January was a very exciting month for us! Training in Miami for the whole of the month, we spent a lot of time tinkering with our new boat and putting in productive hours with the USA Sailing Team. With a new boat, there are many small details of how the boat is set up that create marginal gains around the race course. Having our boat set up to our ideal layout allows us to sail the boat easier and focus more on bigger potential gains such as speed and tactics. Minute details such as halyard lengths, control line setup, and block sizes are all details that needed to be addressed and tweaked for our preference. On top of the equipment work, the time spent with the USA team was a great lead up into the event. With a total of 8 boats, there was a lot of focus on starting and racing; something that we identified we needed much more experience with. This coupled with the 49er Midwinters (Jan 12th-14th) gave us a good amount of time to peak that part of our sailing for the World Cup event. We then spent the remaining time with Canadian 49er Olympian Hunter Lowden and the other Canadian teams speed tuning; doing straight lines upwind examining rig setup and sail shape.
For the Sailing World Cup Miami event, this was identified as one of our two peak events of 2018 as it is the main qualifying regatta for national team carding. With the thought-out training we did leading up to the event, we realized our potential and finished as top Canadian boat as well as had a top 10 race finish. Throughout the event, our speed was comparable to the fleet, something we have struggled with in the past. Our starting and especially race practice we participated in before the event really helped us pick our lines through the course and sail a more tactical race. These gains gave us the opportunity to sail to areas of the course we wanted and keep our air clean of turbulence from other boats. The extra effort and potential gain in this area of racing was apparent to us when we rounded a top mark in first place. At the end of the event we finished 27th of 38th overall, as significant improvement over last years results (nearly 25% increase). With our coach we identified some key areas that we gave up points in the event; capsizes during the windy day and anticipating more of where boats will converge and where we will fit into the fleet (aka mark roundings and crosses). These are both things that are easily improvable with time pushing the boat in breeze and racing with larger fleets, which gives us optimism with our scheduled upcoming training.
We are next off to Portugal for more training with our Canadian teams and coach Xico. This is the start of our 6 month European lead-up to Olympic qualification at the World Sailing Championships. We have some big announcements coming out as well so stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram page to follow us on our journey to #aarhusworlds2018