To Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan We use PayPal.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

TGS 2012 Olympic Trials Wrap Up

WE WON! TGS is London-bound next summer!!!
Olympic Trials Results
Perth Worlds Regatta Website



Dear Supporters,

Today we write from the time zone warp of Sydney International Airport where we will split off to return to our respective homes after completing the World Championships in Perth, Western Australia. This event served as the final competition in our Olympic selections, and as most of you know by now, we won! Before we get into the details of the event, we first want to thank everyone who supported us—we are nothing without the people behind us. To all of you who wrote, called, crossed your fingers, prayed, stayed up all night watching malfunctioning GPS trackers and broke your diets with late night snacking and over-caffeination, here’s to you. Your love and pride is tangible, even from the other side of the world.

We went into the Worlds with one goal in mind: to win the Trials. To achieve this, we had to reverse the points that we had given to our American competition, Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving-Farrar, at the first half of the Trials, which was the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth last June. There, they placed 8th and we finished 11th, thus here in Australia we needed to put two boats or more between us in order to seal our Olympic bid (with the Australian event being the tie breaker). Though they had beaten us at the first half of the Trials, we had finished ahead of them at every regatta since, leaving us confident that though it would be a close race, we were more than capable of reaching our goal.

Leading up to the Worlds, the talk was all about the legendary Fremantle Doctor, allegedly pumping in every day at 25-30 knots. Throughout the fall, we sought out the windiest training locations we could find in order to best prepare for what was meant to be a blowing-dogs-off-chains-windy Worlds. We prepared physically and mentally for anything, but optimized for big breeze. Of course, as a result of all this prep work, ‘it’s never like this!’ syndrome was in full effect throughout the two weeks of racing in Perth. The most we raced in was 15-18 knots, but most races were around 10 knots. As is always the case though, the day we left, the Doctor finally returned from his holiday, taking over for the Fremantle Dental Hygienist/Nurse/X-Ray Technician that we had experienced during the event. (Yes, the jokes did get old after awhile.)

Despite the unexpected conditions, we raced a solid series. We’ve certainly seen where our weaknesses lie, and have a good grasp of what we need work on looking forward, but we are most proud of our response to competition under stress. Though we built a significant lead over the first two days, a disastrous 33-27 scorecard on day three left us deep in the hole with only four races left to regain our advantage. Here we owe massive credit to our coach, Zachary Leonard, for screwing our heads back on when we were in danger of losing it all. We came back after the layday with all guns blazing and didn’t lose another race to Erin and Isabelle. Even though we built back a 27 point lead in those final four races, the nature of the event left a lot of the overall positions up to the actions of other boats. The final race of the series, it actually didn’t matter so much that we beat them across the line as it did that we catch one of the other boats ahead of us. They engaged us at the start but we were free and able to sail forward about halfway up the first beat. We continued to gain places throughout the race, but much of our fate was in the hands of other boats. Only in the last 700 meters of the race did we cross ahead of the French boat that was directly ahead of us in the standings, and thus secure our 12th place overall. Erin and Isabelle remained in 15th place, with the French and Japanese teams between us.

It’s only been 48 hours since we sealed the deal, and the time has been a whirlwind of container loading and interviews and packing ourselves up to head back to America. It’s a dream come true for Amanda, who can now marvel over the title of ‘two-time Olympian’ and for Sarah, who has qualified to compete in her first Games only nine months after she first stepped in a 470. We owe so much to our event coach Zack Leonard as well as Udi Gal and US Sailing Team Alphagraphics 470 Men’s coach Romain Bounnaud for all their help over the last few months’ training. We wouldn’t be where we are now without the backing of the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics and its supporting sponsors.

Together we form a powerful combination, but we are nothing without the incredible network of supporters that we have from the Shelter Island Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York, The Clever Pig Sailing Team and many more. It will be your enthusiasm and belief that will bring us to the podium next August—we are nothing without you. Though we’ve already jumped a huge hurdle in winning the trials, we will need all the help we can get to see this mission through to the end. If you are interested in making a donation, please visit our website www.teamgosail.org for a simple PayPal check out, or if you prefer to mail a check to the Team GO SAIL Foundation, please send it to Amanda Clark, P. O. Box 373 Shelter Island, NY 11964

Medals on our mind,
Amanda and Sarah

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ways to Follow our Olympic Trials

Hello friends and family!

Here are a few links to follow if you are interested in watch our World Championships and Olympic Trials. The 470 Women are scheduled to race in Perth, Australia from December 12th – 18th. We will race in 1 fleet (totaling 47 entries) and each boat will carry a GPS tracking device.

