Friday, December 9, 2011
Today we stopped at West Marine to spend some more money. We picked up a new block and bungee for the spin halyard, and re-rigged the system. We headed out with the Finn sailors and had a good two hour session. We did some windward/leeward course work and the new halyard worked AWESOME! It was so nice to be able to hoist and douce the kite without issues! Unfortunately the jamming spin halyard took it's toll on Hannah's shoulder yesterday. She was experiencing a lot of pain today on the short course with all the sheeting. We went on a long upwind/downwind instead. The conditions today were perfect - warm, partly cloudy, 8-10 knots. It was beautiful out on the water. We have reached the end of another 5 day training session and we are exhausted! Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. Sunday we begin our third set of 5 days of training and then we fly home for Christmas! It is very strange being down here in the warmth with all the Christmas decorations and advertisements. Blow up Santa's and lights just look strange on palm trees and green grass!
Friday, December 2, 2011
Now we are making pita pizza and then we go to the gym to row and do weights! We are slowly getting back into the hang of this training thing.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
We drove from Yuma, Arizona to Van Horn, Texas on Wednesday. We stopped in to visit my Aunt Charlie in Phoenix along the way, and got to visit with my other Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Dwayne who happened to be visiting as well. On Thursday we had a short day and spent the night in Houston, Texas with our friend Kate Easton from the Glenmore Sailing Club. Kate recently moved to Houston for work, so it was great to see her new place. Her parents were also visiting, so we had a lively dinner swapping sailing stories as they go cruising each year with the Calgary Yacht Club flotilla. Friday we were planning on pushing through straight to Miami with maybe just a nap at a rest stop, but instead we blew a tire at around 11 pm!
We were going over a bridge in Florida when we heard the tire go. We pulled over once off the bridge, and assessed the damage. Of course the car was full of all our sailing gear, so we had to pile that all on the grass to dig out the spare! We changed the tire fine, just had a bit of an issue getting the wheel to let go (see the awesome video). Thanks to my Uncle Dwayne for offering advice over the phone. Interestingly, not a single person on the highway stopped to see if we needed assistance. Apparently chivalry is dead, even in the south!
We continued on the spare to Chattahoochee which proved to be a very tiny town with nothing useful. Hannah was excited to see Chattahoochee because there is a country song about it she likes. We ended up driving a bit farther and spending the night in Tallahassee. We got the cheapest sleaziest motel I've ever seen, and went for dinner at the Tomahawk Girl Bar. Class all around! We got our tire changed at 8 am the next morning and had a quick breakfast at iHop and we were off! We made it to Miami at 7 pm on Sunday and managed to meet up with our landlord Sonia right away and get into our apartment. It was a very long drive and we were totally bored out of our skulls by the end. We'd pretty much run out of things to discuss and just read our books or napped when we weren't driving.
Monday we slept in really late, then unloaded the boat and did a massive grocery shop. We are now mostly all set up for training! Today (Tuesday) we ran some more errands and continued to set up and rig the boat. The boat is a 2005 but is in great shape and is set up really nicely. It hasn't been sailed since 2007 I think. We went over it closely from stern to bow and replaced most of the electrical tape and bungee but otherwise the systems look great once we figured out what was what. The one issue we had was the jib halyard, but we managed to sort it out what with our assortment of luff wires and jib halyards from other boats! After a trip to West Marine and a second trip to Home Depot I think we should be able to sail tomorrow!
We have uploaded a bunch of photos from the road-trip to the Picassa web albums, including some funny videos from the boat loading and tire changing. Enjoy!
|November 29, 2011|
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Today we left palo alto at 6.30 am and took the 101 along the coast. Stopped in Santa Barbara for some lunch (very pretty with mountains, palm trees and ocean) then headed into LA. Wow did the volume of traffic suck! I didn't notice any accidents or crazy driving, just a lot of cars going slowly. Took us about 4 hrs to get through the city. We finally made it to Santee to pick up the new boat. By the time we finished loading it was 9.30 pm and we were still over 5 hours from Phoenix so we decided not to push it and stopped in Yuca Arizona for the night. Beautiful stars out in the desert where there is no light pollution!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
We got through customs and immigration with only minor questioning which is always a bonus. No one ever understands or believes us when we say we are driving to Miami to go sailing; I'm not sure why!
The ferry and drive to Portland were un-eventful and we made good time. We are spending the night with my good friend Gisella who is attending chiropractic school in Portland. She made us a lovely dinner even though she has two tests tomorrow!
Make sure to follow along on the blog, website, facebook and twitter. We will try and write an update every night.
Huge shout out to Adrian Round for freezing outside all day yesterday to build us some bomb-proof roof racks! We'll get some picks up soon once there is daylight!
Monday, November 14, 2011
We also now have a twitter account (@Meers_Flanagan) as well as our Facebook Page "Wild Rose Girls."
Our new email address is email@example.com. Please keep in touch as we love to hear from our supporters! Email us and ask to be put on our mailing list to receive regular emails about the campaign.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Mathew Kerr came on the water with us today. He is a local sailor, photographer and friend. He took a ton of photos for us to use on our new website so hopefully we will have some of those up for everyone to see soon! Thanks Matt for getting up so early and freezing your butt off in the coachboat for us today!
Once off the water we quickly de-rigged and changed in order to whisk coach Bunny off to the airport. Of course some where in the rush the keys to my car got misplaced. A bit of a disaster; but we managed to get my spare key from my house and Bunny made it onto his plane! Hopefully my car/house keys turn up soon...
