Friday, February 19, 2010

8th Place Overall and Top American Qualifier

As forecasted, the winds were light for the second day of the Laser Midwinters in Clearwater, Florida. Temperatures are still a little chilly, but should be warming up for the weekend, which everyone is certainly ready for. The 90-boat fleet has completed five races, which marks the end of the qualifying series where the top half of the fleet race the final two days as the Gold fleet.

Did I mention it was cold in Clearwater

I'm really excited about how I've been sailing for the past two days! Today, another two finishes in the top ten (7th & 3rd) puts me in 8th place overall and the top American qualifier sailing in the Gold Fleet. I have found upwind speed in the light winds and the leftover choppy swell. I needed the speed to dig out of a poor start in the second race, in spite of which I had a great first beat. I benefitted from hooking into two shifts to round in 4th place right behind the current regatta leader and Swedish Olympian, Rasmus Myrgren.

Regatta Leader Rasmus Myrgren from Sweden
Photo by Chris Love (Sail Groove)

The Swedish are coming (or have arrived)! Three Swedes competed in the medal race (for the top 10 finishers) at the Rolex Miami OCR and currently, they have four sailors in the top ten here- this is no accident. They have been group training intensely since November, putting a lot of work in and pushing each other as a team. I've been fortunate enough to put in a lot of hours with their team as well, which has certainly improved my game.

Feeling connected to the Swedish team is only one experience from the past few days that brings me back to how I used to feel as a competitor years ago, training with the German and Polish teams in the Finn. Today was all about building on confidence, and physically experiencing entirely another mindset. You can see this happening with the other top sailors, and the last two days were one of the first times I was able to again experience this feeling of strong confidence racing the Laser. For me, it's all a process of re-learning lessons both physical and mental, and I'm excited that I have this potential.