Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

Scuttlebutt Forum
For all your commentary, questions, and updates.

Click here to view.

US 470 Olympic Team Reports from Europe 2006
The top two ranked US 470 Men's teams and top ranked US 470 Women's team headed to Europe in March as part of their Olympic training programs, participating in some of the larger events in Spain, France, Austria, and Hungary that will give them a measure of their status in the 470 class. Below are reports as they comment on their observations (most recent reports on top).

Men #1 Rank - Team USA 1734: Mikee Anderson-Mitterling/Dave Hughes
Men #2 Rank - Team McNay-Biehl: Stu McNay/Graham Biehl
Women #1 Rank - Team GO SAIL: Amanda Clark/Sarah Mergenthaler

The 2006 European Tour (and reports) for the US Mens and Womens 470 teams has ended, with the teams coming back to the US to recharge, fundraise, and prepare for the August events in China: the Olympic Test Event (Quingdao) followed by the 470 World Championships (Rhizhao).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Team USA 1734
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Final Report

Thanks for your patience for this update. Sorry for the delay. Our website went down while we were in Europe, but we’re now back on email!

As you may recall, our last report was from the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria. If you didn’t receive the report, the long-story-short was that we finished 16th out of 59 boats and were the top American team. It was a long, but fun event. We had some great moves forward, qualifying 6th going into the Finals. During the Finals, we moved through the rankings to a solid top-ten finish going into the final day of racing. On the last day of the event, a port-tacker who hit us after the start in the second to last race cost us a great deal of positions and points; and a broken spinnaker pole and capsize in the last race meant we were out of the Finals (top ten). The long protest at the end of the day threw out the offending boat, but did not help out our standings for the top ten. Regardless, we learned a great deal about improvisation on the water, lake tactics, and fleet management. Due to fleet rotations and poor wind conditions the regatta became famous for lots of ‘sitting around.’ Some dubbed it the ‘World Boredom Games’. However, the best part about the regatta was representing the USA on and off the water. Thankfully the very aggressive Austrian mosquitoes didn’t carry us away by the end of the event, but only nearly…Mikee is apparently sweeter than Dave, as the bugs took a liking to him.

Okay…the 470 Europeans.

This year’s 470 European Championships were held on Lake Balaton, Hungary, June 12th through 18th. We arrived on the 5th to begin training on the 6th. Morgan Reeser, our coach and 1992 Silver Medalist, flew in that evening. Several days of light-air training were soon followed by what became one of the lightest-air regattas in which we have ever competed (seriously, that means since we have started sailing). ISAF Games had a few days of no-to-light breeze, but Balaton’s conditions put Austria’s to shame. Lots of waiting around for a total of six races over seven days put everyone in suspenseful mood. Two days had no races and most days saw us waiting around for hours upon hours. We rolled a 13-16-10-7-7 for an overall result of 29th out of 112 boats and top American team – a good score-line, but not what we wanted. Our goal had been top-ten. In the end we finished about 15 points from that goal.

The regatta’s format which comprised only of qualifying races – and no final series (gold fleet, silver fleet, etc.) – promoted other challenges. We found that our somewhat conservative tactics didn’t work so well. Since all races were essentially qualifying rounds, the scores counted triple, making a limited number of total races that much more challenging. Consequently, more aggressive tactics worked better. A lesson that took us a few days to execute. We didn’t ever race against many other teams, while we often raced against the same teams. The regatta was good light air training; however, was challenging in its extremely low and fickle breezes. Some projections showed about a 21-23 knot total for all seven days of the championships – that’s 23 knots if you add all the knots from each day!

Our wheels improved throughout the event and we made a break through on Day #4 when we decide to move our mast-butt aft and sheet both the jib and main harder. In fact, we found that we could get away with exceedingly aggressive jib trim (sheet and lead) in the flat-water conditions. Downwind rewarded our boat-handling, but our starts needed to be more aggressive and decisive. All-in-all a fantastic learning experience. Working with Morgan Reeser and Skip Whyte was exactly what we needed. The light (or non-existent) winds also allowed us to spend time with friends and get to know the fleet better. A win-win. While we’re disappointed to only sail a total of six races at a major global championship – and certainly wanted to turn in a better result – the event got us truly fired up about optimizing our technique for light-air. It demonstrated to us our strengths and weaknesses and offered us a great deal of time to reflect on the future of our campaign. All good stuff. Western Hungary, by the way, is beautiful despite the lack of breeze. We’ve attached a photo from Balaton to this email.

Congratulations to the Bonnaud brothers from France for winning the Europeans. The French went 1-2-3-5 for the regatta! A medal sweep!! A huge thanks to tuning partners Gidi Kilger and Udi Gal from Israel and to Sven and Kalle Coster from the Netherlands. Also, a big thank you to Americans Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler. Lastly, a very special thanks to Marco Guerra for...pretty much everything.

