Tom Ramshaw: A new plan for 2020
Published on February 27th, 2019
With the distinct possibility that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic will be the final Games for the Finn boat to be used in the competition, 27 year old Tom Ramshaw (CAN) is leaving nothing to chance. After finishing 21st at Rio 2016 Olympics, Ramshaw wants more, much more, and reports on how he expects to get it:
Since finishing 5th at the 2018 Finn World Championship and qualifying Canada’s Olympic spot (for Tokyo), I’ve done a lot of re-evaluating of my campaign for how I can jump to the podium. I have decided to work with a new coach to help maximize my chances at Gold moving forward.
For this job I have chosen Dan Slater from New Zealand, a 3-time Olympian in the 49er and Finn class, and has a huge amount of experience in many other classes. Since teaming up with Dan a few months ago, we have addressed a few parts of my campaign that need immediate improvement.
First, is that my speed is only average compared with the top guys. Getting the correct mast and sail combination for my body size and sailing style will make a huge difference, as well as getting a new boat customized to the specs I need.
Together we have worked extensively on what those customizations will be and I currently have a boat and mast in production that I will be testing further in March at the lead up to the European season.
The next improvement is having a better sailing routine and plan going into each race. I’ve always been a tactical and reactive sailor, just playing my best card on what has been dealt, but that strategy will only get me so far. I need to work on bigger picture strategy including getting a better understanding on what the wind is doing in any given race so I can put myself in the best possible position to win.
I will address this through routine and lots of racing including in other boats. I will spend June and July training at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto so I hope to get as much sailing in other boats as possible as well to further practice this big picture strategy.
The January 2019 schedule was in Miami where I competed in my first regatta since the August 2018 Worlds. I got off to a rough start in light/tricky conditions. I put together a bunch of average scores since I was sailing conservatively in the middle, and was unable to make that work since I didn’t have the speed and the wind kept filling in on either side.
But on day four I changed my strategy and picked my side in each race and tactically played it fairly well. With a few consistent top finishes, I moved up to 7th going into the Medal Race day. With the points really close, so I knew I had a shot at a medal if I won the race.
Unfortunately I went back to old habits and started in the middle, rounded the first mark in 8th, and while I was able to claw my way back to second with great downwind speed, second wasn’t quite enough for a medal so I finished 4th overall. I’m happy with 4th considering the errors I made earlier in the regatta because I know I can sail way better.
I am now in New Zealand for a two week training block before returning to Toronto in time for the Sail Canada Awards on March 1 where I have won for the second year in a row Male Athlete of the Year and now I have also been nominated for Canadian Rolex Sailor of the Year. It a great honor to be considered for that award and I very much look forward to seeing everyone there.