March in Mexico

After Miami OCR I was feeling pretty burnt out from so much sailing, but I ended up sailing two regattas anyway. First the Lauderdale OCR, where I was sick and placed 6th overall, which was pretty disappointing. Then at the end of February I competed in Mid-Winders East in Clearwater, Florida. There I had some good moments but over all still sailed pretty poorly and placed 9th. Once I was done in Florida for the season after the Mid-Winters, I moved down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to spend time at the International Sailing Academy.

The first couple weeks in Mexico I didn’t do any sailing. I felt like I was sailing so much and seriously that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I normally do, so I figured a couple weeks off would be good for me. I spent much these weeks doing lots of surfing,  and helping out a bit at ISA, which was very refreshing. The first weekend I was there ISA put on the Mexican Masters Regatta. I helped out with doing mark set and it was fun hanging out and getting to know the masters sailors.

I also joined a crossfit gym, which is something I’ve never done before. Normally my workouts are slow and structured in a normal gym with bikes and heavy weights, but crossfit is new for me and I’m really enjoying it. The workouts are with a class and they really force me to push myself to exhaustion. I think its good practice for pushing myself physically while hiking in my laser and I’m feeling pretty fit these days.

Last week I got the opportunity to sail a J/160 for the Banderas Bay Regatta. The J/160 is a 53 foot cruiser/racer keel boat. We did a couple of practice days with the crew leading up to the regatta, where I was placed on mainsail trim. On the first day of the regatta we sailed one ten-mile race on a gold cup course. We had a pretty bad start where we hit the line about 15 seconds after go but managed to sail a really good race as a team and still got the win.

Blue

On the second day we wanted to get a better start seeing as that was our main weakness from the previous day. We ended up getting to the line at the boat end to early and we tried to sail down the line a bit to kill some time. Unfortunately the boat to leeward headed up aggressively right before the start and forced us up. We ended up not having enough time to avoid which caused a collision. When we hit the leeward boat, Mike our tactician fell while trying to fend off and got his legs caught between the two boats. Half the crew jumped to his side to help him while the other half quickly took down the sails marking the end of our race. We motored him to a Marina Vallarta, which has a hospital close by. The trip to the marina took over an hour and I can only imagine the discomfort. It ended up that he had multiple compound fractures in each leg requiring surgery.

Later in the day I went down to the yacht club to help our team in the protest, but for some reason that I can’t understand the race committee cancelled the hearing while we where with Mike in the hospital because they didn’t think we had a case. I thought it was really poor form on their part since someone was injured and thousands of dollars in damage was a stake.

The next day the owners and crew weren’t up for finishing the regatta after such a tragic situation the previous day. It was quite an insane experience over all.

Over the next weeks I am going to get back into laser sailing, to get warmed up for training with fellow Canadian Team sailors Evert McLaughlin and Rob Davis when they arrive in Mexico April 1st. We will be training for the first three weeks of April together and finish off the trip by sailing the WesMex Regatta April 19-21.

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