We are very pleased to welcome Sam Whaley to our team of sponsored sailors and are looking forward to working closely with him. Sam is currently campaigning in a Laser as part of the British Sailing Team.
We asked Sam a few questions.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself please?
I am 21 years old and a full time Laser sailor in the British Sailing Team, working hard to one day win an Olympic gold medal.
Being a bit of a techy after leaving school aged 18 I started an apprenticeship at Microsoft UK. Whilst it was awesome to work for a huge multi-national company I was unable to sail to the level I wanted to and soon realised I had a chance to qualify for the British Sailing Team. I soon took my life down a different path, leaving Microsoft to pursue my sailing dream full time and subsequently quailing for the British Sailing Team after finishing 8th at the Under-21 Europeans.
2017 was an incredible year for me, including highlights of finishing 4th at the Under-21 Europeans, 5th at the Under-21 World Championships, RS Aero 7 National Champion, Laser Inland Champion and more. I know 2018 will be even better!
In my spare time I love cycling, going to the gym, sailing my Dad’s foiling Waszp and eating massive amounts of food!
What’s your sailing background?
I had a rather different journey to most people, learning how to sail in a Pico before getting a Laser 4.7 and being able to borrow a Topper aged 13-15. Being a late starter, I was nothing special in junior and youth classes but I always tried my very hardest, never gave up and sailed as much as I could in whatever I could.
As soon as I moved fully into Lasers I made fast progress and quickly moved up through the Radial and then the Standard.
So as a full time sailor, what does a usual day entail?
Every day is very different and usually depends heavily on the weather! But I always do at least two things to help move my sailing forward every day.
A lot of time every day is spent training myself physically in the gym or out on the bike to ensure my fitness on the water is of the highest level.
I then usually would do some kind of sailing session, either training in a group, by myself or doing club racing whenever I can.
The rest of the day is usually taken up with boat preparation, lots of admin to ensure my campaign runs smoothly and consuming a large amount of food to fuel up for the next session!
How long have you been sailing the Laser for?
I bought my Laser back in 2011 as my first proper boat and have been hooked since.
You also compete in other classes, do you think that also helps you to improve your skills?
Experience is everything and sailing other classes of boats can really help broaden your learning and teach you new tricks you never even thought about. Fast boats really help improve my sharpness and reaction times – after doing foiling gybes and tacks in the Waszp any manoeuvre in the Laser is easy whatever the wind!
Likewise I have got into RS200 sailing in Poole Harbour which throws up new challenges and learnings every week. I also sail the RS Aero whenever I can. It is very good at developing new techniques as the boat is way more responsive than a Laser and every small change you can feel much easier. It’s great fun and has an awesome racing circuit already.
You’ve already sailed in a number of locations around the World, where is your favourite place to sail?
I’ve been lucky enough to have sailed in many different countries as part of my journey but I can truly say the best place I’ve ever sailed at is my home club, Swanage Sailing Club. The wide-ranging conditions are always fantastic along the beautiful Purbeck coastline and with an incredibly friendly atmosphere back on shore I always look forward to getting back on the water back home.
What events do you have planned for this year?
I have a very busy year ahead and am actually abroad at the moment! I will hopefully be attending these events:
What attracted you to partnering with Sailing Chandlery?
I actually went to buy a sailing top at the RYA Dinghy Show this year and was so impressed with their products, prices and friendliness of their staff that I knew they would be an extremely valuable partner to have onboard. Their chandlery sells everything you need at great prices and with the friendly and fast service it really is a no-brainer!
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