On December 26th, the day after Christmas, my sister and I got on a plane for Miami. We were going there for the Orange Bowl regatta. I crewed for Kelly Holthus on a 29er and Alice crewed for Piper Holthus on a C420. Kelly and I were not very experienced compared to the other people there since we have only been sailing since the end of August and we went into the regatta with the mindset to learn as much as possible. With the help of the amazing coaches there, I feel we achieved that. The 29ers, Optis, I420s, and Lasers sailed out of the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, which was a great facility and they did a good job as hosts.
The sailing was pretty difficult and the conditions changed drastically from day to day. On the first day, it was blowing 18 knots with gusts of 23. Kelly and I are a very light team and we have very little heavy air experience so finishing one race was a challenge. However, we did manage to finish the first race but not without capsizing more than a few times. Shortly afterward, a pin came loose where the trapeze is connected to the top of the mast and I went for a swim, though it was not my first that day. We had to go in since we didn’t have the replacement part on the water. Fortunately, the next day was much lighter and we were able to get an eighth in one of the races. It was still difficult because there was medium chop and in light air digging the bow is fast. This was hard to accomplish because I had to be forward when I could but not when there was a wave or the bow would submarine. The third day, the wind got even lighter and it completely shut off after the second race. We got another eighth and after waiting for almost an hour the race committee decided to send us in. The last day the wind picked back up and it was around 7-10 knots throughout the day. We got a sixth on this day which was our best finish of the entire regatta. They ran races really fast and our first start was at 10:30 which was half an hour earlier than the previous days and we were in by 2 pm.
The four days were filled with long hours on the water and we were exhausted when we got back to the hotel each night. The regatta was still super fun and I learned a lot and got better. We got fifteenth out of twenty boats overall, and this is only our fifth 29er regatta and our first national event. This was a great experience and I recommend going next year if you can, even if it is in different class of boat. I was supported by the comp fund and I am very grateful to the yacht club because without it I probably wouldn’t have gone.