This concludes or intense training month in Victoria! Since Hannah and I started sailing together on Sept 27th we have trained 22 days and sailed 18 days. Our sailing has improved massively as Hannah has picked things up really quickly!
We have packed up our gear and will go back to dry land training for a few weeks. Then we will be heading down to Miami to train! More on that later. This weekend we are going surfing in Tofino to celebrate our hard work and new partnership!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
We have decided on a new team name " Wild Rose Girls." Since both Hannah and I are from Alberta "Wild Rose Country" we thought it was fitting. Better than Kelsey Stroppel's suggestion of "Blonde and Gigantor" anyways! We will have a new website up soon, and we have a new twitter account @Meers_Flanagan and a new Facebook page "Wild Rose Girls." Things are moving forward with our planning as well. We have made an offer on a boat in San Francisco and we are going to head down to Miami mid-November to train. More details on our spring schedule and budget will be on the new website.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Since September 27th I have been back training out of Royal Victoria Yacht Club. I have been sailing with Hannah Meers, a young Laser Radial sailor from Strathmore, Alberta.We have spent the past two weeks training full time, which has been great! We have been doing fitness every morning and sailing every afternoon. It has been great to get back into things and have a steady routine. I love feeling constantly sore and full of endorphins! The sailing has been going really well, except for the general lack of wind.
We took this past weekend off to visit family and recuperate. This morning our coach Bunny Warren arrives. He will work with us for the next 10 days and offer some much needed guidance. At the end of our time with Bunny Hannah and I will evaluate if we want to continue and campaign for 2012 or if we think the timeline is too short.
I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of my sailing endeavors, and apologize for the delay in letting everyone know what is happening. Please check back regularly now for updates on our training with Bunny!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
They got off the Men's Silver fleet okay, but the Gold fleet had a general recall and then a huge left shift came down and they had to re-set the line, and then another general, and then more shifting wind.... you get the idea. They ended up having to re-set the entire course and move the Race Committee so we didn't get our first race of the day started until after 1 pm. The general trend today was we didn't have great starts and the wind shifts were super random and the pressure was up and down. We struggled to put it all together. As we crossed the finish line on the second race, the Jury boat called us over and asked us where our life jackets were. We pulled them out from under the spinnaker bag and they instructed us to put them on. We did so, and then they came back and told us they were protesting us in that race for not wearing them. This was ridiculous, as the rules state you are only required to wear them when the RC is flying flag "Y" which they were not.
During the start sequence another boat failed to keep clear of us and we had to avoid them; so we hailed protest. The thing about starting is it's easier the better you are - because no one wants to start near the World Champions, so they always have lots of room. Or the really good teams look for weaker teams (us) to start beside. Not that I'm complaining, but at this particular instant we were just fed up with working really hard on our starts and constantly getting messed up by other boats not respecting the rules; and perhaps a tad grumpy about being yelled at by the Jury. Our start ended up being okay, but not great. Again we struggled to figure out the shifty/puffy conditions and were a tad distracted by all the protesting. So all in all not a great day, although we didn't make any huge mistakes and had some solid mark roundings and reach legs.
Once off the water we filed our protest and prepared to sit around and wait for the hearings. Both protests ended up going really well. We won the protest about the start incident and we had the other protest dismissed due to ambiguity in the wording of the sailing instructions. Now to re-focus on tomorrow. Since we had three races today we have only one race scheduled for tomorrow. The forecast is for very light conditions so hopefully we don't wait around too long and we get in a solid race!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
This morning we woke up at 3 am to a thunderstorm with lightning and pouring rain. It continued to rain until about 8 am and then was off and on. The storm was in the weather forecast, but wasn't supposed to come through until 2 pm; so it shifted the whole forecast ahead. We got down to the boatpark and it was grey and cloudy and rainy and there was no wind. The forecast was to clear and for the wind to build from the South. They postponed us on shore at 10.30 (right after we got changed!) but only for about 45 minutes. We went out and tuned up and the breeze was already picking up. We had three races in some mixed conditions. With the wind from a little more to the south, our race course was forced to be smaller due to the islands in the way. As a result the race committee chose to have us race the Outer 3 course - three windward/leeward legs instead of the standard two. The wind was up and down in pressure and the waves were quite choppy, which made it challenging to keep the boat at full speed all the time.
We were fast whenever the pressure was up but then struggled with our speed when the wind eased off. The wind was filling from the left but then small black clouds would drift overhead and bring in a right shift. As the day progressed the wind shifted more and more left, skewing our race course so now the island was pretty much in our course. Also because the course was so short, the Race Committee barely had time to reset the marks before the leaders were onto the next leg of the course. At one point in the third race there was some confusion as one of our leeward gate marks was actually still in a motor boat.
The first race we had several general recalls and then we nailed the start, it was awesome. The second race we were holding our spot and then at 15 seconds a wave hit the bow and we were stopped dead, so as a result we were late off the starting line. The third race our start would have been perfect except our Russian training partners stuck their bow in below us at about 30 seconds to go! Overall the starts were much better today which was great. Our racing was also better, we had some really good mark roundings (also a few really bad ones) and made good decisions. We consistently finished ahead of 4 or 5 boats.
Now it is sunny again and the forecast for tomorrow is for sun and 12-15 knots. We will probably have 3 races again tomorrow.
