After finishing up a solid eight days of training in Weymouth at the end of July, I headed home to NJ for a week off from sailing. It was great to recharge the batteries and enjoy some time on the Jersey shore before a busy month and a half of sailing.
Now, I'm in Kingston, Ontario, training with a handful of Canadians and Andy Maloney from New Zealand. We've had a couple good days of sailing so far, and we have taken advantage of the gym and biking for some cross-training. The plan is to train for the next 10 days and then sail CORK from August 20th-24th.
I'm really excited to announce that I've been named to the BMW Performance Team today! The BMW Performance Team is a group of US Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls who are training for London next year. One year to go before the games start, BMW has selected ten athletes from all different sports--with one more to be named later--to get financial and technical support. It's a huge honor and something I'm really excited to be a part of! Check out the press release here and my profile page here.
In other news, I'm still in Weymouth doing some training. The last few days have been pretty light, and the forecast is calling for more light air this week, but the practices have been productive. More and more top sailors in the world are showing up each day, so I'm trying to get a lot of sailing in. I've also been riding my bike a bit for cross training which makes for long tiring days!
I'll be here through the 31st and then it's back home for a week off before I start training again.
I'm here in Weymouth, England, training for about 9 days at the site of the Olympic Games. With not much on the schedule in the US, and after my mediocre performance at Sail For Gold, I figured I could use as much time as possible training here. So I headed over with fellow American Kyle Rogachenko to sail hard before the Pre-Olympic regatta starts. So far I've had a couple solid days of 15 knots and chop to practice in. More and more people are showing up each day, so the training is getting really productive.
Shore-side, I've spent a lot of time on my bike and hanging out at the US Shed. We were fortunate enough to get lots of nice gym equipment which I helped to set up the other day. The Shed has it all--a gym, athlete's lounge, drying room, PET facilities, laundry, storage, and more--so all of the sailors hang out there a lot.
The plan is to sail for another week and head home next Sunday. Stay tuned for more updates!
Today was the last day of the North American Championship. We headed out in a dying westerly breeze in hopes of getting two races in before the 2 PM time deadline. We ended up only getting one race in pretty light and sketchy conditions before we were sent in for the day.
Tacking at the Windward Mark. Photo Credit: Ralph Skorge
In the race, I got a great start in the middle of the line. I was on a huge starboard lift and was almost laying the mark, so I sailed as far as I could on starboard. Eventually we started to get headed and I played the top right and opened up a 100 yard lead by the weather mark. I stayed in first on the reach and downwind, but on the second beat the breeze died to almost nothing. I covered from the middle, but Evert McLaughlin from Canada went hard right and got some pressure to just get in front of me at the mark. The fleet converged as the breeze died and the sea breeze started to fill in, but I was always in the top couple. Lee Parkhill sailed a good race to overtake Evert and me before the last mark. But right as he was about to round he was yellow flagged and had to drop out of the race. Evert ended up winning and I finished in 2nd.
After the race, the breeze had died to almost nothing and instead of waiting around in hopes of a sea breeze filling, the RC sent us in for the day and the regatta.
So with a 2nd in the day's only race, I was able to hang on to my lead and win the regatta. I'm very excited to win the event, especially so close to home with lots of great friends and family there to cheer me on! I've never won the North Americans before, so it's great to have the title!
Rounding the Leeward Mark. Photo Credit: Ralph Skorge
Next week I'm heading back to Weymouth for 10 days of training. I'm going to soak up all the sun and enjoy the warm weather before I leave!
Stay tuned for updates.
We sailed three more races at the Laser North Americans today. The breeze started off blowing about 18-22 with nasty chop since the tide was going against the breeze. But as the day went on the tide switched and the breeze backed to about 15 knots. It was still a long windy day on the water.
In the first race, I had a mediocre start in the middle of the line. I sailed out towards the left and was able to play the top left side of the course well to go from about 8th to 2nd at the weather mark. On the first downwind, I was able to get around Robert Davis from Canada and move into first. There were a few boats close behind for the rest of the race, but I held the lead all the way to the finish for a 1st place finish.
