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Friday, December 9, 2011

Week Two Miami Training

Hello people in the snowy north! We are still down here in Miami, training hard! The internet in our apartment has been extremely slow and un-reliable and then it died. I'm stealing some neighbor's WiFi at the moment and sitting as close to the window as I can get! We have had a good week of training. There is a little Canadian cohort down here training. Two laser sailors with an RCYC coach; several Star teams competed last weekend, and two Finn sailors (Jeff and Rob) both from Ontario. I met Rob last year in Miami. We have been training with Jeff and Rob for the past few days. Paul Phelan is also down here doing some Finn sailing, and is letting us use his coach boat for our training. Yesterday we did a lot of short course work focusing on boat handling. It was super frustrating, as our spinnaker halyard was having major issues. We couldn't get the bungee tension right on the uptake. If the bungee was tight enough to take up all the slack so the halyard didn't tangle, it was so tight I couldn't get the spinnaker to stay down. As amusing as it is to have your spinnaker try and fly itself when you are going upwind, it doesn't help your sailing skills! But then if we loosened the bungee, the halyard would twist and jam when Hannah was trying to hoist or douce it. So besides that it was a good session. We did some small races with the Ontario Lasers, and it was really good to sail with other boats.

Today we stopped at West Marine to spend some more money. We picked up a new block and bungee for the spin halyard, and re-rigged the system. We headed out with the Finn sailors and had a good two hour session. We did some windward/leeward course work and the new halyard worked AWESOME! It was so nice to be able to hoist and douce the kite without issues! Unfortunately the jamming spin halyard took it's toll on Hannah's shoulder yesterday. She was experiencing a lot of pain today on the short course with all the sheeting. We went on a long upwind/downwind instead. The conditions today were perfect - warm, partly cloudy, 8-10 knots. It was beautiful out on the water. We have reached the end of another 5 day training session and we are exhausted! Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. Sunday we begin our third set of 5 days of training and then we fly home for Christmas! It is very strange being down here in the warmth with all the Christmas decorations and advertisements. Blow up Santa's and lights just look strange on palm trees and green grass!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Training Day 3

Today was our third day sailing our new boat "Send It". So far she is very nice. We are still working out a few kinks, but mostly everything is working and she is sailing very nicely. Today we went for a jog and did some stretching in the park (we are very sore what with spending 8 days in a car) then we did some boat work, and then we went for a 2 hour sail. It was a bit cooler today and very humid, and there is a nice low pressure system in so we had 15-18 knots from the NE. The only other time we've sailed in that much wind together was I think Hannah's third or fourth day in the 470, so there have of course been massive improvements! We took a bit of a spill downwind and discovered that yes, Biscayne Bay is really shallow. Everywhere. Stuck the mast in the mud and lost the mast head wind indicator, but otherwise everything was fine. It was very nice to be in warm water and not hypothermic after a minute swimming around sorting out the spinnaker. The waves in Biscayne Bay are very short and choppy due to the shallow water and wind direction, so it was less about surfing them downwind and more about sailing around them and not sticking the bow into them as we were actually travelling faster than the waves.

Now we are making pita pizza and then we go to the gym to row and do weights! We are slowly getting back into the hang of this training thing.