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Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to Follow Amanda and Sarah at the Olympics

Hello Race Fans!

Here are a few ways to follow Amanda and Sarah as they race in the 470 Women's Class!

Schedule:

August 4th- 9:10am EST Races 3 and 4  (Racing will be LIVE)
August 5th- 9:00am EST Races 5 and 6

August 7th- 7:00am EST Races 7 and 8
August 8th- 7:00am EST Races 9 and 10

August 10th- 8am EST Race 11 (Medal Race)

Links
NBC Coverage www.nbcolympics.com/sailing/index.html
BBC Coverage (very British perspective) www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/2012/sports/sailing
RESULTS www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php 

Team GO SAIL's website www.teamgosail.org


Apps
London 2012 Results App http://www.london2012.com/mobileapps_download.html
NBC Coverage http://www.nbcolympics.com/on-the-go/index.html

Twitter
@ussailingteam
@ISAFupdates
@teamGOSAIL

Facebook
www.facebook.com/TeamGOSAIL
www.facebook.com/USSailingTeam


Enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

35 days to go!


Good Morning Race Fans!

TGS is back in cold, rainy Weymouth for one last training camp before the Games.   It's mid-June and temperatures are in the 50's and the rain clouds never seem to stop, but we're here and making our final push towards a medal in August.  

As is the case with any big project, we have had our share of bumps along our journey to the Olympics.  Our result (19th) at the Worlds in Barcelona was less than ideal, but it taught us some critical lessons.  It's never easy to reflect on the tough times, but in this case they showed us how we can best communicate and interact within our three person team.  The way we transfer information from coach to athlete, athlete to athlete, and athlete to coach is of utmost importance, and we are confident that we have made great strides in determining what works and what doesn't for our team.  While the overall score wasn't fantastic, we did have some great peaks, namely a number of top three scores, especially in conditions that we have struggled with in the past, as well as a continued demonstration that when the breeze is up, our speed is unparalleled.  

Barcelona skyline in the background of the 2012 470 Worlds.
Photo Courtesy Thom Touw

From Barcelona we flew directly to Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, located 150 miles off the northwest coast of Africa.  There we rendezvoused with the entirety of the US Olympic Sailing Team for five days of activities designed to bring together all the people that we will be enjoying out Olympic experience with.  The island is very dry and scrubby, with an annual precipitation around five inches and persistently howling tradewinds blowing off the Sahara.  Every year it hosts an Ironman, and within triathlon circles, it's widely regarded as one of the most difficult races due to the extreme conditions.  Fortunately, while we were there, the weather was hot and windy, but not too harsh, as we spent some serious time outside!  Our first day involved a 10 km cliff walk, where the whole team traipsed over the tops of the tallest mountains on the island, enjoying the views and engaging in some fun team bonding activities along the way. 

2012 US Olympic Sailing Team atop a mountain in Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the trip was the 'Amazing Race' we each completed.   Paired up with a member of the team we didn't know quite so well, we were tasked with figuring out a riddle that we had to windsurf, bike, run, hitchhike, flamenco dance and ride a camel to solve.  The whole race took ten hours to complete, and tested not only athleticism (40 km bike and 10 km run through some serious hilly terrain!) but also wit, charm, and a certain amount of creativity.  


Among the 14 Olympic team members, we were only allowed 10 feet on the ground!
Photo Courtesy Udi Gal


A short plane ride to London transported us to the opposite end of the weather spectrum-- they've no shortage of water and greenery here in the UK!  Our first mission of the two week trip was to rig and prepare our new boat, which was waiting for us back in Weymouth, still in the plastic from the factory in New Zealand.  After several days of aligning foils, switching control systems, measuring masts and matching the new boat to the way we've set up the old boat, we were ready to christen her.  A gaggle of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes gathered for the ceremony, with gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe spraying 'Hello' with the finest champagne the British equivalent of a 7-11 had to offer.  

