*Newsflash: Bronze Medal at the 50th Trofeo Princesa Sofía Regatta!
During the event in Palma de Mallorca, we (sailors, coaches & race committee) were challenged with continuously changing weather patterns. Each race seemed to throw something unique at us. This included changes in wind strength and direction as well as variations in the terrain. From day one, it became evident that the sailors who were going to excel in the racing were going to be the ones that kept their heads out of the boat and their eyes on the race course. Keeping this in mind, Coach Steve and I would collaborate to come up with a handful of priorities for each individual race. As a result, in conditions that were easy to overthink or get lost in, my mind was clear and my actions were deliberate on each leg of the course.
Throughout the event, I tried my best to execute high percentage moves that would get me to the top mark in a respectable position from where I could work my way little by little into the top group. Having this mentality placed me in the top three after day one; a position I was able to maintain during the majority of the event. It wasn't until race 9 of 10 where I finally achieved a race win! The saying goes, "You don't have to win a race to win a regatta." However, there should be a saying about how incredible it actually feels to earn a "W". Race wins never come easy in the Radial fleet so the moment I crossed the finish line, I couldn't help but crack a small smile.
The morning of the Medal Races, the wind was howling and the waves were breaking on the beach. When I got to the venue for measurement inspection, all the boat classes were waiting around in anticipation to find out whether they would launch or not. I can confidently say that the Lasers and Radials did not have this experience. We all knew we were going out the moment we woke up that morning and we couldn't have been more excited to race in these epic conditions. Sitting in second and with the championship up for grabs all the way through fifth place, there was nothing I could do but sail my heart out in the final race of the event.
When we arrived on the race course I warmed up, spoke with Steve about the day's priorities, and shortly after, the warning signal went off. After a rough start to the race, I tacked out and was forced to the right side. Chipping away inch by inch on the upwind, I managed to round the top mark in 3rd with the leader of the event (Anne-Marie Rindom) trailing far behind. At that moment, I was winning the event. My goal was to be conservative on the second upwind by not giving up too much leverage to one side of the race course. However, a left shift came through and I rounded the final top mark in 7th. On the last reach into the finish, giving it my absolute all, I passed one boat which allowed me to clinch the Bronze Medal.
The realization of what I had accomplished did not hit me until the awards ceremony. It was an honor to walk across the stage wearing my US Sailing Team kit and knowing that I represented my country to the absolute best of my ability in every race. Even though I missed my chance at Gold, this experience has shown me that there will be more opportunities down the road.
Thank you to coach Steve Mitchell and the US Sailing Team & Staff for their hard work and continuing support. Another thank you goes out to my sponsors at Helly Hansen, Almaco, Harken, Marlow Ropes, McLube, Kilroy, & Saint Francis Sailing Foundation. None of this would be possible without your encouragement and shared enthusiasm in my dream. Last but not least, thank you Mom for coming with me on this past trip. You have always been and will always be my good luck charm.