In other exciting news, we were awarded one of the 470 class association solidarity grants which pays our registration for this event (400 Euro). Thanks so much to the 470 Class for their support!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
A great day for us here in Helsinki! We had two races in really nice conditions, about 12-15 knots from the west. Today was definitely a new day from yesterday, and our focus was very much on achieving a good clean start, holding our lane after the start, and then keeping things simple ie. tack on the shifts, go to the favoured side of the course, keep our manoeuvres clean. I'm happy to report that for the most part, we did just that. Our starts in both races were clean and we enjoyed clear air off the line. Unfortunately in the first race we thought we'd caught a shift and so started at the starboard end of the start line...but the breeze shifted back and we were on the wrong side! However, we ground back five boats throughout the first race and then found that we'd gained five more positions due to boats that had been disqualified on the black flag at the start.
Second race we started at the favoured end of the line with full speed and clear air. We managed to squeeze out four boats in the first minute of the race and continued to focus on clean and accurate sailing. This simple plan seems to have worked out for us, because when we finished the race I looked back to see how many boats we were ahead of...and for the first time there were too many spinnakers to count! I think the best part of today's racing was the feeling that we're actually starting to implement some of the things that we've accomplished in training. Here's hoping that we can do the same tomorrow. The forecast for tomorrow is light again...only four or five knots, so it will be another test of focus for sure.
But now it's time for bed!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
The racing did not go great for us. The conditions were light with choppy waves and big oscillations in the breeze. The first race we had an okay start right at the Committee Boat and tacked out and headed right. Unfortunately the wind decided to slowly shift 40 degrees left, so there wasn't much we could do about that. The second upwind we went the correct way but over-stood the layline. The second race we thought we made good decisions but then we were enlightened by our coach! I guess this is why we pay him the big bucks. We started at the pin and headed left. We thought our start was decent and that left was the way to go. It did come back right at the top but we managed not to over-stand the layline this time. Both downwinds our angle seemed really good and we thought we should pass boats but we had forgotten about the current farther out on the left that was helping out those boats.
So we learned lots of things about our race course today that we can take into our racing tomorrow. We were originally scheduled to race on a course about 2 miles farther away but they changed the course area on Thursday, so we hadn't had a chance to train on the new course before the event. While the new course area is closer, it is also full of un-marked rocks! Never mind just avoiding them, it is rather annoying to have a small island come between you and your ideal tactical race when you have to go around it.
Anyways, it is early days yet in this event as we have 13 races scheduled! 2 more races tomorrow starting at 11.55 am if there is wind!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Well the boat is all snugged down and ready for racing which begins the day after tomorrow. Quatich (our boat) has been checked over, polished, bolts tightened, and decalled up with sponsor stickers for the event.
We had our last day of training today with just Bunny, as our Russian training partners prefer to take their lay day on the penultimate training day before the event. We worked on starts, tuning, and some boat handling in light breeze and you know, for a short 1 1/2 hour session in light air, it was fantastic and very productive. We managed to work through a couple of little tricky bits which were hanging up larger manoeuvres, and it felt really good to sort those items out.
It's been hot again in Helsinki (remember my first post? Haha! I told you it would be hot didn't I!) and as we waited for wind I was sort of overcome with irony. Of all our training and events so far this season, Finland has been the warmest and it's the furthest north! In England I usually wore two sweaters and a jacket. In Holland I think there was one "shorts worthy" day but the duration of the event was definitely what I would call tepid. Now that we're in the land of the midnight sun, it's sunscreen, water by the litre, and the lightest wetsuit you can find. So funny now that I think of it.
Big news on the 470 course...the race committee has moved our course to the same spot that the Laser Radials are using this week. That means it's only about 2 miles to the course rather than 4. It's going to be nice being that much closer, although really it's still a 30 minute tow out to the course and an upwind sail back for 2 miles. The one downside is that we hear rumours of reefs in the middle of the course. Apparently some of the Radials this week were planning their strategy around which bits of rock they'd sail around. Well, here's hoping it all goes well!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Once back on land we prepared the boat for measurement, always an enjoyable experience! Measurement is when they inspect the boat and equipment to ensure it meets the class rules. We had to do full measurement again, and our centerboard and spinnaker pole did not pass, even though they measured in fine last season. So we had to add 1 mm to the centerboard and take 1 mm off the spinnaker pole. Once this was done we got the sticker of approval.
It was a long day in the sun but a good one. We train again tomorrow and then take Friday off before racing starts on Saturday.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Okay, remember when I said that we were supposed to have "light winds, warm conditions, and gee, I hope that we can get Erin on the wire!" Well, I the wind gods were paying attention because yesterday had a 12-14 knots...and rain! We sailed out to our race course, which is roughly four miles offshore, and once we got there, it occurred to me that I had no real concept of where our harbour was...particularly after we got a wind shift! Fortunately, we had compass bearings and so had nothing to worry about. The waves were beautiful out on the course, bigger and steeper than the ones that we had even in Weymouth last month, and it was great to work on surfing them downwind.
We worked for about three hours with our Russian training partners, Natasha and Diana, as well as our good Polish friends, Agnieszka and Yola. We warmed back into things with lots of upwind tuning and working on sailing the boat accurately for the choppy conditions in the harbour and then the rollers out at the course.
