Winter Wonderland

Mantra 6. Create a Learning Environment : “Leaders are Teachers”  – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 23 Days
  • 526 Miles
  • 66.5 Hours
  • 800 Tacks Completed
  • 656 Gybes Completed
  • 446 Accelerations Completed
  • 360 Sets and Douses Completed
  • 7 days sailing in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream
  • 2 Regattas Raced!
  • 1 New 49er Team Addition to the Squad!

After spending 5 weeks in Miami, Florida, and training every 3 out of 4 days, our first winter 49er training camp is in the books! Within a 35 day period, with 5 days off for Thanksgiving, we sailed for 23 days and really pushed to maximize our time with our U.S. Skiff Squad and Coach Mark Asquith. Overall, our camp had a very diverse range of sailing conditions. We sailed in a range from light, off-shore, gradient breezes ranging from 3-9 knots and flat water, to strong, 17- 20 knot, sea breezes out in the incredibly wavy Gulf Stream. We raced two very light air events at the 2Niner Next Generation Winter Series Event and the 2020 North American Championships where we placed 2nd! at both showing some great consistency and improvement in our light air boat speed and handling.

Miami gave us the opportunity to Create a Learning Environment, or in other words, begin to live up to our Team Vision, give back to the next upcoming generation of skiff sailors and “Lead as Teachers”. As we continue to train hard to push towards our mission to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in 2024, and in the short term, strive to finish top 10 at the 2021 World Championships in Oman in November, it is easy to forget to hold ourselves to our aspirations of what we want our team to ultimately achieve: To establish a legacy known for excellence and professionalism that will inspire the next generation of sailors to challenge greatness and pursue the Olympic Dream.

This Miami training camp gave us this opportunity: “to share our learnings and mentor” the next generation. With the U.S. Sailing Center in Miami becoming the “literal” center of U.S. Skiff Sailing this winter, which included not only 49ers, but the 49erFxs and 29ers, we had a great time interacting and sharing with the upcoming U.S. Development Team sailors in the boat park and at debriefs. And! we welcomed Chris and Duncan Williford as a new upcoming 49er Team to the U.S. Skiff Squad, which has increased our training group to 4! Being able to grow our squad and continue to build and foster a foundation of skiff sailing excellence and professionalism in the United States is what we as a team are all about and we can not wait to see how the rest will unfold into 2021!

Here is a list of the skills we practiced and the takeaways that we learned:

Down-speed Maneuvering:

  • Time and Distance Work
  • Start Line Communication

Speed Tuning:

  • Helm Driving Technique
  • Crew Mainsheet Technique 
  • Helm Jibsheet Technique
  • Targeted Rig tuning and Jib set up ideas focused on efficiently matching conditions and sailing styles in light air and flat water and big breeze and large waves

Boat-Handling:

  • Post Acceleration Control
  • Windward and Leeward Mark Roundings
  • Tacking and Gybing in big breeze and large waves

Key Takeaways:

Down-speed Maneuvering:

  • Working to improve our ability to call the line with and without line-sights within an half meter accuracy by using the line perception as distance cues
  • Working to improve our “short-hand” communication to help define what we are trying to accomplish on and immediately off the start line in a quick and efficient way

Speed Tuning:

  • Manipulating the relationship between the lowers, primaries, and caps to all work together to set the twist and camber profile in order to optimize the flow over the sails in light air
  • Working to accurately set and match the mainsail and jib profiles in order to achieve the best power distribution in wavy conditions in order to best minimize the amount of helm on the foils
  • Finding the edge of the speed envelope downwind is largely based on syncing up the trust and attitudes between the helm and the crew

Boat-Handling:

  • Having clear communication before the sets and douses to best line up the timing of the maneuver to maintain speed and control around the marks.
  • Having confidence in each others abilities in big breeze and waves and “fully” committing to each maneuver without hesitation

We would like to give a big thank you to the United States Sailing Center in Miami and specifically, Pat Downey, for hosting us for the last 5 weeks. We truly appreciate all the help and support and how open and welcoming the U.S. Sailing Center Staff has been to allowing all of the U.S. 49er Teams to come train as a Squad. We all had a fantastic time and look forward to coming back in January! Thank you to our U.S. squad coach, Mark Asquith, for spending the time to fly all the way to Florida from the U.K. to coach our squad and really push us to focus on the small and Big! things that are going to move us to the next level in our sailing! We would like to thank the U.S. Sailing Team for all the logistical help and support in making this camp happen. We would not have been able to do this without you! Thank you! Finally, we would like to thank the Force Physical Therapy Team and Staff, and specifically to Chris Ellis and Micah Kust, for hosting our squad to numerous physical therapy sessions and continuing to keep us and our squad injury free and recovered for all of our on the water training. We can not thank you enough!

After a two week break for the Holidays, we look to be back in Miami, Florida at the U.S. Sailing Center in Coconut Groove by the 5th of January to start our 2nd winter training block! Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and New Year!

Closing Thoughts: “… I think there is something to be said about how the squad is progressing, it’s unique and we have a huge amount of potential, working together, I am excited to be apart of it, I think the opportunity for success is here and it’s just up to us to grab it …” – Dane Wilson (2021 U.S. 49er Olympic Representative)

US Sailing Team
US Sailing Team
US Sailing Team
US Sailing Team
US Sailing Team
US Sailing Team

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