Our peak event of 2018 was the World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, from Aug 5 - 12.
The Hempel Aarhus 2018 World Championships was not only the largest sailing event (regatta) ever held in Denmark, it was the largest sporting event ever held in the country, too! Every four years, World Sailing organizes the World Championships for all 10 Olympic sailing classes in the same place at the same time, so it is a massive event.
Before the Worlds started, we had two weeks of training in Aarhus to get familiar with the sailing venue. I had driven across Poland with the van, trailer, and boat, taken a ferry to Sweden, and then drove across the bridge into Denmark. One more ferry took me from Copenhagen to Aarhus, which is the second-largest city in Denmark.
We had light winds during the entire training period, and of course wind and waves at the upper limit of race-able on the first day of the regatta! That is one of the aspects of our sport that makes it extra-challenging and always-interesting... we cannot control or even predict the conditions, and so being adaptable is key.
We are excited that there are now 3 other full-time USA Nacra 17 teams training with us: Riley & Louisa, Ravi & Caroline, and Sarah & David, all with Nacra 17 squad coach Mike Ingham. This was valuable during our event lead-up, and we look forward to continuing to work together this fall and winter.
A simplistic recap:
Day 1 – 3 races in strong wind and waves, ended the day 35th overall.
Day 2 – Light & unstable wind, no races.
Day 3 – 4 races in light wind, just enough to foil downwind, 2 good and 2 bad races but only moved up 2 places to 33rd.
Day 4 – Day off. Unusual for us, but a chance to recharge!
Day 5 – 3 races in Gold fleet, light wind but building to double trapezing conditions. Moved up 10 places to 23rd after two top ten finishes.
Day 6 – 3 races in Gold fleet, very windy and shifty on Stadium course, next to shore and the grandstands, moved up one more place overall.
After starting the event in 33rd after the qualifying series, we moved up 11 places during Gold fleet racing. We finished 22nd overall, 14th country, and top USA team. Results here.
To say we are hungry to do so much better is a huge understatement. We can point to specific incidents where we left points on the table, and have learned from those, and we can also pinpoint aspects of boatspeed and boathandling that we will continue to work on in order to close the gap. We feel that we have much to learn about sailing this boat and racing with each other, but also that we did not perform to our abilities at Worlds. The latter is a harder pill to swallow. So, we will focus on both learning more and racing to our fullest potential. We are not interested in excuses, only in how we can prepare better next time in order to execute what we set out to do.
We are disappointed to not have met our results goal of qualifying the USA for a berth at the 2020 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class by finishing in the top 8 countries. This was the first but not the only chance to qualify the country, the next chance is in Nov 2019.
We'd like to thank the staff of the US Sailing Team and the US Olympic Committee for the resources provided to enhance our performance. It takes a team - meteorologists, sport psychologists, physiotherapists, logistics gurus... the list goes on.
A huge thank you to the Aarhus 2018 event organizers and volunteers – the event was outstanding, organized, and set a high bar. It was great to see the sustainability initiatives such as extensive recycling, water bottle refill stations, and a city very accessible for cyclists.
We have been analyzing our performance and being sure to recharge after an intense few months of training and European racing.
Next up is competing at the 2020 Olympic venue – Enoshima, Japan!
We will spend all but the last 5 days of September there. We have a week of training, then the Sailing World Cup Enoshima, then a couple of days off and a couple of days of training before the Enoshima Olympic Week. It will be energizing to be at the site for sailing in 2020, and connecting with the place and feeling comfortable there is an important part of peak performance. There is a lot of work to do to understand the venue and learn about the fascinating culture.
Thanks to the US Sailing Team, Futuramic, Bayview Yacht Club, the St Francis Sailing Foundation, Sailing Foundation of New York, All-Ways, Harken, NE Ropes, Avasol, and Ripple. Thank you to the individual donors as well. Their support from the beginning of this Olympic campaign has allowed us to train as effectively as possible and represent the USA at this World Championship.
If you would like to support us, donations can be made by PayPal using the link on our home page, or click the Support tab in the top right to learn how to make a tax-deductible donation. Thank you for supporting our journey to Tokyo 2020!