On the way in we worked on reaches, and things got a bit hairy. Although is wasn't too windy, we were struggling with shifts in the breeze as we reached behind an island. Unfortunately we capsized and Erin got a pretty big scrape on her neck. She landed on the boat and hit her neck on something, we think the shroud. It was a disappointing way to end the day, and she came home and iced it for the evening. I'm sure that things will end on a more positive note today as there were definitely moments of shaking off the rest from two weeks away during yesterday's sail. Looking forward to getting back out into the waves though!
Sunday, July 3, 2011
After a few weeks of rest and recovery in Canada, we're back on the road. This time: Helsinki! This is the ISAF Open Europeans, meaning that all Olympic classes are holding their European Championships at once. The match racing has just wrapped up, and Lasers and Radials began racing today. Yours truly will trained here for five days and then begin racing on July 9th.
So far Finland is very beautiful, and reminds me of a mix between Vancouver Island and the Northwest Territories. It's got the islands and the rugged coastal feel of the west coast, but that northern energy that comes from being above the 60th parallel. Trees are a bit smaller, days are...well...they don't end really at this time of year...the sun sort of just rotates around the edge of the horizon all day and all night. But there is a distinct feeling of wanting to take it all in and soak in as much summer as possible before winter comes knocking on the door. Bet you didn't know that I actually lived in Yellowknife as a kid? This is perhaps why I feel an instant bond with Finland, it makes me feel like I'm back home up north for a bit.
Today we set up the boat and went for a short sail. We had intended to go for longer, but the wind died off completely and there were some ominous looking thunder heads on shore. Helsinki is in the midst of a heat wave at the moment, and daytime (okay who am I kidding, it's always daytime!) temperatures are frequently above 30 degrees. This translates into little wind for us, and the forecast for the week appears to be light light light. Do any of you remember our posts from last year in Holland though? Good old Den Hague was extremely light for the weeks leading up to the World Championships and then blew the dog off the chain throughout the regatta. You never know I guess, so we'll train to be ready for anything. To be honest, after five weeks of 18-25 knots in Holland and England this spring, I'm craving some more of that beautiful breeze, so my fingers are crossed that we'll be able to stretch out on the wire, hike hard, and "make the boat go fast" as coach Bunny would say.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
On the downside, we managed to rip not one but two spinnakers cleanly in half. The first one was on the first downwind of the first race after capsizing trying to avoid a leeward boat. (The kite got tangled on the spreaders and ripped). The second was our spare kite; and it got ripped on the first downwind of the second race when it wrapped itself around the jib out of a gybe. So not an ideal situation as we had to finish both races today under two sails. Not very fast but we did manage to finish them.
So it seems to be always something with us! My theory is we are just making new mistakes having solved ones we were making previously. As we all know, winning at sailboat racing is all about who makes the least amount of mistakes. Tomorrow we have two more races scheduled and 15-18 knots forecast so another day of windy sailing!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
You can follow along with the regatta on the event website. There should be live tracking, video, pictures and twitter and facebook updates.
I have put some new pictures and some geeky videos in the photo album below so go take a look and let me know what you think.
|Weymouth - Holland 2011|
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
We did some upwind tuning and tacking/crossing drills with the Russians. We struggled at the beginning of the day with getting back into light air sailing mode after so much breeze. The pressure was up and down a lot so it was tricky to keep the boat flat and going fast all the time. We had a good long downwind during which Jen and I had a good discussion about our downwind communication and then we joined in with some racing. The racing didn't go great but it was very good practice. We had terrible starts which didn't help our upwind speed as we kept getting stuck in dirty air. The downwinds improved a lot over 3 races and we were working well together. After the races we did some more upwind tacking with the Russians and worked on our roll tacks. I kept getting stuck on the centreboard so Bunny advised crossing farther back in the boat. This helped a lot but also puts my head and Jen's head very close together coming out of the tack. We are both flinging ourselves through the boat to get across quickly; I am facing backwards and Jen is facing forwards so I foresee a head clunking at some stage in the future!
Tomorrow the forecast is for lighter winds which will be good practice as we haven't trained in light winds in awhile now.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
We left the regatta early due to some logistical complications and so missed the last race on Sunday. I won't go into details but basically we had assumed racing would be done Saturday and we needed to deliver our coach-boat back to Weymouth. We drove Saturday night and caught the 7 am ferry from France to England. We arrived Sunday morning in Weymouth, unpacked the boat and gave it to Sam to work on and ran some errands and then went to bed! Monday we took off (I slept and watched movies, it was glorious). Today we got the boat back from Sam and set it up again. We had some minor fiberglass repairs done as well as sanding and buffing the hull. The boat is now white again instead of scum colored! We also switched masts today, as we put a small bend in our mast in Holland from sticking it in the mud (the water is only about 12 feet deep). We have straightened the mast, but will now use it as our back-up only.
We are once again working with coach Bunny; as well as a Russian team. We are partnering with them to share coaching costs and also hopefully to develop a long-term training partnership. We are really excited about this as it is an amazing opportunity. It basically means we can afford twice the coaching and we are no longer going it alone. We have another boat to compare settings with and work with which is awesome. This event will be the trail event and then hopefully we will continue to work together throughout 2011 at Europeans and Worlds etc.
