This year’s USODA Valentine’s Day Regatta, hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, was all about love. Of course, right. What else would you expect? And to express it’s own special love for us, the state of Florida showed the 5 Colorado families how much it had LOVE it had to give, providing cloudy skies, temps in the 50s and lower 60s, along with rain and breeze. And I mean BREEZE.
Whatever visions our crew had about sunny, warm beaches in February were quickly drowned out by rain bands from the low pressure system that touched down in Florida about the same time our planes landed.
I say all this to reinforce this statement: Our Colorado sailors proved that within their bones is the type of mettle that could call any miner into the darkest of mountain caves. Our little Tommyknockers (Optimist sailors) dug deep within themselves finding new strength and confidence in the harshest of conditions.
The boys mad sure to tighten and double check their sail ties for Sunday’s sustained winds of 20, gusting upwards of 28 knots. One coach remarked to me in the boat park that he had never seem Tampa Bay so gnarly (translation: big chop, white spray everywhere, dark skies, and rain) the type of conditions that keep most at home.
Coming out of this regatta I did something a little different. Rather than send a diatribe of my own personal observations and suggestions, I decided I wanted to hear from the sailors in their own words, what they took from this regatta. They were the ones living the conditions an challenged by the tight starting line, upstream current, and shifty conditions of their 73 boat fleet. Here’s what they said…
A lot of what I received back from them were comments that pointed to inexperience or lack of focus. “I need to pull in my sail more to point higher,” “I want to hike harder.” These are great things to hear. A few sailors surprised me with their reflection: “I need more experience racing so I have more confidence on the starting line.” Or in one sailor’s words, “The final is knowing when to tack, jibe, know the course, and knowing where the wind is coming from. These are all important things to know because knowing gives you an advantage on the race course.”
Wow, out of the mouths of babes. Or should I say our herculean 10 and 12 year olds. Awesome.
To me this type of feedback proves that what we’re doing is working. I can’t thank the sailors for bringing their A-Game and the parents for supporting their efforts in sport.
Big Congrats to Leo, Rhino, Willis, Rocket, and J.D. for working hard, learning new things, and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. Great sailing to J.D. and Willis for finishing fourth and fifth place in the Silver Fleet, white and blue divisions, way to bring the hardware home for Colorado.
Need I say more about how impressed I am with these young sailors and grateful to their parents from making the trek down to Florida. Looking forward to more from this group of all stars.