Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Qualification done

Well it was a difficult day on the water for us today. The wind was from the same direction (SE) as yesterday and built as we sailed out to the course to around 8-10 knots. We thought it might pick up more but during the first race it dropped down to around 6 knots. The first race we started at the pin and had a great start - but it was a general. Second start we were a bit farther up the line and didn't hold our lane long enough off the start. We tacked out but kept getting bounced around as other boats tacked on top of us. We ended up sailing too much in the middle of the course and tacking too much, rounding towards the back of the fleet. We had a good reach, managing to stay low and catch a boat. The downwind we went the wrong way however; the wind had decreased and the pressure across the course was uneven and patchy. The second upwind we headed back out into the pressure but my back decided to start acting up and I was in a lot of pain with the marginal trapezing conditions. Between races I stretched and this helped a bit. The wind was still very light and patchy.

For the second race we opted to start at the boat end with our classic strategy - hang out and come in super late and snag the hole directly under the RC. This is risky, because if the hole doesn't open up you are screwed, but if it does you are golden and have won the biased end. We were hanging out a bit far away from the RC, and had to politely ask a coachboat to move as we were actually racing (classic Canadian fashion - "Umm, excuse me, could you please let us past? Sorry, thank you!). We came in super late with speed and had the most amazing start ever - and it was a general recall! I'm sure we confused the RC with all our yelling. "Yes! Awesome start!" "NOOOOO let us go!" Anyways, we tried it again and of course it didn't work the second time. Headed out right and it was looking good until we came back into the top in second last. At least one boat came with us?! The rest of the race was just painful. Literally, my back was excruciating with the marginal trapeze conditions and choppy water. We caught some boats on the second beat but then lost them again on the downwind as some massive shifts came through.

Personally the day was extremely frustrating for me, as I have worked so hard on my fitness for so long and my back has not been an issue for most of the past year. I go running and do exercises every morning at 7.30 am while other people sleep just so that my back is nice and relaxed and my core muscles are activated. For some reason today just wasn't my day.

So after 6 races qualification is complete and the top 27 boats advance to Gold Fleet and the bottom 27 to Silver Fleet. We are unfortunately solidly in silver, which means we have officially NOT qualified for the 2012 Olympics.

Although not a total surprise given our results at every event so far this spring, it is still a huge disappointment to not realize our dream of representing Canada at the Olympics.

We are still in competition though, and there are four more days of racing! We will continue to try our hardest and learn from every race. There are 6 unqualified nations in the Women's Gold Fleet and 5 spots for the Olympics, so the excitement continues!

In the Men's fleet the Canadians Mike Leigh and Luke Ramsay have made Gold Fleet and qualified Canada for the Olympics! Congratulations to both of them, they have worked so hard and sailed great the last couple days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day Two - Three Races

Today was action packed! Got up at 7.30 and went running as usual. Breakfast and biked down to the club. Checked the settings, discovered while rigging that the water bottle I have been drinking from for 3 months now is full of fungus/algae/mold (yummy!). Tried to wash it but no use, so had a coffee and bought some water bottles and tried not to think about what I've been ingesting (the biochem degree does NOT help with ignorance is bliss, let me tell you!). We were all ready to go and it was 10.30 so we decided what the heck, we'd be the keeners for the day. The boys had the same idea so it was Canada first off the boat ramp!

We sailed down to our course in about 10-12 knots. Once down at the race committee we pinned down to our 2 setting and went upwind to check it out. Once we'd gone upwind and downwind once it was only 11 am, so we did it again and manged to tune up with a Russian team. Then it was still only 11.30! Nice to get out early and be ready to go for a change! We put on some more clothing and chilled out until our start.

The wind was pretty up and down and shifty, but the pin looked favored so our plan was to start down there, get a clean start and tack on shifts/stay in phase with the fleet. First start we had a beautiful start, punched out with speed. It was a general recall, of course. Except the horn they are using on the RC boat is pretty whimpy (sounds like a very sad cat sometimes) so the fleet got away a bit before we realized the start was recalled.

Now, usually we have an amazing start and it is a generall recall and then we horribly screw up the real start. Today however was different! We managed to repeat our awesome start and go fast. In fact, we went faster then anyone else in the fleet for most of the day. We crossed back into the fleet 2/3 way up the beat and tacked ahead of and in front of everyone. In other words, we were WINING THE RACE for awhile! Then coming into the starboard layline I didn't have the confidence to leebow the five-time world champs, so we overstood the lay line and let about 5 boats get inside. The rest of the race was average. Not so flash on the downwinds or around marks, but picked up boats again upwind with our wicked fast boat speed. Ended up 22nd.

The second race we managed a repeat performance - rounded the top mark in 3rd and did a decent job on the downwind. Second upwind we usually catch up a whole bunch of boats but we were already solidly up in the fleet and we got forced left a bit far, so we stayed around the same. The reach we managed to hold off the Australians (both gold medalists) from rolling us until just before the mark. Then they capsized; I laughed and Hannah said this was bad Karma. True that! We went half way down the leg and capsized ourselves! Got it up but 24th in that race.

The third race we sat around for a bit before hand and the wind came up to about 18 knots. Pinned down to gear 4. Unfortunately Hannah lost her (expensive) sunglasses on the capsize, so she was now sailing blind. If you've never sailed the 470 in breeze, you can't appreciate how the water hits the crew's feet/calves and deflects exactly into the skipper's face. The skippers call it the "firehose". Especially nice if the water is cold!

So our start was okay, our upwind speed was okay, but not amazing like the first two races due to the fact that Hannah was actually sailing with her eyes closed (the salt water burns). Made a few mistakes around the course and we ended up at the back of the pack.

