February 16th, 2020
This is definitely the hardest blog we have had to write during our campaign. We finished our campaign yesterday wrapping up the 2020 World Championships in 7th place overall. This was our best finish in an international event and our 4th top 10 finish in the last 5 events we have sailed. (Another fun fact: only 3 of the top 10 teams in the 2019 Worlds finished in the top 10 at the 2020 Worlds).
The sailing on the final day of racing was awesome, but a bit rainy and chilly. We had great day of racing in great wind. The day started with two final gold fleet races. We had an awesome first race in which we won. And the second race was not as good on the score sheet, but the comeback that Paris led us on down the last downwind leg passing eight boats was awesome and put us in a great position heading into the double point medal race.
We headed in after the two gold fleet races and were sitting in 4th, with 7 points separating 4 from 10th overall. The Medal race was going to be epic and close for everyone involved.
We headed out for the race and were very ready. The boat felt fast and we knew what our plan was. The race started and we had a great start. We punched off the line and lead out to the left corner. We got to the top mark in 1st with our fellow USA boat in second right behind us. They managed to soak low of our line and were able to prevent us from gybing so we waited for them to gybe and we followed behind. As we approached the gate mark, both teams were coming in fast. Something happened on their boat where they spun up or something as they were dousing and we came in expecting them to have a normal douse and follow behind into the mark, however, we carried more speed and got trapped high of them and incurred a penalty trying to avoid them. We doused our kite and spun our circle and carried on with the race.
At that time we were sitting about 5/6th in the race. We tried to sail fast up the beat and were able to round the top mark in 5th with the German boat right on our hip. As we rounded a lull hit and I hit the water so our bear away wasn’t quite as smooth as we wanted it to be and the Germans were now to windward of us. We luffed up as we were setting to try to get them off of us, and despite their kite hitting us, the protest between us was green flagged and they managed to get over the top of us. While this was happening, the world champions rounded behind us and had a clean set and shot ahead of us both. We crossed the line in 7th in the race….
Now for all the math. Because the race was the medal race, all the points are doubled, so first gets 2 points, second gets 4 points, etc. The other USA boat crossed the line in 1st and ended up securing the bronze medal for the world championships. We ended up in a tie for 6th place, but because the Danish boat beat us in the race, we lost the tie and ended up 7th overall in the regatta.
And now for the Olympic Trials math. Our two trial events were the two world championships, 2019 and 2020. In 2019, we finished 9th and Steph and Maggie finished 13th. At this event, we finished 7th and they finished 3rd. This put both teams on a tie of points at 16. The tie was to be broken by the best result at the 2020 World Championships and therefore because they beat us here, they win the tie and the win the Olympic berth for Team USA.
We are obviously extremely gutted and heartbroken by the results. And its really sad that our recent successes in events don’t seem that fantastic…but that’s only for now as the wound is still open and raw. In reality, the journey that Paris and I managed to do in the short period of time that we had campaigning was incredible and in a few days time we will be able to look back at it and see it for that.
Most importantly, we have so many people we need to thank for their continued support both financially and emotionally. First, we must thank our families for supporting us 100% in what we were trying to achieve. We really couldn’t have done it without your support. Next we need to thank everyone that contributed financially to our campaign. Most definitely we would not have been able to do nearly as much as we did without you. With no financial support from our federation, it was you that helped us get to where we are today…the 7thbest team in the world! For all the companies that gave us product. Olita, Magic Marine, Fitaid, Lurong,…. Thank you! And to everyone who send us encouraging messages, stayed up to the middle of the night watching and cheering us on! Thank you all.
Anna & Paris