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Friday 31st May 2019

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Shanoy Malone started sailing at the Antigua Yacht Club when he was 6.  Now aged 11, he is competing for his country and will be one of the host team in this year's record breaking championship.  As all our competitors will know, balancing this level of sailing with school work, friends and other interests can be difficult so as we enter the final weeks before the event, we catch up with Shanoy to discover what a ‘normal day’ looks like.

I get up at 6am which is pretty standard here.  I normally have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, my favourite is Coco-Rocks, and then I get the school bus.  I go to St. Michael's School and it starts at 8am.  I’m in Grade 6 and we’re getting ready for our Common Entrance exams for High School so a lot of the day is exam practise.  My favourite subject is Maths, I don’t really know why, I’ve just always been good at it.  I’m not really worried about which High School I get into, I’ll just do my best and see what happens.

The last hour of school is sports and I’m on the school cricket team.  It's really fun and I like being part of a team - cricket is a big thing in Antigua!  I’m better at batting than bowling and I’m good at moving fast when the ball comes towards me.  I’m also a good keeper.  Cricket is a really different sport to sailing but you have to be really fit for both and work well in a team.

School finishes at 2.30pm and I come straight down to the Antigua Yacht Club.  I’ve been sailing here since I was 6 and one of my first sailing memories is of my instructor Spliff.  Every time I used to get distracted or lose concentration he’d splash water in my face, so I soon learned to focus.  At least the water here is warm!

I rig first and always try to be out on the water by 4pm.  Sometimes it’s only me out and sometimes there are some other Laser or Opti sailors as well.  I prefer it when there are other people because it’s closer to a race situation.  I love the feeling of being out on the water, I feel like I’m on an island of paradise all of my own with the cool breeze on my face.

Karl James is the head coach at the club and he’s one of the people who really inspire me (along with my Dad and Peter Burling, the last skipper of the New Zealand America’s Cup team).  He’s made a career of sailing and I want that when I grow up; to continue sailing, to compete in the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race and to win a world championship.  After training I always ask Karl if I think I’ve done something wrong and I ask him how to fix it.  He knows me so well now and I really trust him.

I start to make my way in about 5.30pm.  I de-rig, get changed and go to the gym at the Yacht Club for fitness and strength training.  We normally train in a group for about an hour, pushups, burpees, pull-ups , that sort of thing.  It's hard work but I know I need the fitness to be the best sailor.  On the days I don’t go to the gym I love to go fishing just off the dock at the Yacht Club.  When I was only 7 years old I caught an 8lb barracuda – I’ll always remember that!

I head home after the gym, rest and have dinner about 7pm.  I like chicken, fish, rice, just normal food really.  I don’t have any homework to do in the evenings.  I have to do it all in my breaks at school so that I can sail after school.  It means I can’t hang out with my friends that much but that’s just the way it is.  I’m sure it’s the same for any of the other sailors coming to Antigua in July.  I’m looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, it’s amazing that so many countries are coming to Antigua but we have great conditions so it’s a perfect place to sail.  I hope that the other competitors get a chance to see some of Antigua as well as compete – it’s important to push hard but not too hard and not to burn out.  I’d say to them, ‘go to the beach, have a rest day, try and relax a bit.’  My favourite beach is Pigeon Beach and it’s really close to where we are racing so that’s the best place to go.

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