Skandia Sail for Gold is the next event. Racing starts Monday June 6th here in Weymouth, England at the 2012 Olympic Venue. This event is our first Olympic qualifier - if we place top Canadian we will have a spot at the Pre-Olympics here in Weymouth in August as well as a spot at the 2011 World Championships in Perth, Australia.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Yesterday it was sunny and there was no wind in the morning; we had a 1.30 start that was postponed by 2 hours. We fixed our gasket and sat around and then headed out at 2 pm. We tuned up and had our first race around 3.30. The wind was super patchy and shifty, more pressure on the left. We didn't have a great start and went too far left on the first beat. The second beat we tried to consolidate back towards the centre and got caught too far right out of the pressure! We ended up a few boats from the back of the fleet. The second race was abandoned half way through because a 40 degree shift came through and we were flying our spinnakers into the windward mark. We thought it might be home time after that (it was after 6 pm) but they let the new wind fill in and we had another race. It was similiar to the first, patchy breeze around 4-6 knots with big pressure bands coming through. We got rolled off the start by the World Champions, but managed to clear our air. Then we were mostly just confused tactically for the whole race! We were at the back of the pack but I have to say our reaching was much much better. We didn't lose any boats on the reaches and pulled off some really good mark roundings on the reach legs, so that was really great. It was a long day on the water and we got in just after 8 pm. We had a really good tactical discussion with our coach over dinner and have some new ideas to implement in the future.
Hopefully we will get in some racing today! You can check the event website for more info.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Well, day 1 of the Delta Lloyd regatta is down and it was a doozy! The breeze was a really nice 22-25knts and we set out on our 3 mile sail to the race course feeling good. It was a bit dodgy, though, because with trying to weave in and around the other race courses, it took us a bit longer than we anticipated to get to the course and so our warm up time was quite minimal. Nonetheless, we had a great first start and the boat felt high and fast throughout the first race. Hmm...it all would have been terrific if we'd gone the right way! We didn't loose out too much, though, and rounded the top mark in 9th place. Unfortunately, we had a bit of an altercation with a Chinese boat, and had to do take penalty turns on the downwind. We finished the race in 20th but were generally happy with our performance within the race.
Ironically, the second race scored us a better result with a 17, but we were much less satisfied with our sailing. The boat seemed sluggish and it was difficult to find the grove upwind. We also enjoyed two fairly fantastic capsizes, first on the start line at about a minute and a half to go (yours truly didn't ease enough vang when she bore away). No worries, we got the boat up and off the line. The second capsize was right into the finish reach where we got a bit cheeky and decided to fly the kite in on a reach. We figured, hey the top boats did it! Aaand, we practised reach sets all last week with Bunny in England...I'm sure it'll be just fine! Well, let's just say our pride suffered a bit on that one!
Things are coming along well, though, and we're pleased with our progress in breeze over last year. Tomorrow is set to be a light day, so the new challenge will be shifting back into light air sailing after training in breeze for the past two weeks.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
We had a good 2 hour session today in confusing wind conditions. The wind was from the SW so blowing off shore and generated by a series of small black clouds. It averaged probably around 18 knots but was up to 25 and down to 12 very suddenly. The waves are very short and choppy and close together as the water is so shallow. We stuffed the bow into one in our first gybe of the day and discovered just how shallow it was when we capsized! A bit of mud on the top of the sail and Jen's mast head indicator was destroyed but otherwise no harm done. The boat is ready to go for the regatta. Our coach for the event (Dayne Sharp) arrives tomorrow morning. We will train with him tomorrow and then racing starts on Tuesday.
Now back to our Ikea bungalow (more on this later) in the bungalow park which features a petting zoo, bowling alley, mini golf, and swimming pool!
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We wrapped up our week of training in Weymouth with coach Bunny, and have just arrived in Medemblik for Delta Lloyd regatta. We spent six days with Bunny, training in beautiful 12-18 knot breezes each day and working on a check list of items. Essentially we sailed in a square for six days, working on tacks, gybes, reaches, and straight line speed up and downwind. Both Erin and I are feeling like it was a very productive week, and we're looking forward to implementing our training into race situations.
We again housed with our wonderful German friends, Tina and Sanni, and coach Zizi. Between the girls and Zizi, and the various German team mates who drop by for dinners, we've dubbed our place the "German/Canadian commune." The result is that there's techno aplenty, lots of bread, meat, and cheese, and some Sunny Boy cereal always on the stove. It also means that to get to the Aga to do any cooking, you have to wade through all the wetsuits which are hanging to dry out each night!
Today we set the boat up here in Medemblik, and got ourselves sorted out for coach boat and logistics for the rest of the week. It's a beautiful venue here, and I'm excited for training tomorrow with the two Canadian boats which are here as well.
We'll let you know how the week progresses!
Friday, May 13, 2011
It was really helpful to work on each part of a race in order so we could think about our strategy, but because it wasn't a real race we didn't have to worry about other boats and could focus on the boat handling. I think we made some major improvements in our understanding of certain skills and techniques. We had one spectacular wipe-out where we capsized to windward turning from a reach to a run which was quite amusing; sadly we did not catch it on video! We were only on the water for three hours but we were working from start to finish and were completely exhausted at the end. It was honestly a struggle to finish my dinner I am so tired. It is 8.30 pm and I am off to bed! We should have some pictures up tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
We haven't seen the European boat "Quatchi" since 470 Europeans last September. While I trust Marlene and Annina completely (the german team who trained on our boat in October in exchange for storing it all winter) 470's are so complicated it is hard not to get confused and misplace things. Everything was pretty much there, so I moved the boat into the boat park where I found some familiar faces: Ollie and Andrew and Mike and Luke, two Canadian men's 470 teams. I started rigging and I have to say I love our European boat. It is rigged just a little bit more intuitively than our boat back at home. Things make more sense and are less complicated and they work better. The boat went together very straight-forwardly. There are a few more things to fix but nothing major. I quite early and headed back into town to pick up a few things. I haven't been to Weymouth in over a year, but I managed to navigate alright. I found the hardware store, the boat chandlery and the vodafone shop and got a good walk uphill in the process. Also, it was sunny and warm all day, which was excellent.
