Training can be fun too

Published on April 19th, 2018

The US Olympic Sailing program developed two strong teams within the 470 Women’s event capable of competing for the podium at Rio 2016 Games, but when both crews retired from the class afterwards, there is no team now capable of filling the void.

However, there are several efforts taking up the challenge, one of which are Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss who are now at the steep end of the learning curve. While not yet ready to take on the European circuit, this weekend they will set sail in the prestigious 63rd Miami to Key Largo Race.

The race, which is open to all boats 14 feet and over, has attracted over 70 entrants, including one Olympic 470 for the 35-nautical mile course hosted by Miami Yacht Club.

“We wanted to race in it for many reasons,” says skipper, Barnes. “Firstly, the Miami Yacht Club has welcomed us in with open arms. This is yet another location where we can train, and we wanted to become more assimilated into the Club’s activities, hence participating in this race.”

The distance route in the Miami to Key Largo Race on April 21 is not like the sprint-style round-the-buoy type courses Barnes and Dallman-Weiss will find in the Olympics. However, this weekend’s regatta does offer an excellent and unique opportunities for training.

“This regatta is a navigational challenge that is not only a great skill to practice, but a building block for us to work as a team and learn the best communication,” explains crew, Dallman-Weiss. “Additionally, the race to Key Largo, and back the next day, is a fantastic opportunity to spend long hours on the water, practicing boat handling in a racing scenario.”

Barnes, age 24, a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands native, is a 2017 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and 2016 Quantum Sailor of the year. Dallman-Weiss, age 29 and a native of White Bear Lake, MN, graduated from Eckerd College in 2011 and has been a member of the US Sailing Development Team in the 470 along with accruing extensive keelboat experience.

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