Once in from sailing we sat in the sun and ate some Paillea provided by the regatta. We discussed how after a hard day of sailing it doesn't matter what the food is or how bad it is, you'll eat it! It was funny after sailing noticing how everyone in the fleet has this haggard/exhausted look about them with wicked sunglasses tans and bloodshot eyes from the salt water.

The bike home was into the wind which was not so fun. I think I've had enough exercise for the day, except my muscles are stiffening up now so I'll still have to go for a light jog/stretch tonight!

Tomorrow we are back on the normal two races a day program with a 12 pm start. Check the regatta website there are pictures, video and you can watch the races again with the tracking.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Day Done!

Hello all! So, it is the end of day one of the 2012 470 World Championships, and we got one light wind race under our belts; placing 20th in the Blue fleet. We were postponed on shore for a couple hours, before rushing out around 2:30pm, as they only give us 30mins from the moment the AP flag comes down on shore. Erin made the mistake this morning of trusting me with the blue ribbon to display from our mast... I forgot where I set it down, so I was running around the boat park, trying to find a new blue ribbon. After that little drama we headed to the start line.

The first start for the blue fleet was generalled, then the second start was under the pretty black flag. We made it off the line and immediately took a few transomes, after missing our only tacking opportunity, we were forced out to the left. But, luckily a HUGE lefty came in and helped us out a little.
We caught a few boats on the first downwind, but then found ourselves in the middle of a massive shit fight on the starboard side of the gate. We made it out with limited drama, other than the Malaysians yelling uselessly about something involving Canadians and a few words I shouldn't repeat. But, seeing as we weren't at fault, we didn't need to do any spins.

The rest of the race went relatively smooth, and we had some boats behind us at the finish line, so overall not a bad day. We felt bad for the 470 men though, who hadn't even started a race by the time we were headed in so Erin made a delish supper for when the Finnish guys got home, as they were bound to come in tired, grumpy, and hungry.

As for tomorrow, we hope to get off the start line a little better, and hopefully have a few more sails behind us at the finish! The start is at 12:00pm again, but we are on the Alpha course instead of the Bravo. You can also follow along live on the event webpage; all the boats carry GPS trackers. We shall post again tomorrow evening with more exciting news from beautiful Barcelona. Untill then, adios amigos!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Worlds Starts Tomorrow!

Hello Supporters!

 The time we have worked so hard for has finally arrived! The 2012 470 World Championships and 2nd Olympic Qualifier is now! Last night was the opening ceremonies and today was the practice race. Tomorrow racing starts at 12 pm with two races per day scheduled. There will be six days of racing (with no lay day) and then the medal race and consolation race on the seventh day (May 19th). We took the day off yesterday and did some sight seeing with our Croatian friends. We went to the Picasso museum, did some shopping and had coffee on La Rambla. There are some pictures on Facebook you can see here.

It has been a very steep learning curve since Hannah and I started sailing together in October, and a very emotional past few months over here in Europe training and competing. I guess we are as ready as we will ever be! We are healthy and happy and we have excellent equipment, so that's about all you can hope for at the end of the day. I am super excited to get the event started and see how it goes. The conditions for training have been very light and warm and choppy. Not our best conditions in terms of boat speed, but very enjoyable to sail in none the less.

 There are too many boats registered for us to all race together, so the fleets will be split. This means there will be three days of qualifying and then four days of racing in Gold and Silver fleet. What this means for the Olympic Qualification is that in order to qualify for the Olympics we probably need to be in Gold fleet. So one way or another we will know by Wednesday what our future holds. You can follow along on Facebook and Twitter and on the event website. We will have GPS trackers on board so you can follow the racing live if you are awake!

 Thank you to everyone for all your support throughout our campaign and wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fun Sailing

We have been on the water for three days now in Barcelona. We have been getting back into a routine. Fitness in the morning, a little bit of boat work and then sailing. Yesterday we had 10-14 knots and sun and warm weather and it was gorgeous. We had a really productive training day and we also had a ton of fun. Often these two do not go hand in hand and we have been struggling this trip with the fun factor, so that was really nice! We went out and tuned up on our own and then joined in with some racing. Once we tuned up we had really good speed. We joined in late on the racing so asked our friends Sanni and Tina what the sequence and course was. Tina said it was a three minute sequence, twice around and the right was paying. So we won the boat, hit the right and rounded top five! After two races the racing was done. Then we managed to hook up with the German and Polish teams and do some tuning upwind. We were really fast and when we focused on it had really good height as well. It was so nice to know we can go fast on our own when we focus on it. We are also using the mast we used in Palma, which sets up a bit nicer than the new mast we used for Spring Cup and Hyeres. Today we had to move venues as we are racing out of the Barcelona International Sailing Center and not the Olympic Port. We hit the water a bit later after fixing a few things on the boat. Mackay Boats was kind enough to mail us new auto-bailer flaps free of charge so our boat doesn't take on water anymore! We went out and tuned up with the Ecuador boys. Light wind and BIG waves made the conditions very tricky. Trying to keep the sails powered up but also go fast and high. We struggled with our height for awhile but eventually figured it out. We joined in on some racing again and it went pretty well. We made some big mistakes but also some big gains and our communication in the boat as well as our boat trim was very good. Most people headed in after the racing; however our dolly was being moved by the Finnish boys' coach and they were still out training so we couldn't go in yet. We decided to sail around for fun. A strange concept indeed; but we had done 3 hours of productive training so why not? We sailed around with our sails trimmed incorrectly and sun-tanned and looked at the Barcelona coast line. It was quite relaxing and enjoyable. We headed in and figured out the new boat storage/launching situation (the ramp is much bigger). Tomorrow we will go training in the morning and then through measurement in the afternoon. Then we will take Saturday off, short sail Sunday and then Worlds starts on Monday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Training In Barcelona

