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Kirkland Brothers qualify for London 2012!!

Dear NH Sailing Foundation,

Just wanted to thank you guys for all your support over the past 2 years. Your consistent support helped with our cash flow in the tight times. I look forward to be able to give back to the Foundation in the future. We are stoked to be going to the Olympics and look to keep on working hard and improving over these final 70 days before the Games start!

After 2 years of full-time skiff sailing, we qualified for this Summer's Olympics at the 2012 World Championships in Zadar, Croatia! We put together a great event in Zadar and ended up 9th Overall (6th Country) and the top country for the final 5 country spots. It has been a huge project between the unforgiving learning curve in the boat, the logistics and the fund-raising. It would not have been possible without our backers from Newport Beach and Bermuda. THANK YOU! I will be proud to represent the NHYC burgee in England this summer! I would especially like to thank the NH Sailing Foundation for their consistent grants throughout the campaign, which were very helpful with cash-flow in periods between major fundraising cycles.

It just seems like yesterday that I was offered the 'mega-cheque' from John Drayton and all the Non-Calm families at the Trophy Dinner in 2009, on my last official business as Non-Calm Director. I remember being so overwhelmed with this gesture of support for me to pursue my dreams. That significant early investment in the campaign helped get us off the ground and 20 months later, a top 10 Worlds finish!

These past few years have been the hardest challenge I have ever come up against, but the journey has been rich and I recommend all Non-Calms to leave your comfort zone and pursue your passions. Set your goals high and work towards them and don't listen to the naysayers - they will always be there! An inner belief in the success of the mission has to be incorporated to your philosophy to get you through all the trying times that are associated with an ambitious ideas. Remember if it was easy, everybody would be doing it!

World Championship Summary:

The World's was an intense regatta, we were among 17 countries vying for the final 5 spots and there were many deserving teams who had a good shot. Our goals for the event, were to try and focus on sailing a good world championship and avoid getting too absorbed in the qualification hunt. We knew if we sailed to our potential, we had a good shot of making the Olympics. We started the event off with a great day, had a solid 2nd day and finished off the qualifying series with a superb day with lots of pressure from the other qualifying boats behind us. In doing this, we qualified for Gold Fleet for the 2nd time ever (first time at the World Championships) and qualified for this Summer's Olympics! The other countries to qualify with us were Italy, Japan, Greece, and Canada.

In Gold Fleet, the pressure was off and we just wanted to go out there, learn as much as possible and fight to hold onto our top 10 position from the qualifying series. The racing is extremely tight in this fleet, with the fleet moving at very similar speeds, the racing is unforgiving and you need to be on top of your trim, tactics and boat handling. Our goal was to try and average top 12s. Our first day started a little rough, but we learned from our mistakes and went fighting into day 2 of Gold Fleet. Day 2 probably goes down as our best results ever in the 49er...We won the the first race and got 3rd in the second one. We had great speed, sailed smart, kept our head out of the boat and dominated those first two races! Unfortunately we got a black flagged (BFD) in the final one, but we still moved up to 4th overall with one day remaining!

The last day was the lightest of the event and with the black flag in our scoreline, we knew it would be a tricky day to manage. We had to start conservatively because we could not afford another BFD and this hurt us. Not having a lane off the start was hard in these conditions and we were always playing catch up. We still qualified for the Medal Race because some of our competition also had issues with this breeze and that was an amazing feeling! 2 years ago at the 2010 World Championships were 2nd last overall and this year we were battling against the top 10 in a this double-weighted spectacle race.

It was our first medal race in the class and was an honor to be on the water with those teams. We had a tough start and never really got back into the race, but it was good enough for 9th overall! Our new sail number until next year's World's is BER 9!! By that Saturday (6th day) it had already been an extremely long week and we were pretty mentally shot after such an eventful week. We will be aware of this come the Olympics and hope to stay mentally disciplined through the long Olympic Regatta so we can finish on a strong note in August.

Looking Forward: The Olympic Regatta

We have a month of training at the Olympic venue (Weymouth, England) before the Games start and will be doing our best to get acclimatized to the local conditions. We have spent a combined 5 weeks there in the past few years and can attest to it being pretty exposed and chilly over there. That said, no one know really knows what we will actually get because of the active weather pattern associated with the British Isles. We want to be prepared for all conditions and since we have spent the majority of this past spring sailing in moderate, Mediterranean thermal breezes; our focus from here on out, will be in dialing in our 'Breeze' boat handling and speed settings.

The 20 boat Olympic fleet (one boat per country) will be very similar to the college fleets we have sailed in for hundreds of races combined between the two of us. It is also similar to Gold Fleet, which we can attest to being a very tight group, which is unforgiving to mistakes and hard to be consistent in. We hope our college sailing background, which put an emphasis on consistency will help us sail a disciplined regatta. With the Olympics, we will try and leave all the distractions at the Opening Ceremony, which are 2 days before we start, and just focus on sailing a good sailing event. As relative new-comers from a small nation, we hope the pressure will be levied square on the more established teams and we can go out and just worry about our sailing and make Bermuda and NHYC proud!

Many Thanks,

Zander Kirkland

I will write an article for HOTW soon and in it I will be very appreciative of the NH Sailing Foundation and the membership of the Club!

Here is an article, you maybe able to repost on your site:
http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20120514/SPORT03/705149983