Leading up to the Sailing WC Miami regatta next weekend, Athletes Stephanie Hudson and David Hein are adding critical data to their toolchest of racing against the world’s top athletes.
Making the decision to change partners during a campaign is difficult to say the least. As athletes training for the ultimate contest in all of sport, we are constantly pushing ourselves beyond our logical limits and continually striving to be bigger, stronger, smarter and more effective on the racecourse. To be able to do this, we must be brutally honest with ourselves and our partner in the campaign. When I began sailing with Steph just a couple weeks ago, we knew that with little time to prepare for the Sailing SC Miami that we were going to be fighting an uphill battle and would have to work our butts off to even come close to having a fighting chance at the regatta.
We began our training for Sailing WC Miami with our eyes wide open and laid out a training program that would give us the best chance for success. In order to do that, we first had to define success. With a couple weeks on the boat, we know that while we are always striving to be at the top, we could not view that objective as our ultimate level of success. After all, we are sailing against teams that have been together for up to two years and have their teamwork, communication and boat handling down to a science. Looking at our efforts, we decided to place emphasis on getting our movements on the boat coordinated and our tactical decision making process down at the North American’s this weekend.
Since we have never raced together before getting on the line with 20 cats, all of whom are sailing at the elite level in our sport proved to be a challenge and provided for a huge learning experience for us. Picking the best spot on the line, getting up there in time and then protecting your slot to be able to fall off and power up just before the start sounds simple, but when you have the top athletes in the world all doing the same thing it is a bit more difficult in practice. The starts we have been in over the past two days have given us valuable information and experience that will pay off when we start the Sailing WC Miami next week.
We have also learned that keeping the boat fine tuned to the changing conditions is critical. Huge changes in position on the racecourse can be made by simple adjustments between races. Make the wrong decision about the pressure before the start and there are severe consequences. So having a solid plan and knowing where we need everything set makes this process easier to manage and will make a huge difference as we sail around the racecourse.
As I look back over the past couple of weeks, the first day we got on the boat together through today we have made tremendous progress and every day we are making huge strides. Daily improvement is critical and will be the key to our success both at Sailing WC Miami and beyond. Make sure to cheer us on as we approach the regatta next week!