Hello everyone! Hannah and I are back together in Barcelona and getting ready for our World Championships! We had 10 days off during which time Hannah went to Whales and I went to Croatia. We both had excellent holidays and are feeling refreshed and relaxed and excited to get back into the boat. Today we unloaded the boat and set it up and actually managed to get on the water for a short training session with the Croatian women's team Romana and Enia. We did some line ups (we were fast but had no height) and a short windward leeward. We have some minor boat work to do each day this week to make sure the boat is totally prepared for Worlds, but everything major is together and working. We have a very nice three bedroom apartment less than 10 minutes biking from the Olimpic Harbor. Unfortunately this is apparently NOT the sailing venue we will race out of next week! So we will have to sort out those logistics later. Staying with us are the Finnish Men's 470 team of Niklos and Joonis Lindgren and their coach Petri. They have admitted to being incapable of cooking so looks like I'm the chef for the next few weeks; which conveniently means I will not have to do any dishes. Speaking of dishes - we've just discovered Hannah has been running the dishwasher with salt, not dishwasher powder as she originally thought. Her defense is she doesn't speak Spanish! Racing for Worlds starts on the 13th so we will have 5 days of training and a day off and then start racing. There are six days of racing and the seventh day is the medal race. The forecast looks rather mixed, which is what people have been saying all along. Hopefully we will get a little bit of everything and the most well-rounded sailors will win! I can hardly believe we have only two more weeks left in Europe. This trip has been such a whirl-wind of emotions and activities. Thank you so much to everyone for your continued support. The folks at Calgary Yacht Club put together a video to cheer us on and posted it to our Facebook page and it was so great to see everyone at home still thinking of us and wishing us the best!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


So a lot has happened since the last blog post! Wednesday we actually had light wind and some sun which was a nice change. We were postponed on shore for an hour or so and then headed out and had two races. We finished very poorly in both races, but the first race was good in that we had a really good start and great first upwind. It was very choppy and the wind was very patchy which made the conditions really tough. Thursday was again very windy, 25+ knots and big waves. Along with many other boats, we opted to not sail the last two races of the event and just pack the boat up early. We didn't want to risk breaking any gear and didn't see much point in spending the day swimming considering our results in the event and our goals for the event (to try and relax and enjoy sailing!) During Hyeres we decided we would continue to Barcelona and the Olympic Qualifier, but instead of going straight to Barcelona and training immediately, we would take a week off of sailing to try and rest and recuperate and come back into the event relaxed and with a positive outlook. Hannah has gone to Whales with one of the other Canadian 470 sailors for a few days, and I have gone to Croatia with my good friends Romana and Enia, the Croatian 470 team. I drove in the van with the Croatian sailors and Romana has so far been an amazing host. Yesterday we went rafting in an annual rafting race organized by her father. We placed 5th overall and the most amusing part is I was interviewed and appeared on national television because it was so strange to have a Canadian in the event! We will return to Barcelona on the 5th and start training for the 470 World Championships, which begin on May 13th. Thanks to everyone for all their positive support and wonderful emails! Feel free to email us we love to hear from home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hyeres Day Three

So Southern France is beautiful and all, but man it is windy and the wind is cold!!! We have had two races a day since starting racing on Sunday. Sunday was 20 knots for the first race (swimming lessons) and 25 for the second race, which we opted to not sail and came in early. Monday we had only 15-20 knots, and had two races. We struggled with our starts and speed. Today the forecast was for 30 knots at 2 pm. So the race committee changed our start time to 9 am. Now, this might seem acceptable to you - you probably start work at 9 am. But it takes over 30 minutes to sail down to our course, which is like 4 miles away. So this morning I got up just after 6 to go run and stretch (otherwise my back will not function correctly) then we got to the boat park at 7, and launched just before 8 am. I've started a few races at home in Alberta at 9 am, but nothing like this! So we had two races in 20 knots. Our first race we actually did really well! I think because we chose the correct gear setting for the conditions. We had a not great start but were at the biased end, tacked on a few shifts and just generally went fast. We lost boats on the reach/run after a slow spinnaker hoist but then gained back a bunch of boats on the second beat. Best of all, we didn't capsize at all! The second race we again had a bad start at the biased end but had trouble getting clear and ended up sailing on the headed tack a lot. We were hit by a huge puff on the reach and capsized. Normally this would be fine, but for some reason the jib kept re-cleating and we couldn't get the boat up for about 10 minutes. By this time the fleet was GONE. We decided to head in as we had had one really good race. On the way in just as we came into the harbour the block on our rudder came off, so I'm really happy it didn't happen during a race, or we we would have had no steering! The great thing about the early start this morning was even after the hour long sail in, it was still before noon! Home to shower until out of hot water and then I had an excellent nap. It is now extremely windy but sunny! Tomorrow the forecast is for slightly less wind but I will believe it when I see it. We have been trying to be more social since getting to Hyeres, it has been really nice to have a rental car so we can go visit people and still get home at a reasonable hour. Actually, the best part about our black rental car is getting in after sailing (still in our wetsuits) and it is super warm inside and we just drive home and shower/change there! Okay the regatta website is here. There are loads of pictures from the event so take a look.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sailing Update from Hyeres

Dear supporters, Sorry we have been out of contact for so long. We finished the regatta in Palma on a low note, struggling with basically everything. We then travelled to Les Sablettes, France to set up for 470 Spring Cup. We had one day of training in 20 knots before the event started. We had a variety of conditions over five days of competition. The racing for us was a repeat of Palma. We struggled to make smart decisions, made plenty of stupid decisions, and just couldn't seem to pull things together. On Friday after a bad day of racing we were both very demoralized and unhappy. Our motivation and happiness is something we have been struggling with this entire trip. It has felt most of the time like we are working extremely hard at banging our heads against the wall. We have seen very little actual progress in our racing skills, even though we improve in training. Things finally came to a head on Sunday in Les Sablettes. We came in from racing after the first race after a particularily negative conversation with our coach. Hannah and I went for a walk and had a long talk. We decided we could no longer continue working with Bunny, our coach. He is an amazing technical coach but personality wise we were all not getting along and clearly the relationship was not functional. We went racing on Sunday on our own, and actually had the best day of racing we've had since arriving in Europe. We didn't sail brilliantly, but we didn't make any massive blunders and we felt much more calm. There was one last race on Monday, and then on Tuesday we packed up and moved to Hyeres for La Semaine Olympic Francais de Voile. We have decided to do Hyeres on our own without a coach so we can focus on our teamwork and communication and then make a decision on whethor or not to continue to Barcelona and compete in the Olympic qualifier. This whole process has been very difficult for both of us. We feel an obligation to our family and friends and financial supporters to see this campaign through to the qualifier and try our hardest. However, we also feel a responsibility to our selves to not be completely miserable and anxious and stressed throughout the process, and to be realistic about our chances of qualifying at this point with our results to date. Aside from the sailing, I should add that the trip so far has not been a complete bust! We have also had some amazing experiences and made some good friends. We greatly enjoyed touring old town Palma and the cathedral, as well as cliff diving on the other side of the island. Les Sablettes and Southern France in general is absolutely amazing. The scenery, the friendly people and the food have all been highlights of the trip! We have uploaded some photos to picassa for you to view. Whatever we decide to do in the next month, we would like to end this campaign on a positive note. We are continuing to train hard both on and off the water and we hope to come away with a positive outlook on sailing and racing after Hyeres. We have both learned an incredible amount during this trip about sailing, life and ourselves and we know this will be put to good use in the future. I hope you will all understand and support our decisions.
South France
Spain 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Cup Day 2

Today was day two of racing at Spring Cup. I'll be honest, we are not doing so hot. We are really struggling with getting things sorted out on the race course. As Bunny keeps reminding us, we only have 2 or 3 main things to remember on each leg of the course, and yet we are still dropping the ball. Yesterday we had a 2 pm start and two races in light winds. The last race was a joke, the wind totally died half way through. The race committee should have abandoned it or shortened it earlier. As it was, we spent over 40 minutes in no wind trying to finish. The boats at the back of the fleet started pumping, so then everyone did as well. So basically the jury did nothing, while everyone pumped their boats across the finish line. Totally ridiculous. Generally our starts are better, but our decision making was terrible. Sailing all over the middle of the course and giving boats away at all the marks. Today was similar. We had an 11 am start schedule, but then there was no wind, rain and clouds. We were postponed on shore and then went out at 11.30. Then we sat around on the water for over 3 hours, while the wind switched directions every 10 minutes. I don't blame the race committee for not racing us in it, but it would have been much more comfortable to be sitting on shore (since it is so close) until the wind stabilized. Finally we had 2 races in puffy shifty wind from the shore. Again, decent starts but poor decision making and we just couldn't get it together. Despite the terrible racing, we have been having some nice BBQ's in our garden each evening. Bunny is quite the BBQ'er and tonight we had grilled chicken, sausage, peppers and corn with a nice salad and some red wine. We will try again with the racing tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gearing Up for Spring Cup

Hello from sunny France! It is currently blowing about 25 knots with some nice waves crashing into shore, but it's still sunny, strange concept for an Alberta girl... Today we spent our time getting organized for Spring Cup; got registered, our sails measured, and our brand new mast set up, all tuned in and ready to go! Racing starts tomorrow at 2pm and goes till Monday. The forcast is for a solid 10-15 knots for the first couple days then dying out, so we will get some good medium racing practice in. The regatta is supposed to have around 50 boats, guys and girls will be mixed and there will be two fleets. The location is amazing! We went to Sanary for supper last night, it was beautiful. It was kind of windy and rainy, but gorgeous none the less. I tried blood sausage, not knowing that it's actually made of blood and I actually really enjoyed it! Untill Erin's comment, "Just try to ignore the slight metallic taste!" Then I was done with that idea. But overall, I am personally enjoying France more than Spain, just food and scenary wise. It also might have something to do with being able to decipher the language a little bit better than Spanish too... I'm not as comfortable with French as Erin is, but it's still pretty cool! We will keep everyone posted with how Spring Cup goes, then we are off to Hyeres! :) P.S. We are sorry about the lack of communication, it took a while for us to track down some decent wifi.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Les Sablettes

Hello everyone. Sorry again for the lack of updates. Internet is sketchy and hard to come by! We drove from Palma (well, took the Ferry) to France on Sunday afternoon. We spent the night in a hotel just across the French border. Arrived in Les Sablettes the next morning and put the boat together. It was a beautiful day, and I discovered my French from French Immersion school 10 years ago is actually useful! Not great but I can get the point across and get dinner ordered and make small talk. It is very beautiful here, except now it is rainy and cold! We got on the water today with our new mast up in about 15-20 knots and huge waves. Tomorrow it is supposed to be a big storm, so maybe no sailing. Racing starts on the 12th for this regatta, which is Spring Cup. A small 470 event, should be pretty relaxed and supposed to be fun. Good practice racing, as we clearly need it after Palma! We are staying in a tiny apartment in a house owned by a friend of another Canadian 470 sailor Oliver Bones. We are literally 500 m from the yacht club, and our boat is 20 m from the house on the beach, so the commute is nice!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Packing up in Spain

