A Day in the Life of an Olympic Sailing Campaign!

A Day in the Life of an Olympic Sailing Campaign!

The beginning of an Olympic campaign requires a lot of dedication and legwork, and we thought we'd share a little insight into the process with you!

In the next few paragraphs we've shared a few quick facts about starting a new Olympic campaign. We wonder if its the same in other sports, and would love to hear from other Olympic athletes who can relate. 

In the Beginning: Two important general themes need to be tackled. Number one: raise funds and organize logistics to train/compete. Number two: Train (the right things at the right time) and compete with the right teams or coaches around us. Some skills are easier to build more quickly than others, so choosing what to focus on is really important when you have a limited number of days to accomplish your goals. Our timeline has been roughly 950 days long (from day 1)

Your Resources: At the beginning of a campaign there are a lot of things you don't have the luxury of doing. Usually this is related to funds and performance. Limited funds = discretion and selectivity. Performance (takes lots of days of leg work) = outside support, confidence, determines equipment focal points, and creates mile markers of progress that you can use to develop more performance goals. Example: taking a brand new program abroad for a month with a full time coach is sometimes a wasted expense - it might not actually offer the kind of return in performance you expect for the cost. On the other hand, there will be opportunities in training/coaching not to be missed... because the return on investment (in performance) is high! The budget is sacred, and what we choose to do in the coming months makes a big impact on how we feel and perform as a team. We feel confident and excited about how our experience has guided the planning process so far, but there is more to do! No pressure right?? 

Monthly Breakdown: As of today we have been a team for just over two months! In January we sailed 19 days, did 10 days of boat work, and coached 2 days. In February we sailed 10 days, did 12 days of boat and fundraising work, and coached 6 days. This month there is much more sailing and work in store to get the show on the road in Europe in May.  

Daily Schedule: A normal day with one session in the afternoon looks something like this for us: 
6:30AM - Alarm goes off
7:00 - Coffee/breakfast
7:30 - Head to the gym
8:00-10:00 - Gym
10:15-11:30 - Review video and plan for the day, return emails, work on logistics, lunch. 
11:30-12:30 - Rigging
12:30 - Time to go flying! 
3:30/4 - Hit the dock, derig and dress. 
4:30 - Boat work if any. Usually there is something to be done... it wouldn't be a sailboat if this wasn't true. 
5:30 - Head to debrief
5:30-6:30 - Debrief (usually looks a lot like this, as David explains theories on the foils)
7:15 - Dinner
8:30-10:00 - Home and the main personal time we get each day. Usually a good time to use the foam roller :) 
10:00 - Bed time! 
We've been hitting the water and gym pretty hard here in Miami. Each day is a mission, and we are learning so much. Excited for the wake up call tomorrow - we have an early flight to catch... also known as a morning session on the Nacra 17! 

PODCAST: Sarah Talks Olympic Path

PODCAST: Sarah Talks Olympic Path

I had the coolest opportunity to talk to Sean Sechrist from Unbeaten Path a few months back, just before David and I started sailing together and subsequently decided to take our talent back on the campaign trail to Tokyo.

Sean hosts "Unbeaten Path," a really great podcast on, as I take it, how to follow your dreams no matter how strange and different (or off the beaten path!) they may be! 

I hate listening to myself talk, but honestly when Sean sent me a link to the finished podcast I sat in my car and listened to the whole thing from beginning to end because the conversation is actually SO good! Check it out, take a listen, be sad, happy, inspired, or whatever you wanna be. 

During the conversation we tried to get at the heart of what it takes to choose a career path as unique as professional sailing. Here are a few important take aways from this experience:

  1. Guys. I had this huge realization while doing this podcast... I have a seriously weird job. I don't often take the time to stop and think about the fact that the path I have chosen as a professional is totally unique.
  2. Your words and actions matter. If someone is pursuing an objective you don't understand, don't forget that a little encouragement goes a long way. If it doesn't seem possible to you, don't assume that someone else can't accomplish it... even if the task seems huge! 

    When your goals are out of the ordinary, you take some falls, and usually have one or more supportive people around who make the journey a little easier along the way. Thanks mom, dad, and all of my family who not only physically helped me along the way, but also offered supportive words and positive feedback instead of criticism at very important moments.
  3. It's actually pretty hard to follow your passion and make a living doing it, and most people don't always know that they're on the path to their dreams until they wake up one day and realize that they're nearly there. I didn't go to the Olympics as anything more than a training partner last quad, but I have been a professional athlete and coach in the sport for years now. I wake up in the morning, go to the gym, then the boat park, hit the water and give 100%, de-rig, review video, work on the website/make a blog post/talk to supporters, eat dinner, crash, wake up and do it again. I have won titles, taught incredible athletes as a coach, traveled to many world championships as a sailor and coach, and built invaluable skills. I have been living my dream while trying to pursue bigger dreams! How fortunate I am.