Christening 'Hello' with Gold Medallist Anna Tunnicliffe
Photo Courtesy Will Ricketson/US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider

Next up was Skandia Sail for Gold, held in Weymouth on the same waters where we will fight for an Olympic medal in just over a month.  We enjoyed Weymouth's never-ending rain and the seemingly unavoidable cold, but we didn't experience the epic local seabreeze until the final day of the event.  We had highs and lows throughout the week's racing, but made some important advances in decision-making that kept us in the top group. The crowning moment of the regatta, though, was winning the medal race.  Going into this final race, which includes only the top ten boats and counts double, we were sitting in sixth position with a shot at the podium if we won the race and the four boats ahead of us finished in exactly the right order.  Well, we went out with the game plan of winning the race and letting the chips fall as they would... and it worked!  We sailed a very clean race beneath the spectator hill on the Noethe Course (where the medal races will be for those of you coming to watch in August) and everything fell into place.  

Moments after winning the Medal Race, and a Silver Medal!  
Photo Courtesy Thom Touw


It was such an incredible feeling to cross the line and see Udi waving two fingers at us, realizing we'd actually done it--indescribable, really, but very, very motivating to keep pushing until we are on that podium when it counts, August 10.  

In other news, TGS has just won the Sailing World Cup, a circuit of seven regattas hosted all over the world each year.  This is particularly exciting, for it demonstrates the consistency we've shown in the final year of the quadrennium, firmly establishing our position at the top of the Women's 470 fleet.  We are also currently ranked third in the ISAF World Rankings.  It's all coming together....

Finally, we invite all of our friends, family and fans to join us for our final send-off before departing to London for team processing.  US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider is hosting a party presented by Maclaren and the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island at Larchmont Yacht Club on July 14 from 3-6 pm.  The event will be family-themed and is free and open to the public.  Please RSVP here.  

Never stop fighting!

Amanda & 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 Sperry Top-Sider and all of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider sponsors: Title Sponsor Sperry Top-Sider, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners 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 ALMACO The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Lauderdale Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.





















Sunday, May 13, 2012

Clark and Lihan Olympic Update Spring 2012

THANK YOU!

SAILING UPDATES

OK race fans, we’re in for a big one. Team GO SAIL has been wicked busy the last few months what with this whole preparing for the Olympics gig we got going on, and we have totally dropped the ball on our blog. Oops. But, we are making up for it with one really really awesome email update, right here, right now! It’s Sunday- grab a coffee and enjoy the ride.

Your 2012 US Olympic Sailing Team and staff.
 Photo: Sebastian Slayter/US Sailing Team
We must begin with the hugest of thank you’s to everyone that has joined us at the numerous fundraisers that we’ve held over the past few months. After securing our Olympic bid, we kicked off our fundraising at the New York Yacht Club/ Sailing Foundation of New York Golden Spinnaker Gala in January. This event was quite special because it was the first time the whole 2012 Olympic sailing team had been in one place following the conclusion of our trials in Perth.  We are so grateful to Vineyard Vines for sponsoring the event and providing the beautiful custom scarves and ties that really showcased the individual athletes as a team. However, hands down, we had the biggest cheering section of any of the individual teams, so a particularly big thank you to the Shelter Island Yacht Club for showing us so much love!

During our February training block in Miami,  TGS was the guest of honor at the Lauderdale Yacht Club Olympian Reception. Sarah is particularly proud to be the first member of the club and product of its junior program to be going to the Olympics. Looking out over the sea of smiling faces of the Lauderdale family and feeling the tangible current of pride running throughout…. wow. Talk about inspiring. Thank you.

