Mike Leigh finds his best racing position - photo courtesy of Mike Leigh
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 7 | Jul. 3, 2008
Fast Boat to China
By Meg Walker
When Mike Leigh was a student at UBC, the competitive sailor used some of the knowledge from his kinesiology courses to shape his training program.
That was in 2003, when the Vancouverite was preparing to sail a laser -- a small, one-person sailboat -- at the 2004 Olympics. In 2005, his hard work paid off: Leigh landed enough sponsorship to sail full time, and he put his studies on hold.
One of his favorite things about sailing is the constant learning the sport requires.
“In sailing, there’s always more to learn because in each course there is new information about currents and wind to absorb,” he explains. “You also have to get to know the other racers, learn their habits and tactically position yourself in relation to them on the course.”
Leigh also does some yacht racing, stretching his skills by learning new vessels whenever he can. In March 2008 he won the Laser Radial Championship in New Zealand.
Leigh will apply his skill at being able to move from vessel to vessel when he competes at the Olympics: the hull, mast and boom of the boats will only be provided to the athletes on arrival, so there will be minimal time to learn the new equipment.
Leigh is pumping up the volume and intensity of his schedule before Beijing by competing in several European regattas. He hopes to fly when the wind rises on the Yellow Sea.