Our final event of the European season was the 49er World Championship in Porto, Portugal. Our team goal was to make the Gold fleet. We felt like this was super achievable after our lessons learned at the Europeans and our successful event in Aarhus.
Our training time in Porto was filled with very little breeze followed by the first 2.5 days of the regatta with no wind. We knew the teams who would be successful would hop right into the racing and not waste time warming up. By the time racing started on the third day the breeze was 10 knots and big swell. The second day of qualifying brought 15-18 knots with big ocean swell. We have barely sailed in these conditions, and it took us awhile to get into our groove. Unfortunately it took a little too long, and we had a rough qualifying series, putting us in silver fleet for the remaining 2 days of the regatta.
Hearts crushed, we rallied hard to practice being at the front of a fleet and focus on some big swell techniques. In the 4 races we had, we posted results to win the Silver fleet. However after the fleet was given a drop, which rewarded teams with rough races and put us 4th in silver and 24th overall. On a positive note, we gained a lot of confidence in 20-25 knots in big swells which are conditions we have never sailed in before.
It is hard to walk away from the summer and a World Championship feeling like we didn’t perform. Not all days or events will be glorious, and we need to remember that at the end of the day it’s about the process and what we are learning. Our speed is in the top 20%, and at times better. We are ending the competition season with a perspective of where the fleet is at, and a belief that we are on the steep part of the learning curve, while those ahead of us are all on a slower part of the curve. The only event that matters is in August 2020. That’s what keeps us driving every day to be better and gain those little advantages in all aspects of our racing.