These days, twice Rolex Sailor of the Year and Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) alternates between sailing aboard Alinghi in the Extreme Sailing Series, and chasing a serious ranking in the world of CrossFit.
She reports in from Cardiff, Wales after Day 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series, sailing as tactician aboard Alinghi. August 22, 2014, Cardiff, UK
Today was the start of racing at Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series. The conditions couldn't have been much more perfect and nine great races were held. After the day's racing we are sitting in 3rd overall with the points very close on the board.
I arrived in Cardiff on Wednesday just before midday after flying overnight from the USA to London. I flew via JFK and had quite a pleasant surprise when I got there. As I was stepping off the plane I was greeted by a Delta lady holding a piece of paper with my name on it. She said, please come with me, you have been selected as one of our special medallion members for today. I was thinking sweet maybe I'm going to get upgraded on my long flight. No such luck, but they did take me by car (a Porsche I might add) to the other terminal and dropped me off at the sky lounge to wait for my next flight. It was a nice little treat and made the trek a little less stressful.
Anyway, I landed in London on time and was greeted by my ride at baggage claim. He drove me to Cardiff while I slept in the back seat.
I found the guys, fixed my hiking straps on the boat, grabbed my kit out of the container and then hit the bed for a quick nap before dinner. And after dinner, I slept like a baby all through the night.
The next morning I woke up early and headed to Dragon CrossFit, my adopted box in Wales. They are such wonderful people to allow me to come in and do my training while they have class going on! I got back from the box, had a quick breakfast and then it was down to the boat for the first practice session of the day. The weather was what you would expect, rain and chilly, and the wind started quite light, but as the session went on and then ran through the afternoon session, we finished the day with a reef in because of the building breeze.
It felt amazing to be back on the water and sailing with the team again!
This morning started much the same, with a little workout at the box. Today, however, was the first day of racing so we didn't hit the water until 2pm so the morning was a little more relaxed.
The first start was around 2:30pm and over the next three hours we knocked out 9 races. The races were all very similar in courses, with a reaching start, out to a very short windward/leeward course twice around before a reach back to the finish line. The races can't have been taking much more than 10 minutes a piece, because around the windward/leeward part of the course, it was fast!!!!!
The day started exceptionally well with a 2,3,1 in the first three races, then it fell into a little bit of a slump, before finishing well in the last three races.
The key to success today was staying out of trouble on the start line and getting off it with speed. Where the start was set up, the wind ended up being quite tricky so judging your time and distance as to where you wanted to be, called for big conversations and discussions before the sequence and constantly updating during it.
I am trying to think of a specific race to talk about today, but I can't pull out one in particular. They all blurred together apart from little snippets where I remember coming in to the top mark of the windward/leeward course on port and there being some boats tacking around in front of us.
We managed to get behind them and scoot around the mark still at full speed, then trying not to crash into a different boat while hearing a massive collision behind us. I think there were about six boats trying to round the mark when this all happened and we were pretty full-on with speed.
After hearing the crunch, I braced myself thinking it was us that had been hit...I know the time sequence doesn't make sense, you would probably feel it at the same time you heard it, but I was so impressed with Morgan getting us through the tiny gaps I thought maybe it had not gone so well at the back of the boat. As it turned out, it wasn't us and there was a huge collision between GAC Pindar and Groupama, very similar to our collision in Qingdao.
Again, fortunately, no one was injured but the shore teams are definitely going to be up all night trying to fix the damage! What would we do without our shore teams?!? True stars of the teams!!
Tomorrow we continue racing. It is a scheduled long day so we have an extra hour or so of races to do. I've been given the morning off from the gym so I'm going to take the opportunity to sleep in a little and then work on some skills in my room before sailing. You can follow along live on the event website with video and text commentary: http://www.extremesailingseries.com
My sponsors:Inov-8, Skins, NormaTec, SpiderTech, Theromega Sports, RxSmartGear and FitAid.
4D's: Dream;Desire;Dedication;Determination SM
3P's: Passion...Progression…Perfection SM You can follow Anna on her blog www.annatunnicliffe.com