The Schedule as of now (Great for all night owls):
Monday 1:30am EST Race 1 & 2
Tuesday 1:30am EST Race 3 & 4
Wednesday 1:30am EST Race 5 & 6
Thursday 10pm EST Race 7 & 8
Saturday 1:30am EST Race 9 & 10
Sunday 12:10am EST Medal Race

Team GO SAIL:
www.facebook.com/teamgosail our updates and pictures through out the event
www.twitter.com/teamgosail
blog.teamgosail.org
www.teamgosail.org

GPS Tracking:
http://static.sportresult.com/federations/isaf/Sailing/raceviewer/index.php?v=34&id=503c9387-66e7-4773-ac45-90867ca9a8dd&event=82 Filter the race you would like to view by clicking filter by CLASS and choose 470 – W . What is nice about this site is you can review races after they have happened. Note that the trackers have been acting a little crazy, so all data may not be accurate.

Live Regatta Blog:
http://www.perth2011.com/live-blog This site is a nice timeline of results and race info as it comes in. It also will tell you if the racing has been postponed.

Results:
http://www.perth2011.com/competition/PERTH2011/SAW005000/results

US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics coverage:
http://olympics.ussailing.org/news/

US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Blog (updated daily):
http://usstag.blogspot.com/

ISAF video recap of all racing:
http://www.youtube.com/user/isafchannel

Weather:
http://www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/wa.asp

Enjoy!!
Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TGS Winter Update: Australia Part 1

-       Arrival to Australia
-       Bronze medal at Sail Melbourne—First World Cup event of 2012
-       Team holiday on Great Ocean Road, arrival to Perth
-       Pre-Worlds training in Perth
-       Reflections on our development as a team from Sail For Gold to now
-       Ready to race at the Worlds—follow along at www.facebook.com/teamGOSAIL and regatta site www.perth2011.com


Dear Supporters,

After months and months of dreaming about and working towards this event, we have finally arrived—TGS is here in Perth, ready to finish the job.  We write today from a cafĂ© along the cappuccino strip in Fremantle, the seaside town that is hosting the Worlds.   It’s pouring rain and all fleets racing in the first half of the event are being held ashore to avoid the thunder and lightning—a first for hot, sunny Perth!  We’ve been in Australia for nearly five weeks now, arriving to Melbourne November 1, and we’ll be here another two weeks to complete the event and consequently the US Olympic Team selections.  A long trip for sure, pretty much as far away as we could be from friends and family, but we are glad for the time we’ve spent here, as it has given us the proper amount of time to acclimate and prepare for the main event.  We’re chomping at the bit, ready to sail, but we must remain patient until the 470 Men finish their event—we begin racing after them, one week from today, December 12th.

Our Worlds preparations began in earnest in Melbourne, where we raced for the first time since our Europeans in Helsinki last July. We competed in Sail Melbourne, the first ISAF World Cup event for the 2012 season.  After a fall’s worth of training with a private coach working within the USSTAG framework, we purposefully did the regatta without coaching support, wanting to focus on building our communication within the boat.  Though the fleet was smaller than that of most World Cups, it was of the highest quality, with half the boats competing ranked top ten in the world as well as several gold medalists.  Because there were so few boats, we were raced all together, men and women on the same line with the scores being separated out on land.  This provided an excellent, if unforgiving, fleet, and a great segue back into racing after such a long break. Port Philip Bay dished out a range of conditions, with everything from glassed off no wind to AP over A go-home-racing-abandoned windy!

Our first time in the ISAF World Cup leader pinnies as a team!
We sailed a solid series, sporting the red third place pinnies every day but one.  We are particularly pleased with the improvements we’ve made in the 5-8 knot marginal trapeezing conditions, which is an area that had previously been one of our greatest weaknesses.  In keeping with our mantra of improving our weaknesses without losing our strengths, we demonstrated excellent speed both up and downwind in the bigger breeze, an area in which we’ve historically been quite strong.  We took a second overall—first women’s team by over a minute—in the one windy race that was completed (the other was abandoned mid-race).  At the end of the event, we faced a medal race scenario in which we had a small enough point margin to be under pressure from the German boat in fourth place—essentially we needed to stay ahead of them but still finish in the top five in the race.   This meant that we had to balance sailing the race with match racing the one boat, a tricky task at best.  Unfortunately, we jumped the gun at the start and were over early and had to restart to avoid a disqualification.  Once up and racing, we were forced to split from the fleet on the upwind, but were able to put together smart beats and blazing fast downwinds to catch up to the pack.  In a nail-biter last run, we surged past Japan and Ukraine to cross the line in third, which was enough to secure the bronze.  It was a pivotal moment for us, our first medal as a team, and a great confidence boost leading in to the Worlds.  Looking out over the crowd from the podium… well, let’s just say it’s an experience we’ll be looking to repeat.

