Shifting Gears Toward Tokyo 2020

Published on January 26th, 2017

They share Midwest roots, they teamed up in 29er for the 2007 US Youth Sailing Championships, and climbed to the top of international women’s match racing. They are Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea.

Along the way, Roble earned US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award, and now this week they are racing a 49erFX for the World Cup Series Miami.

Curious what these two 27 year olds were doing at an Olympic training regatta, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck shares his conversation with them…


Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea

Am I witnessing an Olympic Campaign?

Stephanie Roble: We haven’t officially announced anything yet.

Maggie Shea: We’re all in.

Stephanie Roble: Yeah, we’re all in.

You two have been pals for a long time and sailing at a very high level, but this is a new path. What led to this moment, this decision to go all in?

Maggie Shea: Steph finally agreed to do it [laughter].

Stephanie Roble: Like you said, we’ve been buddies forever, and it felt like the right time to do this. And I’ve been lucky enough to be on some really good professional sailing teams, and we’ve had some success in the match racing. And it felt like the right next thing to do. And to have someone by my side who’s so competent and so physically strong in the boat has made the decision really easy.

Maggie, I know you have some history in the class.

Maggie Shea: Yep. I sailed the last three years with four different skippers, for various reasons, and I learned a lot of things from each of them and had a very different experience with each of them. So I was lucky to get a lot of experience in a variety of places and with different skippers of different sizes and abilities. Steph, meanwhile, was learning a lot from her different pro sailing teams, and I was sort of excited when she decided that it was time for her to switch gears and take on this project.

So how is it going?

Maggie Shea
: We have so much to learn [laughter].

Stephanie Roble: Yeah, there’s a lot to learn.

Maggie Shea: I’m excited to be with Steph and we can push each other as the fleet progresses, rapidly. I think we’re going to see a really steep learning curve in the boat this quad. So game on. We’re psyched.

Stephanie Roble: For me, it’s pretty funny. I feel like I’m just hopping back into Optimist Green Fleet [laughter]. However, the learning process will be a lot easier with Maggie by my side as she really pushes me around in the boat, in a good way. Right now I feel like I’m holding her back at some points [laughter], but–

Maggie Shea: Totally not.

Stephanie Roble: No, it’s really fun. And I think we have the right attitude together that we can be better every day.

A lot of teams come together thinking they’re a good match, but they don’t really know until they’ve had their challenges. Given your history, I suspect you are feeling pretty good about this team.

Stephanie Roble: We know we’re the perfect match [laughter].

Maggie Shea: We know. We’re good at getting along, we’re good at arguing. We used to have a rule sometimes, like the 90/10 rule. Sometimes you’re the 90% and I’m the 10. And you have to be okay being the 90 or the 10 that day. Putting more in and taking up the slack. I think that we’ve been better at balancing that over the last few years.

Stephanie Roble: For sure.

Maggie Shea: But we talk a lot about these things. Communication. We argue all the time and that’s fine [laughter].

Like sisters?

Maggie Shea: Yeah. Yeah.

Stephanie Roble: Yeah, pretty much.

Maggie Shea: We have a good attitude right now.

Event detailsEntry listScoreboardTrackingFacebook

Broadcast: Medal Races on Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29, will be streamed live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel below:

Medal Races (January 28): RS:X, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17:

Medal Races (January 29): 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial:

Background: The Sailing World Cup is a World-class, annual series of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Over 2,000 of the World’s leading sailors, representing over 75 nations have competed in the Sailing World Cup which offers a definitive guide to the best-of-the-best in the Olympic sailing world. More information and criteria can be found at online under the 2017 Sailing World Cup Series… click here.

2017 Sailing World Cup series
Miami, USA (January 22-29)
Hyeres, France (April 25-May 1)
Santander, Spain – Final (June 4-11)

Source: World Sailing

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