We’re now heading back to the US. After some rest, Mikee is off to England to coach Team USA at the Youth Worlds and Dave will race Melges 24s. Training in 470s and heaps of campaign work will follow. The next event is the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao, China in August.

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Final Report

We’ve just wrapped up the 2006 European Championships hosted by the Hungarian Yachting Association on Lake Balaton in Western Hungary. We had 5 good training days prior to the event working with coach Morgan Reeser. Working in mostly light conditions and flat water, we concentrated mainly on practice races and trying to get to know the quirky lake shifts. In small group tuning sessions the focus was on upwind speed and tacks with big, powerful rolls. We experimented with moving our mast base aft and our spreaders turned back in an effort to flatten our sails.

The regatta got off to a rocky start when a 40-knot squall made an appearance on day #1 of measurement. Water from the lake was literally blown over the brim, flooding the measurement tent. This caused a 20-hour back up to measure the 171 boats in attendance and left the tent in shambles!

Day #1 of racing served up the best conditions of the regatta: a steady 5-6 knots with marginal trapezing. The 52 boat women’s fleet was split into two for the qualifiers. Our speed and decision making was solid as we posted 6, 10. We were shocked when the Race Committee ended the day at 1:00 PM after just two races—why not use decent conditions and an early day to push a third race?

Day #2 was bright, sunny and warm. Beautiful weather for sure, but the wind was on vacation. We waited from 8 AM to 6 PM at the boat park for a breath of wind that would never come. That unused third race from the previous day was looking like a worse idea by the second. Unfortunately, as the fleet found out, this weather pattern continued throughout the week.

Day #3: After a 4-hour postponement ashore, we finally got a race off in drifting conditions. Our pre-start game plan was to work the right side of the course where we saw better pressure. We were far enough from land where this seemed a good idea. We looked great ¾ of the way up the beat until a 30-degree lefty came in. Boats coming off the left went from dismal to rock star status in a matter of seconds. We tried to make some things happen down wind, but were only able to pick our way back to 10th.

Day #4 started exactly as the previous day with a postponement ashore. All the waiting prompted sailors to get creative with their free time in the boat park. The Germans set up a makeshift bowling alley with duct tape and cardboard. At 3PM the RC made a go and the fleet launched in 4 knots. We had a great lane off the start and knew this was another “heads-out-of-the-boat” day. We rounded the top mark in the top 5 and split with the fleet downwind to get some clean air. While most boats gybed to port, we continued on starboard. The wind was extremely light and even keeping the spinnaker floating was a challenge. Unfortunately, the group that gybed away from us caught a knot more of pressure and a header, bringing them down to the mark and over the top of us. We finished the day with a 13, 15.

Within days 5, 6 and 7, the conditions did not improve, allowing just one more race. A total of just 6 races were sailed in 7 days of competition. All 6 races saw under 5 knots, even down to the 2-3 knot range. Very trying conditions. We finished a disappointing 27th overall. Our speed, in general, was above average. We had a few unlucky rolls but we can improve our decision making in the light and shifting conditions.

We have a big chunk of time on U.S. soil this summer which will be spent on physical training, coaching, running clinics, racing in other classes and some lighter training days in the 470. We shipped our regatta boat from Hungary straight to China in preparation for our next regatta: the Pre-Olympic Test Event at the 2008 Olympic venue!

Stay Tuned and Sail Fast!

Sarah Mergenthaler and Amanda Clark
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Final Report

Sunday, the 470 European Championships concluded in an anti-climax for our fleet.

Saturday was like most other days this last week: no wind until noon, then just enough to sail one race. We finished 6th place in this race, but still we have to count a false start disqualification in our overall series score. We were in 41st overall.

On Sunday, the top ten teams in the overall standings raced a medal race, which is weighted in the scoring as 1.5 times a normal race, and is non-discardable (normally a team can discard one or two of their worst finishes in the series). A French team won this race, and also claimed the European Championship.

Teams not in the top ten were divided into three fleets also based on overall series standing. We were placed in top 33% group and with points so close, we could move up fifteen places with a good race. Wind was 7-8 knots, but dark clouds were looming over the right side of the course. We got an okay start near the committee boat, and a bunch of boats from the pin could cross us before we could tack to port. We were pointing high and going fast and rounded the first mark in 2nd place. We passed the leader on the run, but lost 2 places early in the next upwind leg when the wind began to destabilize. The wind then died completely, and the race was abandoned with one leg to go. Bummer for us! We remain in 41st place.

For complete results check out:

Our next 470 training will be in August and September when we go to China for the Olympic Test Event in Quingdao followed by the 470 World Championships in Rhizhao.

