SAILING WORLD CUP MIAMI
We’ve just wrapped up our first international competition as a team. Last week Biscayne Bay played host to over 500 top notch sailors from all over the world. While our scoreline shows less than stellar finishes, we progressed by leaps and bounds each day of the event, and the inspiring level of competition and incredible atmosphere gave us motivation to take lessons learned back to our training. Huge thanks to the event organizers and our event coach Udi Gal for getting us through the week!
Day one of the event saw light to nonexistent breeze; the FX fleet waited several hours on shore before finally launching and getting in two light races. The first, we struggled with keeping speed and height through the lulls. By the second race however, we sorted through the changes that needed to be made to our upwind technique and earned a top ten finish.
Day two was slightly windier, enough to bring the boats to full power. Light to moderate conditions de-emphasize boat speed-- everyone goes fast. The most important part of the races by far were the starts, which we struggled with. Our lateral positioning against boats and accelerations were good, but we were too far back from the line. We intend on putting in some solid hours of starting line practice these next few months.
Day three got “fresh.” Wind gusted from 18 - 25 knots, sea state was 3-5 ft short chop. The FX course was downwind of the harbor, boats had to execute well timed bear-aways and jibes just to make it to the race. A few boats turned around and went back in immediately. It took most of the fleet several attempts to turn down before making it to the course. After our second try, our coach gave us our helmets to wear. Helmets are a relatively new piece of safety equipment in sailing. While serious head injuries do happen relatively frequently, especially in skiff sailing, sailors prefer to have their heads free to feel the wind. Most of us don’t wear them, even if we should. Neither of us had ever worn one in competition. Putting them on, however, took away the fear of injury and gave us both the confidence to push ourselves in difficult conditions. Any thought of hiding onshore with the other new teams vanished. We made it to the line in plenty of time for our start.
We approached the race with more “can do” attitude than technical ability; our upwind speed was off the pace slightly. This didn’t matter too much. Half the fleet capsized at the first windward mark. We waited for an easy wave set before bearing away, and nearly impaled a poorly placed coach boat in the process but got the kite up cleanly. We executed a stable jibe in the corner, where many others flipped, and came screaming in to the leeward gate. Unfortunately, when we arrived another boat had flipped with their mast across it, making it impossible to get through. We flipped avoiding them.
The boat came up quickly, and instead of attempting to bear away again, we backed our sails to slide between the gates, then turned upwind. The breeze built, and we bounced off wave peaks up the course, our centerboard coming out of the water. We’d gained some confidence in our tacks, and were able to use them to gain advantage on a few faster boats before the windward mark. We got around clean, and then looked for a good spot to jibe into the finish. A missed grab on the main sheet lead to our second capsize. This took longer to right as we had to douse the kite in the water.
Icing Charlotte's sore ankle in the lunch cooler as we wait for racing to start!
When we came upright, we didn’t risk putting it back up. We reached, both of us on the back corner on the wing, straight towards the finish. We were in 7th place, 20 boat lengths from the finish line when the time limit expired. Five boats finished within the time limit.
While it was disappointing to miss out on a top 10 finish by minutes, it was encouraging to know that after 27 days in the boat together we could put up a good fight. There was no racing the next day due to too much breeze. No classes sailed. Qualifying series was over. However, the opportunity to watch the medal races the next day and learn from the top 10 teams in the men's and women's fleets gave us a better idea of the target to aim for. Over the next few months, we will continue training and begin to focus on the specific mechanics that define excellence in our class. Can’t wait to get back on the water.
JANUARY 2018: MIAMI
< USST Training Camp, Jan 3-10
This week we have been busy on the water training with the US Sailing Team and Olympic Development program. This first training camp of the year has given us the opportunity to learn from a passionate group of experts in our sport. On the water, we've focused on speed and short course racing skills, putting an emphasis on our ability to react quickly to wind and weather changes. Off the water, we listen to talks on rules, weather, health, and a variety of other topics.
The entire team took time out of our training schedule to work with Debris Free Oceans, a non for profit organization in Miami working to reduce plastic pollution in our waterways. As sailors, we experience first hand the effects plastic pollution have on our environment, and were happy to do our part to help. In just an hour, we removed 3,000 pounds of trash from the mangroves and waterways around Coconut Grove.
October 2017: San Francisco Bay
"Wow, this goes fast. Guess I just have to be faster."
KATE AND CHARLOTTE BEGAN THEIR TRAINING WITH A TRIAL BY FIRE IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY...
I'm a firm believer in breezy skiff sailing as a test of character. As a new skiff sailor, moving past the fear of a boat you cannot control just to go sailing takes courage. The ability to get back on the boat after a capsize, after two, after a dozen while smiling and having fun is something very special. To succeed in the sport of sailing, you to be willing to fail and confident enough to get back up every time a little stronger.
When I invited Charlotte to crew for me for a week long clinic in San Francisco, she knew what she'd be in for. She booked flights within half an hour.
We've spent our Fall training blocs working on boat handling, with a special focus on communication and team work. We've been building a solid foundation so that this January, we can hit the ground running. New Years day we'll be full steam ahead training for our next mile stone, World Cup Miami.
Stay tuned for 2018!
See you on the water,