Hello, just a quick note to update you all. The regatta finished today and we are just eating dinner before going to the castle for the prize giving. Yesterday we had 2 races in 18 knots and waves the size of small houses I kid you not. We really struggled with the waves, but did manage to have a really good start in the last race, so good we were black flagged! Today there were similar conditions and we got very wet in the Coachboat watching the medal races. Tomorrow we take the ferry to Barcelona and then drive to spring cup in les sablettes, France. We will try and write more and get up some pictures in the next couple days. Thanks for all the nice emails from everyone at home!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day Two

Okay so today was day two of racing here in Palma. Got down to the boat park early and managed to get our package from England - NEW matching rashguards so we look like a real team! We launched at 10 am for an 11 am start in light wind from S-SW. Breeze was filling more on the left, so we started down at the pin for the first race. Actually managed to have a great start! Were right up at the top of the fleet which is so very nice! Missed a shift on the first upwind and ended up too far on the left at the top. We rounded in 21st which is still great. Lost a few on the reach, had an okay run, lost a few at the mark (Spanish boat doing I don't know what inside the gate snagged our spin sheet on their tiller and much shouting and foul language ensued). Second upwind did okay, but again missed an opportunity to pick up boats. So we ended up farther back in the fleet, but I'd rather work on slowing the loss of boats than trying to gain them back after a bad start. The second race the wind was all unstable and all over the place, big black clouds and white fluffy ones all around and the sea breeze trying to come in. We started at the boat planning on going right. Our start was not great, basically we were a bit early and so didn't accelerate enough and then got totally rolled by the Russians, who did exactly what we had been trying to do! So we tacked out to the right, missed an opportunity to cross the fleet, and then got wound up on the outside of the fleet as a massive left shift came down. Finally we tacked over, and then a massive right shift came in. One of those races.... so we rounded the top mark second last. The reach was okay, the downwinds in this race were actually really good, we picked up a few boats. The second beat we had no idea what was going on and couldn't get our speed on and spent too much time in the middle of the course. So today we had much better starts, but then after the starts we missed big opportunities to gain by crossing the fleet. This is a lesson for both of us - don't wait for the fleet to go, because everyone else is waiting for you to go. So we all just wait for someone to tack first, and sail out to the corners of the course. We got off the water at 2 pm today - really early! And just as we finished rinsing off the boat the seabreeze finally kicked! Well, at least the 49er's made use of it. Tomorrow is the same schedule with an 11 am start and two races. Same game plan - get off the starting line, make better decisions, try and climb up some more.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Princess Sofia Regatta Day 1

Good evening! It is the end of the first day of racing in Arenal. We are just relaxing after a long day of racing in marginal light/medium air with tough choppy water. Well, I'm writing this while Erin writhes in pain, rolling out and stretching her quads and back. This is our relaxation time. I also hear a few profanities and absurdly loud cracks every now and then.

Anyways, as for the racing, we had an interesting day. The start was postponed from 11:00am to 1:30pm, when the sea breeze finally clicked, so we had a bit of time to catch up on gossip from Perth and catch up with some friends.

After we did make it on the water, our speed was awesome when we got our boat trim right, which unfortunately wasn't as often as it needs to be. Our biggest issue was getting off the start line. However, we were starting like rockstars when we were in Miami so I think it is just a matter of getting used to the 52 boat fleet and world class competition.

The wind should be good the next couple days- nice sea breeze and sunshine! Hopefully we can pull everything together; the trim, speed, tactics, and starts and get some solid results!!

We shall keep everyone updated, and you can follow the results online on the Princess Sofia Regatta event page!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Racing Tomorrow

We have been training in Palma, Mallorca for the past three weeks and now it is race time! Yesterday we had a great day off. We drove to the other side of the Island with the Canadian Finn sailors and (some of us) went cliff diving into the ocean! It was gorgeous and we had a nice lunch overlooking the water. Today we put up our race sails and registered and looked over the boat.

Tomorrow is the first day of racing at the Princess Sofia Cup here in Palma. This is the first of three practise competitions for us before our World Championships in May. There are over 50 boats registered in the Women's 470 fleet so our goals for the event are to stay out of trouble and to improve steadily each day. There are 11 races scheduled between Monday and Saturday, so lots of racing practice to be had! It has been sunny and beautiful the past few days and hopefully it will stay that way and we will have good breeze for the event. You can check out the regatta and the results on the event website at  http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org  and we will try and update the blog each day after racing.

Here is a link to the Spain photo album:
Spain 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Good evening all! Hannah here. So it has been almost three weeks now that we have been in Europe and time has just flown!! We have been in serious head down training mode for most of it, but got a couple days off here and there, where we got to do a bit of sight-seeing and tourist-y stuff.

The first day we had off I used to just walk along the beach in C'an Pastilla and Mallorca. I browsed the shops and when that got old, sat in a cute cafe for some coffee and reading time. It was lovely! Not to mention the coffee here is fantastic, almost as good as Tim Hortons!

That same day happened to be Erin's birthday, so later we went to explore the Cathedral in Palma. It was like stepping back in time, with the old brick buildings, intricate architechture, and most of all stunning stained glass! It was incredible.

