Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking back on CRW and forward to Annapolis Nood

I know I'm a week late on this, but as you may have heard, Team Bahamas ended up 3rd overall in the J/22 Class at Charleston Race Week 2014...

There's a lot I could say about this event, commenting on all our ups and downs, but I think the BSA Press-Release does a pretty good job of that already, here's the link:

But in brief; it was an awesome weekend (as I expected it would be). Dad flew in to spend a few days chilling in Charleston, and it was nice to have him here while we raced. We sailed well together as a crew, despite it being our first event ever as a team, and we are all looking forward to getting back on the water together as a team to race again. We were all pleased with our finish, but I think it hurt a touch knowing that we were able to keep with the top of the fleet (and even get a couple bullets), and we weren't able to minimize that score gap between third and second... but oh well, next year...

What's next?
Well, I'm headed to Annapolis on May 1st to race in the Sailing World Annapolis Nood event; I'll be on the J/70 'Exit Strategy II'. 

After Nood, I fly home to the Bahamas (May 5th), then it's off to Peru with a couple friends for 2 weeks of high-alpine trekking! 

No complaints here mon, 

SailFast, Live Slow

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

J/70 Quantum Winter Series III

Well, the J/70 just joined my list of things to buy... all I need is some money.

I'm back in Charleston now, after spending last weekend sailing at the J/70 Quantum Winter Series Act 3 hosted by the Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa Bay, FL. This was my first time sailing the J/70, and I'm pretty thankful to just have had the opportunity of being invited to sail down there. Myself along with fellow C of C Offshore Teammate Stefan were lucky enough to get an all expense paid trip to head down to Tampa to race Jack Martin on his J/70 Exit Strategy II as last minute crew.

Mr. Martin was awesome to sail with- he's 78 years old and still out there blasting around the race course; truly impressive and inspirational. I can only hope that when I get that old I'm still out there racing and having fun. He also lives and keeps the boat in Charleston, so I'm really looking forward to getting out there with him again and having some fun racing around Charleston Harbor.

As for the J/70; definitely a winner. Such a fun yet simple race boat. You can tell from when you first step on her that she's well put together and built to last. The boat takes about 10minutes to rig and get race ready, and the systems are all very basic and simple... But what made her most attractive for me was the lifting keel (perfect to launch at the NYC), the simplicity (not too many parts that will be prone to breakage and replacement), the speed (15kts downwind; no problem), and the competitiveness / size of the class. I want one.

The racing was great. Unfortunately, we only got in one on Saturday as storms were rolling through the area, but that one race saw 20kts and planing reaches- which was a hell of a lot of fun. The RC managed to get 3 in on sunday in 10-12kts, which was ideal for us.
Although we only finished mid-fleet (that first day killed us), we placed better in every race, with a 15 being our high and last finish.

I'm hooked. Get me back in another J/70.

Regatta Preview

What else is going on? Just getting ready for Charleston Race Week... Less than 2 weeks to go! Stay tuned for updates from Team Bahamas.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Harbor Cup. Quantum J70 Winter Series. Charleston Race Week.

Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup:
Well, we're back in Charleston after spending the last half of our spring break out on the West Coast sailing in the LAYC Harbor Cup. I'll be short and honest, as a team we were a bit disappointed with our results. All of us Offshore Cougars (not only those that sailed in LA, but the entire team) have been training hard for this event since we took second overall in 2013, so needless to say it was a bit disappointing to end up 5th /10 in 2014. Honestly, we didn't sail a good event. There's a lot of details I could go into about what all went wrong and what all went right- but that's not necessary. We've reflected a lot on what led to our 5th place finish at this year's Harbor Cup, and as a team we have grown from that. Finishing 5th was a wake up call to our entire Offshore Team, and we've taken notice to what areas need to be improved. It's just a bit saddening for us that this was our last Collegiate event of the Spring... However, we've all got our eyes set on the Fall events (and even the 2015 Harbor Cup). Despite this being our last collegiate event, we've still got Charleston Race Week, PHRF Championships, and a few other local events lined up- so workouts and practice sessions will be as intense as ever. 

Quantum J70 Winter Series:
I am stoked. 2 days ago I was invited by a local Charleston Sailor to crew on a J70 for the Quantum Winter Series set to take place in Tampa at the Davis Island Yacht Club over the weekend of March 29/30, and I just got my tickets via email so it's official. I've never sailed a J70 before, but I'm still extremely excited for this opportunity that literally came out of nowhere. The story behind this is that I had crewed for this guy (David) just about a year ago on an SR-33 (which is an awesome boat), unfortunately I hadn't been able to sail with him since as whenever he needed fill-in crew I was away or on Semester at Sea- but luckily enough he needed crew for this event, so myself and Stefan Kuehn (from the Offshore Team) will be flying down to Tampa to race with these guys! Should be a great regatta, and I can't wait to see what all the J70 hype is all about!

