TRAINING: Chaos and Control

Published on June 18th, 2013

Americans Sarah Newberry and John Casey launched their Olympic campaign last summer, leveraging their catamaran experience to pursue the Mixed Multihull Nacra 17 event. They won their event at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, and are training in South Florida to prepare for the 2013 World Championship in Netherlands (July 20-28).

Here John shares a recent training story, where the lesson for the day is how “nirvana is somewhere between chaos and control”…

The forecast for was 15-18 from our favorite direction-east (big swell). Early morning my eyes shot open before the alarm went off. I heard the rub of palm frawns and window screens popping. As I peeled the curtains apart from my south facing window, I could just see the sunlight shining through the moving leaves. The low hanging the cumulus clouds were moving swiftly to the west. I didn’t need coffee. I was charged up!

Without even taking a shower I jumped into the Expedition and headed to the Miami Yacht Club to get ready for the day. Whitecaps in the harbor, nice! While I was checking out the conditions our videographer, Petey from Penalty Box Productions, walked up next to me with a smile on his face. “We’re gonna get some raw footage today,” he said with a So Cal draw. Shortly after, Sarah jumped out of her car with an equally massive smile on, ready to rig up and head into the deep blue Atlantic.

Then we went to change before rigging up to head out. On the way to the change room, I walked past my buddy Kenny who was supposed to go out fishing that morning. He said it made it out almost to the end of the jetty at Government Cut but turned around because the waves were too huge. “Oh yeah, gonna be a nice day,” I thought.

So we pushed off the grassy beach and headed out past Monument Island toward the channel. There were some fishing boats in our vecinity heading out with us. Petey and Sarah’s boyfriend (and RIB captain) Emmitt were a short while behind us within eyeshot. The channel is about 75 meters wide facing due east, so the swell was coming right in with the 15-18 knot breeze. The wind and swell weren’t the big factors though. There was a big outgoing, ripping current making for some pretty large standup waves.

The 24′ fishing boats who were heading out with us got up on plane and shot by, only to take a couple hard waves over the bow. They thought better and quickly turned hide and ran back into the protected waters of the harbor. We kept charging, leaping the agile Nacra 17 over waves. We were on the wire half smiling and half worried. A wipout in the channel surrounded by huge sharp brown boulders would definitely be a setback to the campaign. – Read on

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