March saw us visiting Hanff’s Boatyard in Greenport, NY, where we had arguably one of the best St. Patty’s Days ever.  The event was supported by Costello Marine Contracting, Wooden Boatworks, Sail Greenport, Peter Braune Photography, Greenport Harbor Brewery, Macari Vineyard, Pindar Vineyard, Clovis Point Winery, Old Field Vineyard, Peconic Bay Winery, Surprise Sailing Charters, Cindy Roe-Artist, Landmark Foods and an incredible number of local individuals. We auctioned off a number of wonderful sailing adventure opportunities as well as some sweet memorabilia from our own campaign. It was so inspiring to not only feel the support from the community, but also to hold the event in such a bastion of marine history.

We returned twice more in April and May to New York City, first for an event hosted at the Gramercy Park home of the Maheras family where Team GO SAIL spread our Olympic message to a wider audience of wooden boat enthusiasts. From a wonderful display of black and white photographs of both Amanda’s and Sarah’s paths to the Olympic Games, to the Beetle Cat sugar cookie thank you’s, every detail of the evening was absolutely perfect.

Our final visit to the city before departing to Europe was to the Top Hops Beer Shop in Manhattan, where Shelter Island Yacht Club rallied yet again in their support of TGS. Supporters enjoyed sampling beers from around the world, telling stories of sailing from around the world as well as sharing the continuing successes of our campaign.

Finally, Team GO SAIL would like to thank AlphaGraphics.  AphaGraphics is no longer the US Sailing Team's title sponsor but they deserve a heart felt thank you for all of the support they provided the team these past four years.  Thank you for believing in the US Sailing Team and helping to lead the way for the Team's new title sponsor: Sperry Top-Sider.  Sperry Top-Sider has already been working with the US Sailing Team and now, by becoming the title sponsor, they have truly established their commitment to sailing and the sea. 

A picture-perfect day off.

Photo Credit: Mariah Robinson
Ok, still with us? Awesome—now we’ll get back to the sailing! After two solid months of great training out of Miami Yacht Club in January and February, TGS packed up the boat and flew directly to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center to spend two weeks pumping iron with the nation’s best. The majority of the US Olympic Sailing team was there for some portion of this block, but we were living, dining and lifting with a host of athletes competing in other sports. In between our two-a-day lifts, we hung out with cross-country runners, judoists, fencers, modern pentathletes, swimmers (we shared the weight room with Michael Phelps!), cyclists, and even a shooter. It was really cool to see how much we all had in common even though we are all competing in such different events. One day we took advantage of a day off to go check out some of the local scenery, hiking around some impressive rock formations appropriately called Garden of the Gods.

Still not dirty enough!
 Photo credit: WR/US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
For the last four days of our time in Colorado, the whole US Olympic Sailing Team, the US Youth World Team and the US Development Team came together for our biannual fitness camp. At these camps, our fitness is tested, we have a variety of meetings going over everything from nutrition to logistics to sports psychology, and we usually have a few team bonding activities scheduled. This time, though, we were pushed far beyond our expectations when a pair of Navy Seals came to the Olympic Training Center for an unforgettable two days of training. Their time with us began harmlessly enough, with a presentation detailing what their lives are like, and what it means to really, really want something. Little did we know how vividly we would come to understand the struggles they have overcome. We spent the afternoon running around and lining up with precision, jumping in and out of a 40 degree lake, rolling around in the dust and mud, learning the commands for ‘chest-carry log’ and ‘shoulder-carry log’ and that you never ever drop to your knees after doing your pushups. It was a very, very clear demonstration of what it means to think you know your physical limits, and how those limits can be overcome with a healthy dose of mental toughness.

We had a few days off after Colorado, but then it was straight to Europe, where we began the process of assembling all our pieces (car, towbar, coachboat, sailboat, boxes of gear and sails, etc) to prepare for our first European World Cup of the 2012 season, the Princess Sofia Trophy held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Big props to Amanda and our coach Udi Gal who drove all over England picking up bits and bobs before making the long trek through France and Spain to deliver everything to Palma, a small island in the Mediterranean a six hour ferry ride from Barcelona. Our car/GPS, affectionately nicknamed Chanel (last year’s was called Coco) tried to lead us astray a few times, but major disaster was averted and all arrived safe and sound.

