I was recently interviewed by longtime teammate, Zach Brown, about the transition from dinghies to keelboats. Check it out here.
The winter season is approaching fast. I am scheduling as many keelboat events as I can and then filling in the gaps with dinghy sailing. To get ready for the winter, I began working with a team who is preparing for Etchells racing in Miami. We raced a Lightning event, so we could start to build our communication. I enjoyed getting to know each other and it was great for us to start working towards our goals in Miami in December.
Also looking ahead, Dave Hughes and I are preparing for Miami OCR in the 470. We will be going back to basics to coordinate our movements in the boat. This will involve lots of handling maneuvers and sailing straight working on transitions and communication. Our first training in Miami is right after Thanksgiving.
Photo credit to Peter Braune
The fall season ended with some exciting racing with my team racing team, NYYC Team Extreme (Thomas Barrows/Marla Menninger, Zachary Brown/Emmet Smith, me/Mike Hession). We had the fun of preparing for the US Team Racing National Championships and then the good luck of taking home the title. Though, following some new rules, US Sailing perpetual trophies no longer go home with the winning team. We had a great weekend of practice on Oct. 13-14 with past champions Silver Panda. We helped each other find our “A” game for the next weekend.
Our practices were focused on two areas: knowing what to do and executing boat handling and speed. To get better at thinking quickly, we did lots of full races, enough so that we had to be thinking on an intuitive level. This especially helped me, as I am further from my college days than the others on my team, and therefore, slightly rustier on team racing! As a team we focus a lot of our energy on getting better at boat handling and speed. The single most important skills are being able to out boat handle your opponent and then sailing faster. This makes you dangerous when behind and hard to pass when in front. Good fleet racing = good team racing.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments on team racing.