To all of our families and friends, we wish you a very happy Fourth of July! Today is an important day to reflect on an incredible 237 years of American history, to honor our those who have served, and to spend time with those we hold dear. For Zach and me, this is a reminder of a country we hope to honorably represent in three years at the 2016 Olympic Games. As a special honor this year, we will celebrate this national holiday ranked third in the ISAF World Rankings! We couldn’t be more proud.
Our road to Rio has not always paved or free of pot holes, yet we are navigating this unknown territory well with of the encouragement of our supporters and the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider. Thanks to the medical staff including physical therapist, Dr. Chris Herrera, I am recovery nicely albeit I am no longer under his direct care. I have been making bi-weekly trips by boat and car to a local PT office in New London, CT from Fishers Island, NY where I currently reside while working as the junior sailing program director. I am progressing nicely increasing my weights by 5-10 pounds as well as increasing my unassisted range of motion using bands. I continue to be optimistic about my recovery schedule and anticipate reaching an adequate level of fitness that will allow Zach and me to sail the World Championships in September.
While I improve my health, Zach is steadily improving our boat speed. Zach is currently sailing the 49er Europeans with US Sailing Development Team member Brad Funk and learning a lot about how to better tune this complex rig. Batten tension, mast rake, cunningham, vang, outhaul, forestay tension, ect. are all small pieces to the big puzzle of tuning the mast and sails for optimal speed. His progress in narrowing our tuning numbers is apparent in the email updates I get after a day of racing. We are both looking forward to getting back in the boat together.
Luckily, we won’t be waiting too long. Our plan for the end of August and the month of September is to spend one week training in San Francisco over Labor Day before flying to Europe for the Pre-Worlds in Santander and the World Championships in Marseille, France. These two events are important for our long term and short term goals. The ISAF World Championships in Santander next year will be the first opportunity for country qualifications for the 2016 Olympics. Ideally, we qualify here as a country so that we can spend the rest of our resources and time on personal performance. Zach and I gained valuable insight on the significance of qualifying our country early when we sailed the 2012 Worlds in Zadar, Croatia. A team’s performance, goals, and attitude can be greatly stressed when they still haven’t qualified for the Olympic Games with only a few months before the event! The plan, then, is to sail the Pre-Worlds so we can get a little more information about the venue on and off the water to sail well at next year’s regatta. Zach and I will then head to Marseille for the 2013 49er Worlds with a strict performance goal of being the top American; top U.S. team at the Worlds will earn the number one spot on the 2014 U.S. Sailing Team Sperry Topsider.