Graham & Stu
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Day Four and Five

Day 4 saw us in postponement until noon, when they sent us out in a light lake breeze (similar to a sea breeze but without the prospect of building into a robust wind). The first race brought our curse again; we were 2nd at the top mark and disqualified for premature starting.

In the next race we were behind most of the fleet at the start, but leveraged into the big left shift, rounding the first mark 8th, passed into 5th on the next upwind, and then lost 2 boats on the last downwind. We were happy to get a solid finish of 7th.

In the evening, we thought about why we have had a pattern of premature starts.

Yesterday, our 5th day of racing was a wash. No breeze all day. In the evening I took a bike ride up to the 18th century castle atop the peninsula that the divides Lake Balaton into two halves. From the high point we could see down the steep hillside out onto the basin speckled with errant puffs.

Today, we are postponed until noon, but steady wind has begun to fill. We hope for good racing.

Graham & Stu
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Day Three

Day 3 of the 470 European Champs began a lot like day 2: clear skies and no wind. We were held in postponement ashore until 1pm, and then set out in a light northeasterly breeze.

With every team trying to launch at the same time, the ramp was so crowded that it took half an hour to get our boat in the water. Luckily, we could hook up on tow with our US coach to speed our way to the course.

They set the starting line a lot shorter than usual so the teams were tight as we all jockeyed for starting position. We were getting squeezed out as the start went off, but saw an opportunity to tack. We crossed the first several boats. Then the fifth team hit the back of our boat. We spun our penalty turns, which put us in last with another boat, who also had to take a penalty. Each leg we passed several boats, and finished just above mid-fleet in 17th.

We are in 58th place. For complete results see:

Today (Thursday), we are in postponement again, and hoping for wind before our nerves get the better of us.

Graham & Stu
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Day Two

There was absolutely no wind all day today. We were forced to wait around until 5pm when they called it off during a brief rain squall.

During the day we did the usual, chat with friends and hang out on our computers.

Tomorrows forecast does not look much better but we'll see what it brings.

Wish us wind!

Graham & Stu
Monday, June 12, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans - Day One

Day 1 brought sunny skies 6-8 knots out of the south west. Today we were grouped into the white heat, the first start. We towed out early to get a handle on the breeze and to test our set up.

Race 1
We got a good enough start to hold our lane at the pin end and fought left. We found a nice line of breeze and tacked, ducking 2 boats. In our new open lane we opened up and took off to round first! The rest of the race we covered as we should to hold our lead, and even managed to build a gap. We finished well ahead of the second place boat.

Race 2
Noticing the shifting breeze and changed starting line we went for a boat end start. We were quite surprised when we found no one there at go. We were a little close to the line and had the feeling we might have an OCS. We sailed a decent first beat minimizing and gaining on a few bad calls to round 6th, Unfortunately we found ourselves to be OCS. The race and day was over.

Scores are not posted yet but we are looking forward to tomorrow to try and make up for the OCS. Time to go watch the FIFA cup with all of our European friends!

Graham & Stu
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Hungary: 470 Europeans Intro

After a short break we are now back in Europe and ready to show the good stuff at the 2006 470 European Championships. We are in beautiful Balatonfured, Hungary, sailing on Lake Balaton. There are over 170 teams in total registered from around the world and over 100 men's teams competing.

The last few days have brought very light wind. We have not sailed in over about 6 knots while being here. In this light air we have learned a few new techniques that will be helpful in China and hope to use these new skills and speed in the racing. We did, howeve,r have a very large front roll thru that brought lots of rain and some big breeze for a brief period that caused 2 teams while training to break their masts. The rain also flooded the measurement tent on the first day so the measurement tent is now one huge mud pit, so everyone's legs are covered in mud.

The organization has decided to change the schedule of racing such that it is a qualification series up until the last day when only the top 10 will race. We will see how this new format changes everyone's strategy.

Wish us luck and wish for wind, as the forecast doesn't look all that promising!

Graham & Stu

(Beginning of European Championship reports)

(End of World Sailing Games reports)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Austria: ISAF World Sailing Games Update

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been in Neusiedl, Austria for the ISAF World Sailing Games. This event only rolls around once every four years and is highly unique in comparison to other events on the world circuit. Just two teams are selected from each country and all equipment is provided by ISAF. The 470 is a highly customized boat from team to team. Using the same provided hulls, mast, sails, lines, etc. proved challenging for all competitors. We were granted two practice days in the charter boats prior to the event, barely enough time to get used to the foreign boat before racing. Unfortunately, both of our practice days were spoiled by lack of wind. We would soon find this condition a frustrating recurrence!

