Monday, May 18, 2015

The Exciting Switch!!!!!!

Sailing in March in Miami

Last night it was announced at the Bayshore Yacht Club’s centennial anniversary in Detriot that Bora Gulari and myself are starting a Nacra 17 Olympic Campaign. I have been offered an incredible opportunity, and after months of deliberation and testing I have decided to take on the challenge. I am switching Olympic classes for the remainder of this Olympic quad to race on the Nacra 17 with Bora Gulari! I was approached by the Olympic coaches in February, as a top candidate to sail with Bora. The boat requires a strong woman who is accustomed to fast sailing and quick decision making. As an accomplished RS:X sailor I was deemed a perfect candidate. In March, I travelled to Miami to sail with him and right from the start our sailing felt smooth and easy, and impressed everyone, all while having a blast! 

This is a tremendous opportunity, since Bora Gulari is one of the best sailors in the US. I trust you realize that it is your support and our hard work that has gotten me into a position to be asked to sail for Bora, which I consider to be a great honor. I know I will learn unfathomable amounts (even now I can say I have learned a great deal!) and end up in a better position to begin the next chapter of my life. 

I know I am leading my Olympic family on a major detour, but I hope you will continue to believe in me, both now and in future endeavors. I would like to thank all of you, especially Charlie Felder, my coach Dominique VallĂ©e, my supportive International Quebec Team, Phoebe Styron, Amanda Moretti, Greg Lee, and Herring Run Kitchens and Provisions, and my family for all the support you have given me, leading me to this incredible opportunity! 

Rest assured, this is not the end of my windsurfing days! 

Our new boat in Detroit!
About Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari was the 2010 Rolex Sailor of the Year. He is a two-time Moth World Champion and, as an aeronautical engineer, was a key developer of the class. Bora recently left the Prada team helmsman of the “Luna Rosa” in the Americas Cup. In 2015, he competed in the World Cup Miami in the Nacra 17, where as a novice in the class, he was able to round the top mark in the top five on several occasions.

About the Nacra 17

The Nacra 17 is the mixed gender multi-hull Olympic Class. The boat is a catamaran with lifting daggerboards, making it a semi-foiling boat, where both the skipper and the crew have trapezes, and the boat flies an asymmetrical spinnaker. The boats are extremely nimble and challenging in strong breeze, reaching speeds of more than 25knots.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Racing on Lake Garda

Last week I was racing on Lake Garda in the little town of Torbole, Italy. The wind blows through the mountains almost every day. It is a stunning place with great racing conditions. The Garda Olympic week is part of the EuropCup circuit.

Torbole is on the north end of Lake Garda.

On the first day there were three races. My first race was good but my widget had broken. While I was trying to replace it in between the races I had broke a batten clip so I had to change sails, causing me to miss the second race. My technique in the planing conditions is constantly improving and I was able pass people through lulls and gusts based on speed.

My starts have improved so much!

On the line and going at the gun!

There were three races again on day two. The first race went well, but unfortunately the other two races I made a lot of mistakes. I worked hard, but I made poor decisions in the shifty and gusty conditions of the final two races today. There was no wind on the third day.

I'm USA 39
The next day they scheduled racing to start at 8 am, so I had a 5:45 wake up call! The first race I was in first! but it was abandoned due to the crazy long course set for the conditions. The next race I worked hard to recover from a major mistake off of the starting line and made up some points. The final race went well, I finished third and in front of all of the French girls!!!!!

 The fourth day didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but in the last race I fought and pumped really hard and passed 3 girls in the down wind and 1 in the slalom, catching up to the front of the fleet!!!

The final day was the medal race, which means it is a race for the top ten, counts for double points, and the score cannot be discarded.  The water temperature seemed to have dropped, everyone was having problems with their feet being cold and struggling to get them in the foot straps. My race was going well, but it was very tricky. I made a few mistakes which put me back a little in the fleet. Finally at the final top mark I was moving up to the top half. I stumbled on me numb feet and fell in the jibe. I quickly got up and was catching up to the two girls who had passed me. I was gaining on them, but my frozen feet were to stiff to allow me to press and message the board onto a plane before them. 

It was a disappointment, but I feel that I showed that I am heading in the right direction. Falling is slow, but I am getting faster! I will be working on finding the solution to the mental block that keeps preventing me from staying on the board. It was a fantastic regatta, I hope to do it again!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Majorca in March

I returned to Cocoa Beach, Florida for some more training and the Calema Midwinters.

Midwinters went well, I finished second amongst the women. 

Congratulations to my training partners
Diana from Hungary for winning and to Laurence from Quebec!

I am really proud of my starts at the midwinters!
Check out the start pictured above, way ahead! I started at the boat and was moving fast at the gun. The sails just beyond me and the turquoise sails are not in the fleet.

