We are very happy and relieved to say that at Sailing World Cup Miami we qualified the USA for a country spot at the 2016 Olympic Games!
After 5 days of racing at the most important regatta of our lives, we finished 17th overall (of 34 teams) and the top North American team. We beat Canada here, but since they already qualified their country in November, we actually only had to beat the teams from the US Virgin Islands and Aruba to qualify our country.
We didn’t get the regatta off to a great start but we’re proud of how we stayed mentally strong and positive, and were able to turn it around into a strong finish.
Monday – we waited for wind, did 2 races just before sunset and it felt good to shake out some nerves.
Tuesday – 3 races, also ending at sunset. Two bad races but ended the day with an 8th.
Wednesday – 4 races in light wind, a long day but we finally felt like we hit our stride.
Thursday – waited all day as rainstorms blew through, turning Miami into one big puddle, but eventually we were sent out for one very windy race (many others capsized) where we finished 6th. Whoo!
Friday – we sailed 3 solid races in a very shifty condition in which we have made great strides over the past year.
Saturday – we got to watch our US Sailing Team Sperry teammates race in the medal races while enjoying time with USSTS sponsor Sunbrella.
Now we are halfway through the US Olympic Trials.
Part two of the Trials is the World Championships in Clearwater, Florida. As I write this, we are driving from Miami to Clearwater (6 hours), with our boat on the roof and the coachboat in tow. Since we finished immediately in front of the next USA team (Dellenbaugh/Barry were 18th overall), and the second Trials event is the tie-breaker, it will be who-beats-who at Worlds for the USA Olympic spot.
Separately, earlier this month we were named to the US Sailing Team Sperry for the second year in a row, because we were the top USA team at the 2015 World Championships (this is not the Olympic team yet!).
To be in this position – competing to go to the Olympic Games- is an opportunity, a privilege, and an honor. Going into this make-or-break World Championship, personally I am more overwhelmed by gratitude and excitement than nerves or anxiety.
We’d like to thank our coach, Willie McBride. He has been a big part of our ability to rebound from the races we’d have liked to do better in, and even though we won’t eat his chia-seed pudding, we gladly take his advice on the racecourse.
Our travel sponsor Expedia has gotten us around the world, getting the experience we need in order to perform at the Trials and beyond. We are proud and grateful to have the support of the St Francis Sailing Foundation and the Northern California Olympians Foundation.
We would like to thank the sponsors and supporters of the US Sailing Team Sperry, especially Sunbrella and the title sponsor Sperry.
And last but not least, to all of our individual donors, including our RallyMe boosters. We love racing with your names on our boat and many of our competitors noticed and thought it was very cool!
Time to rest, refocus, and perform!
Keep the love coming on Facebook, Instagram (@helenas9 & @parishenken & @mcbrideracing), and Twitter (@henkenscutt2016) ☺
Now or never, and stronger than ever,
Helena & Paris
Lots of buzz this month: