Sky’s the Limit

Mantra 7. Embrace Expectations : Aim for the highest cloud”  – All Blacks

Our camps by the numbers:

  • 17 Days
  • 370 Miles
  • 52.9 Hours
  • 680 Tacks Completed
  • 510 Gybes Completed
  • 660 Accelerations Completed
  • 300 Sets and Douses Completed
  • 5 days sailing in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream
  • 2 Regattas Raced! – 2 x Silver Medals Collected!
  • 1 New Affiliate Sponsor Added to the Skiff Squad – Welcome WHOOP!!

After training for 6 weeks over the course of the last two months in Miami, Florida, our last domestic training block is in the books! Within a 33 day period, we sailed for 17 days and really pushed to maximize our time with our U.S. Skiff Squad and Coach Mark Asquith in some very light and challenging conditions. Overall, our last training block was sailed in very light off-shore, gradient breezes with the wind ranging from 3-9 knots. We raced two great events at the 2Niner Next Generation Winter Series Event and the 2021 West Marine Miami Open where we placed 2nd! at both which continues to show our consistency and improvement in our light air boat speed and handling, but leaves us hungry for more!

This last block of training gave us the opportunity to Embrace Expectations, or in other words, continue to set the bar higher and higher each training day. With this being the last domestic training block before our Skiff Squad sends it to Europe to race against some of the worlds best, we were looking to maximize our time and energy on the water and squeeze as much as we could from each opportunity. We are dreaming big when it comes to our goals at the end of the year and in order for us to reach our goals, we have been setting high expectations both on and off the water. Of course, the higher the goals and expectations, the greater the risk of failure, but for us, its all about taking the hits as they come, looking to embrace the fear of failure and use it to motivate our next performance.

Speaking of Big Dreams and Expectations, our Squad has taken a big step in forming a great new partnership with the up and coming brand WHOOP! WHOOP has been playing a huge role in our Squad’s day to day lives and it is an awesome opportunity for us to be affiliated with their brand. Some of the biggest ways that WHOOP has helped us are the following:

  • Squad Health Tracking
    • We are able to have peer to peer monitoring in our Skiff Squad WHOOP Team where we have a “healthy” competition to challenge each other to have the highest strains, best recoveries and longest sleep scores on a daily basis
    • More importantly, WHOOP has become a huge Early COVID-19 Prevention Tool for our Squad, which has been critical in keeping all of us safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19. More often then not, the Squad knows how you feel, before you do!
  • Training, Travel, Testing
    • Since Sailing is a constantly changing environment, we have been able to use WHOOP to better understand how to achieve an optimal performance over the course of a training week and learn to create good recovery habits to be best prepared for the next day of sailing
    • On long travel days, think driving for 4 days straight from San Diego to Miami twice!, WHOOP has been vital in getting us ready for a sailing block sooner by keeping us on track with our personalized daily sleep needs and forcing us to prioritize our recovery. How often do you finish a travel day and feel exhausted and wonder why?
    • A large portion of sailing is all about equipment testing, and now with our WHOOP bands, we are finally able to test the human element and look to get the most out of our bodies as well as our boats!

If you’re interested in learning more about your personal health and body and would like to start tracking data as it relates to your Sleep (quality, duration, consistency), Strain (internal load from external stress), and Recovery (readiness to perform) our squad is now able to give you a special discounted price on WHOOP Bands! Get your WHOOP discount by following our unique link here!

https://join.whoop.com/usskiffsquad

We would like to give a big thank you to the United States Sailing Center in Miami and specifically, Pat Downey, for hosting us over the last 4 months. 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 next winter! 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! 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! Finally, we would like to thank the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for helping keep the lights on, the engine running and the dream alive! Thank you so much!

