What an emotional roller coaster of a ride it has been these past few months. Having trained in California for 2.5 months and then spending July and August in Canada, working on speed and fitness, I headed to Santander Spain for the month of September. The ISAF World Championships were being held there and this was everything that I had been training for. Everything was on the line, and it being the first Olympic Qualifier, this was do or die, in terms of Olympic Campaigning.
The event started very bad!!!. Nothing else to say other than that. It was light and shifty and I had a hard time getting off the line. Digging myself into a huge hole, things were looking pretty grim. I’m not gonna lie, I was gutted and as far as any positive attitudes that evening, they were long gone.
The following morning after having a rough night’s sleep thinking about how important the upcoming day was, I decided to just go out there with a nothing to lose mindset. First race started and I knew exactly what was needed to have a good race. I had seen it in some of the other practice races leading up to the event, and based on the wind direction and location of the race course, there was no other option than going to the right side of the course on the first beat. I was able to get off the line well and find a lane to the right side. From there, I found myself in 3rd at the top and managed to hold that position throughout the race.
Still needing a good finish in the final race of gold fleet qualifying, I again had a game plan that I was able to execute. I was in the top 15 but I knew that it wasn’t good enough to make the gold fleet cut. With that being a bit more of a motivation factor, I made a few good decisions and finished 10th.
I knew the points were going to be close and it was a little nerve racking waiting around for the results to see if I had made the cut. Once I had made the gold fleet cut, we then had to determine how many countries were in the gold fleet and see if I had been the top 23 countries or if there was still going to be a fight to qualify. Having counted the countries in the gold fleet about 10 times, it was clear that I was in the top 23 and the first Olympic qualifier had been wrapped up. Securing that spot for the Virgin Islands was a great relief, allowing me to relax and just have fun.
Most people when they have a good event have a lot of positive things to say about the event itself and I think I can speak for a lot of competitors, but this was a tough regatta!! Organization wise it wasn’t that great, making for extremely long days on the water and not much action. I understand that sailing depends on weather of course, but race management made it difficult for sailors. In 2 days we accumulated 16 hours on the water for 2 races. Mentally the toughest event I have competed in and by the end, I was drained.
I came away with my best World Championships finishing 38th which I am very pleased with. Always want to do better, but the main goal was to qualify the country, which I was able to do, amongst all the big countries.
There is a long road ahead leading up to Rio 2016. I have a lot of great opportunities these upcoming months and I couldn’t be more excited to work hard and represent the Virgin Islands to the best of my ability.
Again thank you to all that have supported me to this point. You are the main reason why I can move forward.