Six days of racing made up this year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami event, and what a six days they were. Sunny weather and consistently strong winds made for epic skiff racing conditions on Biscayne Bay. A post-Games year meant a small, but competitive fleet of 49ers were able to rip off 15 solid races and a day of experimental theater-style racing.
We entered the week confident in our speed in breeze and amped to get back to racing after a very light North American Championship the previous week. A focus on consistency and solid starting kept us conservative for the first few days of the event, resulting in a tight battle at the top.
Canadian, American and Swedish boats were all in close contact after three days. Our training partners, Fred Strammer and Zach Brown, were in first after ripping off an epic string of four straight bullets before breaking a rig and missing a race, putting the pressure on us to reel them in. Thursday brought lighter air and a more aggressive strategy on our part, which allowed us to move into a sole second place, only six points off the lead. Friday brought back the breeze and simply perfect 49er conditions: flat water, 15-20 knots and sunshine. Although we placed well in all three races, we were only able to get within two points of the leaders.
Saturday’s experimental format brought great racing and some incredible spectating. Although we won the first race, we finished a close second in the next (after a serious charge on the last beat which put us ahead momentarily), meaning we had to be content with silver medals behind our friends and teammates, USA 1281 (Strammer/Brown). The theater style racing (think Xtreme 40 racing… but even shorter races) was a massive success. The action was close across the course, and went down to the wire. The 49er class has been pioneering new formats for some time now, and the addition of theater-style racing makes sailing much more exciting and watchable for a wide audience.
Although the medals were decided after six days of racing, they were earned by virtue of a dedicated three-month training program. Three US 49ers and two FX’s made up the core of our training group that spent the winter honing skiff skills on Biscayne Bay. The success of this group is borne out by the excellent results across classes, winning four medals. Full results, along with photos and videos are available here.
The success of our sailing program depends on support from the community. Please like us on Facebook. We would like to thank our friends and family who have made our dream possible so far, as well as US Sailing and team sponsors New England Ropes, Harken and McLube. – Trevor Burd.