In the last four years I have sailed with Olympians, World Champions, ISAF Youth World Medalists, and many, many other talented sailors. I have done my best to absorb as much as possible from each of these people, and have had a tremendous time learning about sailboats, success, defeat, and most importantly, myself. These sailors have all been inspirational teachers, teammates, and people in general, but when I think about the task ahead, I cannot think of anyone who I would rather face the challenge with than Dane Wilson.
I have coached Dane for the last three years, starting out with him in the 29er when he was just learning how to keep a skiff upright. At his first 29er Europeans, Dane finished in Gold Fleet in a field of over 160 teams, but more impressive than his talent, is his hunger to improve, and his aptitude for objective evaluation. Dane has spent the last 3 years fine tuning his technique in the boat, learning to feel tiny subtleties in vibrations of the boat that indicate small speed differences. His ability to focus on the factors that contribute to success, even in the presence of distractions, sets him apart from most sailors that I have coached.
In 2009 I sailed with Stu McNay while his crew was recovering from surgery just after their participation in the Bejing Olympics, and my experiences living with Stu, opened my eyes to the dedication and commitment required to succeed at this level. To be successful, you need to have the energy and drive to wake up at 6 am and start working out. You need to be willing to drop everything else that society tells people our age that they should be concerned with. You have to know without a doubt, that win or loose, you will not regret the time you spent pursuing perfection. In the three years that I have worked with Dane, the most impressive attribute that he has displayed is his passion for the sport. Dane relaxes from sailing by sailing. I think that he is able to be so productive at practice because he is totally absorbed by the experience, and when he is on the water, there is nothing that matters more.