Because there were not enough boats to sail the entire women’s fleet at once, there was a qualifying series to separate Gold and Silver fleets. Each day, teams are assigned a charter boat and a fleet. One fleet sails in the morning, the other in the late afternoon, coming in to shore to exchange boats between sessions. Boat assignments are changed each day to assure fairness to all competitors, but means tuning each boat from scratch before racing every day.

Light Northwesterly winds created a small delay for our morning group. When things got a bit steadier, race 1 got underway in 5-13 knots. Our boat speed was a little off upwind but our main problem was playing the 30-50 degree shifts. We could never seem to get in phase or even identify a pattern in the random puffs and finished 11th. Race 2 was a bit more consistent and we were antsy to get racing again. Perhaps too anxious as we started prematurely. And so we began the regatta with an 11, OCS- very in the hole.

Days 2 and 3 were a No-Go as wind failed to show up at all. No wind days usually turn into boat work (a.k.a. “boat improvement days”). However, since everyone was using chartered boats, competitors took to playing soccer, ultimate Frisbee, and homemade kite flying to keep busy!

Day 4:
Finally some wind! Stronger breezes: NW 16-23 knots and very shifty again. Our upwind decision-making was much better but we struggled to get the boat moving in the bigger breeze. We had great wheels down wind in the half wild mode; however, we always seemed to give up the distance upwind again. We rolled a 6, 6. Decent, but not what we were looking for to rectify our Day 1 finishes.

Day 5:
We needed two good races in a bad way! Up the first beat in the first race, we wanted to play the left side of the course as there appeared to be more pressure. However, we settled for a start closer to the boat end of the starting line, forcing us up the right side of the course. We rode a 50-degree lift on port, which never swung back right. When we flopped back to starboard, it was not a pretty picture. We rounded the mark close to the bottom of the fleet but were able to pass downwind. The RC never shifted the course after the 50-degree lefty. This made the second upwind a one-tack beat, the reach became a deep angle and the last downwind was a fetch. Not many good opportunities to catch boats on such a skewed course. We finished 11th. The wind was dying for the second race so the RC gave us a 28 minute race (the norm is 60 mins.!). We managed a 6th on the short course but it was not enough to propel us into the Gold Fleet.

We were disappointed but decided to use the silver fleet as a great opportunity practice to racing in the shifty, random lake conditions. We made huge improvements in staying in phase with the shifts. We won the silver fleet but knew we should have been racing in the Gold Fleet. We are now looking forward to the start of the European Championships on Lake Balaton in Hungary, June 8-19. We are bringing coach Morgan Reeser to this ISAF Grade 1 Event and look forward to reporting back to you with a solid finish!

Happy Sailing!

Sarah Mergenthaler and Amanda Clark
Friday, May 19, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Austria: ISAF Worlds Games - Finals Days 4

Today, Friday, was our last day of racing at the ISAF World Games in Lake Neusiedl, Austria. It rained heavily last night, and some showers lingered through the morning. When we got to the sailing center, the lake was frothy from high winds but the race committee was intent on starting us as scheduled, so we set out.

In the first race, we had a poor first leg, but passed a pack of boats on the top reach and run, to be about 20th at the bottom mark. On the following upwind, we missed a shift, and then capsized on the next downwind. We finished 31st.

In Race 2, the wind built so much that several boats capsized on the upwind leg. Our race was cut short by being called disqualified for false starting, OCS.

The third race, our last race of the regatta, brought some big puffs, but generally dying breeze. We battled the Croatian team for the pin end start, and we got off clean leaving them tangled in the anchor line of the pin boat. We were going very fast upwind, tacked on the big left shift, and rounded the first mark in 2nd place. On the top reach, we rolled the first place team, and we extended to a big 1st place win!

We finished the regatta in 32nd place. For complete results check out the event website

It was nice way to end this week. Some of our bad finishes were out of our control, but other parts of it were self-imposed. Now we head home for two full weeks before returning to Hungary for the European Championships.

Graham & Stu
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Austria: ISAF Worlds Games - Finals Days 3

This morning, the race committee announced it would be a three race day to make up for missed races.

In race 1 with 4-7 knots of wind we got an ok start near the pin and did not cross the fleet when we had an opportunity. The wind for the rest of the beat was entirely right favored, and those who did cross were top 5, we were near last.

In the 2nd race with 7-10 knots of wind, every team was trying to start at the pin end. We started a little bit away from the main pack, got a great lane, and tacked to cross the fleet. We were leading the race at the 1st mark, when we and nine other teams were called out for premature starting. We were scored OCS.

In the 3rd race with 7-10 knots of wind, we got a clean start in the middle of the line, every boat on our hip tacked, we chose to continue. When we tacked to port, we looked top 5, but then at the very top of the beat, a giant right shift put us behind most of the fleet. We finished around 20th.

