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2015 470 World Championships

Dear Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation,

Thank you so much for supporting our participation in the 2015 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel. We arrived in Haifa on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holidays. Upon arrival, we were informed that our boat would not be released from customs before the holiday commenced, which left us without our boat for three days. International container shipments are notoriously unreliable and compared to the experiences of some other teams, who waited two weeks for their boats to be released, three days was really not so bad - just enough time to get over jet lag, get excited about sailing at this beautiful venue, and do a bit of sight seeing! Based on the suggestion of good friend and former coach, Udi Gal, we decided to experience Tel Aviv, the city he calls home.

On our way home from Tel Aviv, we had the chance to visit a Kibbutz, an Israeli collective community, of which there are close to 300 in all of Israel. This Kibbutz happened to be on prime real estate, with a private sailing club right on the beach! Olympic sailing has taken us to many parts of the World and we are so lucky to be able to have these international cultural experiences!

We arrived in Haifa four weeks ahead of the World Championship, both to get to know the venue and to log some valuable training hours in a condition in which we wanted to improve our boat speed and technique. Good news is we successfully accomplished both of those things. Additionally, there were many high level teams training in Haifa during those weeks and everyday we would meet at 2pm on one of the World Championship race courses for some practice racing. Prior to flying to Haifa, we picked up some waterproof headsets that allowed us to communicate freely and for our coach, Michalis, to be able to hear how we communicate on the racecourse. We tried these headsets for the first time in Israel and they turned our to be an excellent training tool. All in all, the training leading up to the Worlds was very productive. We logged a few more hours doing boat work than we had hoped...but we sail a 470 so it comes with the territory.

As part of our pre-worlds training, we sailed the Israeli Nationals one week before the World Championships. It was a great tune up regatta for the Worlds as there were around twenty women's teams competing in the event and we raced on the World Championship race courses. After the first day, we were sitting in first place overall! In order to stay fresh for the Worlds, we chose to race two of three scheduled races per day for the remainder of the event. It was definitely a nice opportunity to "check in" with our fleet since we hadn't raced since the Europeans two months prior. After the Israeli Nationals, we took three days off to rest and experience a bit of Israel. We stayed overnight at a Bedouin camp, rode camels, and swam in the Dead Sea!

Feeling both relaxed and prepared for the World Championships, we were ready to race. The racing in Haifa proved to be quite challenging. Although we recognized some wind patterns from our training at the venue, often they were difficult to predict. It was a shifty venue with ten to thirty degree shifts that lasted differing amounts of time. As a result, every team developed an inconsistent score line, which meant a lot of shifting of positions throughout the week. We started out the championship in 11th and our final result at the end of the World Championships was 16th. We were definitely disappointed with our overall result, but knowing that the competition between 5th and 15th is extremely tight, we are happy to have closed that gap, finishing just ten points away from our goal of top ten.

After loading our 470, Gold Rush, into the Barcelona bound container (think multiple hour Jenga game) we made our way back to the United States. With some thoughtful reflection and analysis of the racing in Haifa, we developed a strong sense of our present strengths and weaknesses as a team and formulated a plan for how we would make our next jump up the leader board as we enter the final months of preparation leading into the US Olympic Trials for the 2016 Olympics.

Thank you so much to the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation and the Newport Harbor Yacht Club members for continuing to support our Olympic pursuit. It has been an incredible journey and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to share our road to Rio with you!

Sincerely,
Sydney Bolger