Bronze Medal at Sail Melbourne
After packing up the boats to go to Perth via container train, TGS took a few days’ holiday along the Great Ocean Road, a windy coastal road through the mountains and cliffs of southern Victoria.  We spent three days hiking along the dunes and beaches, exploring waterfalls, and checking out other various natural attractions along the way.  At the end of the road, we enjoyed a stunning sunset over the Twelve Apostles, a series of sea stacks worn away from the mainland cliffs by the powerful, ceaseless waves of the Indian Ocean.  All in all, one of the most incredible trips— if you ever make it to Australia, it’s a must-do!   The vacation gave us a nice opportunity to unwind and not think about sailing for a few days, which is just as important a preparation as any leading up to a peak event.  Finally, before ending our report from the east side of Australia, we would like to thank our host family Caroline and Guido, for welcoming us and making us feel at home during our stay.

TGS takes some time to see the sights

We flew directly to Perth after our Great Ocean Road adventure, where we have set up camp for a month leading up to the Worlds.  After unpacking the boats we went straight into a coaches regatta for five days of combined men’s and women’s racing, this time with a slightly larger and even more talented fleet.  We used this event as an information-gathering opportunity, to learn about the venue and the breeze.  We saw two days of the infamous ‘Doctor’, the local seabreeze Perth/Fremantle is so well-known for, but the rest of the event saw a variety of different breeze directions.  All of these different conditions provided an excellent training ground for what we could have here, outside of the expected pumping seabreeze.  Following an intense month of racing, we returned to more of a boat-handling, speed-tuning mode of training, which was a nice change of pace.  We continued our pattern of training with the USSTAG men’s teams, this time with the addition of our own USSTAG coach, Zack Leonard, who we will work with through the event.  We’re going wicked fast and our communication and teamwork is better than ever before—we feel more than ready to race.
 
On-board camera, catching some of our training in Perth
It’s been a crazy road since we teamed up this past February—a long journey for sure, but one we feel we’ve put a lot of soul into.  Going into the first half of the Olympic Trials back in early June, our goal was to keep it close, to maintain enough of a point margin as to have enough time to properly train.  We met that goal—the difference is a mere three points between us and the other American boat—and we are now reaping the benefits of another six months’ training.  We have grown so much as a program, and what’s really incredible is that we still feel, each day, that our learning curve is still so steep.  Which is not to say that we haven’t learnt enough, but rather a testament more to the fact that we are strong.  Strong enough to win, strong enough to bring a medal home next summer.  We have beaten our competition at every event since the first half of the trials, and we are ready to put that difference on paper where it matters most—here, next week, at the Worlds.  Follow along with us as we complete this part of our dream, it’s going to be great.


Sail fast!

Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan


Enjoying the parade at the Opening Ceremonies at the Worlds
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Click Here to make a donation to Team GO SAIL. We use PayPal.

Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.
Team GO SAIL is also supported by The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TGS Fall Update


- August: Training Shelter Island
- September: Buzzard’s Bay training (Wareham, MA)
- Colorado Springs Fitness Camp, Olympic Training Center
- October: Ocean training off Miami Beach, FL
- IHYC and AYC Fundraisers
- Sailing World article November issue
- October 30th: TGS leaves for Australia!

Click Here to check out our sick new campaign video, comprised of footage from this fall’s training!

Dear Supporters,

Today we write to you from a shared Google Doc (the wonders of technology!)—Amanda is back on Shelter Island and Sarah is home in Fort Lauderdale. We’re enjoying a week off before reconvening in the Melbourne Airport on November 1st, where we will begin the next leg of our campaign and the lead up into the final Olympic qualifier, the World Championships in Perth, Western Australia.

But first, an update on what we’ve been doing! We’ve been fortunate to spend the whole period since we last wrote in the United States, much to our (and our loved ones’) delight. That’s not to say we haven’t been busy training though. After finishing a great camp in Weymouth in the beginning of August, we came home and took two weeks to barbeque, hang out on the beach, catch up with friends and family and just enjoy summer and relax from our last European adventure. Soon, though, it was back to ‘the grind,’ and Sarah flew up to New York to join Amanda on Shelter Island for a training session based out of her home at Camp Quinipet. As we were training on our own for this camp, our aim was to hammer out some boathandling details and work on our fitness while enjoying all the fun and beauty Shelter Island has to offer in late summer. With the addition of a GoPro waterproof video camera to our arsenal of training tools, we were able to record all of our sailing and rewatch it later to discover little things that each of us were doing (often without knowing it) in the boat—there’s no hiding when the camera’s always running! And for fun? We got to spend time racing different boats and learning from an interesting mix of sailors. Our adventures included forays into both the Etchells fleet and Shelter Island YC’s highly competitive Herresshoff 12 ½ Doughdish fleet as well as some entertaining nights on keelboats during Wednesday evening beer can racing. One no wind afternoon, Amanda even taught Sarah how to clam using only her feet-- she has quite the natural talent!