Charleston Race Week:
Team Bahamas is registered! That's right, Chris Sands and I are teaming up to represent the Bahamas and compete in the very competitive J22 class. We both decided that we didn't want to sail in an offshore class (because who wants to wake up at 7am and motor 12nm to get outside the jetties), and instead would prefer to race on an inshore circle. Luckily enough, we were able to secure one of the College's new J22s to use for Race Week (thanks a lot to Director of Sailing Greg Fisher) and we will be sailing under the Bahamian Flag. Now it's time to get serious and get time on the water. Our third crew member will be C of C Offshore Sailor Stefan Kuehn. 
You can read more about this here:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2014

LAYC Harbor Cup 2014 Preview Video.
(Skip ahead to 8:30 for yours truly)

LAYC Harbor Cup 2014 Program.

Wednesday we will be headed to Los Angeles; this time we're going for the win.

As many of my readers know, in 2013, the College of Charleston Offshore Sailing Team was invited to the Port of LA Harbor Cup Invitational, where we sailed (as presumed 'underdogs') and clinched second overall; narrowly losing out to Cal Maritime. Last year, this was our first major offshore event, and I was onboard as mainsail trimmer.

Well, now it's 2014 and we're headed back; this time as a Varsity team. We are ready to take the Championship, to win the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup. For those of you that don't know, the Harbor Cup is a collegiate big-boat regatta, sailed in Catalina 37s out of Los Angeles Yacht Club. The regatta is a 3 day event that sees the top 10 offshore teams on the collegiate circuit facing off for the championship. It is the best regatta I've ever sailed in; intense racing with a college atmosphere- it's the perfect mix.

We've been training hard for this event. Now that we are an official C of C Varsity Sport, we have had to adhere to a strict practice and workout schedule- which has been great in getting us prepared. This is our last Collegiate event of the season, and after placing second in our home hosted event (the SCOR) a few weeks ago; we're thirsty for a big win.

This year, I'll be going to Los Angeles as an alternate. I'm not disappointed in this, I understand it's best for the team. To be honest I just feel fortunate enough to have been selected for the LA team in the first place- which has allowed me to be on the practice squad and get time on the water in various positions. I mean, after spending a semester abroad and coming back a bit rusty after not having sailed a big boat in over six months, I was truly pleased to just have been placed on the team... Now it's all about proving myself that I should be a starter on our upcoming Fall 2014 events.

Also, I'll be honest when I say being listed as the alternate has provided me with the opportunity to practice on various positions and get experience figuring out those roles and working with the team. I can say I have a much better understanding of all positions on the boat, and feel confident working most spots when need be.

I'll be sure to send out updates as we sail the regatta, so stay tuned. But for now; I've got a few more days of spring break to enjoy!

Go Cougars!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back to Reality.

Well, I've been back in Charleston for nearly 3 weeks now.

This will be a short post, just a quick update on how things have been, and will probably be the last post for at least a few weeks.

Being back is definitely weird. Not bad, just weird. It's just how they said it would be, I've gotten back and everyone is pretty much the same- doing the same things, thinking the same way, and seeing the world in the same light as they did 4 months ago. It's just so difficult to 'fit back in' when I've spent the last semester travelling the world, and having a life changing experience. But don't get me wrong, it's been awesome catching up with friends and getting back into the groove of things. And also like they said, everyone is already sick of my, 'this one time when I was at a village in Ghana' or 'I remember in Patagonia when' stories, haha!

Also, just like they said, I have a strong case of wanderlust. Wanderlust is defined as, 'A strong desire to travel.' Yep, all I want to do is keep exploring. For example, on the MLK weekend I managed to convince (through begging) a couple friends to drive 5hrs up to Appalachian Mountain to do some snowboarding. Yea, It may only be 5hrs away... But it's still an adventure in some sense. Sitting around my apartment on a long weekend just seems like a disgustingly terrible idea right now.
Hopefully I can manage to go on a few more road trips this semester as well... We'll see what happens.

The other day I met up with 2 girls from C of C who were also on the SAS Fall 2013 voyage- we had lunch at one of their apartments, and just spent a few hours reminiscing on the whole experience. Mainly talking about how we want nothing more than to be back on the ship... I think we all realized how lucky we are to have each other at the same campus; I'm sure we'll be getting together for lunch again soon.

One of the best parts of being back is now being a member of the C of C Varsity Sailing Team. Yep, I'm officially on the sailing team as part of the Offshore squad. It's been great so far. We've only had one practice since I've been back, but we are scheduled to practice every Monday and Wednesday for the entire semester (and occasionally weekends). Our first event is in 2 weeks, right here in Charleston- with big names such as Coast Guard and Cal Maritime coming down to compete! We also are scheduled to sail the Port of  LA Harbor Cup, and hopefully a couple other events... But being a varsity athlete is great. Team workouts, athlete only study hall, sports medicine trainers, and a bunch of other perks- I'm enjoying it a lot!

Oh yea, In my constant want to travel the world I booked tickets to backpack through Peru for 16 days in May. More details on this to come, but one of my old buddies from Maine and I are going to spend some time high alpine trekking to celebrate his graduation from college.

So that's a quick update on life. Although being back at normal college doesn't compare at all to the Semester at Sea experience- I still need to get these last three semesters done, and I think through some trip planning and running with a few ideas I can manage to at least partially fulfil. my desires to travel and explore. The hardest part for sure has been missing my SAS friends, thankfully we all have ooVoo / facebook / snapchat / imessage and manage to stay in communication... It's been funny hearing everyone's short stories of how readjusting has been weird and difficult. Can't wait until our first reunion!