It's been over a month since I've returned to the United States, and I've used that month to relax and train. I've spent most of my time on Long Beach Island, NJ, enjoying the 90+ degree temperatures, sun, and warm water; it's a great change from the cold temperatures in Europe! Throughout the month I gave a lot of sailing lessons, did some training with other top US Laser sailors - Kyle Rogachenko and Cam Cullman - and did some sailing on my own. While I took some time off from racing my laser, I did sail a Vanguard 15 team race on Cape Cod in the middle of the month which was a nice change of pace. Moreover, I put in lots of miles on my road bike and spent some time in the gym. It was a really productive month, and I'm ready to head back to Europe refreshed and ready to race.
This weekend will be my last in the US until after Labor Day. On Friday, I'm heading up to Newport, RI, for a US Sailing Team Alphagraphics fundraiser to help raise funds for our team. It should be a fun day of racing on sonars followed by cocktails and a dinner at the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court.
On Sunday night, I fly to London and then head to Weymouth for my next event. I'll have a USSTAG training camp with the other US Laser sailors for a few days and then the Sail For Gold regatta from August 9th-14th. After that, I have two weeks to regroup and train before the World Championships in Hayling Island, England, at the end of the month. August should be a busy month.
Definitely check back for updates on my trip!
Well it was a long trip to Europe. Thirty-six days to be exact. While there, I sailed in three regattas and did lots of good training. While my first two regattas weren't as good as I would have liked, I was able to culminate my trip with an awesome performance in Kiel, Germany. The regatta in Kiel was the 6th stop on the World Cup circuit, and I was able to win the last race of the opening series and follow that up with an exciting win in the medal race to move up from 11th to 2nd place overall! It was a great way to end the trip.
I learned a lot while in Europe, got some more racing experience against the top guys in the world, and have developed a solid plan to help bring my game to the next level. I'm going to work hard in July and head back to Europe on August 1st for two more events. The first will be the "Sail For Gold" regatta in Weymouth, England -- the site of the Olympic Games. This will be the 7th and last stop on the World Cup tour. After that, I will continue over to Hayling Island, England, for our World Championships at the end of the month.
Photo by Fried Elliott
Before I left for Europe, I had a very successful fundraiser at Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club in NJ. I want to thank everyone one more time for all of the support. Having everyone's good wishes and support makes the sailing and hard work worth it! I've put a short video clip and a couple of pictures up on the "Fundraiser" tab of my website. There are more pictures in the "Photos" section.
I also got some great pictures of my racing in Kiel from photographer Fried Elliott. Check out some pictures from Kiel in the photos section too!
Today was the medal race at the Kiel Week regatta, and I entered the day in 5th place. The medal race was a 10-boat, two lap, windward-leeward course sailed in a shifty 4-6 knots of offshore breeze. It was very shifty and reminded me of my college sailing days.
I got a pretty good start third up from the pin. Very quickly the fleet tacked to port, and I looked pretty good. I played the middle left and found myself in 2nd place at the first windward mark, just behind Tom Slingsby (AUS). On the downwind I remained in 2nd and rounded the leeward mark headed left. Again, Tom and I played the middle left and had extended a little from the fleet. At the very top of the beat I was able to get some pressure and a shift and get around Tom. I found some nice pressure on the final downwind and sailed in for a first place finish!
By winning the medal race I was able to move up to 2nd place overall! I’m pretty excited to get my second podium finish in the world cup this year!
Tomorrow I fly home to NJ for some rest and training. Then it’s back to England for the Sail For Gold regatta and our World Championships in August.
Photo by Fried Elliott
After a few hours of postponing on shore, and another hour long postponement on the water, the Laser class got one light, 2-5 knot race on the last day of racing at Kiel. This regatta has been plagued with light air, and it's been tough to sit through day after day always on my toes ready to race at the drop of the AP flag!
Our lone race started at about 2:30 today. I had a great start at the favored pin end and continued on starboard for about 100 yards before tacking on to port and crossing the fleet. The breeze was pretty steady so it was tough to cover everyone as the fleet split to opposite sides. I played the middle left and found myself in 2nd place at the top mark behind Maxim Semerkhanov (RUS). What was even cooler, though, was that Charlie Buckingham and Kyle Rogachenko -- my two US teammates here -- were in 3rd and 4th!