After that we went out for a couple drinks and tapas. The food was delicious! Even if it was on our "banned substances" list... Then Bunny took us to an amazing bar that closely resembled a palace. With mulitple floors, a courtyard and grand stairway, half the stuff inside looked like it belonged in a museum, not a bar. I felt quite classy sipping my champagne cocktail, wandering the different floors and rooms of that extrodinary building.

Now we have our first regatta starting in a couple days, the Princess Sofia. But before that we have one more day off that I hope to see more of the island with, possibly explore the caves, go cliff diving, or just hang out and play ping pong and mini golf. Either way it will be a much needed rest before the week-long regatta kicks off.

Thats all for now! We will keep everyone posted with regatta updates!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sunshine in Palma!

Today the forecast was for more wind in the morning so we got all ready for an early day. Got up at 6.30 am, went running at  7 am and then back to the house. Of course the forecast changed, so we did some paperwork before heading down to the harbour.

The change is the SUN returned! This meant the seabreeze would probably come in later. We hit the water just after noon and had a good three and a half hour session in a building sea breeze. Bunny has decided we are maybe ready for marks so we did some short course stuff today. Focused on mark roundings and transitions before and after the marks, before and after tacks and gybes. There is so much to do in the boat a lot of the time you want to tidy up all the ropes etc. right after a maneuver, but of course you need to focus on making the boat going as fast as possible straight away and then once settled make those small adjustments. Our tacks and gybes are becoming a lot more consistent, as is our upwind and downwind technique. Now we just have to remember the key ideas with starts and mark roundings which is the focus of the next few days training.

Hopefully the sun will stay out and the weather will start to warm up, I'm growing tired of wearing the only pair of pants I brought with me!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 4 On the Water

So today was day 4/5 training days. We are sort of settled into a routine. Our bodies are still majorly protesting the running/biking/sailing/biking! Today we had a bit more wind at 15 knots and WAVES! Not majorly huge, but big enough for us as we haven't sailed in any waves yet as a team. It was a challenging day, with some really good moments and some swimming lessons. We had blood in the boat so it was a proper sailing day!

Last night we went into Palma to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some of the other Canadian sailors. It was good to go into town and see other people (Finn sailors - I don't know how to describe them but they are very large and like beer). We made it home in time for my 10 O'Clock bedtime though!

Tomorrow we are on the water again, and then we have a day off. Then 4 days of sailing, 2 days off, 4 days of sailing, 1 day off, regatta!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Training in Palma

We have been getting settled in Palma and had our second day on the water today. It is sunny and warm during the day and absolutely beautiful. It is still "winter" here though, so the sun goes down at around 7 and it cools off quickly.

We found the Schenker warehouse in Barcelona last weekend and managed to un-pack the boat without any major issues. Bunny arrived Tuesday afternoon and we loaded up the boat and caught the overnight Ferry to Palma!

The Ferry was pretty exciting - they make you do all these sharp corners and then REVERSE down the lane on the ferry so you can drive off at the other side. Easier said than done when you have all random assortments of cars/vans/trucks and sailing people with giant trailers loaded with 470's, 49ers, motorboats etc!
We found our tiny cabin and promptly went to bed.

The ferry got in at 7 am and we drove directly to our rental house. It is in Con Pastilla, which is a different district than where we are sailing which is the Club Nautic Aranel in Aranel. We have a cute 3 bedroom apartment and so far it is great. I did manage to blow a breaker on the first morning and so we had to call the landlord to fix it straight away!

Wednesday we unloaded the boat and started setting up and saying Hi to sailing friends from last summer. Wednesday we got on the water for the first time in 6 weeks and had a good 2 hour session in 5-7 knots and flat water. Today we had a longer session in a dieing gradient wind that was fighting the seabreeze, so it was pretty shifty.

The water is a beautiful blue and the sun has been amazing the past two days. We are trying to get back into a routine with fitness in the morning, then breakfast and then biking to the club (our bums aren't quite used to the cycling yet). Then some boatwork, lunch then on the water. Home for dinner and then internet time and to bed!

We will train here for the rest of the month until the Princess Sofia Cup which begins on March 31st.

Here are some pictures from sailing today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Arrival in Spain

Hello Supporters! I'm so sorry we have been out of touch. These past few weeks have been incredibly busy with organization etc.

We had two very successful fundraisers in Calgary in February and raised $23,000 towards our campaign costs.Thank you so much to everyone who helped organize, donated items, donated time, and everyone who bought tickets and showed up! It was so great to see everyone come out and support us and also just great to see friends and family we don't get a chance to very often.

We have now begun the final leg of this Olympic campaign. We left Calgary Friday night and flew to Barcelona! We will be in Europe for the next 3 months. We will train in Palma, Spain for a month with many other 470's. Then we will attend the Princess Sofea Cup in Palma (March 31-April 7). Then we will go to Spring Cup in Seyne-Sur-Mer, France (April 12-16) and Hyeres, France for French Sailing Week (April 22-27). We will then return to Barcelona, Spain and train before the 2012 470 World Championships. This is the second and final qualifier for the 2012 Olympics so hopefully all our training will culminate in us winning a berth at the games!

Please follow along on the blog, Facebook etc. We will have more regular updates now and I will hopefully get the main website pages updated very soon.

We have managed to stay awake to a reasonable bed-time hour so off to sleep and hopefully we won't be too jet lagged in the next few days.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brian Keating Fundraiser

Don't forget! Tomorrow night (Saturday February 25th) is our second fundraiser!

Brian Keating will be giving an amazing talk about Antarctica and there will be a silent auction.

