Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gorge Gorge Gorge

      Sorry for the radio silence. We've been somewhat off the grid camping out (literally) in Cascade Locks, OR at the Colombia Gorge Racing Association (CGRA). But, now we're back in the tech capitol of the world with plenty of wifi and will be posting up a storm, starting with a recap of Gorge 2016. 
Sticking the bear away and going for the kite halyard
         The Gorge is one of the best sailing venues in the country. It's a broad stretch of river half way between the sea and the desert. It's a beautiful place and also happens to be perfectly situated to get one of the sweetest thermals in the country. A typical summer day at CGRA sees 18-35 knots on flat, warm water so it's no mystery that sailors from all over make the pilgrimage up there as often as they can. We made the trip, along with 8 other 49ers and around 30 29ers. While we were the only 49erFX sailing this past week we were definitely in good skiff company, and that provided us with an awesome opportunity to compare our boat handling to others'. Over the course of the week we worked with Zack Maxam, Grant "Fuzz" Spanhake and Morgan Larson on maximizing our speed potential. Thank you so much US Sailing for lining up these awesome coaches. 
hoist, hoist, hoist!
         The week was divided into two parts, a three day clinic first and then a three day regatta. As we were the only FX we trained and raced against the boys in the full rig 49er for both, but with a coaching line up like we had that was hardly a detriment. The Gorge delivered its usual 18-35 every day on the water. During the clinic we worked on fine tuning our upper wind range rig tune with a lot of video and photo feedback from our coaches. We also had the opportunity to practice starting with a full start line, which was huge for us. During the regatta we put that tuned rig and spruced up starts to good use. Racing in conditions ranging from 12 to 35 knots (more wind than we have ever sailed in in this boat) we sailed three hard, rewarding days coming out 5th overall. Considering that our FX mast is about a meter shorter than any of our competitors' (the boys in the 49er full rigs) we are pretty happy with that result. Our week of San Francisco Bay training prior to the Gorge definitely helped us stay upright in Oregon and that was a huge factor in the racing. We had our moments of swimming, but overall we were one of the more upright teams on the water and our results reflected it. 
got that kite up and are ripping downwind in 25 knots of breeze
          Thank you so much to all of our coaches this past week, the US Sailing for organizing a fantastic clinic, to CGRA for running a fantastic regatta, to Kate's parents for showing up to our campsite with food halfway through the week, and to all of the men's teams who pushed us over the past several days. We are back in the Bay now for more training and are feeling motivated and ready to take what we learned in the Gorge and apply it to our every day sailing

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