I've been in Miami for a couple days now. The trip started off on a pretty sour note. Twenty minutes after arriving at the US Sailing Center, while I was unloading my Laser, my car was broken into and my backpack and valuables were stolen. I hung around for a bit and talked to the police, a CSI team actually came and dusted for prints and took some DNA tests, but at the end of the day, I think there is very little chance that they find my stuff. It's unfortunate, and it seems like break ins happen at least once a year during this event. Welcome to Miami!
Anyway, it was nice to get back on the water as a distraction from the break in. I've sailed for the last two days in 12-16 knots of breeze and with a lot of international sailors. I've enjoyed sailing my Laser, something I haven't gotten to do since last July, and it's nice to see some friends that I've spent the last four years sailing against. So far the sailing has been going well, but for sure I am more sore than I was a couple years ago! Hopefully I can shake off some rust before the event.
I have a few more days of training here before the event starts next Monday. Check back for more updates before and during the event!
It's been a long time since I've updated this blog, but with a regatta on the horizon, I figured I'd get back to it. In a couple of days I'm heading down to Miami for the 2nd stop of the 2013 World Cup Series, the Miami OCR. I'll be driving the 20+ hours from NJ to southern Florida for a week of practice and then the event. I'm very excited to get back in the boat.
After Miami, I'm going to head home and back to the shop. But in February I will return to Florida (Clearwater this time) for the Laser Midwinters East. I'm excited at the prospect of sailing two events in the next two months, and I'm hoping I still remember how to sail my Laser.
Running Colie Sails has been going well. It's amazing to see how the job changes all the time. The summer is insane. It's really busy and there's barely time to breathe. Even leading up until Christmas has been pretty busy with a holiday push and fall regattas. Now it's the slow time of the year with fewer customers and more work and stocking up for next year. My employees and I just spent the last month or so making 65 Opti sails, for example, in preparation for the summer. There's a lot to do at all times, just in different ways.
Anyway, check back here and on twitter for updates during my training and the regatta in Miami. I'm anxious to get on the water.
Yesterday was the final day of the US Singlehanded Championship for the George O'Day trophy, and we only had two races to complete our series. Having a bit of a lead, I tried to take a pretty conservative approach and stick with the guy in 2nd place.
The first race was sailed in a dying off-shore breeze. I was over at the start (there goes my plan for being conservative...) and did a quick dip to get right back in the race. The course was shifty, but I found myself in 4th place at the weather mark. On the downwind the fleet condensed a little, and I lead the group to the left at the leeward mark. Shortly thereafter, I headed towards the right with the other leaders. Half way up the beat, the breeze died and swung around to the south, a big left shift. A fleet inversion occurred, and I was able to get just enough of the lefty to hang on to 5th in the race, which was good enough for me to clinch the title!
With nothing to lose in the second race, I got a good start near the pin and played the middle left. Eric Bowers got some nice pressure and an assist by some motor boat waves to jump out to a big lead. I rounded in 3rd and had a great downwind to catch Eric. On the second beat, I covered Eric to the right side, and despite losing a bit of distance to some guys who went left, I was in first at the final mark and held on for the win at the finish.
All in all, it was a successful trip to Sheboygan. Sheboygan Yacht Club has a beautiful venue, and I would recommend sailing there in a heartbeat. I'm back in NJ now, and that means back to the shop for the foreseeable future.
Five more races were sailed today on day two in Sheboygan. The breeze started at about 8 knots out of the North and gradually shifted all the way right to the South East and died as the day went on. The last race ended with only about 3 knots, and with plenty of chop all day, it was pretty tough racing.
I had a very solid day winning all five races. But it didn't come without some close races! The Shockey brothers turned on their games today and pushed me hard. It was actually a tough day to be winning because the course was so big that people could get some serious leverage on me. It was a constant battle between covering the guys directly behind me, and staying in touch with the guys way out on one side. But it all worked out in the end.
Tomorrow we have an early start at 9:30 for the final two races. Hopefully I can close out the regatta well.
Today was the first day of the O'Day Championship, US Sailing's Men's Singlehanded National Championship, in Sheyboygan, Wisconsin. Fifteen boats from around the country qualified to attend this three day event.
I launched at 9:15 for a 10 AM first start. As I got to the race course, the breeze died to almost nothing and some rain moved through. It wasn't a very warm welcome to the event! After the rain stopped, we started our first race. I had a good start to leeward of the fleet and lead the charge to the left. I really liked the left and set myself up well. About 2/3 of the way up the beat, I was looking good and decided to consolidate in front of most of the fleet on my hip out to the right. I tacked over to get in front of the fleet, but a huge lefty came in and I went from first to about 8th. I had a decent downwind and caught up to about 3rd or 4th on the next beat. This time, I hedged myself to the left of the group, but a 30 degree righty came in, and I was on the wrong side of the shift again. I rounded in 8th and caught one boat to have a mediocre 7th in race one.
After the race, the breeze was freshening, and the Race Committee was about to start us when all of a sudden they sent us in! A little confused, I sailed upwind for half an hour back to the dock, and when I got to the boat ramp, the RC quickly turned around and sent us back out. Apparently there were some serious storms on the radar, but as soon as we got in they had dissipated. Back out again!
Finally, we got into the groove and banged off four solid races. I had a good race two, leading off the line and winning pretty comfortably. In the third race, I had a good start, but struggled at the top to commit to a side. I rounded in about 7th and staged a great comeback to win the race.