Enjoying the sunset post-training at Camp Quinipet.

Following a productive three weeks on SI we packed up the rig (a trailer/SUV combo with two 470s and a coachboat- courtesy SIYC Commodore Emeritus Steve Schram!) and took off for Cape Cod, where we rejoined the rest of the 470s of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics for another intense two week session. Here we were fortunate to all stay together at USSTAG team member Stu McNay’s family home, rig in the backyard and instantly have access to everything Buzzard’s Bay has to play with—namely, big breeze! We set up our training camp here to take advantage of the Bay’s reputation for the extreme conditions we expect to experience in Perth at the Worlds. To ensure that we got the most of the camp, we brought in a personal coach, two-time Olympian Udi Gal of Israel. We have worked with Udi in the past, and found his expertise extraordinarily valuable, especially in terms of technique and boathandling, two very important areas when the breeze is on! For this camp, obviously our main focus was nailing down our big wind sailing, and with that comes an equally big emphasis on fitness.




Wave!

A typical day in Cape Cod would start with a sleepy Sarah madly dashing to the car to catch up to Amanda to drive to the gym, where we would each follow our individualized workouts at the local Y for a couple hours. We’d come back, fix a snack, then have a couple hours of debrief with Udi, usually with footage from the GoPro or Udi’s video taken from outside the boat (or sometimes both!) and many comments and discussion on what we’re doing and how to improve it. Then it was lunchtime, and straight into the wetsuit for our afternoon session, where we trained with the three other US boats as well as one of the top men’s teams in the world, Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos of France. After sailing was a debrief, held half in French and half in English, with lots of translating and hand gestures, but beneficial to all involved despite the often amusing language barriers. Two weeks of this left us quite exhausted but with our missions for the camp accomplished—we’re going faster and our big breeze boathandling is tighter than ever before.





Team GO Sail tackles the Orient-New London ferry.

Once we packed up in Cape Cod, we enjoyed a precious week at home before jetting out to Colorado Springs, CO for our fall fitness testing at the Olympic Training Center. There we joined the entirety of the athletes of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics for four days of workouts and testing as well as a bit of education from our specialists—nutritionists, trainers, sports psychologists, social media experts, the works! Because we had a smaller group of athletes this time around without the younger development team sailors, the storied Pool Activity was taken off the schedule and in its place was the unknown challenge of The Incline, a nearly vertical set of stairs built from rail ties up the side of a mountain. Sadly, though, Mother Nature had different plans: the day we were slated to climb dawned 40 degrees and sleeting. The weather deteriorated quickly, getting snowier and windier, and our team leaders decided to keep us out of harm’s way and called the challenge off. Though we were disappointed not to conquer the mountain, we both performed at the top of the USSTAG team in the testing, easily scoring as the fittest women’s team.

From Colorado we flew back to Fort Lauderdale, where Sarah got to take over her family’s home with 470 gear (a bit of a change from the simplicity of the old Laser days!). A big thank you to Tom and Dana Lihan for taking us in for two weeks while we participated in our final official USSTAG camp before Australia. Udi rejoined us in Miami, where we had even more productive training, though this time the focus was shifted a bit more to racing and starting, as we gear up for the winter season down under. In Miami the US team was joined by a few internationals, including number five men’s team Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente of Argentina as well as the top Israeli women’s team, Gil Cohen and Vared Buskila. Having six very talented teams made for some very tight racing, with more than a few whole-fleet-arriving-at-once mark roundings. The end result was excellent training that has left us feeling very well prepared going into the racing season and the Worlds.






Big breeze training in Miami—sometimes Sarah’s old Laser hiking skills come in handy!