Tickets are $50 and are available at the door - if there are any left!

The event is at the South Calgary Community Association located at 3130 16 Street SW Calgary.

Please come out for an awesome night in support of our Olympic dreams!

Post-Cheadle Fundraiser

Last Saturday night we had our first of two fundraisers. The event took place in Cheadle, Alberta at the Cheadle Lions Club and featured a silent auction and comedy by "Steve Stubblejumpski." We gave a talk about our campaign which seemed to be well received and there were lots of questions afterwards which was great! Steve Stubblejumpski was hilarious and had the whole crowd cracking up and the silent auction went very well. We raised over $14,000 at the event!

We want to thank everyone who came out to support us, bought items and made donations to our campaign. Special thanks to Cheadle Lions Club for sponsoring the venue and bar, Matt Gosling for being the MC, Rob Saik for his wit and flexibility, Leslie Simpson and Sleeman for sponsoring the beer, Barb Smail for selling tickets and Keith and Bev Jones for their support. Thank You everyone we couldn't have done it without you!
Cheadle Fundraiser

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TV and Video

Hello! We are both in Calgary preparing for our fundraisers coming up this week. We have been busy organizing and promoting the events but also focusing on our fitness!

Yesterday we had an interview with CTV about our campaign and the fundraisers. We should have a segment on "Hometown Heroes" next week, we will let you all know when we know!

We've also put together a video from our training in Miami last month. You can watch it on our new youtube channel!

Friday, February 10, 2012

February Fundraisers

We are hosting two fundraisers in the next two weeks to raise money for our campaign.

Cheadle Comedy Night

Date: Saturday February 18th
Time: Doors at 6.30 pm, presentations at 8.00 pm
Location: Cheadle Lions Club Hall in Cheadle, Alberta
Tickets: $20 - available online, by phone 403-650-2674 or 403-869-4211, at Bank Gym Strathmore and at the door

This event was originally planned to be a dinner and dance featuring a local comedian. Unfortunately due to low ticket sales, we have had to cancel the dinner/dance portion of the evening. The event will now be a wine and cheese featuring a local comedian and a silent auction. We will also give a short presentation about our recent training in Miami and the future of our campaign. This will be a great event to meet us and learn about our campaign and ask us all sorts of questions! Ticket prices have been dropped to $20. This event is sponsored by the Cheadle Lions Association.

Brian Keating Presentation

Date: Saturday February 25th
Time: Doors at 6.30 pm, presentations at 8.00 pm
Location: South Calgary Community Association
Tickets: $50 - available online, by phone 403-650-2674 or 403-869-4211, at Glenmore Sailboats

This event will be a wine and cheese and silent auction and will have a feature presentation by Brian Keating. Brian is an amazing speaker, and will be talking about his recent trip to the Antarctic re-tracing the Shackleton expedition route. He just got back last week and has some amazing photos! You can learn more about Brian here. This event is sponsored by the Calgary Yacht Club and Newell Sailing Club.

Please come out for a fun evening to support our campaign! After expenses, all money raised at these events goes towards our campaign.

Back in the Great White North

After two months total down in Miami, Hannah and I are finally home for a bit!

We have been super busy the past few weeks, so I apologize for the lack of blog and email updates.

Miami Olympic Classes Regatta finished on January 28th. It was a really good learning event for us. It was our first World Cup Circuit Event as a team, and Hannah's first major 470 Regatta. We had Bunny working with us throughout the event, and it was great to have his constant support.

Overall we finished at the bottom in the event and didn't manage to beat the other Canadian team, however our goals for the event were not results oriented. There were many many good things about our sailing during the event. We have really good starts, winning several in the last few days of competition. We had very good speed upwind on 4/5 days. Our speed downwind was often very fast, but sometimes slow as we got out of phase with the waves and each other. The area where we struggled during the event was our decision making as a team. We rounded the first mark of each race in the top 5 or 10, but then we would make a majorly bad decision about a meanouver or a mark rounding and lose boats, and that is how we would end up at the back. These bad decisions were mainly due to our lack of communication, and partly due to us each not doing our individual roles in the boat. My feelings are that the decision making and communication will improve very quickly, and the fact that we have great starts and speed is extremely promising.

After Miami OCR's we had a few days off to re-cuperate, clean the house etc. Then we did another 5 days of training with Bunny. These training days were very intense and focussed, and I think very productive. We worked on many of the things discussed above - teamwork, communication, roles in the boat and decision making and I think we made excellent progress.

During this past week we also started to organize the logistics of the next phase of our campaign - going to Europe in March. I basically spent over two hours a day for 7 days trying to sort out the details of shipping our boat from Miami to Spain. Apparently this is very complicated! On our final day in Miami we loaded our boat into a 20' container at 7 am and at 12 pm it departed Miami on a container ship bound for Barcelona. We had hoped to share a larger container with some other teams, but this didn't end up happening. As a result, our masts had to be sent in a separate container with the Austrian team (they are too long for a 20' container) so we still have to figure out how to get the masts from Austria to Spain.

The one really nice thing about shipping, and about shipping in our own container is that we were able to send everything - boat, sails, tools, sailing gear, bikes, yoga mats etc!

After loading the container we said goodbye to the apartment where we lived for two months and we hit the road! Because we weren't transporting a boat, we were able to take a much more direct route back to Calgary. It was a totally different drive from the one down. We went through: Florida, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas and then we turned NW and went through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and finally Montana! I was cold as soon as we left Florida and in Nebraska we were freezing! It will take some time to re-aclimatize to the dry cold!

