After some down-time in December, we ventured out to Miami on 5th January to start our training for Miami OCR.
On arrival we were greeted with the regular hot, sunny and light-wind Miami conditions - perfect for easing ourselves back into the boat. We are based out of the rowing club on Key Biscayne, so a short sail out past the city and under the bridge puts us out into the bay where we will be racing at the end of the month.
We are incredibly lucky to stay with our good friends, the Bullard family, who have a very impressive house and set-up on the Key, just a short drive or boat ride from the boats. Bill is kindly letting us use his cards to get around - even after someone ran a red light on the highway and went straight into the side of us whilst driving his eldest daughter's car! Luckily everything is insured and can be fixed although egos may take slightly longer to repair! Having friends who are willing to help us out like this makes our sponsorship money go further which has a huge impact on our campaign, so we are really grateful to Bill and his family. Bill also took part in the America's Cup on Victory in 1983 as the bowman, so having his local knowledge and eye on the rig is an added bonus!
The last few days have provided some great breezes on the bay, which blew out the cobwebs and allowed for some speed testing and boat handling. We have been training with Stevie Morrison and Twiggy, whilst Nick Asher and Bill followed behind offering their opinions. We've been working through two new sets of sails trying to pick out the one that's going to give us the most boat speed across a range of conditions, as well as tuning our mast to suit. It is a huge boost to be back on our own equipment, which we know is fast, having been on foreign kit in Rio and Abu Dhabi. We had the chance to catch up with some old friends and took Rodrigo, a local Opti and 420 sailors out for a ride, four years on from his last go on a 49er.
We just finished a week's sailing on our training boat, which has now been passed over to an Argentinian team to charter for the event. We now jump back in our race boat, which we're looking forward to using again as she's been sat in a container since the Worlds and itching to get on the water. The forecast looks good for the next week with decent breeze most days, so we will look to get out and test our boat speed around the race course and figure out the bay for useful venue information.
Alongside the sailing it's an action-packed lifestyle here! We've managed to find Bill's all-carbon, signle-scull rowing boat, which is much more fun than using the rowing ergo in the gym. Table tennis in the evenings and if we run out of wind we head out waterskiing for the real leg burner! Island life here is going well, which makes the sailing and our stay productive and fun!
More updates from Dave and Ed to follow!
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