Today was the second day of the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma. I headed down to the sailing center at about 9:30 AM. At 10, the US team had our daily meeting to discuss the weather and the plan for the day, and then we rigged up. Unfortunately, at this point the breeze was non-existant so we waited around until 12:40 before the race committee sent us out.
I was in the Yellow fleet today, so that meant that I started first. With three fleets, starting first is a great luxury since you can get away from the other two fleets a little. The conditions were similar to yesterday too--about 6-8 knots of breeze and very choppy--so having the freedom to do your own thing is important. Before the race, Brad Funk (also in Yellow today) and I did a few splits and talked to our coach, Mitch Brindley, about the weather and how the breeze was tending left. Mitch confirmed that the breeze was even further left on the course just above us too.
With that information, Brad and I decided we wanted the left! I started at the pin and had a great start. Brad was about 10 boats up from me and also had a good start. We bee-lined it for the left hand side, playing a few shifts to consolidate and cross some boats on our way out there. But when we got onto port we looked awesome and crossed the whole fleet. I rounded the weather mark in 1st place. Tonci Stiponivic, the regatta leader, was in 2nd, and Brad was in third.
I lead the entire reach leg with Tonci right behind me. On the downwind leg, I stayed high and stayed even with the Croatian, but right at the end he was able to squeeze by me. He rounded just ahead of me at the leeward mark, and I was just ahead of an Italian. Brad was 4th at this point and we were all heading left again. We all played the left on the 2nd beat and the order stayed the same.
On the final downwind, Tonci jumped out to a pretty big lead and I was able to maintain my 2nd place at the leeward mark, just ahead of the Italian and Brad Funk. Bruno Fontes, from Brazil was in 5th. What happened next was simply amazing. Bruno Fontes went a little big high, got a clean lane, and just sailed right by the other three boats as if we weren't moving. He went from 5th to 2nd in about 20 seconds and then continued to extend, halving Tonci's lead. At first, the three of us just looked at him as if he was cheating or something. We were all quite upset to lose a boat so quickly and so close to the end of the race. But then I realized I wasn't even mad! I was just so impressed with how much faster he was going then everyone else around him. And it wasn't a case of Bruno being in different breeze or something; he just sailed the boat really well, picking good angles and riding waves down at the right time. He gave us all a lesson! Anyway, I held on to 3rd in the race, which was an awesome start to the day!
In between races, the breeze built to about 12 knots. I was excited to hike! Race two started with the breeze still favoring the left, and this time, the fleet knew it. It was a little more crowded at the pin, and I was about a second slow trimming in at the start. In this fleet, that mistake can be deadly. My start wasn't great, but fortunately I was able to hold in a narrow lane all the way out to the left. I tacked on the port layline and tried to salvage a good leg. At the windward mark, I was in about 20th place. I had some difficulty get separation on the downwind and could never really catch up to the top 15 group. At the leeward mark, I figured I still had to go left. The left had been good for the first race and a half, so I figured the odds were on the left. But I think at this point, everyone really liked the left. So we all headed left and were all slowing each other down. I stayed in lanes that I normally would have bailed in just to get out left. The breeze became more stable and the guys who sailed in clean air up the middle right were able to make big gains. By the time I got to the windward mark, I had lost 10 boats! I was able to catch a boat on the downwind and two more up the last beat, but my second race was a mediocre 24th.
After today, I moved up to 14th place with a 16-14-3-24. Tomorrow is the final day of qualifying before we split into a gold and silver fleet. We also get a throwout with one more race too, so that will bring everyone closer together. Two more races are scheduled for tomorrow. Check back for another update!
Today was the first day of racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy. The Laser fleet was divided into two fleets of equal size for qualifying races today (thru Tuesday). I was placed into Blue fleet and started second. The only other American, Brad Funk, was placed into Yellow fleet.
The first race was at 2 PM today, so the morning was quite casual. We met at the sailing center at about 11 and put our regatta stickers on our boats, discussed the weather, and made sure everything was in order. At 1 PM we were allowed to leave the harbor and the fleet quickly headed out to the course.
We're sharing the course with the Radial fleet. The first Laser fleet (Yellow) started and sailed an outer trapezoid. My fleet (Blue) started shortly after and also sailed an outer trapezoid. The Radials sailed an inner trapezoid. For the most part, there wasn't much overlap in the fleets, so that was good!
