Miami World Cup: Final Day

February 1, 2019

Today our regatta ended. We had three races and finished 17thoverall.  Its not the result that we would have liked, but we came into this regatta with some goals and we came away accomplishing them.

We hit the water this morning just after 8:30, and as we got to the race course, the wind started to die, and then it left us for a long time.  We moved three times around the bay to find more wind, and eventually found our spot for some racing.  Around 2pm, we started racing and the race committee cranked out three fast races in 6-8 kts of breeze.

Race one of today started great.  We had a really good start and headed to the left side of the course which was where we wanted to go.  There was a little bit of current pushing that way too, and when the inside boats finally tacked we were already on lay line.  By the time we all got to the top of mark, we were pinned above lay line and had to find our spot to get back down around the mark.  At one point we were sailing downwind…not a good luck. As it turned out, we were black flagged in the race so our score ended up being our previous drop race (a 24th).

After a very short break, we started race 2.  Our start wasn’t super great, but we found our lane.  The whole race we were climbing through the fleet to finish the race in 17th.

The final race was our best race of the day.  We had a great start and were able to execute our plan up the first beat.  We didn’t quite make it to the port lay line coming into the top mark, and lost a boat or two on that, but rounded in a decent position around 10th.  From there, we gained a few and lost a few boats around the course, ending in a 14thoverall at the finish.

Our overall goals coming into the regatta were to have boat handling that was up to par or better and to feel really comfortable on the start line and execute good starts.  We haven’t done much work on speed or racing yet this far in our program so we were very happy with where our speed was and how it developed during the event.  We also started to get better and better with our calls on the race course, and the more we do it the more comfortable we will be with them again, and the better the overall results will be.

It is a bit hard feeling good about accomplishing our goals for the event with the result that we got. We are both very competitive, so its understandable that we aren’t happy with the results placing.  However, we are trying to look at the big picture and put it all in to prospective.  We are continuously showing improvement and the results of the regatta don’t necessarily show that. It wasn’t just us having a hard time in races and the scores for most teams had some deep races too.  But I don’t want to make excuses for us and the fact is that we still have a lot of work to do, but we are on track with our plan and that is exciting to see how far we will keep going for the next event.

Our next event is at the end of March in Palma, Spain.   It will be the second and final qualifier for the Pan-American Games and the Pre-Olympics , both later this year.  Currently we are sitting in second place and after tomorrows medal race we will know how many points we are behind our fellow American’s, Steph Roble and Maggie Shea, who are still racing.  Between now and then we have our plan laid out with our coach Willie.  We are taking this coming week off and then are back on the water a week on Monday.

Thank you all for the kind and encouraging notes during the event and for all of your continued support.

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Anna and Paris

Miami World Cup: Day 3

January 31, 2019

It was a day of “almosts” today.  On the score board the scores don’t look fantastic, but we are really happy with how things felt while we were sailing.  We ended the day with a 15, 19 putting us in 13thposition overall going into the last day of fleet racing.

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We were on the later start which we thought meant we were going to get solid wind and 4 fast fun races off.  We only got two off before the wind died and the races were called for the day around 4pm.

The first race was the windiest race of the regatta so far.  It was around 10-12 kts when we started with a nice little chop coming down the bay.  We had a good start on port tack and headed out to the right hand side of the course because that’s what we thought was going to be the favored side.  There was every indicator that it would be given the big black cloud on over there, but unfortunately it didn’t work out as much as we had hoped and rounded the top mark in 21st. We sailed quite well from there and picked up boats on every leg to finish 15thoverall.  This was our first race where we passed boats on every leg in a race, so that was a great feeling to have.

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From there, the wind was on its downwind trend.  We had another great start, this time in the middle of the line on starboard.  We felt fast and pulled out on all the boats around us. We sailed a good beat and managed to get to the top mark in about 6th-8thplace.  Unfortunately, as we rounded the mark and I was hoisting the spinnaker halyard, my halyard and sheets tied themselves in a huge knot somehow and we ended up sailing a little slow for about a minute.  This cost us a lot of boats at the time and put us well back in the fleet from where we were.  We were able to climb back up on the second beat, but then on the last leg, the wind really started to fade and we lost out to a few boats at the finish because the boats that went the other way downwind got a little more breeze back towards the finish line.

Overall, we were happy with how the boat felt.  We felt fast through the water both upwind and downwind.  We had some really good tactical calls, and great starts in both of the races.  We also had a few mistakes that cost us some points, which is frustrating, but in a way I’m glad they are happening now so we can learn from them and keep getting better.

Tomorrow they have scheduled 4 races for us starting at 10am.  The forecast is for lighter winds again, which I’m kind of excited about.  You can follow along with the scores here!

Thank you for your continued support

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Anna and Paris

Miami World Cup: Day 2

January 30, 2019

21,4,6 was our score line today.  A much better overall day both on the scoreboard and with how we felt sailing.  These scores moved us up to 11thoverall. With it being a challenging day, we are happy with our scoreline for the most part.

