What brings you to Falmouth? Ten Questions with Phil Douglas (well, almost ten)
While Falmouth is a popular holiday destination there is also a great deal of visitors arriving on business. Phil Douglas arrived here a little over a week ago as the sturdy shoulder to world class athlete and Finn sailor, Dan Slater.
Meeting with Phil at the guest house he is calling home during his twenty day stay in Falmouth he looks relaxed and comfortable. However, with a huge conservatory and windows looking out to the harbour you get the sense that work is never completely from his mind. To be fair in a town where most windows look out at the sea it must be hard for a man whose life revolves around it to take a day off.
So in an attempt to distract him visit Falmouth posed ten questions about his stay here in Falmouth.
Is this your first visit to Falmouth?
‘I have visited the South Coast before and sailed my own Laser. This is my first trip to Falmouth.’
How are you finding Falmouth?
‘Cold’, he laughs, ‘winter back home, (New Zealand) doesn’t get lower than 8 degrees so being here is like our winter at home’. ‘But it’s okay and it’s great to come back and have a hot shower and relax in a nice place like this’. ‘The people are nice here the regatta is all very English’, (oops he’s already mentioned work). ‘It can get very busy down near the water when the sailors are in preparation’, (no our distraction is not working! Let’s move on).
Now that the Finn Open Nationals has finished you must have some time off before the Gold Cup? What are you going to do?
‘Well I really only have today off. I have my bike’, points to his bicycle secured in the guest house car park. ‘I’m going to ride across the seafront, take in the view and stop at one of the cafes for a cup of coffee.’ (pointing out how amazing the bay looked with all the Finn sailing action over the last few days was probably a mistake.) ‘Yes and it will look even more fantastic with even more Finns out in the bay for the Gold Cup’.
Have you tried the famous pasty yet? (good diversion!)
‘I have yes, it was nice.’
Will you be visiting any local attractions?
‘I would like to find time to visit the National Maritime Museum and see the sailing exhibition. Yes it would be good to see that and the historical perspective. I am heading into Falmouth town later there are a few things I need to buy, I may get chance then.’(On rocky ground there for a minute we were dangerously back on to work)
Would you come back on holiday and bring your family?
‘I’m single. I have been involved in sailing for many years and this has always come first. It is a very demanding career and to be a successful athlete and sailor you really have to focus and devote all your energy to it. I haven’t had the space in my life for a family yet. But I would like to come back yes. I don’t spend time with Dan when we are not working he needs time to relax and do his own thing and so do I. Being away on your own can get a bit lonely but Falmouth offers a lot to explore and places to relax. Having somewhere nice to come back to, talk to other guests and good hosts is great.’
How do Falmouth waters compare to back home? (ok so this question does lead us back to work but you can’t sit down with a man whose passion is sailing and not ask at least one can you?)
‘It’s a new challenge and that’s what sailing is about. Improving your skills all the time and pushing yourself is the only way to become a top athlete and that is what these sailors are. Coming here and being involved in this sailing event is a big thing for the athletes and a valuable learning curve. It isn’t a matter of comparing them it is using the opportunity to learn through new and different experiences.’
It became clear that trying to avoid any question that involved the sea including the view of the sea, the seafront, current sea themed exhibitions, cafes situated on the beach and shopping for sailing paraphernalia was impossible. The final three questions were abandoned when Phil launched into a fascinating conversation about the J class yachts moored at the pontoon clearly visible from the guest house. The conversation that ensued was wonderful so much so the outcome of which will be blogged for your interest very soon along with all the details of the forthcoming J class Regatta.
Visit Falmouth wishes to thank Phil Douglas for taking the time to speak to us our only regret is we never asked….’If you had a cream tea while you were here would you put the cream on first or the jam?’…..We have since discovered Phil only likes cream on his scone!
Have you been on a business trip to Falmouth? If so how did you relax?