The conditions were fairly consistent all day. The wind was about 8-10 knots, and it was very choppy. With three fleets and countless spectators, the water was getting churned up a lot.
Ok, on to the races! After watching the Yellow fleet start, I decided that I liked the right side of the course. I got a good start near the boat and was quick to tack onto port and head right. I played the middle right and thought I actually played the beat well. The problem is that everyone in the fleet is REALLY fast and talented. I made one small mistake at the top of the beat when I got onto the starboard tack layline too early. But I rounded the weather mark in about 16th place. The rest of the race was a parade. I think I passed one boat and lost one boat the entire way to the finish. I ended up 16th.
The second race I had a similar plan. This time, I was a little quicker to tack to the right. One observation that I made in the first race was that the middle was painful. With choppy conditions and steady breeze, any extra tacks or manuevers were costly. Moreover, with three fleets, all of the clean air was to the sides of the course. I made my way up to the top of the beat and was looking pretty good for a while, but right at the top a big lefty came in. I was 20th at the windward mark, but began to chip away a little. I passed a few boats with a good downwind leg and headed out to the left on the second beat. I had a great second beat and had moved up to as high as 10th at one point. Right before the second weather mark, though, the breeze backed to the right and I rounded just behind a pack in about 14th place. The final downwind I went back and forth with the pack; sometimes I would surge ahead into about 10th and other times I would fall back to about 16th or 18th. At the bottom mark I was in 15th. I passed one boat up the last beat to finish 14th in race number two.
Overall, I'm pretty content with the start to the regatta. I had a 16-14 in a very fast and competitive fleet. I'm currently sitting in 24th overall. It's still very close though, as I'm only 4 pts. from 15th! Brad Funk had a similar day to mine. He had a 16-13 in his two races! Perhaps the best thing about my day was that I didn't use a throwout or sail poorly early on. There are two more races scheduled for tomorrow (with a 12 PM start time) so hopefully I can go out and keep improving on my finishes. In a fleet like this, consistency is what is going to move people to the top of the leader board.
In the Radials, Paige Railey had an awesome start to the regatta. She won the first race quite convincingly. In the second race, both she and Anna Tunnicliffe found themselves in the 30s at the first mark, but Paige rallied all the way back to 4th and Anna fought back to 10th! Pretty impressive. Paige is winning right now!
Check out the results (for the Lasers and the other classes) on the regatta website: Results
After training in Palma for over a week, I'm ready for the regatta to start tomorrow! There are 159 Lasers pre-registered for the event, and, from what I gather, the plan is to divide the fleet into three groups for a qualifying series the first three days, followed by a Gold, Silver, and Bronze final series for two days. The first race is scheduled for 2 PM local time tomorrow, and the Race Committee's goal is to sail 2 races per day.
A lot of preparation went into my boat just for this event. I bought a new Laser from Laser Performance in England and had a couple friends drive it down to Palma for me. Then I had to set the boat up from scratch, which took some time in and of itself. Sail numbers, country codes, and USSTAG stickers had to be applied to both sail and hull. Finally, today, there was a massive "boat measurement" where all 230+ Laser and Radial sailors got in line and had to have our boats inspected. (It was a LONG process!) But when everything is said and done, we're all ready to get going tomorrow.
This past week has been filled with some great on the water training. I often find that the training before a big event like this is just as valuable (if not more) than the regatta itself. The reason is that we can really tailor our practices to what we want to work on. For example, for much of the week, most of the fleet met at about noon and headed out for some individual practice. This included some rabit starts and wind sprints, some speed work, tacks, boathandling, etc. After about an hour and a half of individual work with our coaches, the masses would come together and we'd sail some long practice races. It was pretty cool yesterday to have 75+ boats on a starting line sailing a 40 minute (short!) race. There were many mark roundings when 20 boats arrived at once. Talk about a game of inches!
The competition has been great too. There are many top foreigners training everyday, so it's pretty cool to line up with so many fast guys.