We were frustrated with our day, but hope tomorrow will bring better luck.

Graham & Stu
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Austria: ISAF Worlds Games - Finals Days 1-2

Yesterday was our first day of finals. 32 boats have qualified and we were all ready to go. We show up Tuesday morning, and again there is no wind! We have gotten tired of the waiting game here, but make the best of it by hanging out and getting know our fellow competitors from around the world. No racing on day 1.

Today began with a brief and intense rain storm. The breeze filled as the clouds cleared and by the beginning of the race it was close to 20 knots. We got a good start at the pin, and trucked to the left side of the course. We were about mid-fleet at the first mark, but mainly, we learned that our start was a little too good and we had been disqualified for premature starting; scored OCS, last place!

In race 2 we got a clean start near the committee boat end of the starting line. Unfortunately, we were boxed out from the first left shift, and were mid fleet at the top mark. We passed several boats with an early set on the reach, and as we rounded to the run we saw a giant cloud barreling down on the course, with wind and rain. We set our-selves up in a safe lane, and before the worst of it hit, we pulled off our gybe. Boats behind us were starting to capsize, and we were nearing the bottom mark in 10th place. But as we were taking down our spinnaker, the halyard released too early and we ran it over, leaving us parked and swamped. The rest of the boats who were not capsized sailed around us. Thankfully we had no damage. We finished 26th.

Hopefully tomorrow brings better luck.

Graham & Stu
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Team USA 1734
Austria: ISAF World Games - Update #2

A shorter email from the last…

We’re at the ISAF World Games in Austria. The regatta combines multiple Olympic and non-Olympic sailing disciplines. The 470 remains a staple of the event and both men and women are represented by two fleets apiece. Boats and sails are entirely supplied. Nautivela boats, SuperSpar masts, and Olimpic sails are the package for all teams. One to two races (sometimes three) per day are sailed in a boat rotation format so that all is as equal as possible. That said, the fleet is coping with many boat construction challenges and slowly all the boats are becoming modified (knots here, extra shackles there…) by the fleet. The boats feel quite a bit different than our usual set-up, but all teams are facing a similar dilemma.

Racing began on May 10th. May 10th – 14th were the qualifiers. May 15th was a lay-day. May 16th – 20th are the Finals. 52 teams comprise the men’s fleet. The top 24 teams from qualifying advance to the Finals. Eight teams from the ISAF World Rankings Top-Ten (as of January 2006) automatically advance to the Finals where they will face the qualified teams. We are currently ranked 13th in the World and as of January we ranked in the upper 20’s, so we had to sail the qualifiers. At the conclusion of the qualifiers all scores are erased to zero, making the start of the Finals equal for both the qualified teams and the ISAF top-ten teams.

To bring you up-to-speed, we just entered Day #1 of the Finals. We easily entered the Gold Fleet by finishing 6th out of 52 boats in the Qualifiers – a very respectable score considering the often fluky conditions. Over the five days of qualifiers (four of which were sailed; one was canned due to lack of wind) we posted a 10-2-9-2-16-2. Too much up-and-down for our liking, but a solid score-line all considering.

Today’s premiere race in the Finals (complete with all the invited teams) proved to be a no-go. After waiting all day, the Race Committee sent the fleet out 4:45pm. The breeze had seemingly filled, but soon dropped. The RC waited some more. After a general recall, the fleet had a start on an O2 course (outer, twice around). It remained quite shifty and light. We reached the top mark in 7th and maintained that position at the outer reach mark. We immediately gybed – lost some; gained some – for a 6th place at the leeward gate. A left-hand rounding and tack put us on a long starboard on the next beat. The wind shifted as much as 45 degrees during the leg. We played what we could for a 3rd place rounding at the weather mark when the RC abandoned the race (rightfully so!) and dragged the mark away.

That was it for the day. The fleet headed in and prepared the boats for a forecasted windy night (dolly wheels off; dollies tied to the ground). We’re expecting breeze for tomorrow, but it’s anyone’s guess as to the details. More soon…

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Monday, May 15, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Austria: ISAF Worlds Games Days 4 and 5

Day 4
After spending all day ashore waiting for wind we were sent out at about 3:30. We waited until 5 when the wind picked up and we started our race.

After a general recall we got an awesome start in the middle of the line. We continued left until we were forced to tack. We had a solid position on the fleet looking top 5 until the wind went left. Being one of the furthest boats right we rounded in a poor position at the first mark. Our big break came on the first downwind when we chose the correct sailing angle that had the highest VMG (velocity made good) towards the next mark. We sailed in between the two groups and were able to round mid-fleet. Taking note of the giant left shift and the building breeze we went left. It was a huge gain as we rounded in 7th and finished there as well.

