Dear Sponsors, Supporters, and Fans,
Following the North Americans, it was time to start the proper taper off in gym volume in order to peak energy levels in the World Championships. I arrived in Aarhus on July 24th with a little over a week to acclimate to the environment with racing starting on August 3rd.
Being a combined World Sailing Championships with all 10 Olympic classes participating, plus the kiteboards, there were over 1500 competitors and 100 countries on site. Our entire US Sailing staff was on hand including coaches, staff, and physios.
I had a great six days of training leading into the event, slowly working through the jet lag and my balance in the boat getting more and more accurate. By the final few days on the water, I was arguably the most consistent boat on the water against all the top guys.
The event provided a variety of conditions, both sea breezes and shifty offshore winds, mentally challenging for all of us sailors. The real story of my event was my inability to get off the starting line clean, which led to a lot of scrambling around the race course to come back. In turn, my scores were inconsistent, sometimes able to come back and finish with a few top 5 finishes, but often in the back of the pack and finishing mid fleet. My speed was world-class around the course, but not enough to overcome the inconsistent starts. Sure enough, my results suffered with many mid fleet finishes, rounding out the regatta in a disappointing 26th place.
I’ve taken some time to reflect on the event, and why it turned so sour so quickly. I feel how I mentally handled and processed stressors and distractions during the event really wore on me, something I did not realize until after the fact. I believe that stress really affected me on the starting line. My awareness with boats around me, the line, and ability to pull the trigger. I felt very limited, a typical direct correlation and causation from stress. Thinking about it now, it would have been better for me to vent and release my feelings these feelings right away, rather than have them bottled up, brewing up all week. After discussing it with our Chief of Olympic Sailing, Malcolm Page, a two-time gold medalist himself, he emphasized that “stuff like this happens all the time at an Olympic Games with the bureaucracy” and was a good experience for me to go through.
Myself and the US Sailing staff are now in the process of assessing what is best for me to reach the next level of the class with consistency. With my continued reflection of the past month, and really the past year, my skills on the water have truly reached the top level, with still some room to improve. However, where we feel the next step is the ability to discern the difference between “winning races and winning regattas”. I believe that is what separates the consistent top guys from their training and advantages on the fleet from tangible side, as well as their mindset. I have met with many of my mentors over the last few weeks indulging on this question, and got some unique answers that I look forward to experimenting with going forward.
I am excited to get back to training after a good few weeks of going through these mental processes. Looking forward to it and appreciative of everyone’s continued support.
Thank you and talk soon!
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