Just in case we weren’t busy enough with sailing and fitness training, we added a few media/fundraising events to our calendar. Check out the November/December issue of Sailing World for an incredible article by Stuart Strueli profiling Amanda’s history as a campaigner and her bright future with ‘new’ Sarah. Stu came and stayed with us for a few days during our training session on Shelter Island, and though we didn’t actually get on the water during his visit (darn wind gods!) he put together a brilliant piece about who we are and what we stand for. Coinciding with the release of the article, Amanda also participated in several USSTAG fundraisers in the Long Island area, making appearances at both American and Indian Harbor Yacht Clubs. Both events were well attended and it was very heartening to see Long Island Sounds support of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

To finish up, here’s a brief schedule of our trip to Australia (we’ll probably be in the air when you read this!):

6-12 November—Sail Melbourne, Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne AUS
19-25 November—Australian 470 Nationals, Fremantle Sailing Club, Perth, AUS
12-18 December— 470 World Championships, Royal Perth Yacht Club, Fremantle, AUS


We of course will be posting from each of the events as well as the training in between, so make sure to follow along on the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/teamGOSAIL), on our Twitter (TeamGOSail) or on our website (www.teamgosail.org).

As always, it would be impossible for us to pursue our mission without your help, and we are forever grateful for every bit of support we receive. If you are interested in making a donation, please Click Here for a simple PayPal check out, or if you prefer to mail a check to Team GO SAIL, to send it to Amanda Clark, P. O. Box 373 Shelter Island, NY 11964


Sail Fast,


Amanda and Sarah
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Click Here to make a donation to Team GO SAIL. We use PayPal.


Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.

Team GO SAIL is also supported by The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Update



  • Sail for Gold 2011 first part of US Olympic Trials—finished 11th
  • Amanda participates in BMW Drive Team USA and first sailing Olympic Day
  • Sarah coaches Kiel
  • Europeans 2011—Helsinki, Finland—finished 9th
  • Upcoming August training in Shelter Island, to celebrate 125th anniversary of SIYC

Dear Supporters,

We write to you from Portland Harbour, site of the 2012 Olympic Games, where we are about to begin our final training block of the 2011 European season. We’ve had quite a successful run over here this year, not just on the scoreboard but also as we grow together into a team. Since we joined forces in February, we’ve logged over 120 days together sailing, training, rigging, travelling, and racing, and we truly feel a unit, functioning as one towards our goals.

Since our last update (which was a long time ago, whoops!), we’ve competed in two major events, the first being the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold, which served as the first half our US Olympic Team Selections. Our primary goal going into the event was to ‘keep it close,’ and to keep ourselves in the game for the ultimate showdown which will come at the end of this year at the Worlds in Perth, Australia. Going into this event, we knew we had lot of experience to gain in order to compete against not only our direct competition from the US but also the talented field of international sailors that this event welcomed. As a team in its infancy, we wanted to keep things realistic but also improve upon our prior finishes while still balancing the trials of the US selections.

Directly before the regatta started, we scheduled a two week camp with a private coach, Udi Gal from Israel, a highly successful 470 crew with three bronze medals at the 470 Worlds from 2006-2008 as well as two trips to the Olympic Games. This camp proved essential to pulling together what we’d already learnt as well as developing a new gear in the breeze, which has become one of our biggest strengths.



photo credit: Clive Mason

Racing in Weymouth/Portland Harbour is not for the faint of heart—air temperatures in the low 50’s, the water a balmy 60, and the breeze regularly gusting into the high 20’s is the hallmark of a typical summer’s day here. We completed six days of racing, during which we focused on our own boat and the skills we already had as well as building confidence in what we know as sailors and as a team. We recorded our first top five race finishes and put together a solid scoreline, just barely missing the medal race, which achieved our goals of keeping the points close. Finishing the event in 11th shows a drastic improvement over our last World Cup event in Hyeres, France where our final score was deep in the 30’s. We left Weymouth feeling quite accomplished that our hard work of the past four months had paid off but knowing that we’ve just begun to open the door to our full potential as a team.

From England, Sarah drove the rig to Kiel, Germany, where she went back to her roots coaching Catherine Shanahan, a young US hopeful in the Radial before taking an epic thirty hour ferry to Finland for the Europeans. Amanda flew back to Shelter Island, where she was busy coaching future LISOT superstars and a few other Opti and 420 clinics on Long Island as well as the next generation of US Women’s 470 sailors, Marlena Fauer and Carly Shevitz. Squeezed between bouts of coaching, Amanda made a few appearances on the US Sailing Roadshow with her former student and current Roadshow host Will Ricketson. Stops on the Roadshow included the first ever Olympic Day for Sailing, held in New Bedford, MA. Olympic Day is an opportunity for Olympians to promote the foundation of Olympic Spirit and patriotism and to help spread the word of the power of following your dreams both in sport and in life. Next, as a member of the 2008 Olympic Team, she represented sailing at the BMW Drive for Team USA event in Southampton, NY, where, yes, there was even time for a little test drive! It’s amazing how fast two weeks of ‘vacation’ goes by!



