Monday, April 24, 2017

We've Moved!

Thanks for visiting our page! We have now moved to ( and you can keep following us there and on our social media platforms by searching the hashtag #kandcsailing 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Loving the Process and Thinking Big

Last week we raced our first international regatta, Sailing World Cup Miami. We sailed 12 races over 4 days and came away in 14th out of 16. For those of you following results that may have seemed like a hard blow to all the work we have been putting in on the water these past few months, but at no point did we take SWC Miami as a blow. We pulled our boat up the ramp every afternoon grinning and are feeling energized as ever to keep pushing on the water. As far as we are concerned right now results don't matter. We have a plan in place, our "Big Picture Process", that is focused on just that, the BIG picture (i.e. the path to Tokyo 2020), and that's what matters, not our result in the first event of the first year of that process.

So, here it is: the four year plan, the Big Picture Process:

Year one Objective (that's where we are now): Learn as much as we can about the boat and how people are sailing it. This means logging hours and hours on the water and trying as many things as possible; and that's exactly what we are doing. This january we spent 60 hours on the water (most teams average about 45 a month at this phase of the quad) and have been nailing down our upwind speed and maneuvers with lots of on the water drills and theory discussions on land.

Year two objective: Refine and polish the skill set developed in year one. After year one we should have a lot of boat handling experience, and year two will be about turning that experience into bulletproof, consistently-executed maneuvers and speed. At this point we are good at a couple of different styles of tack; by this time next year we will be working on having one style of tack that is fast every time and that we don't even have to think about.

Year three: Implement that bulletproof boat handling on the race course. At this point we should be fast enough to not have to think about it, so we can think about racing (woohoo!) So this year is about racing racing racing and filling out a play book that can be executed time and time again.

Year four: Operation Domination. Put the pieces together and shed.

Caroline about to fall out of the boat... she didn't. 
From our boat SWC Miami was a success because we got to test the skills we have built against (literally) the best sailors in the world and on the things that we have worked on thus far, we aren't too far off the winning pace. There is and always will be plenty more work to be done, but it is so cool to see that when we really focus on going as fast as we can, we can roll over the top of some of the fastest girls out there. Over the four days of racing we improved on one big piece of the upwind puzzle each day and by the end we were able to put together some very successful beats, which, given our upwind focus over the past few month, was our regatta goal. Highlights of our regatta included consistent starts, smart first tacks, moments of pure speed and most importantly the proof that we can and do improve when we work hard at something. You can see that improvement in the upward progression of our scores and we can feel it in the boat. We never went into SWC Miami focused on results and we are not coming away from it focused on them. Instead we are focused on this big picture project of ours and loving it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thoughts from the Coach Boat

At age 22, we have both spent at least half of our lives racing sailboats, and that means that we have spent at least half of our lives in the presence of some of the most influential people in our lives, our coaches. For us, coaches did more than tell us to trim in our sails. They welcomed us into the world of high performance sailing, challenged us, brought us through failure and to success, and made us the people we are today, as well as the sailors. So whenever we have the opportunity to coach we assume the responsibility to do what our coaches did for us, to deepen the sailing community that has given us so much, and to create a safe, inclusive, and inspiring space for young sailors to grow and learn. This past weekend we got the chance to work with a wonderful team of youth sailors out of Seattle Yacht Club and can only hope that we lived up to our responsibility. 
Skiff sailing is hard, and starting out in skiff sailing is even harder. It's incredibly repetitive, you capsize, you get bruised, you get cold, you get wet, and the only way to get better is to right the boat, and do it again. We were lucky enough to work with a group of sailors this weekend who were truly committed to getting better. Over the course of the two day we worked with them the SYC Race Team reminded us of just how far determination and grit can get you in this sport. They maximized their learning potential both on and off the water and worked as a group to pull those below them up and push those above them even farther forward. As we move forward in our own training, working by ourselves and with other teams in the US, the standard set by these young sailors will be one we hold ourselves too as well. We will push ourselves, we will learn, and we will take as many opportunities as we can to strengthen the community that taught us how to do that, knowing that we are better for it as well. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regatta Report: US Nationals

When we began this campaign we planned our training and competition through September. We divided the summer into two block, West Coast training and East Coast training. The US National Championship, hosted by Oakcliff Sailing Center, was the last event on our summer schedule. Since putting together our schedule in early May, we have looked at Nationals as something of a final assessment of all we learned in over the summer. Regattas are competitions, but they are also one of the few times we go out on the water with the intent of doing everything and "stringing it all together", rather than just practicing isolated skills. They are the final project after a semester of learning. This is how we are thinking about regattas during this phase in our FX sailing career. Rather than focusing on results and evaluating ourselves against other teams we are evaluating ourselves on how well we are able to implement the lessons we have learned together as a team so far. We have had good regattas and bad regattas this summer. At times we excelled on the race course because we were able to successfully connect different aspects of our training; at other times we found ourselves struggling because of a failure to connect different training focuses. This past regatta, the US Nationals, we are happy to say that we were very successful in "stringing it all together". As far as final projects go, Nationals was a great one. 