We drove through the night on Wednesday night and it was absolutely gorgeous with the full moon lighting up the snow dusted fields. We arrived back at Hannah's house in Strathmore, AB just as the sun rose on Thursday morning. We are now continueing our planning for Europe and finalizing the details of the two fundraisers we are having next week (Feb 18th in Cheadle, Feb 25th in Calgary). We will post some more details about these next week.

Hannah gave three interviews to local community papers during OCR's. I have included the articles here. Brooks Bulletin and Chestermere Anchor. Thanks so much for the local press, it was especially great to get the front page of the Anchor!

It is so extremely nice to be back in Canada, if only for a short while! As I write this I am watching Hannah play shinny with my Aunt's pickup league - she has been complaining about missing Hockey since we left the country in November. I have to say the run this morning at 7.30 am was very cold and not nearly as pleasant as my usual morning run in Miami!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

MOCR Day Two

So today was day two of Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, Hannah's first official ISAF World Cup event! So far we have had tough conditions and tough racing! We are learning a ton but man is the learning curve steep!

Yesterday we had a late start (2:15pm) which was further delayed because we are sharing a course with the Lasers and they weren't done yet. Light, patchy wind and chop. We struggled with our speed and ended up behind. After much waiting around we only ended up getting in one race as it IS still winter and the sun sets at 5 pm.

Today they switched our start time with the Lasers since we were behind races. We started racing at 10:15 am which made for a very early morning! We had three races. Overall we had really good moments and really dumb moments. Just inconsistencies with speed and also making some dumb mistakes tactically. Sometimes we were fast and in the right place, and then at other times we were slow or in the wrong place! It is all part of the learning process but the process can be a bit frustrating and painful at times!

Our third race today was probably our best yet. We had a wicked start, managed to get out left on the first beat and despite a small rules situation we rounded in 8th. We lost a few boats on the reach, gained a few boats on the run, lost a few more on the upwind and gained one back on the last run. The fleet is so small and the competition quite fierce, so one bad decision or tack means 5 boats sail by!

We are back on schedule so tomorrow we have another 2 pm start. This gives us a bit more time to relax and recuperate before more racing tomorrow!

You can read the race reports, check out the results and pictures on the event website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fundraisers in Calgary

We are excited to announce two fundraisers for our campaign in February of this year!

The first event is on February 18th. It will be a dinner and dance in Cheadle, Alberta featuring local comedian "Steve Stubblejumpski". Tickets for the dinner and dance are $50. Tickets for the dance only are available at the door by donation. This event is sponsored by the Cheadle Lions Association. Tickets can be picked up at Bank Gym Strathmore or by calling 403 650-2674 or 403 869-4211.

The second will be a wine and cheese and silent auction at the South Calgary Community Association in Calgary, Alberta and will feature a talk by renowned naturalist Brian Keating. Tickets are $50. This event is jointly sponsored by the Calgary Yacht Club and Newell Sailing Club. Tickets can be picked up at Glenmore Sailboats Ltd. or by calling 403 650-2674 or 403 869-4211.

Links to the posters with more information about the events are below. Please invite your friends and come out for a fun evening!        

Dinner and Dance Feb 18   Map of Cheadle Hall      

Wine and Cheese Feb 25   Map of South Calgary Community Association

Thank you to the event sponsors and to Scott and Cindy Meers for their hard work organizing these events!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Training with other boats

We picked Peter up at the airport late last night, so today was our first day sailing with him coaching us. It was also our first official day training with other 470's! lt was intense. We hit the water at noon and did a bit of stuff on our own, tacking and gybing and working on getting up to speed out of our maneuvers more quickly. Then we met up with two other boats. Graham and Jacob are fellow Canadians from Halifax and Anna and Brianna and their coach Adam are from the United States.

We tacked upwind in between a corridor created by the two coachboats. They made it more and more narrow as we got farther upwind, and the tacks came closer and closer together! It was a workout and we were quite out of breath at the end of that. Then we did some short upwinds/long downwinds to practice rounding marks and get back downwind. At first the legs were extremely short, and we struggled to get around the course correctly, but then as we got into it and the courses got longer things got better. Then we had some starts and a small race and it was time to head in!

It was a very intense 4 hour practice session. We slowly lost our intensity before Christmas when we were training by ourselves, as it is very hard to keep the pace on with no coach or teammates to encourage you. Hannah and I are both fighting head colds, so that didn't help either. We are looking forward to going to bed early tonight so we can start getting into an earlier morning routine. The races for North Americans start at 11.30 am so we will need to be on the water by 10.30 at the latest. We have even managed to convince Peter to cook dinner for us, it is so nice to have a coach around!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back in Miami

Hello Supporters! I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday. We are back in Miami training for our upcoming events! We flew in on Monday, and had a few issues with our apartment. We had given our land-lady permission to sub-let our apartment while we were away, but she mixed up the dates so when I arrived home from the airport there were other people there! So we spent one night in a hotel, and another two at one of our land-lady's other rentals. As of today we are back in our apartment and settled in.

We got on the water on Tuesday for a sail in very light, 0-4 knots from the NW. It was good to get back in the boat and also back in the sunshine! Today there was no wind, so we did some running around and some boat work.

Tomorrow the Alberta Sailing Association Head Coach Peter MacDougal arrives to coach us! We are super excited to have a coach to work with again, especially Peter since Hannah and I have such history with him.
He will work with us for the next 10 days and see us through our first regatta as a team, 470 North Americans. It should be a small regatta which will be a perfect warm up for OCR.

Keep checking the blog, facebook and twitter as we should have daily updates for the next month.