Now! We are off to Europe! Our first stop will be on the small Canary Island, off the coast of Africa, called Lanzarote where we will compete in our first international event as a new team! We are stoked to get after it and represent the United States, and the U.S. Skiff Squad at the highest level! Looking to be #inthegreen when we land! Stay tune for more updates and photos! throughout the next couple weeks both on facebook, @barrowshenkenracing, and on instagram, @hanshenken, #49erUSSkiffSquad and @us49ersquad.

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Final Push

After a great holiday break and a happy New Year celebration, Team Barrows Henken Racing is back with the U.S. Skiff Squad in Miami, Florida! We are continuing our winter training block while also beginning to prepare for our upcoming European Spring Racing Season!

During the next 5 weeks, we are going to be training, racing!, and preparing! in Biscayne Bay, as this will be our last domestic training block before we, hopefully, are able to travel to Europe to begin a large, 75 day!, International Racing Block and race 3 major events at 3 different venues!

Why Train in Miami?

  • US Sailing in partnership with the Olympic Development Team has created a new series of events called The West Marine US Open Sailing Series, which begins with Miami OCR from Jan. 20th – 24th!
  • As well, the Skiff Generation Winter Series sponsored by 2Niner continues to hold epic events with one coming up this weekend from Jan. 16th – 18th!
  • Both of these events give us a great opportunity to race domestically and help build and foster the US Skiff Fleet!

Why send it to Europe for 75 days?!

  • After 9 months of training and racing domestically with the US Skiff Squad, we will be looking to see how we hold up and compare to the International fleet!
  • We will be racing three major events back to back to back: Princess Sofia Regatta, in Palma, Spain, Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile, in Hyeres, France, and the 2021 49er European Championships, in Thessaloniki, Greece!
  • All three events are incredibly important to the development of our team in preparation for the 2021 49er World Championships at the end of the year.

Here are the things we are looking to work on while in Miami:

Racing:

  • Focus on racing communication both around the race course and during the pre-start
  • Working to being decisive in our decision making and trusting our instincts with what we see and feel
  • Finding the balance between being on the attack and being on the defense when making judgment calls

Training:

  • Stability and balance in tacks and gybes: control the exit out of maneuvers with smooth footwork and steering, be precise and deliberate with our actions.
  • Continue to hone in on our light air tuning and techniques
  • Settling time and driving out of accelerations: minimizing the time it takes to get up to full speed and focusing on locking in quickly
  • Leeward mark Roundings: working on gybe drops and quick audible comms to maximize the speed out of the boat when we are not in desirable situations

Fundraising:

  • We are looking to raise $20,000 for our Spring European Racing Block in the next two months! which includes:
    • Housing: $7500
    • Travel: $4000 (Flights and Ferries)
    • Food: $2200
    • Transportation: $1800 (Car and Boat)
    • 3 Event Entry Fees: $1500
    • Equipment: $3000
  • Please feel free to reach out to us at, barrowshenkenracing@gmail.com, if you would like to join our team and are able to help! Any and all donations to our team are tax – deductible through our account with the Sailing Foundation of New York! We would both truly appreciate it!

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 the United States Sailing Center in Miami and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility, and to the US Sailing Team for providing all of the specific help and support, which will allow us to continue to train this winter!

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, #49erUSSkiffSquad and @us49ersquad.

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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

Winter Training: Miami

After 3 days of navigating through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and finally Florida…, we are in Miami, Florida for the beginning of our winter training block!

We are going to spend the next 5 weeks training and finally racing! in Biscayne Bay! After getting the most out of the United States west coast through the Summer and Fall, we are looking to put ourselves in a single location and really chalk up the hours as we train for the remainder of the 2020 year.

Why do this?

  • During the winter season, the west coast sailing conditions tend to become light and variable, while the conditions in the south- east tend to become more moderate and significantly warmer!
  • Our 2020 49er North American Championships! will take place from the 10th – 13th of December from Coconut Grove, Florida, and will be our first big event as a new team!