Race 1, we had a great start and headed out to the left side of the course.  We had a great lane and executed our plan, but we ended up being just a little shy of where we should have ended up and got a swallowed up by the two outside edges.  We rounded around the 21stposition and were plus and minus boats the whole course until we crossed in about the same position.

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Race two was much more dramatic to start with.  We ended up in a tight situation on the start line and ended up losing flow and fouling a boat with about 35 seconds to go to the start.  We backed out of the start line and were very slow.  We had to spin a penalty circle to exonerate ourselves and after, we finally managed to get back up to speed,  started on port below the whole fleet, and led to the right hand side.  Right at the start, the wind had clocked right about 20 degrees so we fortunately ended up in a good position.  We tacked over and crossed the boats to round the top mark in 1stplace. From there the top four boats extended on the fleet and traded positions around the course the whole race. Unfortunately, we got rolled on the last downwind leg and ended up finishing 4th in the race.

Between races the wind died down and then built back up in its original direction.  So after a short postponement waiting for the wind to come back, we got back underway and in sequence.

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The final race of the day I would say was our best race.  We had an awesome start in the bottom 1/3 of the fleet heading out the left side of the course.  We held our lane and tacked just shy of layline.  We had great pressure  (and by great I mean about 4-5kts) and sailed up to the top mark. We rounded in about 8-9th and made the call to do a straight set with the kite.  During the downwind we recognized what the wind was doing (shifting back right like the previous race) and made our call to sail the right hand side of the course on the second upwind leg.  By now the wind was getting very very light and it was all about trying to keep your boat moving up the leg.  We did and passed one or two boats up the leg.  We were able to round right inside the Swedish team at the top mark and get over the top of them after we gybed set.  From there it was a straight shot into the finish.  It was slow and challenging as there wasn’t very much wind left on the course.  I had to ask Paris at one point if we were at least half way down the leg as I couldn’t see anything except out kite from where I was sitting. (Thankfully she said yes, we were over half way).

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After that race, the race committee called it  day for us and we headed in.  We hit the shore, put the boat away, and had a debriefed the day with Coach Willie, snacking on paleo cookies and tea (made my Jo, Anna’s mom).

Tomorrow is forecast for a bit more breeze than we have seen this week.  We have four races scheduled to try and catch up from the first day of racing where we only got 1 of the three scheduled races completed.  We are both very much looking forward to tomorrow and are off to get a good night sleep.

You can follow the results here!

Thank you all for your continued support!

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Anna and Paris

Miami World Cup: Day 1

January 29th, 2019

Today started the racing at the Hempel Miami Sailing World Cup, and it definitely wasn’t the start that we were hoping for.  We finished with a 24th  in the only race of the day, but on a positive note, we weren’t penalized with a Black Flag (DSQ).

After a casual morning of waiting for what was scheduled as a 2pm start, we headed to the boat park around 11:30 to get the boat ready to go.  Because the wind was lighter and quite shifty, the race committee was unable to get races done as fast as they had planned, so we were held on shore a little longer than scheduled to make the racing run smooth. We finally launched sometime around 1:30, and headed out to catch the guys (49er) last race. We got out there, did our homework, got the boat feeling fast, and were ready for racing.

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The first starting sequence went, and this is always the most nerve-racking one of the whole series. We were under a U-flag start, meaning if there was someone over the line within one minute of the start, then you will be disqualified from the race, unless it was restarted.  The fleet was very eager to start and we ended up having the start recalled. The next start was a black flag start, meaning the same thing as a U-flag, but there is no forgiveness this time. Again the fleet was over, and they caught 5-6 boats DSQ. We knew we were close, but thankfully not close enough and weren’t over the line.  The final start got off shortly after, and race 1 was underway.  We had a great start, but ended up a little too far down the line for perfect placement.  But we got off the line, had great speed, and were able to sail fast. We tacked onto port and sailed across the course. There was a band of wind just to windward of us that wasn’t coming down, but was filling in from the right hand side, and so the right hand boats got the pressure slightly before us.  We ended up 17that the top mark, which wasn’t great, but it was what it was given we were on the wrong side of the filling breeze.

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Downwind we gybed set and headed down the course.  We ended up gybing too early before layline and the boats that were behind us, extended into the corner and had better pressure and passed us.  We were probably about 28that the bottom mark. The final upwind wasn’t much better in terms of passing boats, but on the last downwind leg, we were able to catch back up and pass about 4 boats to finish 24th.

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Although today wasn’t great, I am a big believer in trying to take the positives out of the day.  Our starts, all three of them, were really quite good.  And our speed in the lighter conditions felt really good too.  We have struggled with those two things the last few weeks so it was nice to have both of them lined up today.  And our big lesson learned/re-learned/re-emphasized is to never give up.  It could have been quite easy for us to have just checked out after the first downwind leg and not put much effort forward to try and pass boats given that the course wasn’t offering a lot of passing lanes, but we didn’t and I’m happy that we managed to pull back some boats at the end of the race.