Team GO Sail then reconvened in Helsinki after spending our Fourth of July in the air (no fireworks from seat 26A, unfortunately!) where we set right to rigging the boat and getting out on the water for a USSTAG camp. We trained all together with the men’s and women’s teams led by our coaches, Zack Leonard for the ladies and Romain Bonnaud for the men. For training, we had drastically different conditions from England; Finland, despite being in the Arctic Circle, showed us 75 degrees and endless amounts of sunshine, but pitifully light breeze. Fortunately the breeze picked up a bit for the regatta, where we completed thirteen races spread over seven days in wide variety of conditions. In addition to the normal challenges of a top notch international fleet and the demands of simply sailing the boat, we had the pleasure of adding a bit of navigation to our repertoire—our course area was set in the midst of a field of rocks and islands! Unlike a normal course circle which is well offshore and clear of all such hazards, we often had to decide which side of the island we would go to, whether there really was a rightie off that one particularly tall rock, or if we’d completely lose our centerboard if we got too close!




The Europeans was an opportunity to compete in a non-peak event scenario, as it doesn’t count towards our Trials, but the bulk of the international fleet was in attendance. The regatta provided a final benchmark before we return home for three months of domestic training leading into the Worlds. Going into the event, our goals were less boathandling focused and more geared toward mental toughness and how each of us can bring our best tactical strengths forward to the team. We took these goals to heart, as we put together not only our first race win as a team but also another day where we scored a very consistent 2-2 to give us the title of overall day winner. Though we had a couple tough races, we proved that we have earned our spot in the top group with a solid series of scores in the top five. We qualified easily for medal race and finished the event in 9th and as the top American boat.

We are now back in Weymouth after a long drive from Finland to England with lots of ferries and are now preparing for one final European training camp with USSTAG Men and Women 470s. After this block, we have a few weeks off sailing before two weeks’ training in Shelter Island before moving up to Buzzard’s Bay for the month of September. Following that we have another few weeks’ sailing in Miami, and then it’s off to Australia for November and December as we prepare for the Worlds.

As we spend so much time away from home it’s always special to get a little love from our fans—we really couldn’t do this without you. Going into the final four months of preparation for the Worlds, financial support is critical for us to back our training. Please help us see this through, click here to visit the website to make a tax-deductible online donation or send a check to Team Go Sail Foundation c/o Amanda Clark, PO Box 373 Shelter Island, NY 11964. Stay tuned for more information about Team GO Sail schwag, coming soon!

Sail Fast,
Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan



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To make a donation please visit www.teamgosail.org

Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.
Team GO SAIL is also supported by The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Olympic Trials Ready!


UP NEXT:
  • Training on Shelter Island May 15- 18th
  • Send-off Party! May 18th 5:30pm Shelter Island Yacht Club
  • Skandia SAIL for GOLD: First US Olympic Team Qualifier- Weymouth, England June 4-11
Dear Supporters,

It is a beautiful spring day on Shelter Island, NY and I am glad to be home to slow down for just a moment after over a month of training in Europe. In our 39 day trip we spent 28 days training, 5 days traveling, 4 days on boat work and logistics and 2 days resting, one enjoying old town Palma de Mallorca, Spain and the other exploring the south of France. We competed in three regattas, all with the best competition our class has to offer. For Sarah it was a chance to experience the spring regattas for the first time in the 470. She did an outstanding job in this new world and is well on her way to becoming a confident crew.
It is always hard to write the regatta report when the results do not show the hard work and positive attitude we maintained through out the events. Every day we accomplish a little bit toward the goals we set out for ourselves as individuals, as a team. The puzzle metaphor is apt—we’re now at the stage where we’ve got all the pieces organized, it’s just a matter of assembling them.

We are ready to race at Skandia Sail for Gold. We are ready to lay it all on the line. We have had over three months together now and many, many years of valuable individual experiences to prepare us for this moment and we are confident that our hard work will pay off. Skandia Sail for Gold is one of two international regattas (the 470 Worlds Perth, Australia Dec 8-18 being the other) that the United States will base its Olympic Selection. The team with the best overall low point score will earn the spot to represent the United States of America at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. To check out more about the US trails system follow this link. http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Games/Olympics/Selection.htm

It’s game time and it is going to be exciting!

Amanda Clark
Sarah Lihan

PS: Keep an eye out for Sarah and I off the waters of Shelter Island! It’s going to be chilly but we are looking forward to four fabulous days of practice!

