After the what can now only be described as the Honeymoon to Bermuda, Nikki and I continued our trip in the direction of Brasil. Well actually we went backwards first. Our connecting flight was from New York. That left us with a few hours to kill in the big apple.
The first thing we learned about our trip to NYC is that the airport is a bloody long way from Manhatten, After weighing up our best plan given the small amount of time we had, and after deserting one minibus because it was taking so long, we eventually made it into the heart of the city. A few hours of walking around and seeing all of the incredible buildings, exploring the popular landmarks, drinking coffee and generally being as touristy as possible and we were pooped. I spent most of the time comparing places to how i had seen them in the films. Then after a short taxi ride, a big pizza and a long flight we touched down in Rio, Brasil.
We had arrived to compete in a regatta called 'Copa De Brasil' its and annual regatta, but on this occasion it was particularly important for us as we near the olympic selection, and was a chance to sail on what will be the olympic waters. Due to a lack of boat out here we had arranged to charter a boat from some of the other sailors in the class. Inevitably when you are using equipment that isn't your own, there is a fair bit of tinkering and changing to try and make things a suited to you as possible.
We spent the first few of our days in rio rigging and preparing the boat before we were able to hit the water. Before the Copa De Brasil, we had a chance to compete in a warm up regatta, it was the perfect way to introduce us to the venue and race areas we were likely to use. During the training regatta we learned a lot, and most of the time it was to expect the unexpected. Rio as a venue is unreal, the mountains create an unbelievable back drop, the weather is very changeable, and the current seems to have a mind of it own! As to for the water itself, well that is Rio's downside, years of neglect have meant the water quality is really poor and there is a huge amount of debris around. Its so unfortunate because bar that, as a sailing venue I don't think i have seen much better (other than Falmouth naturally)
The training regatta was an eye opener for Nik and I, The racing was so close. The was a relatively small fleet but it was super competitive, bar a couple of boats, it was basically the world top 20. Another thing we learned over the training regatta, was despite changing the charter boat to how we would normally sail it, it just didn't quite feel the same. Alas we agreed that it is what it is, so we would just do what we could in the other areas. We got to know a few of the race courses during the training regatta, and given the time we have had, we were as ready as we could be for the Copa De Brasil
there was a few days between the two regattas, following a rest day - where we decided to climb up a mountain - we spent a couple more days training on the water trying to learn as much as we could.
The regatta its self was pretty different to all of the sailing we had done up until then, but its fair to say the racing was hard as ever, over the 5 days of racing we saw most parts of Rio harbour and bay. We honestly threw everything we had at it, everyone was having ups and downs so it was a case of just trying to fight your way back as far as possible when you were not having a good one. Nikki and I never gave up and fought for every point in every race. Though on this occasion in rio it just wasn't meant to be. Despite some great sailing where we once again proved that we have moved forward, we just missed out on the medal race by a few positions (13th).
As ever in a situation like that initially we were both pretty gutted, but on reflection we know it certainly wasn't through lack of trying, and actually in a fleet like this, where everyone else is using there own equipment with full coach support, they are are 100% more experienced at the venue that you are and know the waters far better, we didn't do half bad. We have learnt so much by being here, and I know if we were to race here again we would use that and for sure move forward.
Now Nikki and I are about to jet home for christmas, It will be great to spend time with friends and family. But before my tan fades too much I will be back out to florida in early Jan to begin training for our up and coming world championships.
For now have a great christmas and I look forward to updating you all in the new year.