Sailing an Olympic Campaign provides many challenges and I have found that there is a constant learning cycle in the NACRA 17!
When I first climbed onto a multihull over Thanksgiving weekend when I was 14 years old, I was amazed at the sheer power these boats possessed. The speed, the energy, the excitement and the thrill I got from my first day on a catamaran proved to be too much to ever want to stop! Now that I have been sailing my Olympic class NACRA 17, I have realized that the thrill never goes away, but that I will never stop learning how to make the NACRA17 go faster and feel stronger in all conditions!
Over the past month I have been sailing with a number of people, working towards finding someone that I could sail with at the Sailing World Cup Miami (Miami OCR) and possibly a full campaign for the 2016 Games in Rio and the past few weeks I have been aboard with Steph Hudson, a fellow Great Lakes sailor and Midwest resident, Steph is a full-time sailing coach at the Chicago Yacht Club. Steph grew up sailing on Lake Michigan and has a tremendous background of competitive sailing throughout her sailing career. Steph has previously sailed an Olympic campaign in the 470 class, is a Collegiate All-American from Boston College and has a passion for competitive sailing unlike most women that I know in the sport. Steph has proven to be able to quickly pick up on the intricacies of the NACRA 17 and her knowledge of competitive racing tactics will surely prove advantageous as we get on the line for our first start this weekend at the 2014 NACRA 17 North American Championships in Coconut Grove, Florida!
It is great to sail with someone from the Midwest, we have the same mentality and approach to both sailing and life. Steph’s maturity and vast experience helps me to understand how much more I have to learn about both sailing…and life in general and her attitude towards getting involved with an Olympic program in the NACRA 17 sheds light onto how she handles stress and what it would be like to travel the globe with her in a quest for Gold in Rio2016! Right now, we are focused on the North American NACRA 17 Championships as our testing ground since it will be our first time on a racecourse with sailors at all, and we will get to preview the talent from around the globe as more than 2/3’ds of the competitors that are sailing at the ISAF World Cup Miami are going to be racing this weekend!
Steph and I have a TON to learn. Both individually and as a team, but these past few weeks have proven that our communication style, our midwestern attitude and our approach to competitive sailing give us a good chance to bring our experience and skills together to form a winning combination. This next week is critical for us as we push the limits or our abilities and our mental limits fo be as strong as we can be as a team moving into the ISAF World Cup Miami regatta and fight for a position on the 2014 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. At the conclusion of that regatta, we will review our performance and our growth over the past few weeks and make a decision on our next steps and our potential to win the US Trials and represent the USA in Rio 2016! Wish us luck and make sure to come back to see how we are doing as we move through the next two weeks of highly competitive moments in our NACRA 17!