Things were a little harder in the second race. I had a great start near the pin and was looking good, but shortly after the start a big right shift came through and all of the boats to weather of me lifted up. I was out of the shift and forced to sail hard left. There wasn't much to come back across with, but I was able to connect a few shifts and round in 12th at the windward mark. I caught one boat on the reach leg and three more on the leeward leg to close some distance. On the second beat, I went out to the left on the lifted tack. About half way up a big lefty came down, and I was able to tack across most of the leaders and into third place. I played some shifts well at the top to close the gap and round right behind Lee Parkhill and Chris Dold, both from Canada. On the downwind, I sailed well to pass Chris, but just couldn't sneak in front of Lee at the mark. I rounded in 2nd and held onto that for the rest of the race. I was pretty psyched to score a 2nd in that race after an unfortunate first beat.
In the final race of the day, the breeze had begun to shift right. Starboard was definitely the long tack on the first beat, and I was able to get a good start near the Committee Boat and sail most of the way to the first mark. I played some shifts at the top and found myself in 2nd place behind Kyle Rogachenko at the mark. Chris Dold was right behind me, and the three of us punched away from the fleet pretty quickly. On the first downwind, Chris passed me dropping me back to third. It was pretty close for the rest of the race, and I had a shot at him on the final downwind, but I just couldn't get around him. I finished the last race in 3rd.
So a pretty solid day with a 1-2-3. I'm still leading with 16 points to Chris's 28. Tomorrow we will have two more races and a second drop which will shake things up a bit. But hopefully if I get one more good race I should be able to lock up the event.
Today was the second day of the Laser North American Championships. We sailed out for a 10:30 start but the breeze was dying out to about nothing. We sat around for about an hour as a sea breeze started to build. After about an hour the breeze was just starting to substantiate when all of a sudden it died out and the westerly began to fill again. The westerly filled to about 4-8 knots, and we ended up sailing our three races in a very shifty offshore breeze.
In the first race, I had a great start at the boat and tacked to the right. The fleet very quickly flopped to port and started to fall into me. At the top, a puff and shift came from the right which allowed me to tack and cross into first place. I rounded the top mark in first with Kyle Rogachenko, Charlie Buckingham, and a couple Canadians right behind me. The top five extended a bit, but I was able to just stay in front of them all the way around the course to finish in 1st!
In the second race, I thought the pin was favored and I saw pressure left. A lot of the guys who were close to me in the standings were at the pin, so I decided to start there. I had an awesome start at the pin, but shortly after a big right shift came down and boats began to wind up. I hitched back right a few times, but could only get to the mark in about 18th. A lot of the top guys were deep, so I went to work trying to pick off boats. I caught up to about 15th at the reach mark and then got back to 9th at the leeward mark. On the next beat I caught a few more and rounded in 5th. I had a great downwind to catch up to 2nd and finish the race there. Jon Deutsch had an awesome race to "horizon job" the fleet for the win. I was really happy to rally so well, and a second was definitely a keeper after the shift on the first beat.
In the third and final race, I really wanted to go right again since the right had been working all day. I started at the boat and quickly tacked to port. The fleet tacked to port and started to fall into me again, and I was thinking that it would be a re-run of the first race. But about half way up the beat a big lefty came in and everyone wound up and off me. I went all the way to the starboard layline, hoping that the breeze would come back. When I finally tacked on the layline a right shift did come, but at the point I had overstood by so much! I rounded in about 40th place. The course ended up being a bit skewed for the rest of the race and passing lanes were few and far between. I was able to pick off boats at most marks and got back up to 17th. It was an ok comeback, but not that great of a race.
So far my score line reads 2-3-2-1-2-17. Dropping the 17th I have 10 points and am still winning. But with five races left there is still a lot of sailing to do.
Today was the first day of the Laser North American Championships at Brant Beach Yacht Club in NJ. We sailed three outer trapezoid races in 10-15 knots and pretty big shifts. It was also really hot with temperatures at almost 100 degrees and lots of sun.
In the first race, I had a great start near the pin and tacked and crossed most of the fleet. I played the top left and was looking really good. At the top, a huge lefty came in that allowed a couple guys to get back into the mix. I ended up rounding in 2nd behind Lee Parkhill from Canada. The top five were all pretty close though, and we were very even on the downwind. At the leeward mark I rounded in 1st and played the left again. I was able to extend my lead on most of the top five, but Lee was able to get a big righty at the end and rode it across and back into first. The two of us were pretty punched, but he was able to hold me off to win. I finished behind him in 2nd.