Tomorrow I will finish setting up the boat with our coach Bunny and go for a test-sail. Jen arrives tomorrow evening and then we will begin training on Thursday.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
With varying weather conditions and finally some sunshine these past two days it has been a really good camp. Our boat handling is constantly improving. I think we made some especially big improvements on our double-tacks and 360 degree turns on Sunday. The way our communication and teamwork has come together in the past 6 months is really noticeable, every maneuver happens more quickly and we get less frustrated with things when training because there is constant communication about what is happening and what is about to happen.
Now a few days off and then back on the water this Easter weekend!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Secondly, I'm competitive. Not in an "I want to crush you" sort of way, but rather in a self-challenging manner. I like knowing things, and I want to be an expert at everything I do. Competing is the best way to guage your performance as well as improve it. The Olympics is the ultimate affirmation of knowledge and experience in sport, so I want to go. Or at least I want to try my hardest to go, and if I am unsuccesful I will at least have given it my all.
Third is the people and places sport has brought into my life. I very quickly forget where we placed in the results, but I will never forget the amazing places I have visited and the friendships I have made over the years through my participation in sport. From playing soccer and skiing in Calgary as a kid to biking up a mountain with a friend in Ireland to living and competing with fellow sailors in Istanbul it is the people from around the world that make the experiences memorable.
The point Kristina brought up is that women's participation in sport is still incredibly low, and the way most women participate in sport is not for the same reasons as me. The average women goes to the gym or yoga or pilates alone, and often does so in order to lose weight or remain trim to fit a specific societal body image. A recent Times Colonist article highlighting two individual's completion of a workout regime seemed to highlight this. The female participant was pleased to have dropped 3 dress sizes and discussed not cheating on her diet which limited her to 2 fruits a day. There was no mention of enjoyment or friendship.
Jen and I both go to the gym in order to improve our fitness for sailing, but for both of us it is our least enjoyable part of being an athlete because it can be a bit lonely and a bit unstimulating compared to the race course and the team atmosphere. I currently work out with my gym buddy Christa, whom I met on craigslist because I needed that comradrie in order to motivate me. I met my running buddy Bonnie through a running clinic, and I play soccer and go climbing with different people again. Jen and I both eat very healthily, but this generally involves eating tons of fruits and veggies (which I love) and fewer refined sugars. Our diet (and by diet I mean "the food we eat") is not regimented but about moderation, so I don't feel the need to "cheat" whatever that means.
When people find out Jen and I are trying to lose weight the standard comment is "why, you look great!". While compliments are nice, our weight goal has nothing to do with how we look or about trying to fit into certain clothes or being perceived as attractive. Every boat has an ideal combined crew weight which maximizes performance, and Jen and I just happen to be on the larger end. While obesity is becoming a major issue in our society, I think weight loss as the primary reason for being active is incredibly sad, and an individual's level of activity tends to be a better indicator of overall health than their waistline.
So what am I trying to say? I have a passion for the outdoors and for sport in general because it is FUN and involves people I LOVE! As a result, I lead a healthy and active lifestyle and have a better understanding and appreciation for my body. This is what I try and pass on to the athletes I coach - a lifelong passion for sailing, whethor competitive or recreational; local or worldwide. So my suggestion to women (and men) everywhere? Grab a friend and go play outside!
The talk by Kristina was really the highlight of the event for me. Kristina recently suffered a severe concussion and as a result might be retiring from competitive speed skating. Her talk focused on the role sport has played in her life and the challenges she sees for the average women's involvement in sport. While celebrating how far we have come, she also pointed out how much work still remains. I recorded Kristina's talk and have included it and my own thoughts in a separate blog post.
Here are some pictures from the event.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Erin has been busy coaching here in Victoria with the Prairie Region Cadets and I was with the Royal Vic 29er team down in San Diego last week. I must admit that it was wonderful to get into some warmer weather and water...even though the folks down in San Diego found it pretty cold and thought that I was the "crazy Canadian girl with the flip flops on."
The 29er Mid Winters West spanned three days and we included an extra day of training. Jess Round and Erin Berry as well as 29er rookies Sophie Papp and Maddy Innes made up "Team Girl Squad" for the weekend. With up to five races a day there was plenty of action, and some excellent crash and burns to be seen on the race course. Even the top teams were exhausted after five races on Saturday, but non more so I think than our intrepid Maddy and Sophie. A big kudos to the girls for toughing out the regatta and pushing themselves harder than I think they even thought that they could push. In fact, they both learned about just how physically demanding a day of racing can be especially if you get behind on eating and hydrating. Next time you see the girls on the dock, just ask them about the tow back in on Saturday when they were both as sick as dogs. We've ALL been there girls!
Thanks too to Jess and Erin for sharing their knowledge and experience, and proving to be great training partners. It's always so much better when you have a solid set of training partners to tune up with each day, and to debrief with at the end of each day. Way to go girls on a great regatta!
