Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The RS:X Pre-Worlds Regatta

Beautiful new headquarters of the Andalucian Sailing Federation

For the past two weeks I've been training in El Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz), Spain, the site of the 2012 RS:X World Championships. Coach Max is here with me, and together we've been making some big improvements to my sailing (I know saying this makes me sound like a broken record, but it's very true). A big fleet of international sailors are here, from youth to gold medalists all eager to train and race together.

Yesterday, I finished in eighth place at the Carnaval Regatta, a major Spanish event and the pre-Worlds warm-up for most competitors. All the women sailors training here competed, and together with the youth girls and boys, we had a really strong fleet. Light wind was the dominant condition, and we had a good range of directions and wave conditions, from offshore, shifty, and flat, to a clean sea breeze with choppy swell. We've also been lucky to have sunshine every day so far, which is great because it can be pretty rainy and cold in Spain this time of year.

Results from the Carnaval Regatta

I shaped up well against the other girls in the light wind conditions, and with the addition of new speed, the pieces of the racing puzzle started to fit together. My starts were great, and I was making good decisions tactically. The light wind made for a grueling event, but I really enjoy that toughest kind of sailing and putting my endurance to the test.

Competitors heading out in light wind

Another benefit of the Carnaval Regatta was that I had the opportunity to meet a contact from the joint Spanish - US naval base at Rota, Spain, which is just down the road from where we are racing. I'm finalizing plans for a goodwill visit to show my support, and I'm really looking forward to meeting some sailors and officers.

Starting tomorrow, I have 20 days of training until the Worlds. Now that I'm making solid progress in light to moderate conditions, I'm hoping that we will see breezier conditions to bring my planing up to speed. I'd like to thank my sponsors, including Compass Marketing, the St. Francis Yacht Club Foundation, the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation, the Olympic Sailing Association at New Orleans, and the Southport Sailing Association, for giving me the opportunity to make a great showing for the USA at the Carnaval Regatta, and giving me the best of chances to qualify the USA for an Olympic slot at the RS:X World Championships.