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. 

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