What I'm most enjoying is the new atmosphere that has developed on the US team. Last night the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics met for a team dinner and birthday celebration for Molly Carapiet (470 skipper). We've been given cool jackets, vests, and T-shirts to sport around the boat park and to help look like a team. And everyone has been very open to helping each other, working out logistics, and training hard together. It's pretty cool that all of the team is coming together like this.
The weather hasn't been that great lately. Mostly we've had a light drizzle at all times of the day. It was getting pretty frustrating to always be wet when going about your day. But today the weather is back to the gorgeous Palma that I arrived to. It's 70 degrees, sunny, and a nice 10 knot sea breeze. According to our meteorologist, Doug Charko, we should expect sunny and warm conditions with about 10-15 knots of breeze for the next few day. Hopefully that holds true; those conditions sound ideal!
Check back for a report after racing tomorrow!
Well I've been in Palma now for a few days, and I'm starting to get the lay of the land. Yesterday morning I took the bus from my hotel "El Cid" to Club Arenal, which is about 3-4 miles down the beach. Once there, I rigged my new Laser from scratch, including screwing in all of the hardware and things that normally come installed. At this point, I still didn't have my bicycle box and sailing equipment, so I had to rig up (and use) all of the stock lines and equipment that come with the boat. After spending a few hours to make sure that everything was set up correctly, Paige Railey (US Laser Radial sailor) and I went out for a short, light-air sail with our coach, Luther Carpenter. We did some straight-line upwind sessions, just trying to get a feel for our new boats and parts. Then we did a long downwind, practicing our by-the-lee to by-the-lee gybes. After that we reached over to the sailing center where the Lasers will be kept for the regatta. Luther brought over our dollies and gear and we had efficiently moved our boats to the regatta site!
Last night I enjoyed the free dinner in my hotel and worked on some logistics for future events. At about 8 oclock, my bike box finally arrived, and I was able to get get my gear that I had been missing! I spent a little time going through my stuff and then went to bed. Last night, we adjusted our clocks forward an hour for daylight savings time. Now I'm six hours ahead of the eastern US!
Today I woke up to pouring rain and very windy conditions. It was nothing like the previous few days. I made my way down to the club at about 11 oclock with all of my own gear! I put some US Sailing Team Alphagraphics stickers on my boat and put on all of my own control lines. At about 12, we left the dock with Paige, Michael Bullot (NZL), and another New Zealand girl. It was blowing about 15-18 with puffs in the low 20s. We set up very close to shore and did some long windward-leeward courses. The full rigs had to do one gybe on the first upwind of the twice-around windward-leeward course and also a 720 at the leeward mark! It was some great heavy air boathandling practice. Clearly I needed some practice too, as I flipped over twice today in the gusty conditions! It was pretty shifty and puffy, and everyone else flipped a few times too. I guess this isn't typical Palma weather. From what I hear, the breeze should be a little lighter and building throughout the day. It can also be quite shifty from what I understand. Could be some tough racing!
After a long shower I made a grocery store run, and now I'm sitting in the lobby of the hotel listening to some sort of spanish fiesta in the other room. There is LOUD stomping and spanish music. It sounds pretty entertaining!
Training continues tomorrow! More and more people are starting to roll in, so our practices should only get better. The regatta starts a week from today--Sunday the 5th, so hopefully we get a few more good sailing days in beforehand.
I arrived yesterday afternoon in gorgeous Palma de Majorca, Spain, for the Princess Sofia Trophy. The trip over was pretty hectic. I got to JFK airport a few hours early for my flight, but had some trouble checking in my bicycle. My bike is in a pretty big plastic box, is surrounded by all sorts of sailing equipment that I brought over, and weighed 8 kilos more than the allowance. After pleading with a few different supervisors for well over an hour--and paying a hefty fee--they agreed to let me fly with it!
I first flew to Paris. When I got to Paris I had to sprint through the airport to make my second flight. I was in the line at customs and this lady and I were really concerened because we thought we were going to miss our connecting flight. Then this guy in front of us goes "Hey, you're in Paris. Do whatever you want." He then lifts up the rope divider thing that forms the lines and says "Just cut everyone." So we looked at each other skeptically, thought for a second, and then made a run for it to the front of the line. No one seemed to care and we were through customs in a few minutes. After another sprint to a second security checkpoint I made it to the gate and was off on my flight from Paris to Barcelona.
