Chronicle: Hyeres

From all the flying, coaching and traveling poor Briana began feeling quite sick once we arrived in Hyeres, France. Even with this setback, our training before the event was extremely productive. We reached out to some foreign teams and were happy to be joined by the Greek and Swiss men’s teams, both of whom competed at the 2012 Games.  The push they gave us in training left us feeling prepared for the beginning of the event which showed in our first day results! Though there was much luck involved (there were two races that were abandoned we were towards the back of the pack) we were able to squeeze out of day one wearing the yellow pennies. Fighting back each race and battling for every point we came out of day two with the blue pennies and well within striking distance of the lead. Points were extremely close the first three days of the event making the racing that much more challenging. The event for us was plagued by onshore postponements and troubles on the starting line. Ironically, the only day we were able to execute our game plan by getting off the line was the last day of regular racing. Though we were able to hold our lane, we ended up on the incorrect side of a shift leaving at the back of the fleet at both top marks in the races. There were many points gained during the day, but not enough to keep us as close to the front group as we wanted. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was that it all happened on Briana’s birthday!

Looking forward to the medal race, there was quite a good gap behind us and we were battling for a medal (the race was broadcasted on ESPN 3!).  When the gun went off, we were at the pin end of the line ripping towards the left hand corner of the race course. From all our pre-race tuning and observation of races previously on the course, we were confident that the left had both more pressure and shift. To our surprise off the starting line boats were lifting on the inside forcing us to exit the corner early. By missing the shift we rounded the top mark in 6th with and because of a bad set the leaders had a good distance on us. Battling back, we closed the gap and found ourselves within striking distance of the lead on the last downwind leg. In the last 100 meters to the finish, we passed the Brits and ended the regatta in a strong fifth place.