The Day After

One really special moment I forget to mention last night was when we arrived at the dock and the Olympic Sailing Center. There were the top 60 Optimist Sailors(15 years old and under) in the USA standing there applauding Phil and I. It was touching and very much appreciated.

I celebrated the best I could last night, but all the rally I could muster was 2 beers and one glass of red wine with my dinner. We were supposed to meet up with the other sailors around 11 pm but we were asleep by then.

This morning I woke at 0700, took JC to the airport helped Phil with the final packing of the boat and went to the gym for an hour. I am now packed and getting ready for 24 hours of airplanes and airports.

In the gym

Day 8

Short day at work for us. We got 5th in the first race of the day and wrapped up the victory. Step one accomplished.

The rest of the fleet stayed out there and completed the last two races. Our training partners Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl finished second. This is a fantastic result in light of the fact that they broke their mast in race one and could not sail race two. George Szabo/Mark Strube were third. You can find the full results at: www.ussailing.org/olympics/Olympic Trials/2004/Star/Results.asp

I want to thank a few people: first my wife and best friend Icka. Without her support and love none of this would be possible for me. Secondly, Phil did an awesome job. Really he saved the regatta for us on day one when we laid the boat down in a huge gust and he got the pole off the mast so it did not break. We sailed a very consistent regatta and this is definitely a two man boat. Next, my physical trainer Sam Brovender. When I decided to get serious about this Olympic campaign, one year ago, I hired Sam He has gotten me into better shape than when I won the World Championship in 1988! Next, John Craig. JC has been our general operational coordinator, coach, weather man, tender drive and friend this spring. He was a key ingredient in us winning these trials and we will miss him as he goes back to his real job at St. Francis Yacht Club. I want to thank St. Francis Yacht Club for their support in my campaign and all the others through the years! Next, I need to thank the Diaz family; Gonzo and Maricel. Phil and I basically lived at their home for 5 months this winter. They were great hosts and helped us out tremendously. Thanks to Brad Dallenbaugh who helped me prepare from a rules standpoint and was on call for any protest situations this week. Fortunately none arose. Also, Bret Davis, our windward mark weatherman did a fantastic job for us this week. A big THANK YOU to all these people. This was a big challenge and required a big team and lot of organization and coordination to get it done right.

Winning this regatta means we earned the right to work extremely hard for the next five months. Now we have the honor and responsibility of representing the USA at the Olympics in the Star Class and living up to the results that have been achieved by those preceding us. That is no small task.

I am going on a business trip to Europe tomorrow so a forced respite from the gym for a week or so but I will be back at it on April 8th for even harder workouts than what I have been doing the past 12 months.

Our immediate sailing schedule is that the boat is being shipped to Italy tomorrow for the World Championship which starts April 23. It will stay over there until August and we will fly back and forth doing various regattas and training sessions in Europe and Athens.

I am off to dinner now. Maybe more latter in the week after I digest this a bit more. Thank you for all your nice emails and good thoughts. It helps us to know we have some many friends out there.

Day 6

A good day for us; 2, 1. The day got off to a late start as the wind was blowing in excess of 25 knots this morning. At 1300 the postponement flag came down signaling that the first start would be a 1430.

We headed out to the track and were pleasantly surprised to see perfect sailing conditions; 16-22 knots of wind and fairly flat seas.

In race number one we went a long way left off the line and quickly the lead boiled down to a fight between Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson, Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl and Phil and I. We managed to get around the top mark first. George Szabo/Mark Strube were on fire again down wind and caught up to us but did not pass us at the leeward mark. Up the next windward leg, we covered Szabo and Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp got out to the left and found a nice shift that caught them up to us. We still rounded first but with Doyle right on our heels.

At this point, with Szabo under control, we went into conservative mode. There was still a bit of wind around. Doyle won, we were second, Szabo third, John MacCausland 4th and Lovell 5th.

For the second race, the breeze piped back up to 20 after a bit of a lull. We started near the right end of the line and immediately noticed that we were on a big header

Day 5

We were in boat preservation mode today and got a fourth. The wind was 25-30 knots from 080 max; gust 32 knots.. Quite a bit windier than any other day so far. Mains sails ragging upwind and mast snapping downwind.

We rounded the first mark first show with good speed upwind. On the run we kept our mast back and stayed away from danger in terms of not sailing too deep. This is safe but a bit slower. We lost four boats there and rounded the leeward gate. We caught up a bit upwind and rounded the top mark 4th and again were conservative downwind.

Howie Schiebler/Will Stout did a death roll just in front of us and dropped their rig about a quarter of the way down the last run. John Dane snapped his rigged behind us. It was hard to take to consciously go slow but we got around the track with no damage and another top 5 finish.

George Szabo/Mark Stube won the race and they won it downwind. One each run they sailed straight at the leeward mark, never gybed in the entire race. This is a great technique but one that I haven

Day 7

Short one for now at least. I have to go make a speech to the USA Elite Optimist Team that are training here this weekend.

The bottom line is that we beat our man 3 out of 3 times today. He is no longer our man. Someone else is.

Tomorrow we have to get one race in the top 14 to seal the deal if Andy Lovell/Magnus Lijledahl win all three races.

Out

Day 4

Today started off as normal. Wake up at 0700, gym for a 15 minute warm up, upstairs to stretch, shower, down to the center to weigh in at 0800. We got the forecast and saw that it was going to be breezy, so we changed to our spare rig and were back to our apartment by 0900 for breakfast.

