Photo: Sailing Energy

Photo: Sailing Energy

It has been nothing but a great start to the 2019 calendar year! In January, my home club (Lauderdale Yacht Club) hosted the U.S. Laser National Championship. It was such an incredible feeling to compete at the venue where my sailing endeavors began. After having a rough first race and a BFD in the following races, I gave everything I had to get into a podium position for the last day. I ended the event with a bronze medal. This was one of my most proud moments in sailing. I wasn't necessarily happy with the fact that I had placed 3rd, but I was proud of the fact that I had overcome adversity. A few bad scores wasn't going to alter my mindset. I was there to try to learn and, in process, win the event if I could.

A month after the U.S. Nationals, I competed in the Hempel Miami World Cup Event. The regatta exclusively included only the top sailors from around the world in each respective Olympic class. Throughout the week of racing, the weather brought challenging conditions. Every day the strategic and tactical priorities on the course changed making each day unique to the previous. Some days there were two different breezes fighting and trying to determine which one would win out became a major strategical component. Other days brought major storm systems that manipulated wind shifts across the course. With these strange weather patterns influencing the racing, it created a perfect opportunity to see what conditions I had nailed and what I still needed to master moving forward. With two great scores on the final day of racing, I was able to secure a spot in the medal race!

Similar to the rest of the week, the medal race was no exception when it came to unpredictable wind. The wind was light, the shifts were irregular, and the pressure was inconsistent. With the points so close, not many places to gain but several to lose, the goal was to come up with a conservative plan that allowed me to stay close to my competition during the race. However, things don't always line-up how you want them too. On the start line, I found both of my competitors on the opposite side of the line and at "go" they were headed towards opposite sides of the course. With this in mind, I started in the middle of the fleet which gave me the opportunity to pick which side I thought would be the most threatening. In the end, I played my cards right and finished the race in 4th which was enough to keep my 6th place finish in the event.

Overall, I couldn't be more thrilled with how this year has started out. Last year, after the Enoshima World Cup, I took the time to sit down and review the things that went well and the things that needed some tweaking. During the fall/winter months, while people were taking time off from sailing, I was training and working on fixing things. It just goes to show that there truly is no such thing as an 'off season'. If you want to get ahead of the competition, you have to study your strengths and weaknesses then go out and work for it.

Thank you to coach Steve Mitchell and the US Sailing Team & Staff for their hard work and continuing support. I can't wait to see what we achieve the rest of the year!