Here are the things we are looking to work on while in Miami:

Racing:

  • Finally get to put what we have been working on all summer onto a race course at the 2020 49er North American Championships in December!

Boat-handling:

  • Stability and balance in tacks: control the exit out of tacks with smooth footwork and steering, be precise and deliberate with our actions.
  • Settling time and driving out of gybes: minimizing the time it takes to get up to full speed
  • 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 continue to work out the relationships between the jib car, center board height and the cap shrouds to optimize our set up in very specific conditions
  • Continue to put ourselves in more “compromised lanes”: continue to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable
  • Looking to take a specific look at our sail set up on the downwind runs and really zone in on specific settings

Starting:

  • Refine the communication on the start line, working to have specific language for specific situations
  • Work on reducing the settling time out of the start and accelerations

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 the United States Sailing Center in Miami and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility, and to the US Sailing Team for providing all of the specific help and support, which will allow us to continue to train this winter!

As well, we would like to thank Bob Peterson and Steve Taylor for both of your generosity and support! 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.

Photo: Craig Denis

The Endless Summer

Mantra 5. Follow the Spearhead : “No one is bigger than the team”  – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 12 Days
  • 216 Miles
  • 33.6 Hours
  • 300 Accelerations completed
  • 200 Starts completed
  • 60 short course races completed
  • 1 day of a 20 knot Easterly?!

After 12 days of sailing from Long Beach, California, our first 49er training camp of the fall is in the books! Within a 14 day period, we sailed for 6 days in a row, twice!, in order to maximize our time with our U.S. Squad Coach Mark Asquith. Overall, our camp was sailed in very light sea breezes ranging from 3-9 knots with a few days reaching up into the 12-15 knot range. Our last day, we actually sailed in a 15-20 knot Easterly, which was a new experience for most of us and provided a huge challenge both physically and mentally to push hard on our last day of sailing despite having sailed for 5 consecutive days in very light and variable conditions.

Long Beach gave us the opportunity to Follow the Spearhead, or in other words, ‘being of team’. As we continue to train hard to push towards our mission to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in 2024, it is easy to loose sight of the small things that are in front of us on a day to day basis that really affect our mentality and our teammates mentality and focus on the water. One of the most important lessons that the All Blacks learned was that “no one is bigger than the team, and individual brilliance doesn’t automatically lead to outstanding results.” Regardless of who is doing well on the water, it is important to realize that we are a long road and everyday is a new day to work to improve on the skills at hand. “One selfish mindset will infect a collective culture” and therefore working to keep healthy balance between Squad camaraderie and individual team competition is our key to pushing our team to the top of the international leader board while helping the squad accomplish their goals along the way.

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 
  • Targeted Rig tuning and Jib set up ideas focused on efficiently matching conditions and sailing styles in light air

Boat-Handling:

  • Post Acceleration Control
  • Windward Mark Roundings

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 the start line in a quick and efficient way

Speed Tuning:

  • Quick, consistent and deliberate steering through puff and lull sequence to keep the bow down to minimize main sheet range and help boat stability
  • 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 release of power

Boat-Handling:

  • Focusing on the exit of the acceleration and keeping the boat up to speed off the line by locking in the boat heel and sail trim
  • Maximizing the speed away from the Windward Mark by controlling the rate of turn and improving the consistency of the kite hoist to match body weight movement through the boat

We would like to give a big thank you to the United States Sailing Center in Long Beach and specifically, Mike Segerblom, for hosting us for the last two 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 the future! Thank you to our U.S. squad coach, Mark Asquith, for spending the time to fly all the way to California from the U.K. to coach our squad and really push us to focus on the small 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 Sangmeister Family for hosting our squad to two amazing dinners and continuing to support our on and off the water endeavors, and the Fourier Family for housing us during this last camp! We had a wonderful time and can not thank you enough! Thank you so much!

After a small break and some more long distance travel, we will be continuing our fall training in Miami, Florida at the US Sailing Center in Coconut Groove by the 12th of November!

