Friday, February 10, 2012

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!

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