Last Friday I was surprised to get a call from the renowned sailing broadcaster and writer Barry Dobson who wanted to interview me. Here is the full text of the interview (which probably won't be appearing in Sailing World any time soon).
BD: Congratulations Tillerman on your second place finish in the Altea Cup.
Tillerman: Thanks very much Barry. There was some tough international competition and I was lucky to be able to string together some consistent results.
What was your strategy for the regatta, Tillerman?
Well Barry, I figured that with a large fleet and a short course it would make sense to start at the starboard end of the line and stay to the right of the fleet. I didn't want to get trapped on the left and end up coming to a crowded first mark on the port tack layline. Also with no throwouts in a three race regatta it would be important to sail clean races and stay out of trouble. So I started near the right-hand end of the line, tacked out immediately for clear air, and then headed for the side of the course with better pressure.
Well it certainly seemed to work for you. What about your equipment?
Glad you asked Barry. I've been very pleased with my decision to use the Dell loft in Austin. I think the wider cut of the Inspiron 6000 series is a definite plus downwind and the crisp keyboard action helps in the tacks and gybes. All my lines are by Cablevision, specifically the Optimum Online range. Their reliability is excellent. You can't afford to have a line breakage in mid-race.
Any special preparation for the regatta, Tillerman?
Oh yes Barry. I always give my screen a polish with isopropyl alcohol before an important race. You know what they say: a clean screen is a fast screen. And I trained hard in the days leading up to the regatta. A lot of the credit must go to my training partners, Guest_23 and Guest _47. Those guys are awesome.
What was the highlight of the regatta for you, Tillerman?
No question Barry, it was the end of the first beat of the second race when I was approaching the windward mark in second place right behind my sailing hero, Litoralis.
Why is he your hero?
Barry, need you ask? Lito was the brains behind the Tacticat Laser!!! That puts him right up there with Bruce Kirby and Julian Bethwaite in my book. And as a Tacticat sailor he is in a class by himself. Let me give you an example. We were sailing together in a practice race a couple of days before the Altea Cup. We were luffing below the line just before the start and he told me to "Go". Well, when a sailing superstar like Lito says go, I go. I accelerated to the line, and it was amazing, he had timed it just right so that I was OCS and he had a perfect start. What an evil genius! I try and emulate his style of aggressive sailing but I think you just have to be born with a mean streak like that.
Who are the other sailors you admire?
Well, windvane of course for winning the regatta. And trencher, always up there in the rankings. And dwsc:Foiler, he has amazing downwind speed. Oh, and pudge.... how many other sailors' names have become verbs as in, "I was pudged at the start"?
Why are British sailors doing so well in Tacticat?
It's all the support we get from the National Lottery, innit.
So how much funding have you received from the lottery, Tillerman?
Sorry mate, that's a state secret. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Thanks for the interview Tillerman.
You're welcome Barry.