Once we had the 470 put back together and the coachboat tricked out (Udi has developed an awesome new system for a quick pick up tow!) we set out our goals for the two weeks of training and racing ahead. We made some small targets such as reducing prep time to better sneak in gybes and altering how Sarah holds the spin sheets downwind, but our major goals were to solidify our starting pattern and to be competitive with our speed up and downwind in the light and choppy conditions. Ultimately, we achieved these process goals, but failed in our results goal of posting a top ten finish on the scoreboard.
Classic Palma. Photo Credit: Udi Gal

The regatta was plagued by light and lumpy conditions, but for the first time since we began sailing together, our speed was good enough to be in and stay in the front pack in these conditions. This time, however, our failure came in racing strategy and managing the much bigger fleet (53 boats vs the 20 that we will have at the Games). We suffered a few unfortunate bits of luck that didn’t help our overall scores, such as boats egregiously fouling at the windward mark and a race officer that seemed quite keen to see all 150 470s racing on the same upwind leg, but ultimately, these are things that happen. We have examined our mistakes and are confident that we have learned how not to make them again. Our consolation at a bad finishing position is that we now know that we have the tools to win, even in our disadvantaged condition. It’s just a matter of pulling everything together at the right time.

TGS went home for a week’s rest in between events before returning to Europe for the next stop on the World Cup tour, the Semaine Olympique Fran├žaise held in Hyeres, France, just east of Toulon on the southern coast. Hyeres has a reputation as one of the coldest, nastiest venues on the circuit, but for the last five years, the mistral—a chilling breeze that blows down off the mountains, generally in the 30-40 knot range—has been noticeably absent. But just as the sailors and coaches had begun to believe that Hyeres had lost its bite, 2012 rolls around. This year, we were in France for 14 days. We only experienced one day under 20 knots—epic! As TGS is one of the physically strongest, best-optimized teams on the course, we were psyched to get a whole event in our advantaged condition.

Team GO SAIL at the awards ceremony in Hyeres.

Photo: Will Ricketson/US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
We were fortunate to have several days of BIG breeze to train before the event, and we used these days to really nail our confidence in our straight-line speed, but more importantly, in the transitions and maneuvers downwind. Yet again, our coach Udi proved how valuable his many years of 470 experience are, and by the time the regatta started, we were prepped and ready to come out of the gates fighting. Throughout the week, we proved that we are one of the fastest (if not the fastest!) women’s teams in the world. We secured the silver medal in the last few lengths of the medal race, and have left the event with a huge confidence boost in the last few events before the Olympics in August.



Finally, we are pleased to announce our newest corporate sponsor, ALMACO. We will be carrying their logos on our sails through the Games, and we invite you to check out their website at www.almaco.cc.

Again, though we have already come so far, we can’t keep moving forward without your support. It is only with your help that we are able to train and work to bring home the medal at the end of this road. If you can, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Team Go Sail Foundation. We have set up an easy PayPal check out at our website, www.teamgosail.org.

Train Hard and Dream Big,

Amanda and Sarah


 P.S.  A special shout out to our mothers today! Dana and Ellen to powerful women who inspire us every day!! Thank you we love you!!!!

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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 Sperry Top-Sider and all of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider sponsors: Title Sponsor Sperry Top-Sider, Gold level partners Rolex Watch USA and Atlantis WeatherGear, Silver partners 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 ALMACO The Shelter Island Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club, The Lauderdale Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.

Monday, February 13, 2012

TGS Winter Update

  • North American Champions—Coconut Grove, FL
  • 5th at Miami Olympic Class Regatta
  • Leading ISAF World Cup Series
  • Moved up to 6th in overall ISAF World Rankings
  • Lauderdale Yacht Club Reception February 21, 5:30 pm
  • Up next: Miami training, Colorado fitness camp, then off to Europe!
Hello Race Fans!

