Entering in the medal race we knew we had a hard fought battle in front of us, where the points are doubled and we could end the regatta anywhere from 1st to 4th, nerves where high. Last year, at the 2014 Test Event, we entered into the medal race leading and our nightmare came to fruition when we lost a medal. For this reason, this race meant even more to us. The British Team was 5 points ahead meaning we had to get two boats between us and them to win the Gold while keeping Team New Zealand withing 6 boats of us. Our game plan off the line was to sail the first beat clean and reevaluate points after the windward mark.
Prestart, Dave (Ullman our amazing coach) warned us that there was a 50/50 chance that the British Team would come after us prestart as they had already secured the Silver Medal. With our team racing background in College Sailing (Go Eagles!) we were ready for anything they had to throw at us. With the sequence beginning, we stayed close to the boat end of the line. After getting our line sites and developing our strategy while checking our angles, we noticed the British were coming (Pun intended)!
Luckily for us we were still close to the boat end of the line and were able to use the race committee boat as a pick to tack around and reset up on the favored end of the line. After some pushing on their part, we found ourselves inside of boat lay in a safe place at around 30 seconds to go. With one more “up move” we were able to create enough space to have a clean acceleration off the line and get a great start. The British were not as lucky when they tried to tack and fouled. Under the intense pressure they menally folded and did not complete their 360 in time and were forced to do another one, resulting in them being quite far behind the fleet.
On the tricky ‘Sugar Loaf course we’ we found ourselves in 7th place around the top mark, securing the Gold Medal! We knew we had to make sure that there was still a 2 point gap between us and the British if they were able to catch up, so to be certain of our place we were looking forward to the next group. After a good mark rounding, we were able to extend off to the favored left hand side and gain more boats who headed out to the right. We rounded the second top mark in 4th place and held until the reach to the finish and to the GOLD MEDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are on top of the world right now. The flood gates are open. One more year to the Games and we have just won our first international regatta the venue where the Olympics will be held. Words cannot describe how we are feeling. Everything is possible right now. Back to training and to push harder! We know how it feels to be wearing GOLD and will stop at nothing to get there next year.