The final leg of my trip was a short flight from Barcelona to Palma. This flight was only 25 minutes long! I arrived in Palma, but unfortunately, my bike box didn't make my final connection. (Supposedly, it is coming today...) I did, however, get my bag of clothes, so if I had to choose one bag to get, this was the one.
After a quick cab ride, I finally arrived at my hotel, "El Cid." The hotel is great and only about a 10 minute stroll down to the club. It overlooks the beach and water, and I am fortunate enough to have the corner room on the top floor; I have an AWESOME view. From my room, I can see the sailing center and the sailing course. Also along the water is a winding street filled with small bars and cafes. It's a really nice atmosphere.
Palma itself seems great so far. Palma de Majorca is a small resort island to the east of Spain in the Mediterranean. The sailing takes place in the south-west corner of the island. The temperatures are in the high 60s to 70s. It's very sunny and laid back.
The goal for today is to try to find my new boat and get started on putting that together. Hopefully my bike case comes too! I'll be practicing here with some other Laser sailors until racing starts on April 6th. Check the photos page for some pictures in the next couple of days!
The final two days at the US Olympic Center in Chula Vista were just as exciting and exhausting as the first two! The first thing that we did on Saturday morning was "boat specific" testing. An important part of having such a dedicated PET training staff is trying to come up with tests and excercises that are relevent in each boat. So Laser sailors, like myself, would do a hiking test and other things important to Laser sailing. 49er crews, on the other hand, would do more balance related testing.
After a quick warm up, we tried the hiking test. First, we had to jog for five minutes to get the heart going, then we had to do 2 sets of 15 body weight squats, followed by 2 sets of 1 minute body weight holds. After our legs were sufficiently tired, we sprinted over to a jury-rigged hiking bench to see how long we could hang! What made it tougher was one of the trainers was pushing down on you and shoving you in different directions to test your core. It was a pretty thorough test and a great replicator of what it's like in a 3rd race on a windy day!
Shortly after, we all had to do our 3RM testing. We had to do our max weight in back squats (3 reps), seated bench row (3 reps), and chin ups. Then we had different pressure tests. We had to squeeze down with our thumb onto a sensor to find out how hard we could squeeze. We had to clamp with our wrists in a different grip test. And then we had a neck pressure test to see how strong our necks are. It was an exhausting start to the day!
After a one-on-one meeting with a trainer and a nutritionist, the afternoon was filled with some really cool lecturers. First, we had Tobi Stevenson, the Silver Medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics in Pole Vaulting come in to speak to us. After that, Al Joyner, the 1984 Gold Medalist in the Triple Jump spoke. You could tell that Al Joyner had done this before; he was an awesome public speaker. The whole group was mesmerized by his story and impressed by the confidence he had. The underlying theme to both lecturers was that it takes great sacrifice and hard work to not only get to the Olympics, but also to win a medal. It was cool to be around those guys and that attitude.
The last day of the camp was saved for a "Final Challenge." After breakfast, we split up into four separate teams for a team "obstacle" course! The obstacle course had five different legs. For the first test, we had to run about a mile and a half as a team. The team was done when the last member finished. The other trick was one person of our team had to run with a 25 lb weight jacket on! (We were allowed to pass the jacket around throughout the race.) Zach Railey wore the jacket for the first quarter of the test, then I wore it for a quarter of the test. Finn sailor Bryan Boyd then took over and put on the jets, outrunning the rest of the team who didn't even have the extra weight! He was incredible. Our team did well at this event and finished in first.
Next, we had to do five sprints up a pretty big hill as a team. Again, one person had to wear the weight jacket! The third stage of the test was a core challenge. We started with 50 pushups each. Then we had to do 50 situps, 50 body weight squats, and 50 Up-Downs (where you start in a standing position, drop to a pushup position, and jump up again). We had a judge watching us too, so if we messed up the whole team had to restart! It was pretty brutal by the end!
The fourth challenge was a weighted tire pull. In the middle of a dirt pit, we had to pull a tire (with weights inside of it) about 75 yards to a cone doing a row pull, then we could drag the tire back. We had to do this 10 times and each person had to take 5 pulls throughout the competition! After that, the guys had to grab a 60 lb weight and the girls a 40 lb weight and run that the length of the course 10 times!
