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2014 470 Europeans

Dear NHSF Board Members,

Dear Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation,

This year, Carly and I were one of fifty-two competitors from twenty-five countries that traveled to Athens, Greece-the host city of the 2004 Olympics-to compete in the 2014 470 European Championships. The Europeans is one of the best events in the 470 regatta schedule, as it is typically well attended and very competitive. The Europeans had the largest and most competitive fleet we had competed in since the 2013 470 World Championships almost a full year earlier. We were excited to see how the training we had done over the last year had prepared us for this event. While our goal is always to achieve a strong result, we were conscious not to place too much pressure on ourselves given the time we had to train and compete leading up to this event and placed an emphasis on learning lessons each day that will make us a stronger team and improve our results down the road.

Before we could race the Europeans, we had to transport our boat from Santander, Spain, where we had just finished a two-week training camp in preparation for the 2014 ISAF World Championships, to Athens, Greece. In Spain, we were reunited with our "Europe 470" for the first time since 470 Worlds in La Rochelle, France, which took place in August of last year. Needless to say, we had some boat work to do. After some fantastic training in Spain, we packed up the 470s, coach boat and van and began our trip to Athens.

The first leg of our trip was a drive from Santander to Venice, Italy where we would then hop on a ferry to Patras, Greece and finally drive the last little bit to Athens. Boat transport is not a particularly glamorous task, but our route, which took us along the northern coast of Spain, south of France and across Italy-we couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous drive! We had a small hiccup along the way when we popped one of our trailer tires. Fortunately, we had a spare tire, but less fortunately, we did not have the proper tools to change it. It also happened to be Sunday in a quiet town in France, which meant that not a single auto shop was open. Luckily, a nice Frenchman saw the incident and offered to get some tools from him home nearby and help us change the tire. He returned with two jacks and a lug wrench and successfully changed the tire all within a half hour. We thanked him profusely and offered to pay him, but he refused; he was just a nice man that wanted to help travelers in need.

Soon we arrived in Athens and got to work. While in Athens we were able to train with the Polish and Swiss women's teams and a really good Greek men's team. We scheduled 10 days of training in Athens before the start of the Europeans both to learn the venue and also to continue to build time in the boat. We're in full catch up mode having started our full time campaign just two years before the 2016 Olympics and competing against many veteran teams, World Champions, and Olympic medalists. The Europeans was an eye-opening event for our team. We learned a lot about racing in a big fleet and discovered key areas around the racecourse where many points can be made or lost. We unfortunately had two "letter scores" in the first four races of the event, a DSQ (disqualification) in race 2 for questionably tacking to close on the starboard tack layline and a UFD (U-flag disqualification) in race 4 for being over the line prior to the start. For us, it felt a bit like the regatta was over before it had even really started. We continued to work hard throughout the week and achieved our goal of learning every day. With so many letters in our score line, we finished the event in 30th place. We were definitely disappointed with our final result, but happy with how we dealt with adversity as a team.

Thank you so much for the grant that supported our participation in the 2014 470 European Championships. The continued support from the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation and the members of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club allows our team to train and compete internationally in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. Your support means so much to us and is truly appreciated.

Thank you,
Sydney Bolger