Show your support for TEAM GO SAIL!! On Wednesday May 18th from 5:30 to 7pm stop by the Shelter Island Yacht Club to meet Sarah Lihan and to wish us “good luck” as we head off to England for the first Olympic Qualifier! There will be refreshments and snacks available. For alcoholic beverages please register at the bar. Sailors and non-sailors of all ages are welcome! We look forward to seeing you!

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To make a donation please visit www.teamgosail.org

Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.

Team GO SAIL is also supported by The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Training Update





Dear Supporters,

Spring is here and with it the Eurolymp regattas! Team GO SAIL has just completed our journey from Palma de Mallorca, Spain to La Seyne Sur Mer, on the southern coast of France near Toulon, where we will compete in our next event, the 470 Spring Cup, held from April 14-18.

But to back up, we’ve been quite busy since our last update—after completing our training in Miami with the USSTAG 470 Men, we had a blessed few days off before blasting out to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. There we joined some fifty odd USSTAG/USSDT sailors for a four day stint of fitness testing, gym training, and some good old team bonding.


Photo Credit: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics

The beep test, designed to test of one’s VO2 max, a metric of cardiovascular abilities, was significantly harder at 6,000 feet at the foot of Pike’s Peak, but we pushed through with some decent results. All year, though, the most dreaded task among the US Team is the ‘Pool Activity,’ capital P, capital A. Split into teams of mixed age, class, Alphagraphics and Development Team, we set off to complete a grueling workout consisting of laps, pushups, squats, dips, and situps, all the while trying to retrieve various weights from the bottom of the pool to rack up extra points towards overall pool champion. TGS showed off their swimming background (both Amanda and Sarah were on the varsity swim team in high school) and proved a great asset to their team in the challenge.

From Colorado, TGS took a two day break before jetting off to Barcelona to begin sorting the logistical puzzle that was to define the first weeks of our European trip. After picking up our boat from a faraway warehouse in Barcelona, we loaded it on a trailer to be taken by some USSTAG teammates to Palma, where we would meet it a day later. Various bits and pieces were slated to arrive at the same time, from locations as far flung as Germany, America, England, and Australia, but as is often the case with the best laid plans, things went awry. Many emails and an expensive phone bill later, we only wound up losing one day on the water.

After several days of rigging and optimizing the boat, we launched The Little Red Corvette to much ceremony and champagne with 2008 470 men’s gold medalist Nathan Wilmot giving her the official blessing.


Photo Credit: Romain Bonnaud US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics

Throughout training, we continued to work on boatspeed and handling, but Sarah finally got her first real taste of what international 470 racing feels like, with a few truly great results in practice racing, including a win on the second day!

Racing began with a bang, blowing thirty plus, an exciting start to any regatta, let alone our first event sailing together, never mind Sarah’s first 470 race! Looking out over the bay before launching, Sarah remarked, ‘Man, I’m sure glad I don’t have to hike anymore!!’ Pre-race we damaged the centerboard gaskets on the bottom of the boat, leading to lots and lots of water shooting up the centerboard trunk, unfortunately rooster tail-ing in the boat faster than it could get sucked out the back flaps. Though we had excellent speed and control for the first half of the day, the water won—by the end of racing, we were more sunken than floating... not so good for the scoreline! We did make the regatta highlight reel, though, check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94LGQI294Xg, we’re about two minutes in.

The rest of the event saw a myriad of conditions, ranging from zero knots and drifting to lumpy marginal trapezing to a sometimes steady, sometimes not so steady seabreeze. As a new team, we really couldn’t have asked for better practice, and seeing all conditions provides us with a clear picture of what our strengths and weaknesses truly are.

Straight line speed both up and downwind remain one of our strongest assets thus far. One of the most seamless transitions has been on the communication front—even though Sarah’s used to only talking to herself, she’s growing used to verbalizing the race course and team decisions are becoming quite strong. We are still working hard on transitions, which leads to better overall racing speed, and with help from our USSTAG coach Zack Leonard, we are confident that we are on the right track. We took a lot of time between races to work on our “homework” gathering information about the race course, and also to work on boat handling. This game is all about balancing repetition with spontaneity, since we are a new team together, it is important that we take advantage of time spent on the water even on race days.

We finished the event in 19th, a number that we feel reflects only the beginning of our potential together. Looking forward, we begin our next training session at the 470 Spring Cup Regatta in just a few days in La Seyne Sur Mer. We’ll be working big picture on gaining more international racing experience, but smaller focuses will be on starting, smoothing boathandling, continuing to improve communication, as well as capitalizing on the things that we feel are already quite strong.

Follow Spring Cup results live at http://www.sailracer.org/events/entries-v2a.asp?eventid=65280, or check us out of Facebook for daily updates at http://www.facebook.com/TeamGOSAIL.

