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/

Santa Cruz Done and Dusted!

Mantra 2. Go for the Gap : When you’re on top of your game, change your game.”  – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 13 Days
  • 280 Miles
  • 30.73 Hours
  • 780 Racing Tacks completed
  • 390 Racing Gybes completed
  • Top Speed hit: 21.53 knots
  • Epic Wipe Outs: 3

After 2.5 weeks of some amazing sailing in Santa Cruz, California, our 2nd 49er training camp of the summer is in the books! We came to Santa Cruz in hope of getting some epic conditions, and even though it wasn’t firing everyday, Santa Cruz still delivered a couple classic days of 20+ knots and plenty of swell to match!

Santa Cruz gave us the opportunity to Go for the Gap. We finally had the conditions to challenge ourselves, find out what our strengths and weaknesses are as a team and really push the envelope of what is possible in speed, boat-handling and tactical situations for the first time. There is nothing quite like pushing to the limit and keeping it there for as long as you dare! Everyday, we looked for ways to self-improve from the day before and pushed to never becoming complacent.

During this camp, we centered our focus on learning how to maneuver in sync with each other and the conditions. Having three boats on the water at the same time really increased the level of training and really pushed us to develop our game quickly in order to keep up with the other teams!

Once again, the learning curve has been steep!! and it has been fun learning from each other and seeing the gains and confidence increase from day to day. Up next, we are looking to send it up to skiff mecca, the legendary Gorge! We will be looking to getting back on the water in about a weeks time in Cascade Locks, Oregon and take on some more of some big breeze training!

We would like to give a big thank you to Santa Cruz Yacht Club for hosting us for the last two and a half weeks. We truly appreciate all the help and support and how open and welcoming Santa Cruz Yacht Club 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 “Big Wave” Dave Liebenberg for coaching our squad and providing great insight and expertise on our sailing! As well, we would like to thank Trevor and Mara Baylis, and Quinn Wilson for coming out, chasing us around, taking some great shots of our sessions, providing some much needed help in terms of boat repairs, world class advice and some of the most excellent post and pre sailing snacks and desserts! Thank you! Finally, we would like to thank Morgan Larson, Greg Haws, and Peter Phelan for pulling all the last minute logistics together to help make this camp possible for us to put in some quality hours on the water with the US 49er Squad. Can’t wait to come back again!

Photo: Mara Baylis @mara.baylis
Photo: Mara Baylis @mara.baylis
Photo: Mara Baylis @mara.baylis
Photo: Mara Baylis @mara.baylis
Photo: Mara Baylis @mara.baylis

Road Trip to Santa Cruz

After 580 miles and 9.5 hrs with our new trailer, we have made it to windy and wavy Santa Cruz, California for our 2nd camp of the summer!

We are looking to spend the next 2.5 weeks here in Santa Cruz and take advantage of some of the best conditions that the California coast can offer during the summer. Big waves, good breezy and bright blue skies!

Why do this?

  • A change of venue gives us the opportunity to challenge our team in new and fresh conditions which will continue to keep the learning curve steep and fast!
  • We are able to get some great coaching support from Dave Liebenberg aka Big Wave Dave and Local Legend Trevor Baylis!

Another big benefit to our 2nd camp is the addition of a 3rd team! Harry and Finn have finally been able to safely make their way out to the California Coast and have helped to bring the 49er Skiff Squad back into full force!

Here are a few things we are looking to work on while in Santa Cruz:

  • Timing of body weight and rate of turn with tacks, gybes, bare-aways, and douses in wavy and windy conditions
  • Straight line tuning with a 3 boat squad: dial in our technique and rig progression
  • Continue working on communication and building our unique team style on and off the water!

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 Santa Cruz Yacht Club and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility, to the US Sailing Team for providing the team 49er and team coach boat for us to train on and with, to Treasure Island Sailing Center for helping us pick up our 49er, to the Baab Family for hosting us at their beautiful home and Morgan Larson and Peter Phelan for helping pull together the final logistical pieces on the ground in Santa Cruz!