I had a pretty good downwind leg, passing Maxim at the bottom. But Charlie and Wannes van Laer (BEL) went high in more pressure and got in front of us. Kyle remained in 5th. We all played some shifts up the middle and as we approached the top of the beat, Charlie had jumped out to 1st, I was 2nd, and Kyle was a close 3rd. Again, pretty cool to see the three Americans round 1-2-3 at a mark! We stayed the same on the reach and on the downwind, I was able to separate low towards the bottom in a little better pressure and just get room on Charlie and Wannes to slip into first. I stayed in first on the final reach and covered tightly on the final beat to finish the race in 1st place! Charlie was 2nd and Kyle was 4th. Great race for team USA.
After the race, the wind died to almost nothing and we drifted around for an hour. The Race Committee finally conceded and sent us in at about 5 PM.
So with a 1st in our race today I moved up to 5th overall! That also means that I will be sailing in the medal race tomorrow! Points are still close, so with a good race maybe I can continue the climb!
For the second day in a row, we had no racing at Kiel! Today, however, we didn't even leave the harbor. I headed down to the club at about 8:45 for an 11 AM start, but when I arrived there was glass on the water. All fleets were postponed until 3 PM. Some fleets eventually did get to sail in a very light and localized "harbor breeze," but many did not leave the dock. The Race Committee called the day at 4 PM.
The plan for tomorrow, as far as I know it, is to have three races in our qualifying groups. After that, they will take the top 10 for the medal race on Wednesday. There will be no Gold-Silver-Bronze split.
Hopefully we get some breeze tomorrow! The forecast isn't that great!
Here's a shot of me sailing upwind in training. There wasn't that much breeze today!
We didn't have any races today, the second day of Kiel Week. The lasers were sent out for an 11 AM start time, but we sat postponed in little to no win for 2.5 hours. The Race Committee started the yellow group and then the blue fleet (my fleet for the day) but quickly abandoned as the breeze died to nothing right after the start. At 1:30 the RC put up AP over A, signaling the end of the day. We were a little surprised they called the day off so early, but I guess they were pretty confident in their forecast.
Three more qualifier races are scheduled for tomorrow, and then we'll split into Gold-Silver-Bronze fleet for one day of racing. The medal race will be on Wednesday.
Kiel lived up to its reputation today: we had 12-18 knots, big choppy, rain, temperatures in the low 60s, and we sailed about 45 min to an hour to our race course! I was in yellow fleet today for the first of two qualifying days. We had three races on the outer loop.
In the first race, I had a great stat at the pin and tacked and crossed the fleet. After I crossed most of our group I flopped back over and headed left. The breeze went a little further left though and a few guys I had crossed were now ahead of me. I sailed out and tacked on their hip and rode the lefty all the way to the weather mark. I rounded in 6th place and started on the reach. On the downwind I caught up to 4th and rounded heading to the left. The top two were pretty punch, so it looked like it was a race for third. I stayed left, thinking the breeze was going to pay like the first beat, but a few guys went right and rode a big shift across. I tried to get in touch with the fleet, but had lost a few boats. I stayed left and capitalized on a lefty at the top of the beat to round in 6th. I stayed in 6th on the downwind and reach and began what was an unusually long last upwind to the finish. But the long leg worked to my benefit as I was able to get around two guys to finish 4th!
In the second race, I had another great start at the pin and tacked quickly to port. The breeze had gone far to the left, and I was almost laying! I rode the lefty across and ended up rounding in 3rd. Unfortunately on the downwind I stayed in the middle and pressure filled on either sides. I dropped back to about 6th at the leeward mark. On the next upwind I went left, again thinking the breeze would stay left like the first beat. I was looking really good for the first half of the beat, and I was conscious to stay near the guys right behind me on the left. But a bunch of guys who were deeper in the race went hard right and got big pressure and a shift. I had nothing coming back from the left (which was kind of odd) and could only get around in 12th place. I had a good downwind, closing some distance on the guys in front of me. On the last windward beat I passed a few boats to finish in 9th. A little frustrating, but a keeper race.
In the final race, I started middle-pin this time and sailed almost to the layline. I tacked onto port and crossed, sailing in about 5th place. I was 5th at the top mark with the fleet pretty spread out. On the downwind, I caught one boat to move into 4th place. For the rest of the race, I bounced around between 3rd and 5th. On the last downwind I lost one boat and rounded in 5th. I stayed there until the finish.
So overall, it was a long, cold day. Solid results though of 4-9-5 put me in 11th overall. But with three fleets the points are all very close.
After the Laser Europeans ended last Friday, I took an early flight on Saturday from Tallinn, Estonia, to Hamburg, Germany. Once in Hamburg, I rented a car and drove north to Kiel, the site of the penultimate World Cup Regatta of the 2010 season. I took the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday off to rest up and regroup, before hitting the water on Monday for more training.
