For my first sail of the new year I had a beautiful 15-20 knots and 27 degrees for day 1 of the Miami Snipe Invitational regatta. The event is open only to sailors under the age of 30, and brought out 25 teams representing 7 countries for the first weekend of 2015. Following the holidays at home, I was only able to make it down the night before racing, so I met my crew and the boat the morning of the first day of racing!
After finishing 3rd at the same regatta last year, my goal was to finish top 2 this year around. I knew winning wouldn’t be easy with Raul Rios – the defending champion of the Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship, Central American and Caribbean Games, US Juniors and the US Nationals signed up – but I would give it my best try. Unfortunately, with a ton of rigging problems, we weren’t able to make the first race so we started with a DNS. Even with our drop race conceded, we vowed to start well and sail smart and pick up consistent results. We had some great speed upwind, especially in the big breeze, but struggled downwind with the pole – partially due to an improperly rigged pole system. Overall, we kept pace with the top boats, and posted consistent results – all of the races in the top 8. The third race of the regatta we were leading all the way until 10 boat lengths from the finish, where we capsized on a tack (upwind!) and dropped to 3rd. In the final race, the bungee cord holding our pole to the boom snapped at the first leeward mark, so we had to re-rig the pole on the second upwind. By the time we got it fixed, we had sailed all the way to the corner at half-speed, and were due to tack for the mark! All mishaps were a great learning experience
Although I usually train in the Laser class, cross-training by jumping in the Snipe allows me to focus more on race course strategy, with my crew covering more the boat speed and boat on boat tactics. As well, I can pick up tips and tricks from a whole new group of experienced sailors and learn to communicate with a crew. I was very happy to place 4th overall in a boat that I only sail a few days a year, against some very strong competition.
I remain in Miami this new year, training in preparation for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami on January 26 – 31. After that, I head home for a week, and then off to Clearwater, FL for the Laser Midwinter’s East in February. This year, the Midwinter’s regatta is the qualifier for both the Canadian Sailing Team, and the Pan Am Games – a crucial step on the path to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.