Rio is by far one of the coolest places we have been for our training. Steep rock walls fall into the sea, sandy beaches are filled with tan locals, and iconic monuments like Christ the Redeemer high above in the background are a few of the things make this place truly unique. At the Marina Do Gloria where the regatta is held, monkeys harass the sailors along Flamenco Beach while commercial airlines roar less than a thousand feet over our heads. There is a lot going on down here in Rio and we are entertained!
Looking at the Pao course from Flamenco Beach
The last week of training has been fun but also very challenging. Since arriving in Rio, we have spent the majority of our time dealing with equipment issues. The sails that Zach flew down here didn’t make it on his plane from Miami. We spent hours and days talking with the airline trying to locate the sails, then get them to Rio, THEN get them delivered to our hotel. Often we were told the sails would be delivered by the end of the day but we were subsequently disappointed. It wasn’t until one of our teammates spotted the sails in the basement of our hotel, yesterday, that we finally could put this issue to rest. We are still not sure how they got there, how long they have been there, and why they were delivered there. We are lucky to have them!
In the mean time we have been sailing, but also piecing together our charter boat. Equipment is hard to get in South America, and the boats here are mostly older. When things are broken, it is salvaged at all costs. We are chartering a 5 year old boat that has been damaged and repaired several times. The deck was re-gripped with a grey paint and abnormally course granules which, unfortunately, aren’t very “grippy” and ruin our boots and bloody Zach’s knuckles. We have spent every hour in the boat park working on our boat to get it ready to race: getting sticker residue off the hull, finding and rigging a new mast, replacing all lines and bungee, aligning the rudder gantry, sanding the foils, finding sails, and waxing the boat. After six days of work and speed testing, we are finally getting decent speed. But the boat drama doesn’t stop there. We learned on arrival that our hull was missing the ISAF plaque and several class serial stickers on the wings and spinnaker pole. We went through the measurement process hoping the jury would allow our boat to race despite the infractions. Luckily, we are valid to sail the event, but we lost a day of sailing getting all the paperwork sorted.
Despite our bad luck with the charter, the sailing has been incredible. Each hour presents a new race course with different variables to consider. In many ways, the racing here is refreshingly difficult. The week ahead should be a lot of fun racing!
View from the hotel on the Niteroi side
Off the water, we are thoroughly enjoying the team atmosphere. Team USA is across the bay in the town of Niteroi. We are all in the same hotel, which never happens, and it has been fun hanging out with our peers from other classes. There have been lots of dinners, hangouts on the porches at night, and even a few morning soccer games. We make the 15-20 minute commute each day by powerboat to avoid the 1-3 hour traffic crossing the bridge at the top of the bay. Driving is a bit crazy down here, so we don’t mind the crossing.
Tomorrow begins racing for the Test Event. Considering our boat situation, we are hoping to enjoy the event and learn what we can about the venue and the city for more racing and training later in the year.
Zach and I would like to thank the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider, the Osprey Foundation, our generous supporters, Gladstone’s Restaurant, and Kaenon Sunglasses for their support!
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