When we got back down to the center around 0945, the postponnment flag went up. The committee had some reading of 15 knots on the race track. I went back to the apartment, a 5 minute bike ride, and did a few emails and relaxed on my balcony looking at the race track.

Then the call came from coach John Craig that the postponement flag was down. So back to the Sailing Center, dress and go. We were one of the first ones sailing out. All of a sudden a big gust hit us and I heard a loud pop, and looked up to see the mast falling forward over the bow. I jammed the helm down immediately…this is instinctive for any Star helmsman

Day 3

A tough day today, especially for the race committee. We had two weather systems fighting each other and the transition was right over Biscayne Bay. A cold front is expected here about now and should swing the wind into the NNW. As we towed in after todays one and only race, this was starting to happen. Prior to that, we had a sea breeze from 100-115 degrees at about 8 knots. Before that we had wind from 330 about 10 knots. Before that we had a light seabreeze. First thing this morning we had a NNW

Day 2

A good one for us today. The forecast was for 8-12 knots from 060-090 and that was spot on. Even the forecast called for a left shift in the first race then a right trend for the second race and that was pretty good. The wind oscillated around the averages all day so you had to play the shifts. We were fortunate that there was 8-12 knots of wind because the pleasure boats were out in force today making a very sloppy sea state. Any lighter and it would have been very ugly.

We had a good start to leeward of the fleet in the first race. Left was good and we were going well. We rounded the first mark first and managed to hang on all the way around. We had three lappers today. Shorter distance between the marks but more laps. That favors the boats ahead as the passing lanes are very small. Vince Brun and Mike Dorgan from San Diego sailed great today and finished second in the first race followed by john MacCausland who has good speed. Our tuning partner Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl also were going very fast and finished fourth.

In the second race, Howie Schiebler led at the first mark and I think we were second with Andy MacDonnald/Austin Sperry third and Reynolds/ Erickson fourth. We were packed tightly so the run was difficult. We lost some ground by gibing early but got to round the left side of the gate and head to the right in a clear lane. The right was not the end all be all but the velar lane was worth a lot. Up a the top mark the second time, Howie was still leading and I think we were second with MacDonnald then Reynolds. No changes. Vince Brun rounded 5th and in a nice big puff that let him down inside all of us. He held that position

Day 1

The forecast for today was 17-22 knots from 70-90 degrees and it was right on. We changed to our spare mast for today thinking that it would be bad to damage our #1 rig on the first day of an 8-day regatta. After a hour and a half postponement, we headed out. We are sailing 4 miles south of the Sailing Center so it took about 40 minutes even with the strong breeze.

We tuned a bit and then we were right into the first race. We had a good start to leeward of the fleet and worked the middle right. Eric Doyle and Brian Sharp were going real well just to windward of us were first to the first mark. We got up to the first windward mark third right behind Andy Lovell and Magnus Liljedahl and Howie Schiebler and Will Stout were forth. Things progressed pretty similarly around the course until on the last run Lovell/Liljedahl dropped their rig. That was really too bad for them as they did not have time to get their spare in for the second race.

Needless to say, there were some pretty serious puffs and because of the direction, off Key Biscayne, the wind was not steady in direction nor velocity. I think 4 rigs came down today.

For the second race we had the same start and so did Doyle. At the end of the first beat, the wind went right by about 10 degrees and Reynolds/Erickson were the big beneficiaries of that. They got the windward mark first, Doyle second and use third. We got the first windward mark third and Doyle/Sharp second. Shortly after rounding the windward mark we had an epic episode in Star sailing. A puff hit us and we rounded down big time. Phil did a nice job to knock the pole off the mast. The boat rolled so far over to windward that the windward spreader hit the water! The boom was straight up in the air and out keel was out of the water. As Phil slipped overboard, the boom gybed. I got the backstays switched, helped Phil get back on board and fished the pole of out the water. The bottom line is that we were extremely lucky to come out of that with all our equipment in tact. We lost about four boats there.

Up the second windward leg, Doyle and Shiebler passed Reynolds/Erickson. We managed to get by four boats and round right behind Reynolds. Down the last run we were thinking about keeping the rig in the boat and that it was a long series. That probably cost us two boats and we finished 6th.

Doyle is winning with 2 points, Schiebler 2nd with 6, Reynolds third with 7, Cayard/Trinter 4th with 8 points, and Szabo 5th with 9 points.

After racing we switched our mast back and did a few other chores. I came back to the apartment, rode the bike fast for 15 minutes and hit the Jacuzzi and pool for 10 minutes. Sam made dinner, chicken stir fry and now I am going to eat the last brownie Icka made for us. It is 8:20 pm so no too late. We are deeply in debited to Gonzo and Maricel for hosting Phil and I all winter in their guest house but having this apartment and cooking at home is a big time saver and very relaxing. Watching some March Madness

We got out early today to check a few jibs before anyone had left the dock. Then we tuned for an hour with Andy Lovell and Magnus Liljedahl. Felt pretty good about things and headed in. We measured our sails, did a few little things and I left the boat park around 1500. John Craig our coach and Phil stayed a bit longer to tie the spare mast onto the tender and finish up a few other details.

Sam and I went to the gym. It felt good to do a high rep workout. Fast bike ride for 20 minutes, then four sets of 12-15 on ten exercises. Got back to the apartment went for a short swim. Good maintenance. You need that at any age.

Tomorrow is supposed to be windy, 20 knots, so I thought steak would be good tonight. Sam and I went to the store and cooked up 5 pounds of steak for the four of us. Pasta, salad, some of my wife