and fit a similar jib boom. Unfortunately this project took longer than planned and when finished the weather was not kind to us and so I did no training in the two months before leaving for Australia.

    We got out to the venue early and got some good days training in. Despite a rest period, unfortunately I was tired and never really recovered for the event.

    I was very disappointed to finish 24th out of the 48 entrants. My speed was excellent at times and I got some good race results, but there were several areas I need to improve and in particular, being better prepared, starting, light wind speed and downwind settings. Results

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2.4mR Sailor

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ABOUT THIS WEBSITE

At the age of twelve, I was diagnosed with Freidriechs Ataxia, a degenerative genetic disorder which affects my nerves and muscle co-ordination. I have chosen not to research my condition as I would rather live for today and focus on the life I lead rather than dwell on what might be.

My passion is sailing and my aim is to win the World Championships and when sailing regains its Paralympic status, a Gold Medal.

A Paralympic sailing campaign is expensive and can only be sucessful with help and support from others. I am extremely grateful to those who are helping me so please check out 'Sponsors & Links'. If you think you can offer help or support to my campaign then please contact me or kindly make a donation through the link below.

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NEXT EVENTS

These are the next events that I will be competing in. In the meantime I will be training at WPNSA at Portland.

Para World Sailing Championships Sheboygan USA, 16-22 September

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