With the discard added in after 5 races we fell to 7th place overall but only 6 points out of second.

Day 5
Knowing we had already qualified for the finals group we went out with smiles on our faces and no stress. With a building breeze we decided to go right and got another awesome start at the boat end of the line. We fell out of phase with the shifts about half way up the beat but then hooked into a huge right shift to catch back up. Connecting that shift to a lefty up top we found ourselves rounding in 1st place! We extended on the reach with an early set and extended even further on the downwind. We played the shifts and covered our competitors and continued to build a lead. Our big moment came on the second downwind when we caught a nice shift with pressure and extended to a huge lead. With the building breeze we set up for high speed angles and were off! By the end of the race we had a gigantic lead of roughly the last leg of the course and were all smiles. It was a very nice way to end to qualifying series.

We are waiting for the final results but there is an outside chance that we may be able to break into the top 3 for the qualifying! Unfortunately none of our scores will carry over into the finals series. We will have to start all over again. Wish us luck!

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Monday, May 15, 2006
Team USA 1734
Austria: ISAF World Games - Update #1




It’s been nearly two weeks since we’ve been able to get online, so thank you for your patience. Last we spoke we had just concluded the ISAF Grade #1 Semaine Olympique Francais in Hyeres, France. Two days of solid racing mixed with more days of fluky, light and/or ‘un-race-able’ conditions resulted in a 13th place for us out of the 85+ boat fleet. A very good score, but we know we have the stuff to make it to the top-ten for the Medal Race.

The results in Hyeres and Palma propelled us from 18th in the ISAF World Rankings to 13th – our first time in the top-15 and a great honor. This time last year we were ranked in the 95+ range, so it marks a tremendous leap forward and we’re certainly game to keep the progress going!

We’re in Austria now for the ISAF World Games, but it’s been a rough time since Hyeres. Dave fell sick the last day of Hyeres and is still trying to shake off a bug of some sort. Three days after Hyeres our van was broken into while we traveled through Italy. The thieves busted the forward passenger’s side window and accessed the locked door. Glass everywhere. They stole four bags of clothes and gear, plus a host of miscellaneous items. We lost nearly all of our sailing gear and most of our street clothes. Oddly, the thieves left the radio and cameras, but took all our sailing notes, our 470 measurement certificates, plane tickets, tools, spin sheets, jib sheets, gloves, booties, wetsuits, drytops, rashguards, etc, etc. They even took Dave’s 15 year-old, custom trapeze harness. If you’re a crew, you’ll realize how big a loss that is for a crew. The top US women’s team, Clark and Mergenthaler, had stored two bags of wetsuits in the van as well and both were gone. Fortunately, we had all the important valuables with us – passports, wallets, computer. Oddly, the haul the thieves made off with probably won’t yield them much use – 470 trap harnesses and tuning notes aren’t too sought after – but it was an obviously huge loss to us.

We spent much of that night in an Italian police station. It was a scene from a movie, but we’re not sure if it was a drama or comedy. It could have been either. Many hours and a police report later we didn’t get a good feeling that anything would come of the report. Many thanks to Marco Guerra – one of the Italian 470 team members with whom we were traveling – for helping us through the problems. The following day Marco set up a meeting with one of his gear sponsors so that we could arrange for some replacement wetsuits, dry tops, and a trap harness to get us through the ISAF World Games. Also, a huge thank you to Alice Pivoli, Giovanni Quaini, Andrea Quaini, and particularly Marco’s mother Nella, for all their Italian hospitality.

After a 14-hour drive to Lake Neusiedl, Austria we’re now at the ISAF World Sailing Games where we’re representing the top-spot for the USA in the men’s double-handed event, the 470. Boats and Sails are supplied. The qualifiers are May 10th – 14th and the Finals are the 16th – 20th.

More on the ongoing ISAF Games in our next report...

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Friday, May 12, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Austria: ISAF World Games Days 1-3

Greetings from Lake Neusiedl, Austria. We are sorry for the delayed reports but the Internet access at the venue has been very poor.

This event is the 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games, which only occur every four years. The top two teams from each country, plus the top ten ranked in the world are invited to compete. All of the equipment is supplied and we rotate boats, which adds some excitement and levels the playing field. Although typically a light air venue, Lake Neusiedl is also known to have some windy days.

The first day of qualifying brought breezy conditions in the 18 knot range. After a quick boat tune-up on land, we headed out at 10:30am to get familiar how our sailed. We quickly found that many of the control lines on our boat were not the proper length, so we had to do a fast repair job on the water. Just to show some humility we did manage to capsize on the tight reach out, which caused a little stress. We recovered fine with nothing damaged and were ready to race!