The three days of racing were in super light to medium light conditions and held in Cold Spring Harbor. The the venue and conditions gave us a lot to think about with regards to connection puffs, playing geographic shifts along three different shorelines, and managing current. The FX fleet was very small, only two boats, so our start was combined with the men's fleet, making for five boats racing at a time. We managed to win all 12 races against the other FX, making us 49erFX national champions. However, we were especially happy to be truly racing against the men's teams as well, despite the difference in our two rigs. Cumulatively, when counting scores from both the men's and women's teams, we finished second, only two points out of first. Not bad for having a mast that's a meter shorter. On the water we felt that one of our strengths was shifting between light air mode and powered up mode. Tactically we also think that we did a good job implementing the skills we learned at North Americans about small fleet management and managed this same sized fleet well. 

Over the course of the regatta and the few days of pre-regatta training in Cold Spring Harbor we were lucky to work with US Sailing Olympic Development Team Coach Willie McBride. It was a wonderfully productive week of training and racing and we are very excited to train with Willie in the future. The next step for us is to go back to the West Coast, first to San Francisco and then to Southern California, where we will continue to work with Willie and push ourselves in a variety of conditions. Going forward we are feeling super motivated to make ourselves the best sailors we can be and can't wait to get back on the water. See you in the Bay! 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Regatta Report: North Americans

The 2016 North American Championships were held in Newport, RI this year and brought competition from the US and Canada. Though the FX fleet was not as large in Newport as it was in CORK we raced seven races in challenging conditions and learned a lot. We finished fourth, out of only five boats. It was not the position we were hoping for, but points wise we were only one point out of third and two points out of second. Needless to say the racing was close and we were happy to be challenged by our competitors. 
in case you were wondering, there's a rock there.... woops
There seems to be something of pattern in Newport of "windy for training, light for the regatta" and we certainly saw that play out while we were there. We raced three days in light to medium conditions with long, shifty races. Tactically we were not at our best and missed a few key wind shifts upwind. Our down wind legs, on the other hand, were strong and the conditions let us play through a lower range of downwind angles, which by the regatta's end were feeling especially fast. 

Our biggest take away from the 2016 North Americans is the importance of forming friendships and fostering community within the 49er class. The importance of community was underscored at this event in particular as this was the first North American 49er and 49erFX class championship dedication to one of the fleet's dearest friends and most remarkable competitors, Trevor Moore. Trevor represented the US sailing the 49er in the 2012 London Games and remains one of the greatest sportsmen and talents the North American and International 49er fleet has ever had the privilege of racing against. Trevor coached both of us in the Opti and was a pivotal figure in our junior sailing career. He was the first person Caroline sailed a 49er with and fostered countless other sailors in all dozens of classes. He is the best example of the impact an individual can have on a community. Trevor went missing in the waters of Biscayne Bay last June, a loss felt deeply by all those who knew and loved him. Throughout the regatta, displays of the type of friendship Trevor helped build within the fleet kept popping up. One specific example involving us happened on the second day of the regatta when we did serious damage to our center board. We would not have been able to finish the regatta if it weren't for the generosity of Scott Ewing from the men's fleet, who immediately lent us his board on the simple basis that more boats sailing is better for everyone. Thank you Scott for helping us finish the event, and thank you to all of our competitors, without whom this sport and passion would not exist, and thank you to the North American 49er class and Sail Newport for allowing us to honor the memory of a mentor and friend with this regatta. 

Regatta Report: CORK

The Canadian Olympic Regatta, Kingston or "CORK" is a mainstay of the North American skiff sailing circuit. Canada has a thriving skiff community, especially in the 49er and 49erFX, and it seems like they all come out for CORK. This year saw eleven full rigs competing and nine FX's, making for a full starting line for both fleets. The four days of racing saw the full spectrum of conditions, from postponed mornings of drifting to full on heavy air conditions, and everything in between. Additionally, the race committee and regatta organization team ran as professional an event as any. Between these factors, on the water competition, full spectrum conditions, and top tier event management, we were able to put our training to good use and get down to racing. We finished third overall in what was very close racing among the top teams and were very happy to see pieces of training that we had worked on earlier in the summer starting to fall into place.
some awkward faces at the top mark....

