Tokyo 2020: Full focus on March 2021

Published on October 19th, 2020

For the ten Olympic sailing events for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the US Team has confirmed their representatives in all but the Women’s Two Person Dinghy (470).

With three teams nearly even, and COVID-19 cancelling the final qualifier in March 2020 and hampering any further planning, maintaining peak condition has been a challenge. While improving fitness can be done in a vacuum, the questions are more about how to further develop performance, stay tactically sharp, and remain mentally fit.

The target now is to be ready for the 2021 470 World Championship on March 5-13 in Vilamoura, Portugal. From this event, each team’s result is added to their current score to select the Tokyo representative. One team advances, the other two go home.

One of the teams is Carmen and Emma Cowles, who had already postponed their first year at Yale University to prepare for the March 2020 qualifiers, and when the Olympics got shifted to 2021, it required another gap year. Here’s their October update:

Like most of you, we have had to rethink our plans for the fall: the 2020 470 European Championship first rescheduled to take place in Palma in early October was ultimately cancelled.

Instead, we continued with our training in Buzzards Bay. It seemed more beneficial, productive, and resource efficient than traveling overseas for training purposes only. The Beverly YC, our host now for the past three months, is definitely starting to feel like our home away from home!

Training in Buzzards Bay… Racing in Oyster Bay
We have continued our training blocks with Olympians Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, sailing on weekdays, testing equipment, working on maneuvers etc. The “boys” are always there for us, leading, sharing, reflecting, sometimes teasing, always inspiring.

On weekends, we headed home to Larchmont for some rest and for some opportunity to meet with fellow Larchmont YC members for the weekly Vanguard 15 racing. We are now looking forward to racing with the IC winter sailing fleet at Larchmont YC to keep our regatta mojo going.

The Oakcliff Triple Crown Series Stage 1 and Stage 2 took place the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October. Light winds, short races, and shifty conditions made for fun and competitive racing. Thank you Oakcliff Sailing for a much needed opportunity to compete in a safe environment as well as for your continued support in our Olympic Campaign.

As mentioned before, housing is a significant component of our campaign budget. A heartfelt thank you goes out to Mrs. Maureen Sheehan for welcoming us into her treasured retreat, the little farmhouse near Plympton, MA, for the month of August. We made sure to say our goodbyes to the rooster who woke us up at the crack of dawn every morning, without fault.

This fall, we are very fortunate to have the Keane family open their Marion home to us. Thank you! We are now just a stone’s throw away from Beverly YC where we have planned to train through the end of October.

The bulk of our equipment is still in Spain. It is now stored in Barcelona until we return to Europe at the beginning of 2021 in preparation for our last qualifier, the 2021 470 World Championship.

Our practice boat, “Kiwis can Fly,” has seen better days… she wasn’t expected to be sailed through the training blocks we have had this summer. Fortunately, Yevgeny Burmatnov (Oyster Bay 470 Team) has generously lent us a boat from his fleet of 470s for us to train in the USA until we head out to Europe. Phew!… and thank you!

Heads down… there is more boat work to come.

Planning ahead… we need some help
Mid-November, we will head down to Miami, FL, for a couple of months of training in more hospitable weather conditions than the northeast has to offer that time of year. If we dare making any plans this far ahead, we will travel to Portugal at the end of January. Several training blocks are planned to acclimate our team as best as possible to the venue before the last selection event takes place.

This is where we need your help! Fundraising under the current circumstances is challenging, yet just as necessary as ever. Our budget calls for another $76,000.00 to cover our expenses through March 2021. Along with coaching expenses, the big ticket items need some attention. We hope that you can help us. For details, click here.

Tokyo Olympic Sailing Program – USA Team
Charlie Buckingham – Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Paige Railey – Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Stu McNay/David Hughes – Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Not Final – Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Nevin Snow/Dane Wilson – Men’s Skiff – 49er*
Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea – Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Luke Muller – Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Pedro Pascual – Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Farrah Hall – Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Riley Gibbs/Anna Weis – Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
* USA has not yet earned entry but is first on reserve list if a qualified country does not accept their slot for Tokyo 2020.

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021


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