Sometimes we make bad decisions, but once the decision is made, we can only look to try and make the current situation better.

Tomorrow we have 4 races scheduled starting at 11:30.  I’m looking forward to getting in multiple races back to back so that we can keep learning/re-learning all of these lessons.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of us!

On to tomorrow!

img_8934-2.jpegAnna and Paris

 

Miami World Cup Starts Tomorrow!

January 28, 2019

Tomorrow we start day one of racing at the Hempel Miami Sailing World Cup.  We start racing at 2pm with three races scheduled.

Today, however, was a rest day.  Neither of us did much in relation to the sailing, and it was very pleasant.  The last few days have been full of boat work and sailing and preparations for racing.  We owe a big thank you to our coach Willie and my Dad, Paul, for helping us out with the boat work and getting things done at a much faster pace.  Having four sets of hands is much better than two. We also can’t forget about the two pups, Bella and Ebba, whom Paris takes a very keen liking too.

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This evening, was the opening ceremony hosted at Coral Reef YC.  It was quite a chilly evening, but was well attended by the sailors and coaches from around the world.  I know we can’t complain about the chilly temperatures based on what up north is getting or about to get, but for Miami, today and this evening were not warm. We are all hoping it warms up just a little for the beginning of tomorrow’s racing.

This regatta is quite important for many reasons, but we have our goals as a team, and are going to do the best we can and check off the goals as we go.  The Miami World Cup is the first qualifier of two for the Pre-Olympic Event in August at the Olympic Venue and also the Pan-Am Games held later this summer in Peru.  Our second qualifying event is in Palma in March/April. The combined overall results from each of these will determine who qualifies for those two events. Even though they are quite important, we are not focusing on that portion of the event. We are still using this regatta as an opportunity to gain experience and practice and to keep implementing all that we have worked on over the past few months. We know we will have some great races and we will have some that aren’t so great, but it’s all part of the path, and our goal is to learn from each and every moment out there.

You can follow along with the racing here (https://miami.ussailing.org). The link to the results is also posted under the schedule page.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Anna and Paris

Pre Miami World Cup

Sunday, January 27th

Welcome to our first blog post! There have been some questions about an easy way to keep up to date with our sailing and as anticipated we plan to write a blog post for any and every important update about our team. We decided now is a great time to get the updates started as we prepare for our first big event of the year, the Miami Sailing World Cup!

Today was the first official day (registration day) of the Miami Sailing World Cup.  Paris and I wrapped up our registration today around noon and then finished all the boat work that goes along with getting ready for the event.  I’ll come back to that, but a little about our pre-regatta prep.

Last weekend we sailed the first regatta of 2019, the Midwinters Championships.  We didn’t have the most fantastic overall result (14th/ 31), but it was about around where we should have been given where we are in the campaign and our big lack of racing to this point.  I say big lack, not because we have been avoiding it, but because we have had so many other little things to focus on to get us even remotely race ready.  Last fall and winter and all the way up to this point, we have been working on the other little things.  We really dialed in the boat handling and mechanics to the point where we are ready for any situation that would occur on the race course.  However, because of that, our tactical and starting game have been a little rusty.  And that’s how we really felt on the race course, rusty.  We made calls that as soon as we did them, realized that it wasn’t necessarily the call we should have made for 49erFX sailing, or similar little things like that around the course.

We did however, have one epic day of racing where we got two races in and finished with a 5,1 in some big breeze. But those days are always the most fun!!

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After the regatta, we took two days off, before getting ready to sail again. We have been starting each practice day with some tuning with our Canadian friends, Ali and Mariah, and then we hopped on some racing that was run by some coaches, which included around 20-25 boats each day. It was great to take the lessons we learned from the last regatta and start being able to put them into racing these last couple of days. It built our confidence going into the regatta.

Now, back to today.  The measurement process required us to weigh our boats, which means de-rigging just about everything on it and removing almost everything to lift it on a scale to make sure it makes weight (there is a minimum weight the boat is allowed to weigh). Some boats come in a little under the required weight, so in order to bring it up to weight, we have to add corrector weights.  Once the weighing was done, we had to re-rig all the lines, put the blocks back on, put the mast up and the boom on.  And while we are doing that we have to mark each part of the boat with stickers and record the serial number in order to complete the registration process.  The second part, the sticker part, is not that difficult to do.  It’s the re-rigging of everything that takes a little bit more time.

We managed to get it done and then we hit the water in literally no wind just so we could make sure that everything was working.  We got out on the bay, did 2-3 tacks, pulled the kite up, gybed, pulled the kite down and the towed back in.

So, we are now ready to start racing.  Tomorrow we are taking off from sailing and have the opening ceremony in the evening. I’ll give a little more detail on the event tomorrow when we find out the plan for the week and the forecast.

Thank you for reading and supporting us towards Tokyo 2020

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Paris and Anna