The final test was a short obstacle course with one of those rope ladders on the ground, a few things to jump over, and a few markers to run around. Each person of the team had to run it. At the end, we JUST lost to another team. Our team ended up a respectable 2nd place. It was a fun, but definitely an exhausting competition!
As the camp ended, perhaps the coolest thing was seeing Michael Phelps arrive at the Chula Vista training site. We saw him walking around and even eating dinner in the same small cafeteria as us. It's pretty cool to think that we're getting exposed to the same kind of training that Olympic Champion Swimmer Michael Phelps is. The whole process seemed validated.
Overall, it was an awesome camp. I really wish I brought my camera to take some pictures; the place was gorgeous! There was talk of the USSTAG coming back in October for another round of testing. I hope we do. Next Wednesday I leave for Palma de Majorca, Spain, for some training before the Princess Sophia Trophy, the third leg of the World Cup. It'll be good to get back in the boat!
I've been in Chula Vista for two days now, and I'm having a great time! I took an 8:30 flight out to San Diego on Thursday morning, arriving here at about noon. I met up with a few other sailors who arrived at the same time, and we jumped on a USOC shuttle and headed to the training site.
The US Olympic Center in Chula Vista is unbelievable. The whole facility is surrounded by gorgeous green mountains all around us; we're completely secluded from the outside world. There is a resevoir that was built for the crew team to use for rowing, there is a BMX biking course (included a 50 ft. verticle drop ramp for their start followed by a dirt-path course), and even an archery shooting field with targets sprinkled all over. Basically every type of field/training facility you can imagine--baseball field, soccer field, field hockey field, a track, tennis courts, basketball courts, weight room, etc-- is in this complex.
All of the athletes are staying in outdoor dorms. I'm sharing a five person suite with Zach Railey (Finn Olympic Silver Medalist), Rob Crane (Laser,U-23 team), Jordan Factor (420,U-18 team) and Chris Segerblom (420,U-18 team). We take all of our meals in a nice dining hall. I actually really like it since someone prepares all of my meals and there are always tons options available at all hours of the day. The other cool thing is that there are mini-fridges full of powerade and other drinks for athletes to grab for a workout for free. All in all, it's a really nice setup.
The camp itself has been very productive. A big part of the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics goal for the next quad is to continually track our physical fitness progress. This camp is mainly to find out where we are right now, at the beginning of the quad. We've also had lots of different lectures on nutrition, fitness, and goal planning. Finally, we've had different team building projects. For example, once we were put into different "teams" to try to figure out different inefficiencies or interesting unexplored topics in our boats and how we would correct them. My team thought it'd be cool to use some sort of colored smoke to look at how air is disturbed when it comes off different sails. Pretty cool!
The tests have been pretty exhausting. When I got here, I immediately jumped into a beep test. The beep test is a running test where you have to sprint about 40 yards, touch a line, turn around, and come back. You have to reach the finish line before the beep. After a 10 second break, you go again. Each time you go the time gets shorter and you get more tired! We also had a max-pushup test (how many pushups can you do in one minute) and a handful of different iso-metric hold tests. Tomorrow I have a back squat test, chin up test, grip test, and row test.
Finally, we've had an hour and a half long yoga session and even a hip hop dance class! It was pretty interesting watching a bunch of preppy sailors trying to hip hop dance!
So overall, the first two days of the camp have been great. I've learned a lot and am exhausted from the busy schedule. The camp continues through the weekend and then I have a red-eye flight home Sunday night. I'm excited for the last two days!
I've been home for one week now, and already I'm missing the Florida weather! This weekend we got over a foot of snow in New Jersey, making it difficult to even go outside at times. The temperatures are in the 20s and there's not much sailing going on!
I cannot impress upon you just how much time and energy is spent on the logistics-side of an Olympic Campaign. I've always heard--but never really believed--that most campaigners spend only about 60% of their time on the water and the other 40% working on logistics and off-water activities. I believe it now. I've spent most of last week booking flights to Europe, reserving housing at each venue, registering for regattas, planning transportation, filling out tons of paperwork, making sure my equipment is in good condition, and organizing my life in general. Planning a successful Olympic Campaign is no doubt a full-time job!