Thanks too to our billets, the Stewards. The Stewards are possibly the hippest and coolest family in Southern California...and that's saying a lot! Amy, mum and school teacher, is the kind of teacher that every kid wishes they ever had in school. Dan'l, aka Dad, is a Navy Seal, and we're pretty sure that he's actually Chuck Norris...I think I saw him open a jar of jam with his mind. D'Amy, daughter of Amy and Dan'l, is the most athletic thirteen year old I think I've ever met. After 29er sailing with Erin, D'amy is currently trying to figure out how to fit some skiff sailing into her Sabot, Laser Radial, 420, and swim schedules. Thanks to the Steward family for their hospitality!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I'm ashamed to say that it's been two whole weeks since our last blog update! Truthfully, we've been having a bit of bad luck with our training up until this week. For the past two weeks, it seemed that there was either absolutely no wind (really! the bay looked like a mirror!) or there would be a storm blowing 40-45 knots! We realize that training in heavy air is important, but felt that 45 knots was definitely beyond our limit at this stage of the game. Fortunately this week the weather has been much more cooperative and we've managed to make up some of our lost training sessions. Today was a beautiful 20-23 knot day, which we haven't had the opportunity to train in for a long time. With the big swell and the nice breeze, conditions reminded us a bit of what we'll be sailing in when we go to Weymouth and compete in Sail for Gold in June. Well, our waters a bit colder though, and there was an element of managing the ice cream headaches from the spray that hits us in the face when we sail.
This weekend Erin and I are also teaching a coaching clinic for BC Sailing, and so we'll be dusting off our coaching hats for a few days. Then next week I drive a trailer of 29ers down to San Diego to coach two fantastic 29er girls teams. Then it's back to sailing sailing sailing for team Jen and Erin!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The day after our Louis Riel training camp winter seemed to hit us again...with a foot of snow in Victoria! Needless to say, training has been put on hold while the temperatures dipped to as low as -9 with the wind chill. What does this mean for us? Lots of time at the gym! I've been focusing on strength training to try to get my back and shoulders as strong as possible, and working on a nutrition plan to help keep weight down while working on my strength.
I had the opportunity to teach an instructor course in Vancouver over the weekend. It was a nice change of pace and all the candidates involved were enthusiastic and shared great ideas about coaching. This was a Program Manager course, which certifies instructors to run their own learn to sail programs. Lots of good ideas flying around the room and meaty discussions about promoting active and healthy living through the sport of sailing. Very inspiring!
Monday, February 14, 2011
For every new Canadian fan of Canada at “Keep Exploring” on Facebook, one shiny loonie will go to the Canadian Olympic Team. The promotion runs until February 28, one year after the Closing Ceremony.
Share this with your friends and family to help support the Canadian Olympic Team.
Here’s an example Facebook post to share:
Support the Canadian Olympic Team! Visit Canada, Keep Exploring on Facebook and athletes will receive $1 for every “Like.” http://www.facebook.com/KeepExploring
Olympians Canada Secretariat
(Click the image above to link to facebook.com/keepexploring and press ‘Like’)
Sunday, February 13, 2011
This week we're shifting our primary focus to the gym and to some nagging boat work. These are items which didn't prevent us from racing and training in Miami, but which certainly need attending to. Luckily, Adrian Round, (Anne's husband, and if you remember, Anne was my helm for the 29er XX event...we're all one big happy family!) is helping us out this week. Okay, "helping" is a bit of an understatement. Adrian is single-handedly removing any minor form of wiggle, waggle, or slop from my steering system and also repairing a nasty fibreglass repair in the partners of our boat (the partners are the part of the boat that help to support the mast).
I would like to pretend that I could do these repairs myself...and admit that Erin and I both attempted MacIvor-like repairs in the boat part in Miami. Who am I kidding? Adrian is infinitely more knowledgeable, well equipped, experienced, and detail oriented when it comes to this type of thing! Many thanks to you, Adrian, for fixing up our boat and letting us get back to fixing ourselves at the gym.
This weekend we'll be back on the water training. We've got a four day training camp at Royal Vic called the "Louis Riel Camp." The name comes from Team Manitoba, who will be joining us for their long weekend which involves Louis Riel Day. We'll also have the Alberta Sailing Team with us and Paralympic sailors from all the western provinces. Should be a great weekend!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Erin and I are both back in Canada now, and taking a short break this week after five weeks of winter training down in Miami. I stayed an extra week to sail the Seiko Superbowl 29erXX event with Anne Round. This was a fun and relaxed event which proved to be a good opportunity to practise transferring my 470 skills into another boat, and to transfer my helming skills back to my old position of crew!
The boats are simple, straight forward and fun. That is not to say that they are easy though! In the breeze agility and the ability to respond quickly to changing boat balance proved to be the most important thing for Anne and I. I can't say that our cat-like reflexes were quite on par with the more experienced skiff crews once a bit of breeze came up, but in the lighter wind, we were able to keep up with even the experienced crews. Our best result was a 5th in the first race, having lost our 3rd place to two other boats right on the finish. This was a highlight of our weekend, and Anne and I, the two renegade skiff newbies from Canada looked at each other after the race and thought "wow! way to go team!"
Next weekend Erin and I will get back to work in the 470. As much as I truly enjoyed skiff sailing, and look forward to more in the future, I must admit to being a devoted fan of the 470. It's complicated, challenging, and sometimes incredibly frustrating...but that's what makes the 470 so rewarding.