We approached this summer's racing, CORK included, with the mentality that a regatta and a finishing position are only as valuable as the insight they give you into your next training block. In other words, scores don't matter as much as lessons learned, so with that in mind here are the top three lessons we learned in Canada.
1) Be ready to make that shift.
~With extremely variable wind conditions we were changing the rig tune and settings between almost every race. With only around 10 minutes between our finish and the next start we had to discipline ourselves to cross the finish line, take down the kite, and then turn up wind to check our rig setting and make the appropriate changes. There is no rest for the well tuned skiff team. While we were mostly successful in dialing in the rig tune the other shift that is just as if not more important to make when sailing in varying wind conditions is the mental shift, and that is something we are still working on and will keep in mind while training. Setting up your mind to sail in 18 knots, even though it just finished a race in 10, takes just as much deliberate effort as setting up your boat.
2) Race from the start.
cursing along with the green kite
~Getting from stopped to full speed is a tricky business in the skiff; mostly because as a boat they don't like to stand still. However, the conventions of racing necessitate that we do stop and then get to full speed and much of our training in San Francisco focused on the nuances of that acceleration process. We saw that training definitely paying off on the starting line at CORK and we felt as though we had more agency in our down speed maneuvering than many other teams. However, one thing we were naive to before starting against other boats our own speed was the boat on boat dynamic of the start. If you want to win, winning the start is a good first step. This means not passively crossing the line at go (which in and of itself is easier said than done) but positioning yourself to race others off the starting line. It means getting aggressive, getting close, and getting bow out. As we move forward we will be reminding ourselves that every starting line, whether its in practice or a race, is an opportunity to hone these skills and we will not be taking the easy way across.
3) Take care of what gets you there.
~You cannot compete in a regatta if you and your equipment cannot make it to the regatta. To that end, check your tire pressure and get an oil change. Our trusty (actually not so trust, at this point) regatta-mobile for the East Coast, a Honda CRV with 230,000 miles on it, strongly objected to the concept of towing a two boat trailer from New York to Ontario and back. Just over the Canadian boarder she completely ran out of oil and we saw our competition prospects flash before our eyes. The car, lovingly referred to as the Millennium Falcon, made it and is now officially retired from all towing, but the incident was a reminder that even if the vehicle is not a racing machine, like our boats, it still requires love, attention, and routine maintenance.

There are many more regattas and many more lessons to come for us so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

So long, and thanks for all the wind

Our month in the Bay is over and we are moving on to the next regatta, the Canadian Olympic Classes Regatta in Kingston (CORK). There we will be sailing against other FX's for the first time all summer (woo) and take part in another US Sailing Olympic Development Program clinic. We are really looking forward to training and competing at CORK but we are going to miss the Bay.
The training conditions here have been incredible. Not once in our month and two days of sailing out of Richmond Yacht Club did we have to take a land day because of a lack of wind and only once did we decide that it was too windy to continue our training session. We got experience in a myriad of wave states from short chop to three foot breakers, and we got to practice in everything from zero to two knots of current.
Family selfie with the Moodys. Thank you guys!
What we are really going to miss about the Bay though is the people. We could not have asked for more supportive, welcoming, and helpful people to have spent the last month around and we consider ourselves so incredibly lucky for that. Contrary to what we told our parents at the time, the whole "plan" to go sail in the Bay was loose at best, and we mostly made things up as we went along. Honestly we just sort of showed up in the RYC parking-lot, smiled, and it all seemed to work out. It is only now, as we are writing this reflection of the training block that we are realizing all the little (and also really big) pieces that fell in to place for us because of the amazing people here. There are some big than yous for us to throw out here.
In "The Office" (aka the RYC parking lot). Thank you RYC! 
Thank you to the Moody Family for housing us and feeding us and treating us as two of your own. Thank you to the Skiff Sailing Foundation for the use of the 49er we sailed all month, use of a trailer, and for your infinite wisdom and help on our fundraising project. Thank you to Richmond Yacht Club for not kicking us out of your boatyard (or showers) when we showed up unannounced and set up an encampment between your Opti racks. Not only that, but that you RYC for inviting us to your Wednesday Beercan Races and providing a comprehensive and happy space for all sailors (us included) to do what they love and have fun. Thank you to the RYC Junior Program, especially Dan Brand and Merrill Piece, for sharing your space, your tools, and your joy for this sport; and for rescuing us all those times we flipped in the inner harbor and got stuck in the channel. Thank you to all of our donors. Without your support we would not have been able to take this time to travel, train, and compete, in the Bay and beyond, and chase our dream of representing our country at the highest levels of sailing competition. And thank you to the vibrant sailing community of Richmond and San Francisco Bay for being interested in what we are doing and helping us spread the word about our team and high level skiff sailing in general. We honestly love talking to you all about our boat and this sport and are just tickled that you would take the time to ask us questions and chat.
As we venture on in our sailing we will be hard pressed to find a place like Richmond and the Bay. It has given us so much and we are better sailors and people for it. We hope to be back soon, but until then, so long, and thanks for all the wind.

Bye everyone! Hope to see you all soon :)