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CW Challenger Will Satch is no stranger to challenging conditions, but rewind just five months and the reigning Olympic champion was preparing for heart surgery. Having staged an incredible return to fitness, this weekend Will will be back in the men’s 8 at his favoured stroke seat at the opening round of the World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. We grabbed a quick word with him to find out how he’s feeling – and about the prospect of facing an old foe…

How has your season gone so far?

WS: It’s been interesting to say the least… full of firsts! My winter block of training was extremely strong but a huge hurdle was on the horizon. Considering I had a heart ablation procedure and my first DNF at a trial, this season is actually starting to look rather exciting!

How are you feeling about your first international race of the year?

WS: I’m extremely eager to get out amongst it. It’s what I enjoy most and what I do best. The nerves are building but that goes with the territory and I can use it to my advantage.

Does Belgrade hold any good memories for you?

WS: Belgrade was my senior debut in 2012 with George (Nash) in the pair, so I have very fond memories of the place. It’s also a holiday hotspot for the locals and has many bars, which, sadly, we are unable to frequent.

Does the venue make much difference? Is it not just water and a straight line?

WS: Ultimately, it is, yes, and that’s the best way to think about it. I don’t need the fuss and fanfare, I just want to get out there and do the job. Sometimes big, flashy venues can distract from the job in hand.

What is the biggest challenge Belgrade will present?

WS: The most difficult thing is the unknown. We know that the 8 is Germany’s top boat and will never be too shabby. They are the current World Champions and they’ll be hungry. The 8 is the blue riband event and competition will be stiff.

Where does the World Cup stand in terms of your season’s goals?

WS: I’m ultra competitive. This race doesn’t differ from any other – I want to win. If we don’t I won’t be happy.

Having been a big part of the GB setup for a while, how have you dealt with the physical setbacks?

WS: The realisation that I’m fallible doesn’t sit well with me and I have struggled with that. However, I think going through the hard times makes the good times sweeter, and I’m definitely back stronger and hungrier than ever.

You’ve also been in lots of different crews over the years. How do you cope with the change?

WS: A four year cycle allows for strong relationships to be built and the camaraderie is second to none, with everyone pulling towards the same goal day in, day out. Starting again feels like a rebuild and can be initially unnerving, but that challenge is an enormous part of the whole picture.

You always row at stroke in the GB 8. What’s so good about it?

WS: Fundamentally, I don’t enjoy following! I like the feeling of leading and being in control of the rate and rhythm. The 8 is a totally different beast from any other boat type. It’s aggressive, noisy, punchy and very exciting. There is nothing that compares to being in the fastest boat on the water.

Is there anyone, sporting or not, that you admire or are inspired by?

WS: My mother, for being my rock; Tyler Hamilton, for winning at all costs; and David Attenborough, for being an all round good egg.

Finally, which CW watch will be going with you to the World Cup and why?

My Christopher Ward black C1000 Typhoon.

It doesn’t seem long since we founded Christopher Ward in a converted chicken shed in sleepy Cookham Dean, Berkshire. Having jettisoned our Soho Square offices in the noble pursuit of low overheads, our ideal goal was to form a company that would make the pleasure of owning a fine mechanical timepiece a joy more people could experience. Cutting through what we perceived to be a lot of the bullshit surrounding what ‘luxury’ meant in the early 2000s, we wanted to deliver proper, premium quality watches direct to the customer.

One thing we started out with was the intention to keep close to what our customers want – and in the last two years or so, we’ve been doing our research to discover more about what you, our customers and perhaps customers-to-be, might want from a company like us.

Great watches, is the answer – straight up. We know a lot of the considerable decisions that go into the purchase of a quality watch involve hours of painstaking reading, researching, comparing, and discussing – so we’ve started a couple of new areas on our site where we uncover more about what makes us Christopher Ward, and shines a light on some of the areas of watchmaking that we, and we think you, might enjoy reading about – and find useful as you research the next watch in your collection.

So head on over and keep coming back to Do Your Research and CWorld – over time we’ll be adding more and more to aid your research into the world of watches. And do let me know what you think – I’m reachable at mike@christopherward.co.uk. We’ve never stopped learning, and there’s still so much to do. We hope you’ll enjoy coming with us on the way.