The first World Cup event of the year was held in Miami from January 26 to 31. As usual in the year prior to the Olympics, nearly all of the top sailors in the world were present, including world #1 Tom Burton (Australia) and nine time World Champion Robert Sheidt (Brazil).
While everyone was expecting little wind (like the previous year), the event started out with a very windy day and the breeze continued for the first 3 days. When the front was first coming through in the first race, I started at the boat and tacked out right towards the dark clouds. After a couple minutes we got big right shift and a huge puff. I don’t usually complain that a puff I get is too big, but I was almost capsizing reaching into the windward mark! I rounded in a great position, but unfortunately the race was called off due to the size of wind shift. In the breezy qualifying races, which lasted the first two days, I sailed fairly consistently but could not crack the top 10 in any of the races. I was just off the pace in the windy conditions upwind, and missed some big shifts which I had to climb back from. I ended up making Gold fleet (top half) but only by a couple spots.
Fleet sailing into top mark in windy conditions
Entering the qualifying races the good news was – I could only move up! Unfortunately I couldn’t put together all the pieces of a great race. I had races where I rounded the first mark in 4th place and went the wrong way on the second beat to finish 32nd, and I had races where I rounded in 50th and finished 27th. I was going very fast at times, but made too many mistakes in general. On the last day, as the wind died we only got a single light air race, in which I again recovered from a difficult start to finish 32nd. In the 5 Gold fleet races, I moved from 53rd to 48th and gained some valuable experience racing against the best sailors in the world.
Rounding the leeward mark towards the finish
I am now home until February 9th, where I fly to Clearwater, FL to prepare for the Laser Midwinter’s East, where I will be trying to qualifying for the Canadian Sailing Team and to be the Canadian representative for the Pan Am Games.