Sailing World Cup Miami 2017
The Sailing World Cup Miami event took place from January 21-28 in beautiful Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida. It was one of the first events of the 2020 quad and a great chance to see early on where racing weaknesses might be.
Riley and Louisa first started sailing together about a week before the event started, and it was also Riley's first time on a Nacra17. Having spent most of his recent time in a skiff or on a foiling kite board, it was a slight change to be on a catamaran. They spent that week working on boat handling, moding upwind and downwind, and simply getting Riley comfortable in the boat. For two days they brought in Sarah Newberry, a successful catamaran sailor, to coach Riley through the specifics of skippering. By the end of their 8 days in the boat, Riley and Louisa were feeling confident they would be able to hold their own during the racing.
Biscayne Bay offered up typical conditions: shifty, puffy, and very tricky. The Nacra17 fleet had 17 boats from around the world with a mix of seasoned and new teams, not unusual for such an early event. Riley and Louisa had a challenging first day as they ironed out the racing kinks, but after that first day had a solid scoreline and a runaway 1st in Race 6. At the conclusion of 12 races, the pair were sitting in 5th overall and the only American Nacra17 team to qualify for the Medal Race.
The Medal Race took place further north on the bay than the Nacra17 racing had been, which meant trickier winds for the sailors. Riley and Louisa dominated the start of the Medal Race and held on to fourth place around the top mark. Unfortunately they chose the unfavored side for the second upwind but they continued to battle until the very end, just edging out past the Italians for a 5th place finish. This placed them in 6th overall for the regatta, a result they are both very proud of.