Tested against the best in the USA

Published on March 2nd, 2024

In the planning for the Paris 2024 Olympics, creating interest and depth were among the priorities for the US Olympic Sailing Program. Since the US Olympic Trials had been held offshore since 2008, the plan was to involve more people by bringing it back to the USA.

This occurred on February 17-24 for the ILCA 6 and 7 fleets, and while he harbors no Olympic aspirations, Al Sargent took the trip to compete in the US Olympic Trials being held for the men’s and women’s singlehanded dinghy events. Here’s his report:

The event was held in Miami, I finished 22nd out of 36 boats, but more than that, it tested my abilities to race against some of the best young sailors in the country in a wide range of conditions while seeing old friends and making new ones.

This was probably the most competitive regatta I’ve sailed in; there was no one bad in the fleet. The top sailors were ridiculously quick, finding a gear that I had no idea existed. At the first mark (buoy), most of the fleet would arrive within 30 seconds of each other, as no one had made a major mistake.

At the same time, I was able to demonstrate progress in my own performance, getting consistently good starts (due to good line sight homework) and holding even downwind with Masters sailors who’ve previously beaten me (thanks to many coaching sessions).

Miami was impressive for its range of conditions. We had everything from very little wind and lumpy waves where it was a struggle to keep the boat moving, to epic 30-35 knot conditions in a lightning storm.

At the end of the event, it was great to have a front row seat to see our young Olympic aspirants and their efforts. Unlike other Olympic events, in sailing, there’s only one entrant per country.

This led to a dramatic end in the women’s fleet, as one sailor punched her ticket to the games after 15 years of trying, while another one, who recently got 2nd at Worlds, didn’t.

In the men’s fleet, the US still needs to qualify as a country, and so it was heartening to hear how to the top guys will keep training together so that one of them finishes well enough to qualify the US at the “last chance regatta” in April in France.

Anyways, I’m glad I did this event and can check it off my bucket list.

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program*:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7 (41)
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6 (41)
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470 (19)
Men’s Skiff – 49er (20)
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX (20)
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class (20)
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class (20)
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFOiL (24)
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFOiL (24)
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 (19)
* Quota per event in parenthesis but does not include Universality Places (2 men, 2 women)

Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 28-August 9

• Paris website: https://www.paris2024.org/en/the-olympic-games-paris-2024/
• World Sailing microsite: https://paris2024.sailing.org/

Source: US Sailing

comment banner

Tags: , , ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.