In the middle of July, we attended the French National Championships in Ile-Tudy on the Atlantic coast. We finished a disappointing 10th. In the third race we would have gotten a second had we not sailed to the wrong mark after a change of course by the race committee. We had been considering this event a less-serious practice regatta and weren't as prepared as we should have been. A closer reading of the race instructions would have prevented the costly mistake. Despite missing a day for lack of wind and sailing to the wrong mark, the regatta was good practice and an excellent reminder about how important the procedural rules can be.
After the regatta we headed off to Paris with JJ and Pease to put our boats on a plane to Sydney, where we will meet them in mid August. Much to our chagrin, when we got to the airport, our paperwork wasn't in order, so the freight forwarder didn't want to take our boats. It took nine hours of begging before they finally gave in, accepting our promise that all the proper paperwork would arrive after the weekend.
From France, we headed to San Diego, along with the rest of the US Sailing Team, for meetings with the US Olympic Sailing committee. The agenda includes drug tests, rules discussions, venue access, tickets, and coaching. This will also be a chance for the whole sailing team to get together and discuss how to make sure that the day-to-day aspect of things runs smoothly during the Olympic Regatta.
Fortunately, we have great training partners in Steve and Mike, so our time in August will be productive no matter what happens. Although our trials ended in October, Steve and Mike have continued sailing 470s. They have been sailing in Europe for most of the spring and just recently won the US 470 Nationals.
At the end of August we'll head home again for US Olympic Committee processing and accreditation in California, where we'll receive our team uniforms and identification cards. After processing we'll spend a few days at home before making our final trip down to Sydney. When we arrive back in Australia, we'll be able to checkin at the Olympic Village and move our boats into the Olympic Harbor. Steve and Mike will still be in Sydney to do some final practices with us before we take everything apart for measurement. The 470 Class is one of the last to start racing. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for September 15, but our first race is not until the 20th, so we'll be trying to figure out when we can get out on the water to practice on days when the other teams are out racing. This could be somewhat difficult. There isn't a lot of room on the harbor and when the racing is going on, there is only a small channel open to public traffic.
For those that make it to Sydney for the event, however, watching the racing will not be a problem. Although water access will be limited, viewing from the shore will be excellent. The harbor is almost entirely surrounded by cliffs and hills with great views of the racecourses. To facilitate good viewing, all the boats will have their national flags printed on their sails, so the spectating opportunities at the Olympic Regatta should be the best ever. Everything is coming together and we're feeling ready to go, but we'll use all of August to make sure.
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