During mid Novemebr Iain and I sailed the Star NA’s out of Coral Reef YC in Miami. This is the first of four big regattas we will do in Florida between Nov 06 and April 07.
Whilst we are far from happy with the result, I feel this event has marked something of a turning point in the campaign. After steady improvement in our results through 05 and early 06, we have plateaued. The prime reason is that the other teams from the USA and Europe have come along by putting more focus and effort into their campaigns. This is typical in the cycle of the olympic quadrennial.
Our year has been a busy one. Other issues such as earning money, running businesses and trying to balance family time have resulted in less focus being dedicated to our campaign than other teams are giving theirs. Whilst we do put in quite a bit of time and effort into Star class training and sailing, it a relative thing. Our competitors are younger, they have more time to devote to training, and competing and generally have less distractions than we do.
If we were to remove the guys in the results that sail stars pretty much full time (with funding from sponsorships and their respective national sporting bodies), we would have placed 7th. To go forward in our dream to win a medal in China, we must mirror their efforts and their singular focus.
So, the North Americans saw us a tad off the pace for the first two days of the regatta. These two days saw 4 of the 6 races sailed, so it was all over in a hurry for us. We made some rig adjustments and think we made some progress on the last two days. We also made some modifications to our sailing style downwind, which also saw us hang in there on the runs.
We had Euan Mcnichol accompany us a coach. Euan has a great record as a sailor, having won the worlds in the 18 foot and 14 foot skiff classes and the 29er class over the past two years.
Our training partner at the NA’s was our old buddy Peter “Bird” Bromby from Bermuda. Bird has a new crew this time around. Billy Mcniven is the latest in the seemingly cloned Bermudan star crew. He is a relaxed and really nice bloke, as are the previous two crew’s of Bird’s that I have met (Lee and Martin). Must be something in the water over there.
So, a few weeks at home including Christmas. Back to Miami for Olympic Classes Regatta in mid-Jan.