Thank you to the Tyler Rigg Foundation for your support of our dream. The Tyler Rigg Foundation made a generous $5000 contribution to Good Karma Charitable Foundation to pay for the research, development and construction of Cindy's innovative seat. Thank you to Kristin Browne for delivering the good news and check. We accepted it at Jamestown Distributors another huge supporter. Thank you everyone for believing in our cause and dream.
Ahhh. Home again! After an awesome adventure in Europe we are home and training hard! The team is doing a lot of dry land training thanks to Bridge to Fitness, getting stronger so they can easily manage conditions like we had at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. A lot of lessons were learned on our trip and we are focusing on the challenges we had there. We are gearing up for a US Sailing Team Sperry training this coming weekend leading up to the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta at the end of the month. Brian is working hard getting the systems and seating even more efficient for the team so a big thanks to Jamestown Distributors for the support, the boat and team thanks you. Feel free to stop by the docks at Sail Newport we will be down there a lot in the next couple of months, just look for our red, white and blue PFD's from MTI Adventurewear. Cheers, we will keep you all up to date on what is going on with the team.
Some of the team had the honor of visiting the Oliver Hazard Perry in Portsmouth, RI today. We were asked to come and check the accessibility of the ship. They have made a large effort to make accommodations to the vessel so that sailors with physical disabilities can take part in the sailing and programs involved with the ship.
They are finishing up the refit of the boat so it was great to get a private tour, a ton of work has been put in to it. Maybe after the mayhem of the Paralympic quadrennial is done we can get a ride on the boat. It was nice to be on a boat that we didn't have to fix and sail, we just got to look around and offer suggestions about access. It's nice to be able to give back to the sailing community and educate people about sailors with disabilities, and what they are capable of.
Brrr. Really Brr. But what a great venue. Our second stop in our European adventure was Medemblik, Netherlands for the Delta Lloyd regatta. With the most SKUD 18's than any other recent event. Our first day on the water was great, nice calm water light and shifty breeze. Then that was over, windy and cold for the rest of the week during the competition. The racing was phenomenal, the competition stiffer than ever.
Taking some of the lessons learned from Garda the team performed well. In conditions where most of the top teams either broached or shrimped their spinnakers, ours did not. Great job, hard work and training finally paid off. We did discover some other issues while sailing in 18-25 knot conditions that we plan on fixing in our own boat. Welds break and shackles need to be taped, add it to the checklist and we don't have to worry about it anymore.
We had hoped to finish a bit higher in the rankings, but mistakes and breakdowns, even small ones can be costly. The team is doing great, slowly improving amongst the fleet since the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Miami. We will continue to work hard this summer at home, leading up to a few hometown regattas. The C. Thomas Clagget Jr. Memorial Regatta and the Newport Regatta. Thanks again to all of our sponsors and supporters, we look forward to seeing you out on the water.
Can you say light air training? Whoa. First of all we would like to thank The Clearwater Community Sailing Program. They have invested a lot in becoming a training facility for Paralympic class sailors, and it shows. We were educated in a new launching style for our SKUD 18, beach launching. The Ians were very good with this. We had to use a gantry to hoist up the boat and slide the launching trailer under it and then use an extension to back the trailer far enough in the the water to float. I'll be honest we were all a bit skeptical at first but they have it down, so thanks guys.
We trained a few days before the other US SKUD team arrived, we had decent wind and when it was light it was at least fairly consistent, something we would say a lot over the two training camps. Having two boats sailing together is a great help, we are able to look closely at sail trim and see what works and what doesn't, the other boat is good in light wind so it was helpful to find our light pressure settings. We worked very hard on setups and sail tuning and most importantly being patient. We did a lot of starting drills to accentuate the importance of not stopping the boat which in light air massively important as they don't accelerate very well. This would be most of the training in Clearwater, light air speed tuning and starts. We did get some opportunity to do some light air gybes, which Cindy and Sarah rocked. All in all a great couple of training camps before heading to Europe which historically has very strong winds at the venues. Doh!
