May - Long Beach training
In the middle of May, we spent two weeks training in Long Beach, CA with our training partners Riley and Louisa, and coach Mike Ingham. Long Beach is one of the best places in the world for two-boat tuning. We had everything from 3-20 knots, flat water, chop, and swell. It was a great opportunity to work on speed with long tuning runs and do boathandling laps. As the full-foiling Nacra 17 is a design that’s less than 2 years old, there is still much experimentation with foil and rudder rake settings in addition to all of the classic boatspeed variables. This training block also marked progress as I was able to graduate to sailing without my hand brace (I broke a metacarpal in my right hand in February) and continued to rebuild my grip strength. It was a relief to shake off some of the inevitable compensations and compromises that develop when one is not full strength.
Thank you to ABYC for the use of their facilities as our training base for this time. We’d like to thank the Hamlins, Pethicks, Melvins, and Tolands for their generosity housing us, feeding us, and providing a vehicle for us. After the camp, we packed up the boats to be sent to Enoshima, Japan for the events there in September.
In the middle of our Long Beach training, we had a two-day trip to San Francisco for a US Sailing Team tech-focused camp. We were happy to attend the launch of FAST USA: Facility for Advanced Sailing and Technology. Thanks to the St Francis Sailing Foundation (which also supports our campaign with grants), Treasure Island Sailing Center, and US Sailing for this exciting initiative.
We decided to skip the World Cup Final in Marseille, France as we felt that since both of our injuries (Bora’s in late August 2017, mine in late February 2018) we needed more time training before heading back to Europe for racing. Time in Europe can absolutely be productive, however it can also be an expensive way to spend a lot of time traveling, settling in, waiting for racing to happen (during training, you can sail whenever you want, but during racing, you can only go sailing when the race committee says it’s time to race). So instead, we chose to train out of Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit, where Bora lives.
June - Detroit training
The confined nature of the Detroit River forces boathandling practice and practicing transitions in puffy and shifty wind. Usually sailing alone leads to boredom after a few days, but it was impressive that even after weeks of being the only Nacra 17 there, we could still enthusiastically immerse ourselves in nailing foiling gybes, swifter tacks, and smoother transitions between puffs. We enjoyed hearing the junior sailors and summer campers excited reactions as we would foil towards the clubhouse and gybe away.
Just before a scheduled week off in our training, I unfortunately found myself sick with food poisoning, which resulted in a trip to the ER. Tests showed campylobacter, which is basically salmonella... I don't recommend it! It was over twelve days until I felt like myself again, and I am happy to be fully recovered now.
From Detroit it was off to Gdynia, Poland, via Hamburg, Germany, to collect our van, trailer, and boat.
July - European Championship in Gdynia, Poland
Gdynia, Poland gave us mostly light wind conditions, but with lumpy chop and some waves to keep in challenging! During this event we made big improvements in upwind boatspeed and continued to work on our racing communication. Bora fought through a cold all week, a reminder of the toll that all of the travel and stress can take.
We were disappointed after our first day of racing, but bounced back with two 8th places, and unfortunately one false start, the next day. During the final series, we got two 1sts and a 2nd, and had a breakage in another race and hit two plastic bags in another. To be able to mentally rebound from these frustrations is part of the game!
We finished 3rd in Silver fleet, which was 30th overall. Results here.
Of course we are eager to get results. We are competitive, to say the least. But we are also not going to let results from our third-ever event together (and first event when we haven’t been significantly compromised by a recent injury) let us lose any faith in our process. We are encouraged by the gains in boatspeed (especially in light air) that we were able to make overnight. Racing in Poland was exactly the check-in with the international competition that we needed to keep progressing.
Here's a 1-min clip of one of our mark roundings during the qualifying series at Europeans:
Now we are excited to continue that work during training and practice racing in Aarhus, Denmark during our two-week lead-up to the World Championships.
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. Without you, we could not do what do!