Sailing World Cup Miami 2018
Finally, we raced our first regatta together!
This year's Sailing World Cup Miami dealt us a variety of conditions from 4-7 knots on the first day to 20-25 knots during the medal race.
We were happy to have met our goal of finishing in the top 10 and qualifying for the medal race (results here) because of our limited practice time due to Bora's injury, however we are not satisfied because the ultimate goal is to win, of course.
In early January we had a full US Sailing Team camp with daily talks on weather, nutrition, Miami conditions, rules, and more. We also had to pack and ship a container to Argentina for our February training there. In the middle of the month we were able to race the Midwinter regatta as a warmup before the World Cup and also work in-person with our strength and conditioning coach Mike Kuschner of SPT. We enjoyed working with all 3 other US teams and Argentineans Santi Lange & Cecilia Carranza (Rio 2016 Gold medallists) during this period. Thanks to Jonathan McKee and Randy Smyth for coaching us during the regatta and the full month.
As our first event, we practiced racing communication and working out the kinks in that. Our starts were solid. We look forward to improving on our settings, downwind boatspeed, and boathandling especially.
New Sponsor: Ripple!
We're excited to announce our new sponsor, Ripple. It's pea milk (milk alternative made from yellow peas) and has the same amount of protein as milk. Very cool that Adam Lowry, a 49er sailor, Moth sailor, Detroiter, Stanford Sailing alumnus, and 505 World Champion is a co-founder!
Training in Buenos Aires
After a massive packup operation ("This pile is fly with to Argentina, this pile is ship to Europe in the container, this pile is drive with to Detroit...") and after a bit of Moth training, it was time to head south. A week and a half after the Sailing World Cup Miami wrapped up, Riley, Louisa, Bora and I were on a plane from Miami to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After a busy month of January in Miami, we were ready for a new venue, and of course with that came a new culture too. The Rio 2016 gold medallists in the Nacra 17, Santi Lange and Cecilia Carranza, invited us to train with them at Santi's yacht club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, called Club Nautico San Isidro (CNSI). The yacht club is a beautiful and enormous institution with 13,000 members. There are canals everywhere full of sailboats on boat sides. In fact, we commuted by coachboat from our rental house!
The best part is how many sail boats were out cruising every day (there are virtually no motorboats), enjoying the Rio de la Plata. El Rio looks like chocolate milk, it's brown from the sediment carried thousands of miles from Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. It's the widest river in the world and only 2m deep!
Conditions changed gradually each day, allowing us to get distinct morning and evening sessions. Since the river is so shallow and can have strong current in either direction (it can be very wind driven), the chop can really stack up close together. This makes for challenging downwind foiling in the Nacra 17. Performance depends on dynamic weight movement fore and aft, in and out, and of course precise spinnaker and mainsheet trim. Every movement and change must be anticipated, otherwise you're already late. Foiling gybes are becoming more consistent for us, and through lots of short-course practice racing we are forced to make fast decisions in a fast boat even faster.
The main lesson to us, aside from our technique and sail/foil setup improvements, is from Santi and Ceci's energy towards sailing. Every time they step onto their Nacra, from pushing off the ramp to returning into the basin, they are sailing with an intensity like their life depends on it. An Olympic campaign can be a long road with lots of travel, long days, and seemingly tedious details. But as gold medallists (and three-time medalist, in Santi's case), they know that purposeful practice is all that matters at the end of the day. We are grateful to have them as role models, friends, training partners, and competitors.
After training one evening we enjoyed a traditional Argentinean barbecue (asado) and another evening we went to a local soccer match where the fans didn't stop jumping and singing for the whole game. Besides that, we were training so much that we didn't have the chance to explore the area much at all, but we hope to return for longer in the future.
The container with our boats will go from Buenos Aires to..... San Francisco! We look forward to using these boats on the Bay in May before they head to the 2020 Olympic venue in Japan for two events in September.
Next on the calendar is kicking off the European season. We start with training in Barcelona in early April and then Sailing World Cup Hyeres in Hyeres, France in late April.
Thanks to the US Sailing Team, Bayview Yacht Club, the St Francis Sailing Foundation, Futuramic, All-Ways, Harken, and NE Ropes.