Paying the price for improvement

Published on August 10th, 2021

As the Olympians from Tokyo 2020 take a breather, there is no rest for their competitors in the race to Paris 2024. With only three years to go, and qualifying well before that, getting there depends on the work now.

One of those teams working to get there is Americans Lucy Wilmot and Erika Reineke, but this duo is pursuing the Women’s Skiff event in which the 49erFX is both fast and unforgiving, with injuries common as Wilmot and Reineke share in this report:

Summing up July, our training camp in San Francisco was a complete success. On the margin, we significantly improved in upwind speed and technique, as well as heavy air gybes. We found the key to better gybes was consistent entries.

Coming off the trap when the boat is at the right angle of heel, turning the boat to match the weight crossing the hull, checking the kite at the perfect moment so it blows through seamlessly, and continuing the turn as we hit the pucks on the new side are all areas we gained consistency in.

Going hard all month in the extreme conditions on the bay, we ultimately found that pushing the limits is fun until they finally push back. Unfortunately, our team incurred some injuries which cut our July training a few days short. A fractured rib, an acute MCL tear, a scratched cornea, and a strained back kept us from completing our monthly target for days on the water.

It is safe to say that our bodies were living on borrowed time as we trained relentlessly for incremental improvements. Given our injuries, we used the latter part of the month to focus on rehab, getting stronger, and boat work projects that had been put on the back burner to get the hours in on the water.

However, August is off to a great start as we are physically recovered and sailed a solid week with our US 49er teammate Hans Henken. It is a blessing to have him because he is not only an amazing coach, but he is also a rock-star crew who can show us boat handling and technique tips from live in the boat.

Prepping for the Princess Sofia Regatta (Mallorca, Spain) in October, we will now continue to focus on starting line maneuvers with coach Erik Bowers in Long Beach, CA. We cannot wait to put our hard work to the test and compete on the international stage soon!

For more from this team:

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11


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