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2015 SWC MIAMI

Dear Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation,

At the end of January, we competed in ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, the first regatta of the 2015 ISAF World Cup regatta circuit. We spent the months leading up to this regatta training in Miami with our US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider teammates and our Canadian and Greek training partners. Having launched our full time Olympic campaign in May of 2014, this was our first fall season fully dedicated to training in the 470. Each year before the start of Sailing World Cup Miami, the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider host it's Annual Team Celebration Dinner where we gather as one and celebrate the achievements of our team during the previous year. It is a rare moment when we shed our salty sailing gear in favor of cocktail dresses and heels, but it is a welcome change of pace. It was nice to mingle with our teammates and coaches, and to have the opportunity to thank our wonderful team sponsors in person.

We had quite an exciting start to Sailing World Cup Miami with 20+ knots at the start of our first race building to 30 knots as a looming front moved across our racecourse. Unlike the majority of our fleet, we stayed upright through the whole race and finished in the top 10 (though we later found out we had been disqualified for an "on course start" or OCS). We chose not to set our spinnaker on the reach leg because we saw a large puff coming towards us, which turned out to be the right call because the second it hit us, the five boats surrounding us wiped out. Soon visibility was down to 200 feet and simply navigating around the racecourse was a challenge. We managed to find the finish and we were happy to have completed the race unscathed. The remainder of the week was quite tame in comparison, but we still raced in 16-18 knots on average in an offshore breeze for the majority of our races.

The overarching theme of our racing was a need to recognize when we should be defending versus attacking. In the last six races of our regatta, we rounded the first weather mark in 7th, which would have been a keeper score, but instead of recognizing the need to be in a defensive mode, we would try to make gains on the pack of boats ahead and lose to boats behind in the process. We learned a lot during this event about how to sail a conservative race when you're in a position you want to protect, which can be especially challenging in the shifty offshore wind we experienced during Sailing World Cup Miami. Another take away from the event is that the time we have spent in the boat has paid off and we are now as fast or faster than our competitors in a wide range of conditions. Knowing this, we have prioritized communication and race management as our primary goals for the next two months. Fortunately, we have four competitive international regattas coming up in March and April where we will have the opportunity to focus on these areas of our sailing.

Thank you so much to the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation and those who continue to support this fantastic organization. Between grants like this one that support our participation in competitive international regattas year-round and helping our team collect tax deductible donations which keep our campaign thriving, the Newport Sailing Foundation has gone above and beyond to support our Olympic effort!

Thank you,
Sydney Bolger