The 2015 Worlds Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina has come to a close. This regatta was a crucial event in our campaign as it was a country qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The next three countries after those who had qualified last Worlds would earn their country spot for the Games and in the end it all came down to 3 points.
The qualifying series which consisted of the first three days of the event went very well for us. We accomplished our first set goal which was earn our spot in gold fleet and from there we narrowed our focus on the other countries we had to beat to earn one of the three spots. After finishing the qualifying series in 13th we were set up really well going into the final series now at this point 2nd qualifying country.
The final series started off with a canceled day. Thunderstorms rolled in throughout the morning and after silver fleet went out for one race it was determined that the storms were to stay all afternoon with tons of rain and wind. Losing one day of racing was not ideal, but there was nothing we could do other than to stay focused and ready for the next 2 days. Since one day was lost, we sailed a total of 4 races on Day 4 of the final series. This day in our minds was the day we had lost our chances at the qualifying spot. The wind was pretty unstable and light as we went out to the race course, but honestly nothing we hadn’t seen yet before. The first race of that day was extremely tricky, but we fought well and ended up with a 9th. Starting the day off well, we had to then wait about 2 hours for the wind to steady and shift left. Sailing now with a completely different direction of wind we started the next three races. This was the period in time where we couldn’t perform and end up with the results that wouldn’t put us in contention for a country spot. We had problems getting off the start line as the current was strong. After the bad starts it was very hard to come back since one side of the race course was favored. We ended the day sitting in 17th and 4th qualifying country. It wasn’t over at that point, but we did not do a good job of putting ourselves in a good position for the last day of racing. However, we knew we could not give up yet and we were looking forward to the challenge of coming back strong!
The wind finally came in strong on the last day of the final series! We were excited for some breeze and to finally get the boat up to speed. With three races left we had to make up some 15 points fighting for one of the three spots. In the end it came down to 3 points. The last race of the event came down to 4 countries fighting for the last qualifying spot. Since ARG and SIN had no way of losing the first two qualifying spot that left IRL, CAN, NOR and USA fighting for the last one. We unfortunately did not win that last spot and it went to CAN who sailed a very nice last day.
Although we didn’t earn the spot here at Worlds, we still have one more chance at ISAF World Cup Miami in January. This will be the North American country qualifier and we will be racing against the Virgin Islands for the North American spot. We look forward to the challenge and are super excited to train throughout December and January in Florida!
Although the event did not go as planned we know we made huge advancements in our sailing. We still finished Top American (only American in Gold Fleet) and our team dynamic together couldn’t be stronger. We killed some starts throughout the championships and we feel strong in our ability to get off the line now.
We want to thank our coach Ramon Oliden who did everything he could to prepare us for our Championship. Also, thank you to our travel sponsor, Expedia, and the Northern California Olympians Foundation and the St Francis Sailing Foundation. Of course, thanks to the sponsors and supporters of the US Sailing Team Sperry, including Sunbrella, Harken, McLube Marine, and Group Bénéteau, and especially our title sponsor Sperry.
Lastly we want to thank all of YOU who not only give us the encouragement everyday but also those who helped us complete our RallyMe Goal of $15,000! THANK YOU!
We are excited to take a little over a week break to enjoy some family and great food and then we are back at it, this time in Florida!
~Paris and Helena