2018 Princess Sofia Trofeo (aka Palma)
After a few weeks off in March, we flew to Palma de Mallorca, Spain for our first regatta of the European Season. Palma de Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, and while it’s beautiful area, the wind is known to be aggressive. We hoped we were ready for a windy regatta, having spent our time off in the gym and eating lots of carbs.
Palma also meant a new addition to the US Nacra Squad: Mike Ingham--coach of the 2016 Silver Medalist Sonar Paralympic Team--would now be the coach of the Nacra17’s for 2020. We would have a coach provided for the National Team until the Olympic Games, a coach who would be with us every step of the way. We were beyond happy, as it’s no secret that teams with a steady coach do well. Not to mention a coach who has already coached a team to an Olympic Medal! We couldn’t wait to jump right in and get to work with Mike.
The first week of training went well, with Mike learning as much as he could about the boat and getting a vibe for the fleet. It seemed like we were positioned for a good regatta: good coach, good sailors, and good preparation!
The regatta began a little rough, with the winds being much lighter than anticipated. We didn’t even get to foil downwind most of the time! Our race course was placed underneath a cliff, which lead to weird wind shifts and lots of chop. We did get one day of gnarly breeze, and we did not handle it well. While we didn’t break anything (or anyone) we definitely weren’t fast. But Mike assured us it was a combination of settings and technique, and it would be a condition we could become strong in. That gave us heart, and for the 2nd half of Palma we sailed what Mike would call “an honest regatta.” That means we weren’t trying to win every race, in fact, we were usually 7th around the 1st windward mark. From there we kept making good decisions and grinding down boats to finish in the top 5. If only we’d done that the first few days! On the plus side, this was our first even where we didn’t have a single letter in our scoreline! The Results can be found HERE
We finished the event in 12th overall but couldn’t be more pumped about our prospects moving forward. Essentially, we just needed to keep racing, and with a little more time the top finishes will come.