Dear Sponsors, Supporters, and Fans,
Following the Sailing World Cup Miami, and two weeks at home in early February to continue the muscle building process in the gym, I traveled to Clearwater, Florida. Here I took part in a week of training followed by the Midwinters East, typically one of the top North American events. Training went well in a nice variety of conditions in both onshore and offshore breezes, usually in the lighter to medium strength. Led by my coach Chris Dold, we had a good group of Americans, Canadians, and other Internationals competing on the water.
After a day of rest, we rolled straight into the four days of racing. Like the training, we had a mix of conditions of offshore and onshore winds, particularly in the light to medium strength. I started off the series strong with consistent scores despite the tricky conditions. I started well, had consistent top end speed, and mostly executed disciplined tactics to keep myself honest to the fleet. I opened up a controlling lead straight from the start, holding lead up until the final day. Unfortunately, in the final race, I got caught on wrong side of the racecourse up the first beat and rounded deep. I scrambled to catch boats all the way around to finish the race in 3rd, but just a single point shy of taking the regatta victory from Stefano Peschiera of Peru and finished 2nd overall. It was disappointing to hold the lead nearly wire to wire and let it slip right at the end. However, I kept a very positive outlook on the event seeing how well my tactical and speed skills have improved in the offshore conditions, as well as my overall ability to perform.
You can check out results for Laser Midwinters East here.
Following the event, I picked up my fiancée’ Kate and headed to her parent’s home in Vero Beach, Florida. She was enjoying her rare week of vacation during her doctor residency program, while I was back in the gym enduring my two-a-day workouts. Beginning March 12th, I began my road trip back to California, this time towing a trailer with a coach boat RIB, 4 Lasers, and loads of equipment packed inside. Picture of the rig is attached. It was only a matter of time that on one of these trips I would have a real mishap. Sure enough in the desert of Arizona, a tire on the trailer exploded. Fortunately, it was daytime, only a few miles from a legit garage that could help, and in just a few hours I was back on the road. Often times when driving through the southwest United States, you can be dozens of miles from any help and searching for cell service, so I was lucky in that sense. I eventually made it home safely, back prepping on the water and in the gym for the beginning of the European season.
On March 21st, I made my way back to Palma de Mallorca via Uber, plane, car, and ferry for the Princess Sofia Trophy. Palma has always been one of my favorite venues on the circuit and was exciting to get settled in. We had a great week of training leading into the event with six days on the water with complimentary gym sessions followed by a couple days of rest peaking into the event. We had the typical range of conditions that Palma provides from light sea breezes, strong onshore gradients, and shifty offshore winds weaving through the mountains. This is the first premier European event of the year, with all the top international competition there is full of Olympic medalists, European, and World Champions everywhere. Racing consisted of two days of qualifying and three days of final series.
All of my hard work and persistence to improve over the offseason really paid off,, turning in my best performance of my career. I sailed a really clean event, started races strong, used my new speed skills to fight hard for every point around the course, and tactically kept it clean. I ended the final series in 4th overall, earning a place in the medal race, which is the final double points race designated for the top 10 finishers. This was the first medal race I have qualified for in a major event in my career, so I was stoked to be able to check off that accomplishment. I entered the race tight on points with competitors just behind me, but still 14 points back of 3rd and an outside shot at a Bronze medal. I knew my best option was just to race my own race and go for the race win, hoping everything else fell into place. We were postponed for a few hours on the water waiting for the unstable offshore breeze to die off. Finally, in a shifty sea breeze that slowly filled in, we got the race off just before the cut off time. The race was full of snakes and ladders as people in the back of the fleet suddenly found themselves back in the race while others got caught out and fell back. I scrambled hard, escaping from situations where I could have been cornered without options, kept myself in a position to attack opportunities, and finished 5th in the race and take 4th overall.
You can check out results for Princess Sofia Trophy here.
I was very proud of the result and know it was an accumulation of a lot of hard work, believing in my potential to perform. At the same time, I am hungry for more, the new goal being consistency at the top of the fleet and grabbing those medals. I know that I am only as good as my last race, so I am back to work preparing for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres and the European Championships in La Rochelle, France coming later this month.
The next step for improvements are really just developing the consistency in on the water skills. We do have some outstanding on the water weaknesses such as “no wind” roll tacks, strong wind boat handling, strong wind downwind sailing, and hiking endurance, all of which we will look forward to attacking this summer in San Francisco. We are also looking to adjust the fitness focuses towards overall endurance around the race course. We are continuing to push the muscle building, lifting weights in the gym, but feel we have made a significant enough gain to shift the focus to endurance. Cycling is the backbone for hiking endurance, so I am excited to see the improvements here.
Thank you for the continued support of my Olympic Campaign. If you would like to make a donation to my campaign via the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation, please follow the link below. All donations are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible!
Please continue to follow along on my Facebook page “Chris Barnard Sailing” and my Instagram and twitter accounts @barnyhoya for day to day activities.
Thank you again and talk soon!
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