Two weeks ago, Ian Coleman was in his home town – crashing at his parents’ house, visiting old friends, and sailing. If you were out after dark, you might have seen him toasting to good times at Davis’ or Rockfish. Pretty standard stuff for an Annapolitan.
What sets Ian apart from his peers is the fact he’s devoted the last two years of his life to qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. His program is currently ranked 4th in the World, and the upcoming weeks represent the culmination of all that hard work as Ian and Star skipper Andrew Campbell make their final preparations for the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Sailing World Championships – the principal qualification regatta for 2012 Summer Games.
After running into Ian at the Annapolis Yacht Club during a break from Frostbiting, I asked Ian if I could interview him the next time he came in the shop. (After all, it’s a pretty big deal that a former APS staffer is on an Olympic track.) Despite being a bit publicity shy and trying to keep a level head before the major regatta, he agreed.
Here’s his insider’s perspective on getting ready for the ISAF Worlds:
Hi Ian. Whatcha doing?
Building control lines, sheets, and running rigging for the Star.
Getting ready for Perth?
Yes. Just doing the primary preventative maintenance before heading out. I’m replacing everything that’s showing wear that we really don’t want breaking during a big event.
Are you bringing extras of everything?
The old stuff will become the extras. We’ll be sure to have a full set of spare parts – line and hardware.
You want to be confident in every part of your boat – you don’t want to be at the starting line and hear a dink at the top of the mast.
How’d you learn to do all this rigging?
I learned it here – working as the third rigger in the busy season.
What else have you gained from your relationship with APS?
Use of the rigging shop has been paramount. By far and away, it’s the best selection of line I’ve ever seen in one place. [APS] is really proactive about stocking all sizes and colors.
They do such a good job of working towards carrying the best product lines – whether that be apparel, hardware, or line.
Will you tell me a little more about your work at APS and how you got involved in an Olympic track program?
I started working at APS in the Fall of 2007 and worked for almost two years in the storefront – and filled in during the summer in the rigging department.
The first really good program I got involved with was on a Melges 24 with Henry Filter. Ben Fransen was the first guy I started sailing Stars with. I started sailing the Southern Circuit and got exposure in Miami and Southern, Florida. Things took off from there.
Are you excited about heading to Perth?
Very excited. We’ve been training for 2 years, and it all comes down to this event. I feel like we’re ready for it, and we’ve put a lot of time into it. We’re going to arrive in Perth early so we can get the boat ready and settle in.
I have to ask. What’s your favorite gear?
Kaenon Hard Kores. Sperry shoes when I’m dressing up. Actually, we’ll be testing new Sperry dinghy boots in Australia. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Finally, to sum it all up. What’s your take on the sport?
Sailing is a game of pattern recognition and understanding/being confident in your equipment. It’s all about practice and boat handling. A book I re-read on the plane when I’m on my way to big regattas: Stuart Walker’s Tactics of Small Boat Racing. Read it. It’s good.
There are 11 races scheduled from December 11 to the 18th for the Star Fleet. Several of the world’s top sailors are down in Australia right at this moment giving it everything they’ve got. Everyone is hoping for good wind and a good showing.
To stay up to date on Andrew Campbell’s program, visit CampbellSailing.com. Ian would also like to send a shout out to their sponsors: US Sailing Team Alphagraphics, Sperry Top-Sider, Kaenon, Harken, Team McLube, and New England Ropes.
Action Sailing photo credits go out to Leandro Spina.