Photo: Mark Asquith
Photo: Mark Asquith
Photo: Mark Asquith
Photo: Mark Asquith

Long Beach Round 2

After a great two week break back at home, we have arrived back at the US Sailing Center here in Long Beach, California to finish off our west coast training before we move to Miami for the winter!

We are looking to spend the next 2 weeks here in Long Beach and squeeze out the last of what California has to offer before the fall and winter seasons really take over.

Why do this?

  • Keeping the venue the same over the last two camps gives us the opportunity to easily roll back into our sailing and continue getting quality hours on the water!
  • The skiff squad has been able to Finally! get our awesome squad coach, Mark Asquith, into the US from the UK and we are able to get back to our more normal coaching routines.

Here are a few things we are looking to work on while in Long Beach:

  • Starts, Starts, Starts! We are looking to really nail down all aspects of the starting routine and dial in everything from the communication, to the time and distance call, to the acceleration mechanics
  • Straight line tuning with a 3 boat squad: dial in our technique and rig progression in the light air and swell
  • Continue working on communication and decision making around a short course environment

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 the US Sailing Center in Long Beach and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility again, to the US Sailing Team for continuing to provide the team 49er, team coach boat and Team Coach!, to the Sangmeister Family for helping us find housing and the Fournier Family for hosting us at their beautiful home!

Can’t wait to get back sailing over the next couple weeks and continue pushing hard on the water. Stay tune for more updates and photos! throughout the next couple weeks both on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/barrowshenkenracing and on instagram, http://www.instagram.com/hanshenken

Mr. Miyagi … “Show Me Sand the Floor…”

Mantra 4. Pass the Ball : “Leaders create leaders.”  – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 15 Days
  • 10 Double Sessions
  • 288 Miles
  • 48 Hours
  • 60 Tuning Runs completed
  • 150 Accelerations completed
  • 2.5 hrs of rudderless sailing
  • 1 15+ knot day of sailing bootless?!!

After a combined total of 15 days of sailing from both Mission Bay, California, and Long Beach, California, our last 49er training camp of the summer is in the books! After sailing in Mission Bay for the first 4 days of the camp, we were able to finally! transition to Long Beach to round off our summer training and it was awesome. Long Beach provided 11 great days of sailing in a very wide range of conditions, which was a perfect way for our team to finish off the summer and really put to work everything we had learned up to this point. Sailing in the ocean is always challenging and being able to make gains in our boat-handling and speed, day in and day out, was very rewarding.

Long Beach gave us the opportunity to Pass the Ball. The challenge facing us, and the rest of the 49er squad, moving into our camp in Long Beach was how we were going to continue our “Learning Curve” momentum. After such an amazing camp at The Gorge, it seemed like an insurmountable task to make the Long Beach Camp really measure up. But with the help of Super Coach, Willie McBride, our squad worked hard to encourage each other to share information and think critically about the day of sailing. This really pushed each one of us to have responsibility and ownership in our groups’ improvement. The results of this mentality was with Harry Melges and Finn Rowe absolutely crushing the last day of practice racing on the water and really setting the bar high in light air and swell. Awesome work boys!

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

Down-speed Maneuvering:

  • Double Tacks, Sliding, Jumping Techniques on the start line
  • Accelerations

Speed Tuning:

  • Helm Driving Technique
  • Crew Mainsheet Technique 
  • Targeted Rig tuning and Jib set up ideas focused on efficiently matching conditions and sailing styles

Boat-Handling:

  • Tacks: syncing first three steps of crew and helm
  • Gybes: rate of turn adjustment

Key Takeaways:

Down-speed Maneuvering:

  • Consistent and deliberate transition of heel angle is key to changing direction
  • Maintaining direction of flow requires critical timing of bow movement, heel and weight
  • Bell Curve flattens are the most efficient technique in generating acceleration speeds

Speed Tuning:

  • Quick, consistent and deliberate steering through puff and lull sequence to keep the bow down to minimize main sheet range and help boat stability
  • 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 release of power

Boat-Handling:

  • Crew needs to “lead the dance” in tacks in order to stay in sync with the rate of turn
  • Carving long and drawn out turns in light air gybes allows the kite to attach flow earlier on the back side

We would like to give a big thank you to the United States Sailing Center in Long Beach and specifically, Mike Segerblom, for hosting us for the last two and a half weeks. We truly appreciate all the help and support and how open and welcoming the Sailing Center Staff has been to allowing all of the US 49er Teams to come train as a Squad. We all had a fantastic time and look forward to coming back next month! Thank you to Super Coach, Willie McBride, for spending the time to coach our squad and really push us to take the next step in our sailing by challenging us everyday to think critically about what we are trying to accomplish both on and off the water. Thank you to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for providing us with the generous grant, which really helped to support our housing costs during this camp! Thank you so much for your generosity! As well, we would like to thank the US 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 Sangmeister Family for hosting our squad to an awesome dinner and continuing to support our on the water endeavors! Thank you so much!

Look for us to be back training in Long Beach by the middle of October! Until then, we will leave you with a quote from Mr. Miyagi: “Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.”

Photo by: Willie McBride

Photo by: Willie McBride
Photo by: Willie McBride

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:

Boat-handling:

  • 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

Starting:

  • 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.

The River Giveth

Mantra 3. Play with Purpose : Ask ‘Why?’” – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 11 Days
  • 7 Double Sessions
  • 302 Miles
  • 29.13 Hours in 18+ knots
  • 60 Tack Bear – Aways completed
  • 80 Gybe Round Ups completed
  • Top Speed hit: 23.2 knots against current

After 2.5 weeks of some amazing sailing in Cascade Locks, Oregon, our 3rd 49er training camp of the summer is in the books! We came to the Gorge in hope of getting some epic conditions and the river totally delivered! The Gorge provided 11 days of solid sailing in the upper wind range. We sailed 3 days in 13-17 knots, 5 days in 17-23 knots and 3 days in 23-27 knots. During all of these sailing days, we sailed in a steady, westerly breeze, which opposed the direction of the flow of the river. This created very short and steep chop and waves, which only added to the difficulty of the sailing conditions and, overall, immense value to our training.

The Gorge gave us the opportunity to Play with Purpose. With the training venue only 3 mins from the launch, we had the ability to execute on very specific goals on the water, come in for lunch, talk about what went well and what needs to improve, and then, go right back out onto the water and do it again right away! The feedback loop was incredibly tight and we took full advantage of it. We constantly “Asked Why?”. Why is this the best way to gybe? Why is a tight forestay fast? Why does pulling the board up help with stability? We are striving to be the best we can be, and therefore, constantly challenged the status quo and looked for every inch we can get in our sailing.

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

Mark Roundings:

  • Tack to Bear-away Kite Hoist
  • Kite Douse to Two-Sail Gybe Round Up

Speed Tuning:

  • Helm Driving Technique 
  • Specific Batten, Cunningham and Vang Manipulation
  • Targeted Rig tuning and Jib set up ideas focused on efficient depowering techniques

Boat-Handling:

  • Tacks: Jib and Main Placement into Tack and Syncing of Rate of Turn and Body Weight 
  • Gybes: Settling Time and Heel Control out of Gybes

Key Takeaways:

Mark Roundings:

  • Consistent and continuous rate of turn 
  • Windward mark – tack bearaway – loose leech tension on both the main and jib early in maneuver accomplished with tight cunningham, loose vang, and loose sheet tension, specifically on jib
  • Leeward mark roundings are getting more consistent, especially when both helm and crew move together and with decisive teamwork

Speed Tuning:

  • Quick, consistent and deliberate steering through puff and lull sequence to keep the bow down to minimize main sheet range and help boat stability
  • Erring on the lower side of the jib tack allowed for more freedom to keep the bow down and tracking through puffs

Boat-Handling:

  • Keeping both wings out of the water in tacks was the most important aspect of a good tack which required crew and helm to be ahead of the turn
  • Smooth rate of turn and body movement into gybe coupled with keeping the bow low of exit angle before both crew and helm are ready to hit the wire

We would like to give a big thank you to the Columbia River Gorge Racing Association for hosting us for the last two and a half weeks. We truly appreciate all the help and support and how open and welcoming CGRA has been to allowing all of the US 49er Teams to come train as a Squad. We all had a fantastic time and look forward to coming back soon! Thank you to Skiff Master, Charlie Mckee, for spending the time to come coach our squad and not only provide top notch coaching, but also invaluable mentoring for our squad as we continue to move through these uncertain times. As well, we would like to thank the US Sailing Team, US Development Team and Quantum Sails for all the 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 Mark and Cece Neumann for providing our squad with amazing housing and support by letting all of us stay in their beautiful home! Thank you so much! Can’t wait to come back again!

We are all looking forward to taking some well deserved time off and we look forward to being back on the water by the 1st of September!

@val_stepanchuk
@val_stepanchuk

The Lake Garda of the West

736 miles and 11.5 hrs of driving later…, we have made it to skiff mecca, the Columbia River Gorge for our 3rd camp of the summer!

We are looking to spend the next 2.5 weeks here in Cascade Locks, Oregon and once again take advantage of some of the best conditions that the United States West Coast can offer. Great breeze, fresh water and beautiful views!

Why do this?

  • The Gorge is known for its beautiful venues, fresh water and epic skiff conditions, which will continue to keep the learning curve high and allow the group to push hard in challenging conditions
  • Easy and quick access to the sailing venue will allow for multiple session days; keeping the feedback loop tight and the energy high
  • We are once again! able to get some great coaching support for the US Squad from Skiff Master and Cascade Locks Guru Charlie Mckee!

Another big benefit to our 3rd camp is our ability to stay together safety, which is facilitated by camping at Marine Park, right next to the venue! De-briefs around the camp fire are going to be a nice change of pace from our previous camps.

Here are the things we are looking to work on while in The Gorge:

Boat-handling:

  • Stability and balance out of gybes: quick transitions back to racing mode, kite control, and smooth body weight movements in the second half of the gybe
  • Settling time and driving into tacks: minimizing the necessary time to get ready for a tack, working on the correct entry angle and boat speed
  • Windward mark Roundings: working to transition from “full boat speed mode” to “bare-away mode” quickly and efficiently
  • Leeward mark Roundings: consistent rate of turn in gybe-douses, smooth movement across the boat, clean douses and control of gybe 

Boat Speed:

  • Focusing on finding the proper tuning quickly: falling into the groove as fast as possible
  • Putting ourselves in more “compromised lanes”: learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable
  • Improving communication on VMG Gain/Loss when other boats are difficult to view

Starting/Short Course Racing:

  • Specific starting practice work: holding and defending positioning and acceleration, time and distance to build confidence in our speed when we cross the line at go
  • Racing situations: working on racing comms, decision making and strategy planning

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 the Columbia River Gorge Racing Association and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility and to the US Skiff Advisory Council, US Sailing Team and US Sailing Development Team for providing all of the specific help and support, which allow us to continue to train this summer!

Can’t wait to get sailing over the next couple weeks and really put in the hours here at the Gorge. Stay tune for more updates and photos! throughout the next couple weeks both on facebook, @barrowshenkenracing, and on instagram, @hanshenken and @49erUSSkiffSquad.

Dronestagram: http://www.dronestagr.am/
Salty Brother Films : https://www.saltybrother.com/
Salty Brother Films : https://www.saltybrother.com/
Salty Brother Films : https://www.saltybrother.com/