Medemblik, Almere, The Netherlands, and Kiel, Germany.
What happens when you combine a bit of planning and 5 motivated 49er sailors? We flew to Munich, Germany on May 18th of this year to pick up a charter van and find out. After picking up our boat and trailer in Hamburg Germany, we set out for Medemblik, Holland to train for a week. There we met up with young gun Cadian training partners Will and Thomas Staples, 19-year-old twins training in the 49er. Our two teams sailed out of the Medemblik Sailing center to prepare for the arrival of our coach for the next month, Nick Redding.
As you may remember from our last update, we found some real weaknesses in our sailing after Palma. We were introduced to Nick by one of our American coaches towards the end of the regatta. After a 20-minute brainstorm in a coffee shop in Mallorca, Nick was confident we could improve our speed and we locked in a month of training shortly after.
About a month later, Nick and our two 49er teams sat down to start an intensive 4-week training block aimed at improving speed and boat handling. We jumped right into some handling work in Medemblik and enjoyed a chilly 15-19 knots of breeze every day with temperatures in the mid 50s. After some creative drilling and extensive trial and error, we had set a baseline for better speed and worked on our gybing techniques downwind.
After a week of sailing in Medemblik, we drove an hour away to Almere, Netherlands for the 2023 World Cup Allianz Regatta where we finished in 30th. In total, we spent 7 days on the water in Almere with 3 days of practice and 4 days of racing. Going into the first race, we felt more confident in our speed and maneuvers and rounded the first top mark in 7th. After a weak performance on day 2, we built back our confidence and finished the last two days with more top 10 finishes than any international 49er event prior.
After the racing in Almere, we took five days to rest and recover. Reed flew to Paris for a few days with his girlfriend, and me to Norway to spend time with my girlfriend’s sister and her family. Taking time away from the boat is very tactical - too little or too much can hurt productivity, a hard lesson we have learned over the past two years.
After discussing our goals with an experienced coach in our Mexico training, Reed and I made the decision to not race in Kiel during the last section of our trip. We wanted our training block to be centered entirely around improving our skills, and the need to prepare for a big event would overwhelm the energy it takes to focus on improving. In preparation for big events, nerves tend to take over and your focus shifts towards maintaining what you know, instead of taking risks and reaching things you haven’t yet mastered. We fell into this trap in Palma, where we focused on maintaining instead of improving in the leadup to the event.
We left Kiel just as the regatta began. Despite the confused looks while packing up the day before racing, we felt like we made the right choice. We finished our last practice race day with several top 3 roundings in a big fleet and had set foundations to make big strides this summer.
Overall, this was our most well thought out and organized month of training and it showed. We picked great training partners and a great coach, and we gave ourselves the schedule we needed to maximize time on the water and new ideas. We improved our speed and boat handling, worked on better training regiments, and fostered a healthy relationship with our coach where we could productively receive critical feedback.
Thank you to the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation for making this trip possible. I am writing this update from Newport, RI, having just finished our third fundraiser to date in Torch Lake MI and are now settled into a month of training in Fort Adams in Newport. Looking forward to our next European event this November in Vilamoura, Portuga.