There and back again … a skiff tale

After navigating the Oregon and California Coast line, up and back down…, we are back in Mission Bay, California for our 4th camp of the summer!

We are going to spend the first week of September training in Mission Bay as we wait to transition to Long Beach, California for the remainder of our September training block. After getting some epic conditions in Cascade Locks, we are looking to balance out our sailing skill set and round out the summer by working on some of our techniques out in the good ol’ Pacific Ocean.

Why do this?

  • We want to get back into the ocean and put pressure on our maneuvers in some variable swell and sea state
  • We are looking to get more diversity in the day to day conditions to help with training our ability to transition the boat and our mindsets out on the water.

To start off our mini – camp in Mission Bay, we are lucky enough to have Willie McBride come share some of his knowledge and unique coaching style with the squad. We believe Willie will be able to help us bring a new perspective to our sailing and really think outside the box on many topics. Plus!, Willie is one of the leading experts in combining his coach style with technology, Think Big Data, and we are looking forward to diving into what it looks like to sail a 49er by the numbers!

Here are the things we are looking to work on while in San Diego and into Long Beach:


  • Stability and balance in gybes: control the entry into gybes with smooth footwork and steering, be precise and deliberate with our actions.
  • Settling time and driving out of tacks: minimizing the time it takes to get up to full speed, and working on the correct vang and mainsheet placement to achieve full speed.
  • Windward mark Roundings: working on clean and efficient kite hoisting technique to achieve the best acceleration away from the top mark.
  • Leeward mark Roundings: working to keep the maximum amount of speed into the rounding by increasing the length of time the kite remains up and pulling.

Boat Speed:

  • Working to control the boat balance in variable sea-state and maintain the “locked-in” feeling through the puff and lull sequence.
  • Continue to put ourselves in more “compromised lanes”: continue to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable


  • Learn and refine the “ins and outs” of controlling and manipulating flow in down speed situations.
  • Work on the acceleration move coupled with the ability to carve out space from the boats around us in the lead up to the start

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the help of so many different organizations and people. We would like to give a big thank you to Mission Bay Yacht Club, their members and staff again! for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility, and to the US Skiff Advisory Council, and US Sailing Team for providing all of the specific help and support, which allow us to continue to train this summer!

As well, we would like to thank Treasure Island Sailing Center for letting us store our trailer and 49ers and Scott and Agnes Wilmot for generously letting us store our car during this last week, while we took a break from driving down the California Coast and between training camps! It was a huge help and we really appreciate it!

We can’t wait to get sailing over the next couple weeks and continue to put in the hours on the water! Stay tune for more updates and photos! throughout the next couple weeks both on facebook, @barrowshenkenracing, and on instagram, @hanshenken and @49erUSSkiffSquad.

Windmark Foundation

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