Do choppy waters lie ahead for Goodison?

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WHEN you are a single-handed sailor it pays to be single-minded. You check the charts, set a course and damn the consequences.

Sheffield-born Paul Goodison was all conquering in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics, but defending your title is never as easy. As a boy Goodison idolised Daley Thompson, who claims winning his second Olympic decathlon title in 1984 was 10 times harder than his first four years previously in Moscow. Then you add pressure of home water advantage at London 2012 - plus a talented crop of up and coming British sailors in Goodison’s Laser class - and the difficult task ahead is only compounded.

But Goodison, 34, is refusing to panic after experiencing choppy waters last year. He failed to win a sixth consecutive European title, lost to Australian rival Tom Slingsby at the ISAF World Cup in Weymouth, and finished ninth when defending his world title on the Solent.

And British team-mate Nick Thompson has been banking some impressive results...with selectors only able to choose one home sailor for next year’s Olympic regatta. “Every time I compete I expect to win. Last year was about keeping things ticking over and keeping focused on next year” says Goodison, who is part of the Volvo Sailing team.

“An Olympic campaign is a four year thing - you have to start planning as soon as one Games finishes and I’m happy with where I am.”

In sailing, strategy is key and Goodison believes he has formulated the right plan. He will spend hours on the water at the Olympic venue in Weymouth, hoping to learn how to spot every shift of the wind and turn of the tide before his rivals.

Along with partner Saskia Clark, Goodison has a house that overlooks the water on which he hopes to secure success in 2012.

“Weymouth is going to be my home, there won’t be quite as much travelling around the world for me. I want to spend as much quality time on the water as possible in April, May and June,” he added.

However, with more than 100 boats contesting every stop on the ISAF World Cup circuit, Goodison knows his dominance of recent years has painted a target on the broadside of his boat. “Every one is stepping up their game, every season is more competitive than the last,” he adds.