Our next 'A' Cat Ace is a Greek Legend. Multiple cat class World Champion, currently the F18 Champ, and multiple GRE Olympian - Konstantinos Trigonis
- When and why did you first start sailing and in what?
Konstantinos - Started in the age of 9 in an Optimist.
- When did you first become aware of the ‘A’ Class Cat?
I've seen the boat back in mid 90s but didnt pay any attention as all my focus was in Olympic sailing.
- Where and at what age did you first get a sail on one.
Really I became aware in late 2005 in Australia (35 years old) when we were training in Tornados with Bundy (Bundock) and Glenn (Ashby) were Glenn brought his fresh build Ashby Sail craft and he gave me a go, giving me all the necessary tips. It was an afternoon with nice breeze In the Lake where Bundy lives, that got my baptism into the class by the hand of “God himself”!! After that I was following Glenn and the developement of the class continuously. From standard straight to c-foils to full foiling. Got my 1st boat in 2016 thanks to Gonzalo Redondo and Jakub Kopylowiz (exploder). Since then I dont think I will sail and enjoy another boat more than the 'A'.
Fitness and training.
- What is your current fitness routine, and do you have any special diet?
I'm doing 4 times a week some sessions that includes running, rowing, cycling and once a week I lift weights. Some periods, especially when I'm coaching I do more as I follow the plan of my athletes. But when home 3-4 times a week and of course I sail.
- How often do you sail each month?
Depends on the period and my professional obligations. Winter time in any good opportunity with good weather. From spring and then if I'm at home I will possibly sail almost everyday even if I'm really busy. Will do it even for an hour just to foil a bit and get rid the tension of the day. For me sailing is not only work and A class gives me what I want to escape the hectic days of working.
- Do you have any specific fixed training regime?
Yes I do depending what I want to do. Normally I sail around marks and use gps tracking not just to check my top speed, but to check avg speeds, angles, maneuvers etc. I do have priority lists on boat work, set up, and training routines which I follow, especially at my place as Im sailing alone.
- Where did you learn your race tactics?
First by racing and practice, watching my opponents beating my ass and studying how they do it. People though, have to understand that to apply tactics and knowledge of the subject requires good boat handling. Another source of learning was reading books and finally there was a game which I was playing a lot and helped tips. Now with all the technology, telemetry, tracking etc., you can really follow racing and learn a lot by watching racing even from home.
- Do you practice race tactics in any way whilst training?
That's why I do train around marks most of the time, as racing happens around marks. Once starting, tacking, gybing gets in the game, it stops being just a speed contest. As said before though, to do the above, handling is the key and training around marks forces you to develop your handling.
- Do you concentrate on specific areas when training?
Yes. Keeping the boat rolling in an avg good pace and fast trimming changes (hard on an 'A' with so many systems now). Rake wise, I play more with rudders than with boards. Something else also is how quick I bring the boat up on foils and finally lay lines, top mark and bottom mark roundings.
- Was there a particular technique you found that unlocked something in your sailing?
Only one?? haha! To answer the question though it's not one specific thing, as this boat without the right foils and setup can make you look like an idiot. Now details are playing a bigger role as boats are stable, foils are better and everybody can foil. So things like mainsheet trimming (accurate), good feeling and body movement fore and aft, basic stuff mostly are becoming important again as speeds are getting similar within the fleet.
- Do you have a regular sailing partner and what do they do for your sailing?
Unfortunatelly not! Would love to be in Poland more reguraly to sail with Jacek and his gang (enjoyed so much Sopot) or with Bundy (when he came to Greece a year ago) or Bob (Baier) when he came in our spot in Greece to sail with his son. If I won't go in Garda, for example, I'll be alone in Greece. That's hard for me as I think that if I was having a sparing partner to sail against, things were going to be different. This is something that I really miss.
- What do you most enjoy about sailing the ‘A’ Cat?
Speed, excitement, developement, skills. Keeps your heart hot and your mind sharp!
- What was your best sailing moment? (and if you feel strong enough, your worst!?)
If we talk 'A' cat sailing it was my 1st time foiling upwind high speeds. Didn't know how to stop it and ended up in lousy pitchpole... Was lucky didn't do any damage as I was sailing alone..'' with no boats around.. ( definatelly sailing alone on an 'A' is something I do not recommend!)
- If something goes wrong in a race, how do you start to deal with it mentally?
In the past in my younger years in the sport this was a nightmare. Was getting so pissed yelling to myself etc.. As I was getting more experienced though, getting to understand the sport more, I started seeing that every situation was an opportunity to learn no matter how bad or nasty was.
So now it doesn't matter to me what the situation is during a race. What matters is what am I going to do about it from that point and then during the race. I see it as a challenge, of course, always within my sailing abilities. So I just try to figure out possible options to bounce back to the race.
- What would you sail if ‘A’ Cats were suddenly banned?
I like strategy and tactics a lot in sailing. I like fast boats. My enjoyment though sailing the 'A' is something iIdidnt find in any other boat. So I wouldnt sail another. I would just keep on sailing it!
- What improvements do you feel could be made to the boats currently and which direction do you think the two divisions should be heading?
I think 'A' Class now has the right mixture offering foiling and classic top quality boats. All manufactures involved made a tremendous developement the past years offering to the sailing community such sailing kit. The boat now foils easy-stable-fast, and you see how people involved improved in the past 2 years. The level of competition also got higher and stronger with lots of top sailors entering the class. An issue was cost of developement as things were changing so fast, but now there are boats out there that only by changing foils can be competitive for a long period. Classic boats also are offering this and still give the speed and excitement if the skills or inclination of the person is not ideal for foiling. All options are on the table now for people to choose.
Technically I believe aero packages will be the next step seeing boats being more aerodynamic as foils developement will do smaller steps as now the existing foil package in the market is really good and the margin of developement in this area is getting narrower.
- Where is the best place you have ever sailed your ‘A’ Cat?
My home town Thessaloniki, as it offers a varity of sea states that help you develop, and Lake Garda. Sopot was a nice place too!
- Who are your sailing heroes and influences?
Who to say? Got influenced from a lot of different sailors mostly my period of time. In Cats was my good friend Darren Bundock for his talent and the way he was pushing you in training, Glenn Ashby as one of the most talented sailors I ever met and the way he was thinking and developing the game, John Forbes for his energy and smartness, Mitch Booth for his skills in strong breeze and how he was developing the sport. Ben Ainslie, Robert Scheidt and lots of other sailors for different reasons as all of them were special, in a different way.
- What single piece of advice could you give to the average ‘A’ Cat sailor?
To spend more time in the water with a specialist. To invest also in knowledge and time improving themselves, not only in materials. This will help them understand the requirements of foiling- sailing better, improving themselves, enjoying more what they do.