Palma - when things don't go according to the plan, by Maggie
Princess Sofia Trophy, sailed on the notorious waters of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, was the second regatta of a two-event qualifying trials for major regattas later this summer. Going into Palma, we had a commanding eight-point lead over the next American team from WCS Miami. We finished the Princess Sofia Trophy in 16th overall, three places behind the top American team. While we were disappointed by our performance, we still managed to qualify for the one berth to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games and the USST at the Olympic Test Event.
From a big-picture, overall campaign perspective, the Princess Sofia Trophy was designed to put pressure on our team to perform. We hoped the two-event trials system would imitate the intensity of the Olympic Trials later this year. We expected to sail in challenging, Palma-like conditions - huge waves and strong wind. So this past season, we traveled to Australia and Argentina to find some gnar, and we are totally capable of winning races in it. However, we didn’t anticipate the stress we felt from the pressure to perform in a trials series. Our unforced errors resulted from of our mental state more than anything else. Looking back, we’re glad we experienced this anxiety and nervousness because now it’s a familiar feeling we can conquer.
We sailed a strong qualifying series in the beginning of the week, with only two finishes outside the top ten and an average race score of sixth. Then our scoreline took a turn for the worse after we qualified for Gold Fleet. We only managed to finish in the top ten twice, and we lost several points making uncharacteristic mistakes, like capsizing. However even in our toughest races when we were deep in the back of the fleet, we fought tooth and nail for every point as we clawed back. We leaned into the challenge. We proved to ourselves, that in the face of adversity - like pitch-poling violently or crashing and damaging our wing - we are strong enough to rise to the occasion.
We’re not happy with a sixteenth place finish, but our dissatisfaction will fuel our hunger to improve. We debriefed, diagnosed and made plan of attack to move forward. All we can do is learn from the experience and keep pushing.
In the future, we will draw strength from the races we felt physically exhausted and mentally devastated. We learned a lot about ourselves as sailors and came together, stronger than ever, as a team. The fire in our belly has never burned so hard. We’re hungry for the next challenge.
Thank you to all the supporters who reached out or followed scores. When we have bad races, we are embarrassed, disappointed in ourselves and afraid to let you down. On those days, your words mean the world to us. Now let’s all pound our chests and look forward to the next race. Onwards and upwards!