Thank you for your support!
Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan
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To make a donation please visit www.teamgosail.org

Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.
Team GO SAIL is also supported by The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Miami Training Update

www.teamgosail.org

Best way to stay up-to-date with our training? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as TeamGOSAIL. We have photos, videos and daily training updates!

Up Next:

Dear Supporters,

We have just wrapped up our winter training session and while we have no regatta results to report, we have logged plenty of hours on the water in preparation for the spring European Circuit.

Sarah and I have been training hard out of the Miami Yacht Club on the ocean with the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. The Miami YC deserves a huge thank you for being so accommodating.





During practice we saw all ranges of wind strengths with ever changing sea states. Everyday was a little different with asymmetrical wind and waves to 5 foot swells and steep current waves. These conditions challenged Sarah and I, giving us an excellent platform to build our sailing technique as a team.

Our training was balanced between intense boat handling sessions on our own, speed and technique testing and racing against the other US teams. We are already checking off boxes with maneuvers we have consistent execution of. In turn, this is helping our racing become stronger and stronger. Perhaps one of the most meaningful moments of our training, after a 4-hour session in 15 knots, was when Sarah mentioned, "Today, I felt like a 470 sailor--not just a Laser sailor along for the ride!"

We saw lots of wild life: dolphins, sea turtles (one was about 4 feet), flying fish and sharks! Well, actually we did not see the sharks, but the USSTAG coach did as we were waiting for a large squall to pass. The storm, which roared through our training session with 50+ winds and 30 minutes of pounding rain, required all four boats in our training group to flip to avoid massive damage and to keep our teams close together. While we waited out the storm on the bottom of our boats, our coach said that the sharks were investigating the fleet of upside-down boats!! In the end the only damage from the storm was a rip to our top batten pocket, and a couple of bent masts for the other teams. Yes, we do still have all of our limbs!

Finally, a shout-out to Ellen and Dennis Clark (devoted parents!) for taking on the job of driving the car with the 470 on the roof home from Florida!

Thank you to everyone for your support so far, we look forward to keeping you up-to-date as we get ready for the Olympic Trials!

Stay tuned.
Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan

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Team GO SAIL would like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and all of the USSTAG sponsors: Title Sponsor AlphaGraphics, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners Sperry Top-Sider LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube and Trinity Yachts, and Bronze partners New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning, and Bow Down Training.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sarah Lihan Joins Team GO SAIL

Dear Supporters.

After a week of tryouts in Miami, it is official; Sarah Lihan will join Team GO SAIL in pursuit of gold in 2012. Thank you to those who tried out, it is exciting to know that there is so much talent out there! Team GO SAIL would also like to thank the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics for their support through this process.

Amanda Clark & Sarah Lihan

Sarah Lihan of Ft. Lauderdale, FL is a US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics team member. She has been pursuing her Olympic aspirations in the single-handed Laser Radial class. Sarah comes from an impressive single-handed background. She has 2 Olympic Trials under her belt and she is a National Champion. Sarah sailed for Yale University where she earned College All American honors as a skipper her senior year.

Knowing the Olympic trials are just around the corner we have an aggressive training schedule planned for the upcoming months. The first half of the Olympic Team selections will be held in Weymouth, England at the beginning of June. Then we will have a breather before the second selection event in Perth, Australia in mid December.

We are looking forward to a successful season and we invite you to come and follow our campaign at Team GO SAIL www.teamgosail.org or on Twitter @TeamGOSAIL

All the best,
Amanda

A short list of Highlights for Sarah Lihan:
  • -US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Member 2005-08, 2011
  • -7th Place ISAF World Cup Event Kiel Week, Germany, Laser Radial, 2010
  • -All American, Yale, Graduated 2010
  • -3rd Place, US Olympic Trials, Laser Radial 2007
  • -1st Place Leiter Cup, US Single-handed Jr. National Women’s Champion, Radial, 2006

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saying Thank You to Sarah Chin

Dear Supporters,

As the spring Olympic training and racing circuit gets up and running there are a few changes to report.

With much regret I must announce that Sarah has decided to move on from Olympic campaigning. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make and I want to be the first to thank Sarah for all of the contributions she has made over the past 9 years to Team GO SAIL. Sarah has been an incredible friend, teammate, athlete and leader and I have become a better person for knowing her. Sharing the Olympic experience in 2008 with Sarah by my side is something I will keep forever.

To those who found Team GO SAIL through Sarah, Thank you for your support. I hope you will continue to follow the campaign and I look forward to updating you on Team GO SAIL’s progress toward the 2012 Olympics.

Stay tuned.


Regards,
Amanda Clark