The following week we went for a long distance sail to Melbourne and back. It took us 2 hours to get there on the river. We raced going upwind and stopped every now and then to restart. It was so much fun to race in the shifty, gusty, and narrow river, planing most of the way. After lunch we ripped back down wind to the Banana River Resort in about 30 minutes! My big lunch weighed me down and I was able to go super fast from the final bridge.

We then went to Palma De Majorca to compete in the Princess Sofia Trophy. The racing conditions were a little of everything and the forecasts were consistently wrong. The first day of the qualifying series each fleet was only able to get one race off. The women started off the racing in strong winds that were slowly dropping and increasingly gusty. Several women in both fleets being timed out. There were gusts of 20 and lulls of 4 its. I really struggled dealing with the gusty conditions and the big chop.

The second race for the yellow fleet was abandoned as the wind shut off and then the women were sent in as the wind refused to settle and finally died. The men were sent out a few hours later as the breeze started to build. The breeze consistently built throughout the first race, culminating in a 40 knot gust that took out the majority of the men's yellow fleet. While the men were racing we were sitting in the parking lot holding onto our sails so that they would not blow away and hit someone.

After a delay the wind filled in onshore and the race committee was able to do a great job of firing off three races quickly in both divisions so that we were back on schedule for day three. The rest of the week continued with breeze, but the final day we had our center boards down again.

I was disappointed with how I performed. The conditions were really tough with chop and gusts. My starts improved, but I mainly felt as though I was not in fighting shape. I think we had focused the previous weeks too much on technique over strength. I arrived to the cold feeling weak and unprepared, not ready to race.

Friday, February 13, 2015


January is a very important part of my training each year. I peak every year for the last week of January, for the World Cup Miami. The World Cup Miami is used by the US Sailing Federation as the qualification for many things. This year it was not only the way to qualify for the national teams, but also for the Pan American Games.

The weekend before is generally a MLK weekend regatta that serves as a warm up event for the World Cup event. This year I really showed how much I have improved in the past 5 months. I was able to post some great scores, including a 3rd! I really felt like I was racing at my full capabilities the first 2 days. The final day I had some problems, but it is clear what I have to work on now. I finished 4th and was ahead of some talented sailors that I have previously struggled to be ahead of.

At the World Cup Miami I also raced well. We had 5 days of racing with a day of very strong winds and days with moderate wind and a day of almost no wind. I was able to be rounding the top mark in the top ten often. In the gusty conditions it was very difficult to maintain that position and I would lose, but I know what I have to work on and I am learning a new mindset to have when going down wind when the wind is so shifty and gusty. Unfortunately I was mentally exhausted the final day and dropped in the rankings. I tried to come back in those races and pumped the entire race without rest, but sometimes that is not enough.

I was not able to place as well as I had hoped amongst the Americans, but I have shown how much I have improved. This was not the true goal. The true goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics and that is where I must focus. I have made huge improvements in the past 5 months and have 12 more months to improve. I sailed very well and have recommitted myself to training full time for one more year; to qualify myself to represent the US as the sole female windsurfer at the 2016 Olympic games. The next 12 months will be focused on fighting my way up the ranks to the top. I am very excited! I came out of this regatta disappointed in my results, but energized by the major improvements I have made!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thanks for 2014 and Here's to 2015!

Some highlights of 2014!

  • Joined the Quebec International Windsurfing Team as a full-time member and have made huge improvements!
  • 3rd Woman and 11th overall Kona World Championships
  • 4th at RS:X North Americans and the Pan-American Games country qualifier, CancĂșn, Mexico
  • Graduated from Eckerd College Phi Beta Kappa with Honors.
  • 1 of 10 named to the 2014 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Second All-Academic Sailing Team. 
    • The ICSA All-Academic Sailing Team recognizes those scholar athletes who have proven themselves to be highly competitive academically and in national competition.
  • A wider expansion of my Olympic Family, thanks to the Styron family, Morretti-Lee family, and Herring Run Kitchens and Provisions.
  • 5th Woman at RS:X Nationals, Miami
  • 14th at the World Cup Miami
    • Made the US Sailing Development Team Sperry Top-Sider, I lost the 2nd spot on the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider by 2 points.
  • Had a very successful fundraising campaign to compete in the World Championships.
  • Competed in the International Sailing Federation World Championships and Olympic Games country qualifier, Santander, Spain
  • 11th at Women's Inter-Collegiate Sailing Nationals.
  • A new sail numer; I am now USA39!!!!!

Looking forward to 2015 for the:

  • Pan-American Games
  • Banana River New Years Regatta
  • RS:X Midwinters, Miami
  • World Cup Miami and Pan-American Games Qualifier
  • The Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Holland
  • RS:X Class European Championships, Siciliy.
  • RS:X Class World Championships and Olympic Games country qualifier, Oman.
  • And lots more!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I am so thankful for my windsurfing family and to all of you for making it all possible!

300 Surfing Santas!