During the ISAF World Cup Miami the team realized that we needed to intensify our winter training schedule if we were to compete with the top tier SKUD 18 teams. We were only slightly ahead of our American teammates but off the pace for international competition. We met with Lee Icyda and planned a training camp for mid February.
We trained out of Shake-A-Leg Miami in Coconut Grove, and were supported by USSTS with a RIB to use as a coach boat. We took the lessons learned from the SWC, and trained in our deficiencies. We had splendid conditions giving us an opportunity to train in light air and heavy winds. We even had a starting practice with Olympic Team member Phil Toth in his Finn. A great time, he gave us some valuable insight on some of our control systems over coffee after sailing.
We packed up Søren in preparation for the trip to Clearwater where we will join the other U.S. SKUD 18 Team for joint training camps. As always thanks to all of our sponsors, supporters and friends and family.
Our primary goal for the Sailing World Cup Miami was to implement our training that we had done in Newport and Tiverton. Using good communication and using good boat handling to get us around the course. It was the first regatta the team has competed in since forming after the IFDS Worlds in Halifax, it also happened to be the US Sailing Team Sperry qualifier. The regatta started of rough - literally. The first race was started in a squall that had been slowly creeping down the course, and threw the boats around during the sequence to the start. The visibility was so poor you could barely see the front of the boat from the helm. A far cry from the light and flukey the week before.
As the Regatta progressed so did the team, working out kinks that we had not been able to address until we were racing in a fleet the team adjusted well. Cindy did a fabulous job using systems that were changed on a daily basis.
Overall the team ended up 7th, not as high as we had hoped but we were able to secure the top spot in the SKUD 18 Class on the US Sailing Team Sperry. A big boost in confidence and a great honor. Thanks to all of our sponsors, MTI Adventurewear, Total Boat, Harken, Sunbrella, US Sailing Team Sperry, McLube and Yale Cordage. Also a big thanks to our friends and family that support us in this journey.
A new direction. There is a saying that you can't change the wind but you can adjust your sails. Well we have trimmed in and are heading up. This fall our focus is getting the new team communication down and getting our modifications for the boat in order. These always seem to be changing, as we want to improve them constantly. First we are concentrating on Cindy's seating position, as she is the engine of the boat and really has a lot to do.
Having the team live so close together is a huge benefit, we are able to sail on a more consistent basis and has been a lot easier to organize a regular training program. Newport in the fall is a beautiful place to sail, we are familiar with the water and it made the new transition much easier. Mostly we have been working on boat handling and communication through maneuvers.
After the training in Newport we were approached by our phenomenal supporters from Total Boat - Jamestown Distributors, asking us if it would be beneficial to train on the Sakonnet River. With a very strong current and shifty winds we thought that it would be a great idea. Mike and Nina Mills hooked us up with the Tiverton Yacht Club and they were gracious enough to give us prime dock space to train from. Mike supplied his RIB as a support boat, and we were off. It's not often we get to train in our own zip code so it was a treat. It was also a great pleasure to educate the members of the yacht club that had great questions about what we were doing, we made some great new friends. Thanks to all who came down and sailed with us, Kay, Mike, Brad etc... We can't do it without all of your help. Cheers.
The U.S. National Disabled Sailing Championship was held at a brand new facility designed to promote less expensive accommodations for people accessing the Offat Bayou waterfront. This was the inaugural event being held at the center. They were gracious and exceptional hosts. Over three days of racing we saw light and shifty conditions to "blowing the dog off the chains" gusty conditions. A very challenging regatta with some amazing competition.
Sarah and Cindy were joined by Hugh Freund to round out the team for this event. He was great during the event and will always be a member of GKR, thanks again Hugh. On the leaderboard the team spent most of the time in the top three, with a lot of redress and retirements of boats they ended up in third place overall.