One thing I did do was purchase a big Thule bike box so that I can easily bring my bike with my to Euopre. Another project that I'm working on is purchasing a boat in Europe. Having a boat in Europe will be a great investment in my campaign. The ability to avoid charter fees and hassles and to have some familiarity at each venue is something that should pay dividends down the road. Moreover, if I'm going to spend the next three years campaigning, it should be worth it financially.
Perhaps the only frustrating part of being a member of the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics is that I now have to file "Whereabout Forms" so that the US Anti-Doping Agency knows where I am at all times. These forms, which are turned in quarterly, detail where I am every minute of the day. If I decide to change plans, I have to send updates with new information. I also have to allocate one hour each day that I could be drug tested. I understand that unfortunately we live in a world where this is necessary, but it sure is an inconvenience!
Today I joined KS Fitness, a local gym in Toms River. They have a great setup, complete with cardio equipment and pretty much every weight machine/free weights option I need. I'm sure I'll spend many hours there in the near future.
Next on the schedule is a trip out to Chula Vista, CA. I'm looking forward to working with the US Sailing PET (Performance Enhancement Trainers) out there. From everything I hear, it should be a productive trip.
Today was the last day of the Midwinters East. Going into today, I sat in 2nd place with an eight point lead on Bernard Luttmer from Canada and had a few more points on a handful of other competitors. Nick Thompson from GBR had an almost insurmountable lead, so I decided to be a little conservative and shoot for two top finishes instead of focusing on one or two boats.
The first race was sailed in a dying Northerly. We started third today, after both radial fleets because they were a race behind us. After watching the first two starts, it became obvious that the right side of the course was pretty favored. I had an ok start near the boat end of the line and tried to tack right quickly. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good lane going right and was somewhat pin-balled around on the middle-right side of the course for the first beat. I rounded the first mark in 18th place and went to work on catching some boats. At the reach mark, we started to merge with the radial fleets. It became pretty hectic as the two fleets mixed, but I was able to spread out on the downwind leg and pass eight boats by the leeward mark. As we sailed the next beat, we merged with the second radial fleet! The breeze was dying and the water was getting choppier; it was pretty tough sailing. I rounded in about 10th place again at the top mark. I then used some good separation to pass a few boats and pulled up to 8th at the leeward mark. Lee Parkhill sailed an awesome first beat to jump out to a huge lead, and Luke Lawrence, Luke Ramsey, and Nick Thompson sailed well under pressure on the second beat to preserve a top finish in the race; fifth seemed the best I could do. As we got to the leeward mark, the breeze died to almost nothing. The last beat was difficult to manage in light winds and mixed fleets. While it was important to get out to the sides to get some fresh air and to get away from the masses, getting to the layline too early meant that you could no longer tack--and tacking was a gainer in these conditions. I picked some good lanes early and was able to catch up to about 5th place half way up the beat. I had my eyes set on a great comeback when a big lefty came in and three boats nipped me at the finish line. Bernard Luttmer, 20th place at the last leeward mark and one of the boats who was close behind me in the regatta, was one of those boats who just got me! Still, I was pleased with an 8th place finish in such a tough race.
The first race was tough to navigate with so many fleets combining on one track. Guys who made big gains were able to separate themselves from the pack and get clear air. Also, I found it pretty important in those conditions to keep your cool. It was pretty frustrating to keep the boat moving through the chop and dying breeze with 50 other boats all around you. Luke Lawrence sailed a really good 2nd beat and was able to pick off boats left and right by being patient and level headed. It's a tough skill to have, but an important one in those trying conditions.
Heading into the last race, I had a 6 point lead on Bernard, a 7 point lead on three other boats, a 10 point lead on one boat, and a 12 point lead on another boat. It was all pretty close, and in these light conditions, a high score was certainly possible. I decided that I just needed a good start and to get away cleanly. If I was in the top 6, than no matter what, I would maintain 2nd overall.
