Our Road to Rio: 2016 Olympic Games

Mission Accomplished


After twenty-seven days in Europe, we returned to San Francisco feeling satisfied with our result at the 49er World Championship, yet hungry for more improvement.  We overcame some serious obstacles to accomplish our number one goal for the year: gold fleet and top 20 at the 49er Worlds.  Fred and I learned a lot racing against the best in the world and now we have a better understanding of how to get there.  With our training camps set for the next few months, we can’t wait to take our game to the next level.


20th Overall at the 49er World Championships

After winning the repechage fleet on day four, we battled the best in gold fleet on day five in cold, gusty winds of 14-22 knots.  We had good moments in each race and found ourselves battling in the 9th to 12th range frequently.  Race three was the most exciting race of the day because we fought hard the whole race despite getting ejected from the boat as we rounded the windward mark (see photo below).  Fred and I learned so much in those four races that we will be dedicating our next two months of training towards perfecting the techniques and tricks we discovered.  On the last day of racing we sailed one theatre style race in the petit finals.  We are very happy with our final result of 20th place out of the 96 boats.  We set out this year to be top twenty and top American and accomplished our goal despite some major obstacles.  This finish secures us health insurance and the top spot on the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider.

Ejected from the boat!

Ejected from the boat!


Hurdling Obstacles

As you know, Fred sustained a serious shoulder injury that took him out for four months and continues to strain his body every day he uses it.  My head injury took me out for two weeks.  Taking a lot of time off in any other boat can be a healthy thing like taking one step back and two steps forward, but in the 49er it’s the equivalent of taking a few steps back.  We had a very limited amount of time to get our groove back before the Worlds started.  With extreme focus, and considerable help from our coaches Luther Carpenter, Charlie McKee, and Romain Bonnaud, we did the best we could with the time we had.  All is not solved with our injuries as Fred continues to work through the pain and my head heals, but our bodies are recovering every day.


Onward and Upward

Although we accomplished our goal of finishing top twenty at the Worlds and we moved up in the ISAF World Rankings to 8th, we still have much to learn so that we can elevate our game and stand on that podium at the Rio Olympics in less than three years from now.  Fred and I will spend the next two weeks in San Francisco working on our big breeze technique and boat handling while logging plenty of hours in the gym.  Next is a trip to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Facility at the end of October.  At the camp in Colorado we will spend most our time in the class room discussing tactics, strategy, equipment optimization, teamwork, fitness, and Rio logistics.  We have weeks of training in Houston in November before we make the trek back to Miami for the winter.

Away We Go! Photo Courtesy Will Ricketson of US Sailing Team Sperry Top Sider

Away We Go!
Photo Courtesy Will Ricketson of US Sailing Team Sperry Top Sider


Reflecting on Our Progress this Year

Fred and I are very excited with our progress over the last year.  Take a look at the comparison in results from 2012 and 2013.


What a difference 1 year makes!

What a difference 1 year makes!

Thank You

Fred and I could not have succeed this last month at the Santander Trophy in Spain and the World Championships in Marseille without your support.  Thank you for believing in us and staying behind us through our setbacks.  Please continue your support so we can take you with us to the podium in Rio.

Donate For Technique: Fall and Winter 2013

Improving our technique in the boat will get us from 20th at the 2013 World Championship to top 10 next year at the 2014 Worlds. We need your help to get better so we can qualify the USA for the Olympics in the 49er. Donate to improve our technique!

2 Responses

Congrats, guys! Love the graph :) Have fun on the bay in these next couple of weeks.

  • Great article, Zach! Your Mom and I are looking forward to seeing you at the clinic that you are Fred are giving this weekend at MBYC to the Junior Program. I too like the chart because it clearly shows Team Strammer/Brown’s progress this year. We are all pulling for you and Fred!

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