So far I've trained Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday and will train tomorrow too. Friday is reserved for registration and measurement, and our regatta starts on Saturday. The event is five days long with 13 races scheduled, so the Race Committee will try to bang off a lot of races each day. Moreover, Kiel is infamous for its cold and rainy conditions and long tows out to the course. It should be a pretty intense few days!
What's cool about Kiel is that the US Team all stays together on "the Farm." Our accomodation is about 15 minutes from the yacht club and is literally on a farm; we have to drive through fields and past farm animals each day! There are a handful of houses and apartments scattered around one big house where we get internet and all of our meals. It's a pretty cool place, and it's certainly enjoyable to have so many US guys to hang out with at night.
After this regatta I'll be heading back to the states for most of July before returning to England in August for Sail for Gold and our World Championships!
Stay tuned for more updates from Kiel!
Completing a tack around the leeward mark in yesterday's light air races..
Today was the last day of finals at the 2010 European Championships. We were sent out for two final races in a puffy and shifty offshore breeze.
The first race had breeze from 5-12 knots. I had a boat tack onto port and hit me at the start, forcing me to stall at the gun. I quickly tacked to port and played the middle, coming back to the left at the end. Unfortunately the guys on both sides came across in front of me, and I rounded in about 40th place. I picked off a few boats on the downwind and headed to the left. The left was very favored, though, and everyone played that side so it was tough to pass more boats. I had another decent downwind, but as we gybed around the mark to start our bottom reach, the breeze shifted very far left and the reach became a run. Many boats in the back of the fleet got there at once, and it was a little chaotic. I didn't come out of the last mark rounding as well as I would have liked and lost a few boats up the final beat to finish in 38th.
After the race, the breeze died and it began to rain. We sat around as the Race Committee kept moving the course. It was pretty miserable: cold, pouring rain, little visibility, and most of the fleet was out of contention, so they had had enough racing. But the RC persisted and finally started the final race. As we started, the breeze began to build and build, reaching the high teens for the final leg. I had a great start near the boat and sailed off on starboard tack for a while. Once I got headed, I tacked to port and was crossing a lot of guys from the right. I continued right and was looking really good, when all of a sudden the breeze went left and I lost everyone I had just crossed! I rounded in the mid-thirties again. I had another ok run to pass a few, and then I played some shifts up the second beat to catch a few more boats. I stayed about there to finish in the high twenties in the last race.
Overall, it was another frustrating event. I've learned a few things about my sailing and what I need to improve on. Tomorrow morning I fly to Hamburg, Germany, for the final regatta of my European trip.
Today was the first day of Gold fleet, and the tight competitive racing lived up to its reputation. Over the past four days we've had qualification races with the fleet split into three groups. Today, the top third of the fleet came together to race each other.
We started out the day with a postponement for a few hours. Despite a nice harbor breeze, there wasn't very much wind on the race course. At about noon, the Race Committee decided to send us out to wait so that if some breeze filled we could start quickly. After a little more waiting on the water, we finally started our first race in a 2-5 knot offshore breeze. I had an ok start at the pin and played the middle left on the first beat. It was an odd breeze because every time I came back to the middle, the people I crossed who continued further left would gain. Finally I just decided to go pretty hard left and made some gains towards the top of the beat. But the right came in for most of the beat, and I rounded the first mark in about 25th place. I stayed about the same on the downwind. Around the leeward mark I noticed more pressure on the left, so I headed there and made some gains, rounding in the mid-teens. As we sailed downwind though, the bronze fleet and the gold fleet overlapped and it was chaotic. I ended up losing a few boats in the shuffle and rounded the final leeward mark in 18th. I stayed there until the finish.
After the first race, the breeze began to die a little, but the RC quickly started us up. I had another ok start at the pin, but hung in there thinking the top left was going to be good like the previous race. As I kept going left the breeze died and went hard right. Basically everyone who started in the pin half of the line and didn't go right was very far behind! There's not much more to say about my race, except that I was in the group well behind in the race. To be honest, I'm quite surprised that the RC didn't abandon the race, because on the second beat the wind went to almost nothing. They ended up shortening the race and finishing us at the leeward mark just before the time limit.
So it was a tough day in Gold fleet. Few people had two solid races and the results are still pretty close. Two more races to complete the regatta tomorrow in what looks to be an ON SHORE, 12-15 knot breeze! Hopefully it's a little steadier.