Though we took a couple weeks off to celebrate the holidays and decompress from our Australia trip, Team GO SAIL has been back on the water for a month now. We’ve competed in two regattas as well as several short training camps, all taking place down in Miami. Really, we’re just aiming to continue our streak of sunny venues as long as possible! All kidding aside, we’ve been running full steam ahead since we got back in the boat, and have been working hard to tighten up our game. Now that we’ve been selected for the Olympics, we can turn our full focus towards our final goal: bringing home a medal at the Games. To do that, we have planned an aggressive schedule—we will be on the road 150 of the final 200 days leading up to the games—but we feel it is the best way to get where we want to be.

It was awesome to have our first event after qualification be held in the United States— it was just incredible to feel the energy and excitement from everyone at home. The 470 North Americans were held at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club from January 15-17, and with a variety of conditions and a strong international fleet in attendance, it was the perfect event to get back in the swing of things. The men and women sailed in a combined fleet, which always provides a different challenge. We were focusing on refining our communication in the boat as well as improving our starting technique, which was an area in which we struggled at the Worlds. After three days of picture perfect sailing, we made great strides in both of these areas, and as the icing on the cake, we were crowned North American Champions!

Amanda & Sarah North American Champions

We then completed a week long camp with the US Men’s Olympic reps, Stu McNay and Graham Biehl, in which we focused intensely on boathandling and maneuvers for the pre-start, and worked towards establishing a repeatable pattern that we are comfortable with. Udi Gal, recently appointed official US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics 470 Women’s coach, led us through this camp with helpful tips from his many years on the 470 circuit as a crew for Israel. We are excited to announce that he will be guiding Team GO SAIL all the way through the Games in August!

Next up was the Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta (RMOCR), the second stop of the 2012 World Cup tour. The event started off slow, with light air plaguing the first few days of racing, but it did give us an excellent opportunity to solidify the work that we have been doing to optimize our light air speed and handling. As the week progressed, the breeze built, with absolute champagne sailing on the final day of the series. Unfortunately, the perfect 15 knots that we had on Friday had completely died by the medal race on Saturday, and we were left with a very sloppy, very choppy 0-4 knots to decide the final standings. Around the windward mark of the medal race, we were in position to nab the silver from the Brits, but some difficult decisions on the downwind in no wind and massive spectator/coach boat wake left us fighting in the back of the pack. We finished the race a disappointing 9th, and thus we finished the regatta in 5th overall. Bummed as we were to not be on the podium, we learned a lot about how to handle no-wind situations and will take these lessons forward. We did, however, debut our very patriotic new racing tights!

Big thanks to Running Funky for supporting Team GO SAIL!
Both the ISAF World Rankings and the World Cup Circuit rankings are updated after each event, and TGS is proud to have moved up to 6th in the world (we were previously ranked 11th). Even more exciting, we are currently leading the World Cup!

Looking forward, we will be back in Miami next week for some more training with the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics 470s as well as a few international training partners. We will also be hosting a reception at the Lauderdale Yacht Club (1725 Southeast 12th Street Fort Lauderdale, FL) on February 21 at 5:30 pm—if you’re in the area, come say hello in person!

Following camp in Miami, we head directly out to Colorado Springs for more physical fitness training as well as some official how-to-be-an-Olympian programs we must complete prior to going to the Games. After that is a week at home, and then it is straight to Europe to get the car, boats, and trailers all assembled and ready to race in Palma de Mallorca for the first week of April.

Even though we have already come so far, we can’t keep moving forward without your continued support. It is only with your help that we are able to train and work to bring home the medal at the end of this. If you can, please consider a tax-deductible donation. We have set up an easy PayPal check out at our website, www.teamgosail.org.

Train Hard and 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 Lauderdale Yacht Club, The Sailing Foundation of New York and the Southport Sailing Foundation's Clever Pig Sailing Team.