I've attached a link to photos from the 29erXX event. Anne and I are sail number CAN6. I wonder if the 470 class association would ever consider incorporating pink sails into the picture???
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Well, OCR is all wrapped up and the trailer is on it's way back to Victoria where it appears to be...not as warm or nice as Miami! Erin is off in a few hours, but I'm fortunate enough to be staying for another week to sail the 29erXX Seiko regatta with my good friend Anne Round. This will definitely be a nice way to end off the trip, with a fun and action packed yet low pressure event. Erin and I are happy with the progress that we've made since our last OCR regatta one year ago, and feel that we're on the right path with our training. A huge thanks to our coaches, Steve, Dave, Brian, Erik, and now Zizi and Rafal. And of course to all of you who have followed along, supported us, and sent us your warm wishes and love.
Friday, January 28, 2011
The second race the wind came in quite strong from the right again and after the first race and discussions with our coaches we decided the left side was a safer option. We had a brilliant start and powered off on starboard tack. The fleet headed all the way out past the lay-line, in fact past the gybe mark before tacking. We came back into the top mark on a close reach and rounded in 5th. The first downwind was a bit crazy - the breeze was on and had shifted left making the first part of the downwind quite tight. The entire fleet was together and people were just continuously pumping the spinnaker - by the bottom mark I wasn't sure my arms would be able to take down the spinnaker. The second upwind we headed left again but had slipped back in the fleet and struggled to find clean air. The breeze softened up again and we finished in light and fluky stuff having been passed by most of the fleet.
The third race was mostly a test of focus. We didn't have a great start as the boat above us started way early (they must be OCS in this race) and sailed over us. We were forced to tack out and struggled to find a lane the whole upwind. The wind was up and down, the course very choppy and with the sun low in the sky it was as struggle to see the puffs/shifts coming. Then on the second upwind the women's and men's fleets got all tangled up and it was very confusing. By the time we finished the race we were just tired and hungry, as it was after 5 pm.
So ends Miami OCR for us this year. Tomorrow the top ten boats in each fleet will compete in the medal races, including our good friends Tina and Sanni (GER 61).
Although it is not reflected in our results, we have improved leaps and bounds over the past year. We have consistently gotten good starts in this event, and have managed to round the mark in a top 10 position in four of the nine races. Our boat speed and ability to point upwind is on pace with the rest of the boats. Our major area of focus for the next few months will be on our reaching and downwind speed and boat handling coming into mark roundings.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
We have a late start tomorrow (1300) so can sleep in a bit. They will probably try and get in 3 races to make up for only having one today but we shall see!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
After the race Zizi and Rafa made us sail upwind again and gave us several helpful pointers on our upwind speed. Although today wasn't a brilliant day for us we remained in good spirits and hope to continue the upward trajectory tomorrow. Please check out the event website where you can view the races live as well as find the results and photos.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Today I slept in and then cycled to the Fairchild Tropical Gardens with Sanni and Tina. There was a chocolate festival at the gardens so along with the many different types of palm and fruit trees there were vendors with free chocolate samples! It was a fun relaxing afternoon and we are now gathered in the living room reading our Sailing Instructions and getting ready for tomorrow morning. For more information on MOCR please visit the event website.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Today was another long day; it started at about 3 am when everyone woke up to torrential downpour. I think everyone else in the house was thinking the same thing I was: "Shoot, all my sailing gear is hanging outside to dry!". The humidity this morning was absolutely incredible; everything was soaked but nothing would dry and your sweat would not evaporate. We headed out at 8.30 to work with Erik again but didn't last long. Somehow our mainsail, spinnaker and jib halyards had become crossed inside the mast and we couldn't hoist or douse our spinnaker without dumping our rig tension. We headed in to sort this out which took about 2 hours of fiddling. We fixed it just in time to head back on the water with Sanni and Tina and our new training group! It was us, the German girls, the Polish girls and the Danish girls working with Zeze and Rafa the German and Polish coaches respectfully. We are super excited to have a group of girls to work with and the training was excellent. We are the slowest of the four boats, but this is a good thing as we must always work extra hard to keep up and stay focused. We did some small windward/leeward courses working on leeward mark rounding transitions; then some starting and acceleration practice and some small races. It was great to watch what the other girls do on the starting line and there was an excellent discussion during the debrief about different techniques for staying forward on the line and working the boat to windward. Towards the end of the day we all joined in with some group races. The group racing is a staple in the 470 fleet. It is organized by the coaches and happens every training day before a World Cup event. You usually need to be invited to join in and there are specific rules to be followed or you get yelled at. (For example: if there are more than 10 women's boats they must start on their own and not with the men; if you are over early or foul someone you must do a 360.) It was an excellent day of training and now for a nap!
Check out the photos Zeze took during NA's. This is in race 3 on day 1 when we were doing really well!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
We sat around intending to watch the medal race but they were taking so long to set it up we got bored and sailed in. Our German friends Sanni and Tina had pulled out of the last race due to frustration; but they managed to get it together and won the medal race!
Overall it was a really good regatta for us. We know how to start now and have the boat speed upwind. We sometimes have the boat speed downwind and our boat handling is not brilliant but functional and repeatable. Our teamwork and communication has improved immensely and we have settled into our roles in the boat and trust each other's decisions now! We are looking forward to a day off tomorrow and then we will continue training for the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta which begins on the 24th.