Here’s a little insight into our most recent camp with Oracle Team USA in Sydney. More to come in July back down under. Etchells Worlds in the meantime in Newport, RI in June
Long Beach, California and the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club put up a great week of weather for annual Spring Advanced Racing Clinic hosted by the California International Sailing Association. CISA has been running this clinic for 30 years, and ABYC goes above and beyond to give us the best possible venue for this great event. I’ve been lucky to have been involved directing the last 6 clinics.
This year we had 108 sailors, ages 14 to 18 in six classes: 29er, International 420, Laser, Laser Radial, Club 420 and FJ. They were accompanied by 17 world class coaches (listed below).
Four days long, the clinic put the sailors to the test. Daily fitness regimen with Harry Legum from Annapolis Sailing Fitness primed the sailors for what Olympic-level training camps will be like in their not-to-distant future. The format of the clinic broke from tradition slightly this year. To give the sailors and coaches one more day of clinic, we removed the “race day” from the schedule and enabled the coaches to come up with scores from drills, racing and efforts throughout the week. A competitive atmosphere simply dominated the clinic. Sailors were rewarded for their hard word throughout the week rather than just the final day. I am curious to hear the feedback from the sailors and coaches, but I was really impressed by the improved environment.
We were also fortunate to have four great speakers in the evenings of the clinic. Pete Melvin, an Olympic Tornado sailor, naval architect, and CISA board member gave a great presentation on his work designing the 34th and 35th America’s Cup rules, as well as his experience with Emirates Team New Zealand. Here’s the video of his presentation:
Sunday evening we had one of this week’s I420 coaches and Quantum Racing afterguard member Tom Burnham give some fantastic insight into successful team management and campaign management. Coaches and sailors alike were taking notes throughout that one!
Monday we had a brief but lively speech from renowned speaker and sailor Dave Perry who brought over some friends from the Congeressional Cup: America’s Cup winner Dave Dellenbaugh, youth champion Becca Dellenabugh, and current Match Race World Champion Taylor Canfield. The sailors were full of questions and buzzing about match racing and how to get involved.
For the final two days of the clinic we had the great support of US Olympic Technical Director Fuzz Spanhake as well as Olympic Coach and Youth Development Director Leandro Spina, fresh off the plane from Sailing World Cup Palma de Mallorca. Fuzz gave a great slide show on sail controls and followed up with many classes, providing some eye-opening technical knowledge applicable to each group.
I quickly want to thank those involved with running the clinic:
- ABYC’s Membership and Staff are phenomenal, ABYC is simply the best training ground in the world, bar none.
- Our Sponsors: Ayers Hotels, Gill North America, and Kaenon Polarized
- CISA’s administrative staff continue to pull together this clinic to much success.
- The CISA board does much to organize and provide vision for the clinic and the CISA Foundation.
- We had a massive cadre of volunteers in many functions this week: Housing sailors, Running the lunch and dinner service, Pulling dollies, Fueling coach boats, Scoring, and other countless supporting efforts.
- Local Yacht Clubs provide coach boats and equipment: NHYC, USSC Long Beach, LBYC, and of course ABYC.
- Lastly, I want to thank a phenomenal Coaching Staff. Their professionalism and effort through the four days make the clinic run smoothly, but also push the sailors to make improvements that they didn’t know were possible. That inspiration is what we strive for a this event, and the staff was of truly the highest caliber:
- Laser Coaches: Robbie Dean & Mike Kalin
- Laser Radial Coaches: David Wright, Lisa Ross, & Ryan Minth
- 29er Coaches: Cameron Biehl & Zach Brown
- I420 Coaches: Sydney Bolger & Tom Burnham
- C420 Coaches: Joey Mello, Steph Roble, & Jay Kehoe
- FJ Coaches: Zack Maxam & Jimmer Montgomery
- Fitness Coach: Harry Legum
- Technical Coaches: Leandro Spina & Fuzz Spanhake
Videos from the 2014 CISA Clinic can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/odmsail
More information about CISA can be found at: www.CISAsailing.org
I’m really excited to be joining Oracle Team USA for the defense of the 35th America’s Cup. We had our first training camp since the last defense this week in Sydney in parallel with Team Australia. Thanks to everybody for your support and excitement over the last couple weeks. Check back for more to come. Here’s a look at how things went.
Racing the AC45s this week was eye-opening and at the same time comfortable. Sailing consistent angle of heel upwind is not dissimilar to the Star or Laser days. Frankly sailing the boats downwind is as much like the E Scow as anything else, with the apparent wind angles, accelerations, and heel. The boats are hard to sail, no doubt. Heart rates are up and the same decisions about breeze and tactics still need to be made, often at a faster pace than most are accustomed to. The challenge is really refreshing and exciting for me. The team that’s put together is phenomenal and I’m excited to continue to progress.
We had an interesting weekend racing J105s on San Diego’s city front last weekend. Plenty of light air, some strange southerly conditions, and a big tide made the racing complicated but fun. I was a late fill-in with a great team led by Brad Rodi along with Al and Molly Pleskus, Steve Hunt, Chris Busch and V/C Chuck Sinks. The end result a close regatta was an SDYC victory in the 99th Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup. Looking forward to some good teams next year for the defense.
My crew John von Schwarz and I counted boats feverishly after we finished the final race of the Star Worlds yesterday. We could hardly savor the horns and cheers of congratulations from the many spectator boats as we crossed the line first because we were so keenly watching where the rest of our opponents were finishing and firming up the final positions.
We went into the final day of racing in 7th position. We could have dropped to 10th had things gone poorly, but the best-case-scenario was that we could move to 2nd. That would have taken a race win by us and a lot of luck that our competition stumbled in their final race. It was out of our hands except to go out and have a good race. John von and I started near the mid-line boat all week. It worked well in Race 1, 2, 4 and 5, so we figured we’d stick to the plan. We tacked onto port quickly after the start and spent the next 19 minutes sailing towards Point Loma. Staying out of the current and in the veins of pressure soon became the most important goal of the race as we neared the top mark. The wind got very wacky as thunderstorms floated over east San Diego county. For two legs Xavier Rohart was actually winning the regatta before sailing into a colossal hole and drifting back to a throw-out score giving us the 16 points we needed to catch him and pass him. All of the other great sailors just ahead of us at the beginning of the day tried desperately to find lanes of wind, but ultimately John and I got a great break go our direction. We won the final race and move all the way up the leaderboard to 2nd overall for the World Championship.
Big congratulations to Johnny Mac and Phil for a great regatta. We had a great time racing against them as always. We just wish we could have had a couple more!!! John said it’s taken 7 silver stars (continental or hemisphere championships) and something close to 20 blue stars (district championships) before he earned his gold star. For Phil, this is his second set of four gold bars. Having just won our first District championship last month, John von and I will have to be happy with a blue star and a few gold chevrons for winning the last two races at this worlds. I’m looking forward to another shot at the Gold star soon!
Thanks to SDYC for putting on a fantastic regatta, and even moreso to our great many fans out there on the race course and around the country. After all those years of campaigning this was one of the first times my family has been able to see us race. Thanks everybody for coming out. We’ve had so many great notes from people this week. Thank you all.