Get off the beaten path every once in a while if you haven't chosen to do it as a job. Sean's podcast is great inspo for this. Say yes to a change in your life. Try something new. Challenge yourself to take a risk. Work hard. Sweat. Go foiling! Happy Tuesday! 



2018 Miami Sailing World Cup

2018 Miami Sailing World Cup

Our first regatta is in the books! After only 11 days in the boat, we are thrilled with our performance place at Sailing World Cup Miami. On the third day of racing we were sitting in 11th place and ready to make the jump into the medal race on the final day. The weather gods had other plans though. The final day or racing was canceled due to high winds and waves. We ended up 11th, missing the medal race by only a couple points. This was a great opportunity for us to sail against the top boats in the world. From here we can set our priorities and structure our training over the next couple months before our first event in Europe this spring!

OG Cat Sailor + the 2niner Skiff Fest 2018


Sarah spent some time talking to up and coming performance sailors about foiling on the Nacra 17 at the 2018 Spring 29er Skiff Fest in Miami. Sarah was the 2015 29er Worlds Coach for Team USA, so it was fun to get to hang out with skiff sailors again, and this group was particularly great to talk to about how to go even faster (aka, foiling!) See her presentation here: 

From Head Coach of 2niner Squad, Phil Muller: 

"Spring Skiff Fest Results |Warm Water Series # 1
Question: What has SF inspired you to do?

Participant Answer: “Focus on building my mental and physical strength and executing my dreams. It reminded me that nothing is really in your way when it comes to something you really want to do.”

Our vision was to bring athletes together to learn from each other. The 29er class has a culture of sharing and teamwork, so last weekend (Feb. 17-19) 25 athletes from North America shared their secret recipes.

We had an amazing staff of coaches and presenters to guide the conversation on a variety of topics, from foiling to fitness, and inspect our sport at all angles. Thank you Chris Williford, Sarah Newberry, Fred Strammer, Luke Muller, and Jim Menzies."


Boat Show Attendees Meet US Sailing Team Sperry... | Shine Blog

Boat Show Attendees Meet US Sailing Team Sperry Athletes

As part of our sponsorship of the US Sailing Team Sperry, several of the team’s inspiring athletes recently joined us for two iconic boat shows in Newport, Rhode Island, and Annapolis, Maryland.

The Newport International Boat Show is held each year in September on Rhode Island’s scenic coastline. The show represents a boat enthusiast’s nirvana with a full range of powerboats, sailboats, marine equipment and accessories, including Sunbrella fabrics and our Perspective New England Rhode Yacht. This year, show attendees had the unique opportunity to meet athletes on the US Sailing Team Sperry to learn about the joys and challenges of pursuing an Olympic dream.

As the sun began to set on the first day of the show our party kicked off at nearby IYRS, a trade school with a mission to teach the skills, history, art and science of making, building, restoring and maintaining boats. US Sailing Team Sperry athletes Cindy Walker and Sarah Everhart-Skeels, and Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha were in attendance.

An inspired, outdoor setting with a breathtakingly beautiful Newport sunset set the scene for IYRS alum Anthony Daniels to play the night away on his handmade guitar that he crafted from reclaimed wooden boat parts.

Three weeks later, the Rhode Yacht traveled 400 miles south to the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis. The sailboat show is the first of a two-week boating takeover of this historic, seafaring town and is the largest and oldest in-water sailboat show in the world.

Boat show attendees gathered at the Maryland Inn for cocktails and conversation with US Sailing Team Sperry athletes Sarah Newberry and teammates Rick Doerr, Hugh Freund and Brad Kendell.

“The US Sailing Team Sperry athletes are so approachable and genuine, despite the stress and pressure of being Olympic athletes,” said Gina Wicker, architect and design market director for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, the makers of Sunbrella. “It was wonderful to be able to honor them and their hard work at these marine industry events.” 

Guests and athletes chatted into the night, swapping sailing stories and laughter. Everyone left with their very own US Sailing Team Sperry bag made of Sunbrella canvas, ideal for cheering on the team when they head to Rio.

Miss us in Newport and Annapolis? Keep up with the latest from US Sailing Team Sperry and their push toward the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio by visiting uncharted.sunbrella.com and following them on Twitter @ussailing and Instagram @ussailingteam.