Obel And Garret Podium At Women's Doublehanded Championship
COLUMBIA SAILING CENTER – From June 26-30, we competed in the US SAILING junior women's double handed championship in Columbia, South Carolina, racing out of the Columbia Sailing Center on Lake Murray. The event consisted of two clinic days, followed by three days of racing. U.S. Sailing provided top-tier coaches, including the following: U.S. Sailing development coach Richard Feeney MIT coach Matt Lindblad, Old Dominion coach Mitch Brindley, two-time 470 olympian Amanda Clark, and USA Youth Worlds team coach Elizabeth Kratzig.
To allow us to work more closely with these coaches, the boats were divided into groups, and coaches rotated between these groups each day. On the first clinic day, we focused on boat-handling and boat-speed with drills and speed tests. Unfortunately, Lake Murray's shifty, puffy winds made speed testing for any more than about thirty seconds quite challenging. Although we tried to squeeze in some practice races later that afternoon, the wind completely shut off. That night, the Regatta volunteers took all the regatta participants to the Columbia zoo!
The next morning, similarly light and shifty winds provided decent tuning conditions. After a thunderstorm passed through as we sailed in to lunch, a relatively steady fifteen knot breeze provided some fun practice racing!
On the first day of racing, we sailed in very puffy, light, and shifty conditions. Because the pressure differences varied so drastically across the course, we learned to prioritize staying in the pressure over playing the shifts. We also learned to avoid the middle of the course, which generally had sizable holes of no wind. Although we felt a bit frustrated by a Z flag that put us in 12th place ending the first day, we felt ready to come back the next day and start fresh.
The second day of racing brought a bit more wind; the course was less puffy, so playing the shifts was more important. We focused on achieving solid and consistent top ten finishes. By the end of the second day of racing, we moved up to 3rd place. With only two races to finish up the third and final day of racing, we again focused on maintaining solid finishes as the point spread between us and fourth place was very close.
We finished the regatta in third place with large takeaways of knowledge about lake sailing. Throughout the five days of sailing, we focused on keeping our heads in the game: with the hot, long days on the water, we made sure to hydrate and wear sunscreen. Maintaining focus during individual races was also key: because the courses were so long and the conditions so flukey, we did not give up if we had a deep weather mark rounding; we also did not relax if we had a solid one.
Overall, we had an amazing time in this competitive learning environment with great coaches and friendly volunteers. A big thank you to US Sailing and Columbia sailing center for a wonderful event!