I ended up getting a little aggressive at the start, but it paid off. After talking to local Kurt Taulbee and assessing the freshening Gulf breeze, I decided that the left was the place to go. I had a great start at the pin, and consolidated a few times by hedging up to the fleet a couple tacks at a time. After a long port tack into the mark, I rounded in a solid third place, behind Brad Funk and Nick Thompson, and held on for a surprisingly uneventful last race considering how close the scores were. Bernard Luttmer navigated some traffic at the windward mark to place 4th in the race, and the rest of the players were just behind him.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with my performance. This was a competitive regatta, and to be 2nd is respectable. Most importantly, I was one of the top two sailors from North America (who didn't already have a worlds spot) so I qualified for the World Championships to be held in Nova Scotia this August. It's nice to have that out of the way. All that being said, Nick Thompson sailed really well and proved that there's still a big jump to be made to compete at his level. I'm heading back to NJ over the next couple of days where I'll spend some more time in the gym before heading out to a PET Training Camp in Chula Vista, CA, in the middle of March. The Princesa Sofia Trophy is the next regatta I'll sail in early April in Spain. Hopefully I can make some improvements before heading to Europe.
For final results, click here: Final Results
Today was pretty tough. We arrived at the sailing center to colder temps and an easterly breeze. The forecast for the day was for the wind to back off in strength as the temperature heated up. Nevertheless, we started our first race in a 6 knot easterly. With the windward mark a few hundred yards from shore, the conditions were quite shifty!
The right side was pretty favored for most of our race. I had an ok start near the committee boat but continued on starboard for a while after the start. A few guys hitched right quickly after the start and looked pretty good early. I played some shifts up the middle right of the course and was able to be patient enough to consolidate at the top in 3rd place. The top five boats were pretty punched from the fleet, so we had some room to work with on the downwind legs. I rounded the leeward mark in 2nd place, but soon began a shifty and puffy second beat with James Espey (IRL), Luke Ramsey (CAN), and Raul Aguayo (DOM). The four of us split shifts and attacked each other from each side, but at the top of the second beat, I was able to ride a nice righty lift and puff into the weather mark in first place! I then headed downwind and rounded the leeward mark in first place with about a five boat length lead. We only had a reach leg and a short upwind beat to the finish left. I maintained my five boat length lead for most of the reach leg, but as we approached the final mark, the breeze died and started to shift to the right a little. The race committee put up a change of course flag, signaling that the finish was moved to the right also. Unfortunately, as I was just about at the mark the breeze died to almost nothing and I sat as the next 10 boats or so caught up to me! There was nothing I could do. In these situations, I try to pretend that I am just dropped into the situation and start sailing from there; I was in first at the leeward mark and had my choice of where I wanted to go on the final beat. Since the breeze had been best on the right all day, the breeze had shifted right on the reach leg, and the race committee moved the finish to the right, I decided I would play the right hand side of the final beat. I guessed wrong. For the final 10 minutes of our race, the breeze shut off on the right and filled from the left. I was left struggling to get back to a 9th place finish. It was pretty frustrating for a race where I was in the top three the whole time! Moreover, regatta leader Nick Thompson was in about 8th place for most of the race. He pulled out a 3rd in the race, a thirteen point swing had we finished at the last mark instead of sailing up the last beat!
After the first race, the breeze completely died and we waited for about half an hour for a south-easterly to fill. We quickly got going in what would be very right hand favored race. I had a good start at the pin (which was favored) and soon after tacked to head right. I didn't estimate how favored the right was as boats who had bad starts but had bailed earlier were looking great up the first beat. I rounded the top mark in 15th place and clawed my way back to 8th. I was pretty content with an 8th place finish in this race. Most of the players had deep scores, and it was a tough race to sail. The bummer came after the finish of the race when I found out that I had been premature at the start line and was scored OCS! What a rough opening two races.
The final race was sailed in similar breeze as the second. The fleet liked the right and fought hard at the committee boat to get there. I had a pretty good start at the boat and headed right. But hitting the corner was the thing to do, and I was a bit conservative up the beat, playing the middle right. I rounded in about 10th place and picked off a few boats on each leg to finish in 5th.
Today was a tough day of sailing, and it paid to be patient and a little lucky. I had some pretty bad breaks, but in the end was happy with how I sailed. Nick Thompson has jumped out to an almost insurmountable lead. I am now 20 pts behind him, but despite my OCS I am still 8 points ahead of 3rd place Bernard Luttmer. There are a handful of boats right on Bernie's tail too, so it's all pretty close. With no room for error, I have to go out and have two good races tomorrow to solidify 2nd overall.
For results, click here: Results