In the second race I had a pretty similar plan. I had another good start at the pin, tacked, and crossed. Half way up I was auto-tacked back to starboard and was in the top group. At the first mark I was in second, this time behind Canadian Evan Lewis. On the downwind I passed Evan and rounded the bottom in 1st. Up the second beat I was looking pretty good on the top group, but as we approached the weather mark the breeze got light, and I began to fall in hard to the guys I was loose covering. Since it was so shifty I took another hitch out to the left, but the breeze only went further right with pressure. Lots of guys who were hard right reached in ahead of me and I went from first to about eighth very quickly! I was able to rally a little bit and caught up to 5th by the leeward mark. I passed one more boat on the bottom reach and finished the race in 4th. On shore, Rob Crane, who had finished ahead of me, was disqualified so I moved up to 3rd in the race.
In the final race, I had another good start near the pin, tacked and played the middle. A third Canadian, Chris Dold, and I were looking really good at the top of the beat. Right before the mark a HUGE righty came in and a swarm of Canadians reached in ahead of us. I rounded in 8th again. On the first downwind I passed a few boats and caught up to about 4th. I played the right on the second beat and got some pressure and a shift to catch up to second at the weather mark. Chris was very far ahead so I just held on to 2nd for the rest of the race.
So it was a pretty solid day with a 2-3-2. It was very shifty out there and the racing was definitely tricky at times. Three more races are scheduled for tomorrow.
I've had a nice two weeks off from sailing after the Marblehead Team Race. First I spent some time coaching at Brant Beach Yacht Club for the local radials, and then I headed up to Boston for the 4th of July. It was a pretty relaxing few weeks, but now it's back to sailing.
For the past four days I've been training at Brant Beach for the Laser North Americans. Every day there have been more and more boats, so I've always had some people to sail with. It's been a little weird sailing on the bay again with very flat water with shifty breeze but steady breeze strength. But the training has been productive.
On Tuesday the North American Championship starts. It will be a four day event and there should be about 80 Lasers or so. We'll sail in one fleet for the event, so the fleets will be bigger than I normally sail in. It should be a fun, low-key event though.
The weather on LBI is amazing though! It's so nice to sail in just a rash guard and 80 degrees! Sure beats the weather in Europe!
Check back for updates throughout the regatta.
This past weekend I went up to the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA, for the 2nd Annual Marblehead Team Race. Eastern Yacht Club is a gorgeous club just north of Boston. Recently they've put a big push into reinvigorating their club with younger members and more events. They've hired Greg Wilkinson, head coach of the Boston College sailing team, to be the Program Director, and he's done a great job to make Eastern the place to be.
Eleven teams showed up this weekend to race, and there was a pretty strong showing. A lot of teams used this event as a warm up for the season, an opportunity to get a lot of racing in and to warm up the boat-handling skills that haven't been used since last fall. The regatta format was aggressive, but the conditions cooperated, and we were able to complete the whole format! We sailed two full round robins with all eleven teams before splitting into a Gold six and a Silver five for one more round. All in all, the top six teams sailed 25 races and the bottom five teams sailed 24 races. It was a very productive weekend!
I sailed on the Eastern YC team with Elyse Dolbec crewing for me. Alden Reid and Megan Watson sailed our second boat and Colin Merrick and Tyler Wilson were in the third boat. We had a great weekend on the water and were able to win the event. Overall, it was a lot of fun visiting Eastern Yacht Club and team racing again. I really encourage other teams to attend this growing event next year.
Check out this video taken on Saturday afternoon. We're the blue team racing the black team. I'm in first, Alden Reid is in 4th, and Colin Merrick (1842) is the five. Watch as we convert to a 1-2 to win the race!
From a campaign perspective, it's always nice to take a weekend off from Laser sailing to enjoy other types of racing. I was able to practice some boat-handling, race twenty five quick races in two days, and visit with old college friends. It was a fun weekend.
Check out this cool article by WindCheck. They asked a few USSTAG sailors what gear they use and why, and I'm featured towards the end!