Can’t wait to get sailing over the next couple weeks and really start to test our abilities 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

Cali Training Camp 1 – MBYC

Mantra 1. Sweep the Sheds : “Never be too big to do the small things that need to be done.”  – All Blacks

Our camp by the numbers:

  • 10 Days
  • 170.15 Miles
  • 22.16 Hours
  • 370 Racing Tacks completed
  • 210 Racing Gybes completed
  • Top Speed hit: 17.01 knots

After two weeks of some great sailing in sunny San Diego, our first 49er training camp of the summer is in the books. Even though it was light and lumpy for the majority of the days on the water, we took advantage of Mission Bay’s easy access to the ocean to go put into practice the little things and really work to get them right. No task too small to complete; no technique too simple to work on. It is easy to train and have fun ripping around in epic conditions day in and day out, but when its light and beginning to feel like groundhog day out on the water, being able to keep your focus centered on the task at hand is where the gains are made on the race course later on.

For us as a team, we centered our focus on learning each others individual sailing styles. Since we both have a fair amount of 49er experience, but from sailing with different partners, it has been fun and interesting to discuss how we used to do things, and how we want to merge them in order to do them now. Throughout the camp there has been plenty of “wow, that’s a new one, where did you learn that”, and “I like your way of doing that, let’s keep rolling with it.” The learning curve is steep and its been fun learning from each other and seeing the gains and confidence increase from day to day. We are looking forward to getting back on the water in about a weeks time in Santa Cruz!

We would like to give a big thank you to Mission Bay Yacht Club for hosting us for the last two weeks. We truly appreciate all the help and how open and welcoming Mission Bay has been to allowing us to come train and chase Nevin and Dane around the bay. As well, we would like to thank Giselle Nyenhuis for coming out, chasing us around and taking some great shots of our sessions. Thank you! Finally, we want to give a shout out to Noah and Ian Nyenhuis for stepping up to the 49er and putting in some quality hours on the water with the US 49er Squad. Can’t wait to see the boys on the race course!

Images by Giselle Nyenhuis www.imagesbygiselle.com
Images by Giselle Nyenhuis www.imagesbygiselle.com
Images by Giselle Nyenhuis www.imagesbygiselle.com

49er Road Trailer Complete!

After about of month and a half of design and modification work, the new 49er road trailer is complete and ready for our trips around the United States!

We would like to give a Big Thank You to the teams at Inland Empire Trailers and Chingon Custom Metal Fabrication for helping us to modify and complete our new 49er trailer! This new trailer was designed to transport two 49ers on a custom aluminum frame with three custom steel boxes underneath to help with storing and transporting all of our remaining gear! We look forward to being able to conveniently travel around the United States and transport our boats to and from training camps and events!


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Back in the 49er, Back on the Water; Training Camp – MBYC

Starting off the campaign right by training out in the ocean from Mission Bay Yacht Club.

And we are off! We have begun our first 49er training session of our campaign from Mission Bay Yacht Club and have been sparring with Nevin Snow and Dane Wilson, as we both prepare for the remainder of the 2020 Season. Ian and I are very fortunate to be able to begin training during these very difficult times through the generosity of Mission Bay Yacht Club and the support of Nevin and Dane. Thank you!

Our Training Goals for the Camp?

  • Learning each others unique sailing styles through specific communication
  • Working to understand the our new roles as a team and begin to develop our own combine style through the basics of maneuvering, straight line speed work and balance.

The conditions here in San Deigo have been more than challenging for our first couple days on the water. Even though there has only been 4 to 7 knots of wind, the medium to large swell has provided an excellent environment for quick learning. The feedback loop is small and mistakes made are obvious, making for a steep! learning curve… we have been stoked with the progress we have made over just a few short days.

Specific Steps for the Rest of the Camp:

  • Learning to build and maintain apparent wind both up and downwind
  • Continue to sync up the rate of turn of maneuvers with the change of body weight
  • Continue to refine our communication both in speed, maneuvers and tactical situations.

We will continue to train out of Mission Bay Yacht Club with Nevin and Dane through the end of June which would conclude a great 2+ week camp out of San Diego. Next up will be a week off for the 4th of July before we look to head to Santa Cruz for the next block of training!


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