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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.


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 (, on our Twitter (TeamGOSail) or on our website (

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

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.