2018 World Cup Final
Marseille France was one of the most beautiful places we’ve sailed, and proved to be an incredible few weeks for us.
We spent the first week in Marseille training with the Argentina team of Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranzo-Saroli, and the Austrian team of Thomas Zajac and Barbara Matz. We were able to put the skills we learned in Long Beach to use, and even learned some new things from Santi! No matter how good you get, or how much time you spend practicing, there is always more to learn! The trick is to stay open minded enough to absorb the new information.
When the regatta rolled around, we felt confident that we were in a good position, both in terms of boat speed/handling, and in our mental preparation. We’d spend a lot of time talking with Mike about how to handle pressure and manage intensity levels, and were looking forward to testing all these new skills against a good field of teams. Day 1 was a good day, with a scoreline of 2,3,9 (although we did receive a scoring penalty for forgetting our tracker, giving us a 3 instead of a 2) and we were feeling good, sitting in 5th place overall with tight points to the top. We were especially excited because we were sailing honest race: clean starts, clean lanes, sticking with our plans… all things Mike had been drilling into us since Palma. Day 2 saw us chucked from Race 1 for a protest situation we lost, but we ended the day with a bullet!! Crossing the finish line in first felt so good, and it was a position we held the entire race! Sometimes the toughest battle isn’t getting into first, it’s staying in first, and we proved capable of it. No racing on Day 3 because of lack of wind and thunderstorms, which meant Day 4 (the day before the Medal Race) would have 4 races. While we felt secure that we would be in the Medal Race, what we really wanted was to move high enough to break into the top 3 and finally wear a colored bib! Points were tight, so this would be our chance. We sailed a great day, scoring a 2, 3, 6, 4 (and that 6 wasn’t looking good at the start!) and were feeling great. We’d moved up to 4th overall, with points close enough that we could finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th in the Medal Race.
Medal Race Day!! Our first Medal Race since World Cup Miami 2017. We were so excited, and so ready to stand on that podium! It felt so good to have sailed an honest regatta and know that we could hang with some of the fastest/smartest teams in the fleet.
After a short postponement, we started the Medal Race and were looking awesome. We were coming up to the windward mark in 2nd, with the people we needed to beat far behind us. It looked like we were going to win a silver medal! And then Race Committee boats came zooming up, blowing whistles and displaying the ‘Abandon Race’ flag. It turned out that one of the boats was over early, but the Race Committee hadn’t displayed the proper flag, therefore they decided to abandon the race and start a new one. We were crushed, but rallied and decided to simply do it again. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. We had a tough start thanks to a competitor checking us head to wind with 20 seconds to the start, and we rounded the first windward mark in dead last. Things were not looking good for Gibbs/Chafee. But we fought hard on the downwind, catching a few boats, and rounded the leeward mark with some renewed hope of a podium finish. By the time we rounded the windward mark again we were in third place overall. We continued to fight downwind, but got stuck in a tricky situation for the gybe to the lay line and ended up losing a boat we couldn’t afford to lose. We crossed the finish line, unsure of where we finished. We looked over to Mike, and he held up 4 fingers. We’d finished 4th overall.
When we returned to shore and looked at the scoreline, we realized we’d actually tied for 3rd, but lost the tie breaker. We had TIED FOR THIRD! What an amazing mix of emotions: knowing that we were good enough to stand on the podium, but still not standing on it. While it’s tough to walk away from such an amazing week without a piece of hardware, we feel strongly that we are finally breaking into the top group and are realizing our potential as medal contenders.
Results can be found HERE