Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Long Weekend Training

We have been getting in a lot of sailing lately, which is awesome. This past weekend was a holiday so we spent the whole time at the Yacht Club. The news kept saying the weather wasn't good for the long weekend, but they must not have been in Victoria because we had sun, wind and it was warm (for Victoria). Saturday it was a gusty westerly which kept us on our toes. We and about 6 other boats had a great training session. We sailed out past Trial Island and did some starting drills and went for a long sail upwind. There was probably 5-6 knots of current out there, so we sailed upwind for about an hour and ended up less than a mile from where we started just off Trial. Then we headed downwind, surfing on the nice big waves that develop out there. A blast reach took us in between the Chains and Discovery Isle back towards the club. Steve set up a short course and we did some little races, passing the lead back and forth between the 29er girls and us. The racing ended when a random 20+ knot puff wiped out the whole fleet. Jen and I took our time getting the boat back up so we didn't tear another spinnaker, and then headed in for the day.

Sunday Jen and I took a break from our beloved 470 "Toque" to try out the 29erXX. This is a 29er, but with double trapezes, a taller mast and larger sails. The 29erXX is trying to replace the 470 as the women's Olympic boat for the 2016 Olympics. We found the boat fairly easy to sail in a straight line, once we both got out on the wire. Turning, however, was a different matter! Lets just say this will require practice. We spent a good couple hours alternately blasting around the bay and swimming, and we have some lovely bruises to show for our troubles. Next time Jen plans to wear her water wings and a snorkel. Thanks to the Round family for letting us take out the XX.

Monday we got back into our trusty steed and had a very good morning session working on acceleration and tacking with the 29er girls Jess and Erin. They have qualified to represent Canada at Youth Worlds this July in Turkey, so are training hard. We had the yacht club's latest toy, a "speed puck" GPS strapped to our boat for the day, so we had instantaneous feedback on how effective our pumping was at increasing the boat speed downwind. The GPS data can then be downloaded and viewed on the computer so we can analyze our training session in great detail.

It was a great weekend and we hope to continue getting lots of time on the water before we head over to Europe. I've attached a video of Jen and I reaching in the 470 and Jen and our friend Maddy sailing the 29er XX.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thank You

We just want to say thanks so much to everyone who has helped out with our campaign, we have been  overwhelmed by the support! It means so much to us that we have a community of people cheering for us. We will be sure to keep everyone posted on our European adventures.

Family Time

The weekend before last Jen and I took separate vacations to visit our respective families before we leave the country for three months! I went to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to visit my mother's side of the family. My Grandma put me up for the weekend and was my official social coordinator. She kept me busy with visits to a variety of relatives. On Saturday we headed out to the family farm where we helped plant some trees, and then I went quad-ing with my uncle and cousin. This was my first time on a quad, so it all had to be explained to me. I was a bit jerky as I kept forgetting to throttle down when shifting gears! Since none of the fields have been planted yet, we could go pretty much anywhere. In the winter with the fields covered in snow it would be even more fun. My uncle said his friend calls this the "last freedom"; the ability to go wherever one wants, with no fences, paths, or solid yellow lines. With the wide open fields and blue sky it was beautiful, and very similiar to sailing. I love being on the ocean because of the openness and sense of freedom it gives me; the chance to get away from everything and experience nature.

On Sunday we went golfing for Mother's Day. I borrowed my aunt's clubs which are about 8 inches too short. It was a good lesson in "bend your knees"! We didn't see too much of the fairway, as we were busy in the woods and water traps, but it was a fun game none the less. Thanks relatives for a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hooked on Sailing

The article about sailing in Victoria in PageOne's YAM magazine was published on Monday. It features some quotes by Jen as well as this two page photo of us sailing!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Training Camp

Jen here,

This week Erin and I sailed in a training camp put on by the Canadian Sailing Team.  The camp was run for Paralympic athletes as well as 470's, and CST coach Brian Todd was in town from Halifax for the camp.  Between Brian and Steve McBride, we had four days of great training ranging from physical training up at the sport centre, short course work on the water, post clinic massage, and even a nutrition session.  While Erin was available during the evenings, she had work commitments during the day and so I sailed with a stand in crew named Tyler Kiefer.  The first day of the camp was a bit intense given that Tyler and I had sailed against each other, but never together. Despite our best efforts, the 35 knot south easterly blowing into the bay proved to be a bit too much for us and so we had to cut our sailing session short.  As the week progressed Tyler and I worked on starts and communication.  This weekend we got a chance to apply our training in a local regatta (Spring Dinghies at Royal Vic).  Erin and I sailed against Tyler and another Royal Vic sailor, Mike Leitch,  in some finicky and blustery conditions.  Saturday in particular was a challenge, as the breeze was an average 15-18 knots, but a few 30 knot puffs knocked down the whole fleet at one point.  Erin and I were feeling pretty good about ourselves during these conditions, until we wiped out just after gybing and turned our spinnaker into shredded lettuce!  Today was much more calm, and we got two races off.  Thanks to Tyler for sailing the training camp with me and to both boys for the great racing this weekend!
CST Nutritional Seminar