At the beginning of May we had a week off which was a great way to charge our batteries for the most challenging month of the spring season. We were to compete in the 470 World Championships May 10-19, then go on a US Sailing Team retreat in Lanzarote, Spain, and then head right to Portland, UK to train and race in our last event before the Olympics, Sail For the Gold.
While the conditions in Barcelona were not likely to be similar to those in Weymouth for the Olympics, we had been working on our starts and some technique of boat speed and we needed to have an honest assessment of where we were. The regatta started portentously: the wind was very light at 20 seconds before the start and a wave came through that bounced us off another boat. It was our foul and we spun a penalty turn. In that kind of wind, a 720 turn takes about 30 seconds and then trying to accelerate in the bad breeze of the fleet is even worse! The regatta started poorly. We almost got our feet back under us by battling back to the top 10 after the first gold fleet race, but then we began a spiral downwards. We wrote off the result of the regatta, but kept working on our starts and technique so that we would be stronger next time.
After the regatta ended, we flew to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to meet up with the rest of the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider. This could have been a super relaxing vacation, but we knew better than to expect that! We began four days of physical and mental challenges. By doing activities as a team we got to know the sailors in other classes and how we can best support each other when the Olympics begins. We will be living in such close quarters in July and August that we can have a big impact on each other. Also, we each have a lot to offer and it would be a shame to miss out on the interesting and talented people around us.
Then we headed straight to Portland, UK to start setting up at the Olympic venue. We were excited for this move because it meant the last time that we would have to move our boat for this season. We would be sailing out of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy until the Olympic games. We were exhausted when we arrived, but luckily our boat was a day late in arriving. We were forced to take a day off! When it arrived, we rigged and set off on our training, trying to learn the venue both in strategy and technique for boat speed.
A week later Sail for Gold began. This is our last World Cup regatta before the Olympics in August. We have made good strides in our boat speed and tactics in Weymouth and we finished 13th place. Had we been a little tighter in a few places, we would have been battling for the podium.
Now we are home for a week before returning to Weymouth for our next training trip.