In the first race we got a race winning start at the pin end and blasted off to the left. We waited for our shift but didn't find it to be large enough with the majority of the fleet crossing from the right. We managed to round the top mark in mid fleet and started picking off places from there. With several teams having halyards wrapped in the masts, we were able to hoist our kite and blast off into the lead pack. With a nice downwind gain we were hot on the top 10. We did the right thing and went out right for more pressure and lift. We found what we were looking for and rounded about 7th. After another good downwind we were close enough to pass two boats on the final reach to finish 5th.

In race 2 we got another excellent start at the pin and blasted left again. We then watched the entire fleet tack away we got quite nervous but kept faith in the breeze line we saw ahead. Once in it we tacked under a Polish team and found ourselves 1-2 at the mark. We sailed a very steady rest of the race but got passed due to the shifty conditions and our wrong choice of rig settings. We battled in the top 4 and managed to finish 3rd.

After the first day of racing we stand 5th of 52 teams.

Day 2
Our second Day at the ISAF World Games brought more shifty winds and less velocity in the puffs. We sailed outer loop trapezoid courses with 2 extra laps on the outer loop.

At the start of the first race we were out of position; on port tack near the middle of the line. The wind was shifting heavily, and it was the best we could do to stay on the lifted tack, when the whole fleet was trying to do the same in front of us. We were near last place at the reach mark, and we needed to hit some major shifts to get back in it. We passed several boats on the run, then on the next upwind picked up about ten places when we hooked into a big left shift. On the next downwind we passed another five boats, and by the finish we had come back to 4 th place!

In Race 2 we got a great start near the starboard end of the line, and sailed on the hip of the fleet until a left shift came and we all tacked. We were looking top 3 as the wind started to shift back right, but then we all got slammed by a giant left shift. We rounded the top mark in 8 th place and stayed there all race to the finish.

We are in 4th place and hope to keep posting top finishes, so we will be in the top 20 who qualify for the finals series.

Day 3
There was no racing today as there was not a breath of wind. We took this opportunity to play some frisbee and soccer with many of our fellow competitors. We are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow because we know that we will be in the blue heat (afternoon grouping). The standings remain the same (4th Place!) and we hope tomorrow will bring a little more breeze so we can at least race.

To check out photos and full reports check out:

Take care,

Graham & Stu

(Beginning of World Games reports)

(End of Hyeres reports)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
France: Hyeres Final Report

The 5th day of racing was our final on the water at Hyeres. The top ten overall will race in the Medal Race, but are too far out in the point spread. We are however, only 20 points out of the top 15, and could move up a lot with two good races.

We arrived at our morning briefing ready to race, but were dismayed, when we heard that the forecast was for winds too light to race all day. We waited on land for some time, until a small pressure cell brought moderate winds. The race committee decided to go for it. By the time all the boats made it out to the course, and the course was set the breeze had lightened substantially. We started at the committee boat and were the first boat to tack out right toward an approaching rain cloud. We thought we had made a smart play because every other boat in the fleet tacked to port as well. But as we sailed the wind got lighter, and lighter, until we were completely becalmed and the whole fleet sailed over us. We were tragically far behind the leaders. Then, when the fleet was halfway down the run, the race committee decided to abandon the race for unsuitable racing conditions. What a relief!

We finished in 25th place overall. A day later, we drove the US Sailing Team car and trailer to Vienna, Austria and, from Vienna, we flew home to catch up with other half of our lives, if only for a week.

Our next competition is the ISAF World Games in Lake Neusiedl, Austria, May 10-20. The boats are supplied, so in theory, no one can have an edge with their equipment. We look forward to this different format!

We hope you are doing well.

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Curmudgeon's Comment: All the 470 teams commented on how difficult it was for them to obtain internet access in Hyeres, and apologized for the lack of reports that this issue caused.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
France: Semaine Olympique Francais Final Report

After a great 6th Place finish at the Princess Sofia Regatta, we headed to Hyeres, France for the Semaine Olympique Regatta. Hyeres is known for dishing out some gnarly sailing conditions and the infamous Mistral wind. A day or four of “survival-style” sailing is all but guaranteed at this place. We braced ourselves (and our boat) some heavy air racing; however, it was not to be. Aside from two days, we saw very light and shifty winds---even some drifters! We finished 13th out of 49 boats.

Day #1
The 49-boat women’s fleet was antsy to launch and rush out to the race area, only to drift around and wait for the breeze to settle. After a few general recalls and postponements by the RC, we started the first race in 4-6 knots. We had a decent start and headed right for the most pressure. The top 8 boats worked right and launched from the fleet in a winding righty. We were lucky to be in this pack and held on for a 7th place finish. During the second race the wind became very unstable, with velocity down to sitting-to-leeward style. We did not have a great start and finding a clean lane in the diminishing breeze was near impossible. We fought to pick back a few boats to finish 2nd. The men’s race starting behind us was called of.

