Summer in Japan – Worlds and Olympic Test Event
I had the really amazing opportunity to travel to Japan twice this summer, once for the Laser Radial World Championships which were held in Sakaiminato (on the west coast) and again for the Olympic Test Event in Enoshima (the sailing venue just south of Tokyo).
First up Sakaiminato. This was a really amazing venue for dinghy sailing, with a huge boat yard and an amazing army of volunteers helping us out. The conditions were pretty wild, with a lot of unpredictable off-shore racing through out the week. This was partially due to a Typhoon that passed near our racing area a few days before racing started! The World Championship this year was our opportunity for early Olympic team selection, so the pressure was on to have a good event. Ultimately I think I let the pressure get to me, and I got pretty stressed out on the last day of qualifying racing, when it looked like I was just on the edge of making gold fleet. In the end I let the mental stress get to me, and lost boats on parts of the race course where I don’t normally struggle (the final reach/dog leg for example). It was a 3 race day, and I managed to sail myself just outside the top 50%. This meant no hope of early Olympic selection for me and I was pretty devastated. I am proud that I was able to keep my stress in check for the last few days of racing and actually raced some really good races in silver fleet in tricky conditions. Overall not a result I am happy with, but it was a pretty excellent learning opportunity for me, and really helped me out at the test event later that month.
I had 2 short weeks at home, and then it was back to Japan, this time to Enoshima (just south of Tokyo) for the Olympic Test Event!
I was super excited to be offered a place with the Canadian team at the test event. I earned the spot because of my 18th place at the Miami world cup early in the year. The test event is an opportunity for the very best sailors from each country to test out the Olympic venue and for the organization to practice running the event. This was by far the hardest regatta I had ever sailed. There were only 40 radials, and every single one was world class. This made the racing incredibly tight, so that a single missed shift or problem mark rounding could cost you many boats. I think this event was a success for me, because I struggled in the beginning of the week but was able to improve and stay positive throughout the week to finish the event with my best race, which was a 14th! I often have regattas that go the other direction, where I start out strong and then struggle as the week goes on. To have my toughest event of the year be one where I could fix this problem was really satisfying. It takes a lot to compete with the worlds best and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to test myself against them and figure out where my weaknesses are. With a few months to go before our next chance at Olympic selection, it is now time to go home and work on those places I need to improve!