For the last two races the breeze came up to about 16-18 knots with big waves. It was so much fun to surf the waves downwind, and I was glad I sailed a little during a radial clinic I helped coach last week in the ocean! I won both races to finish out the day.
All in all, it was a good start to the event. Sheboygan was pretty tricky early on, and I think I need to commit more to a side on the first beats. But overall I'm pretty pleased with my sailing. More racing tomorrow!
Things have been incredibly busy at Colie these last few months. The summer season is in full-swing, and it's great to see so many kids coming into the store for sailing gear. I just wish I had more time to sail myself!
In other news, I'm excited to announce that I'll be a regular guest-author for Judy Krimski's "Center of Effort" blog. Judy is going to be covering a lot of the America's Cup scene and also have tons of fantastic articles and interviews about sailing in general. I'm excited to contribute--even if it's just with a weekly blog update--to her blog. A few weeks ago I shared some tips about sailing downwind in light air. Here's a link to my article about heavy-air reaching...
Finally, I've gotten a few more requests for pictures of my rigging online. Under the "Photos" section of my website, I have an album with rigging pictures. I've added a few new ones, including my hiking strap adjustment system and my traveler system that I think are pretty cool. So check them out!
Today I packed up my Laser and drove down to Surf City for the annual Orange Coffee Pot regatta. The Orange Coffee Pot is the longest running Laser regatta in the US (and maybe the world? I'm not sure...). But it was the 41st running of the event, dating back to the early 70s right when the Laser came out.
We had seven races today in a very tricky and shifty 6-16 knot westerly breeze, plenty of chop, and the typical Long Beach Island seaweed. Almost 40 boats were at the regatta, so it was a great turn out.
I was able to hold off Kyle Rogachenko to take the title and win the perpetual Orange Coffee Pot mounted on a trophy. It was a lot of fun to race this event again, and I enjoy sailing locally against some of my old Laser friends from the area.
Today I sailed the Lavallette Spring Regatta in Lavallette, NJ. This annual event was well attended with about 20 local sailors going at it.
We sailed five races in a nice building sea breeze. The first race was about 6 knots, but the four races after that were about 15-16 knots. Combine that with 85 degree temperatures and plenty of sun, and it was a perfect day.
I was able to use good starts and speed to win the event. It was a lot of fun to be back at a regatta on Barnegat Bay, and it was even better to stretch my legs a little bit after the light air from last weekend!
Next up is the Orange Coffee Pot next weekend at Surf City YC.
Things have been super busy lately with Colie Sails, but last weekend I made my way up to Marblehead, MA, for the Laser Atlantic Coast Championship. There were almost 50 full rigs and 40 radials sailing in the two day regatta, and for me, it was the first time back in my Laser since the Miami OCR in January.
Eastern Yacht Club hosted the regatta, and for those who don't know about Eastern, it is one of the best clubs in the country. They have a gorgeous facility with picturesque views, nice lawns, plenty of launching and storage, and a strong contingent of volunteers and event organizers to make a regatta like this go off without a hitch.
The weather for the weekend was fantastic with temperatures in the 70s and lots of sun. But that also meant very light air. We only got five races off in 2-5 knots and lots of chop. I was able to use good starts and pretty good speed to win all five races and take the ACC title for the first time! We spent a lot of time on the water waiting for breeze, but the RC did a good job of getting quality races in very trying conditions. The regatta was a huge success.
Next up for me is the Lavalette Spring Regatta here in NJ before the Orange Coffee Pot Trophy at Surf City the following weekend. It's nice to be back home and able to sail in some local events again.
As if things weren't busy enough with last week being my first as owner of Colie Sails, I spent a couple days fulfilling some BMW obligations. On Tuesday afternoon, I headed up to Woodcliff Lake, NJ, to the BMW North American Headquarters. That afternoon, I joined fellow Performance Team Members Ricky Berens and Janet Evans, both Olympic medalists in swimming, for a panel discussion. The panel was hosted by famous NY announcer Al Trautwig, and we all discussed our training regimens, sports, and BMWs with the employees on site and the CEO of BMW. It was entertaining for mel to hear some stories from Ricky and Janet, but the highlight of the event was getting a ride in BMW's new M6. The M6 is AWESOME. There are only about 12 of them in the world so far, and the car is still in pre-production. But that didn't stop one of the employees from giving Ricky and me a ride. Let me just say that the car goes from 0-60 in about 3 seconds and change, and we found that out and more! It was very cool.
On Wednesday, I flew to Miami for one of four BMW "100 Days Out" celebrations. April 18th marked 100 days until the Olympics, so BMW hosted four events across the country--one in NYC, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles--to celebrate. I was joined in Miami by Jonathan Horton and Rebecca Bross, both gymnasts, to sit on a similar panel as the day before. We were joined at the Collins Center in Miami by some local dealers, employees, and customers to give another panel discussion about our sports. This time, Miami NBC news anchor, Adam Kuperstein, joined us as the emcee. Again, it was such a great experience to be around these fantastic athletes and to listen to and learn so much from them.
On stage for the BMW "100 Days Out" Celebration. Adam Kuperstein, Rebrecca Bross, Jonathan Horton, and me. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn)
BMW has been an amazing sponsor, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate in these events!