Day #2
Finally some wind and waves. A freshening Easterly wind produced near perfect sailing: shining sun, 15-18 knots and big waves! The left side of the course was heavily favored and we had great wheels upwind to get us there. We worked the left side and rounded in the top 4. Downwind, the waves got the best of the Czech boat ahead of us in 3rd place as they took a wave too low and death rolled. We moved past the carnage into 3rd in the race, just behind the World Champion Dutch boat and the #2 World-ranked British women. A comfortable lead over the fleet, we crossed the finish line in 3rd only to find we were OCS! We saw the same conditions in race 2 but our start was not good. We could not get to the favored left side soon enough. We had a great downwind to finish a solid 12th.

Day #3
We were looking forward to more great sailing as the forecast predicted similar conditions to the previous day. Upon arriving at the race area, we saw otherwise. The wind was light and very far left with 40 degree shifts. The RC was having trouble deciding where to place the windward mark as shifts were random and unpredictable…. so we waited. After a few hours the wind finally grew steady but there were large holes in pressure. A Chinese boat near ran over us at starting line, fouling us badly. This cost our start dearly and we spent the entire race trying to fight back. The course was heavy left-favored again and the entire fleet trucked in one direction. We trucked the opposite way, just hoping that clean air and boat speed could bring us back. The left paid big and we rounded deep, finishing 26th. The wind picked up for the second race of the day. We pinned down, had a great start and motored to the top of the fleet. Downwind speed was superb and our tactical decisions on the fleet earned us a 2nd in the race!

Day #4
The light wind was back. After hours of drifting and numerous general recalls in the men’s fleet, the RC started the women. The race was questionable at best. The fleet struggled to make the windward mark by the specified time limit. We were stuck left in 2-3 knots. The boats that drifted right off the line caught a random puff and sailed across us. We rounded the mark in the 40’s. Downwind was painful! Keeping the spinnaker floating was a challenge and it felt like the leg would never end. We rounded the gate and saw some breeze on the far right shoreline while the left showed nothing promising. Nothing to lose, we threw all the eggs in one basket and headed right. The left looked great early on and we thought we’d made another wrong guess on the day (not our first!). But the wind we saw earlier came down the right. The numbers on the compass were not what we wanted to see, but the pressure meant everything. We passed 20 boats in one leg. As we approached the windward mark for the second time we saw boats stopping. The RC showed mercy and shortened the course, finishing us upwind. We crossed the line in 21. This left us in 13th place overall.

Day #5
With a forecast worst than Day #4’s, the fleet was skeptical if any racing would take place at all. We needed two races badly if we had any shot at making the top 10. Where was the 30 knot Mistral, now??? At 2:30PM a weak SW sea breeze started to form. Desperate for anything, the RC took the postponement flag down and we headed out. The men’s fleet generated a few general recalls but the wind was a steady 8-10 knots. We could actually get on the trapeze! Ominous rain cloud developed on shore and the sea breeze started to diminish. We waited in the drizzle until 5PM when the race day was abandoned. This marked the un-climactic end to the regatta as well, leaving us in 13th overall.

Although the wind gods did not smile on Hyeres, we still took some very valuable lessons home. We did not reach our goal of finishing in the top 10, but a 13th is still respectable. Our speed upwind in 15+ knots and waves is growing more and more consistent. We can now run with the best in the World. There is still much room for improvement on our starts: we need a better batting average at pulling the trigger and holding our lane. Our next chance to work on this is the upcoming ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria, May 7-21.

Happy Sailing!

Sarah Mergenthaler and Amanda Clark
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Team USA 1734
Report from Semaine Olympique Francais – Hyeres, FRA

It’s been a long week in Hyeres, France. The 38th Semaine Olympique Francais began last Sunday and ended yesterday. Hyeres is known for the famous Mistral winds that can grace the event; however, this year there was no such luck. Apart from two days of racing in upper teen velocities, four of the six days were marked by little to no breeze. We had a good event, but needed another race or two to make a break into the top ten, even the top six. We ended up 13th out of 86 teams. A very good international result, but leaving much room for improvement.

Qualifier Day #1
Light air. After many delays the race committee finally got a start off. We played the right middle and the wind started clocking left. We leveraged back left, picked up some boats on the reach and run. On the final gate we were looking a mid teens finish, perhaps better when a 55 degree lefty came in. The RC shortened the race, finishing the fleet at the windward mark. We were stuck middle right with the Bronze medal Argentineans with little breeze. We finished 32nd. Race number two proved to be similar in terms of conditions. Speed was good. Shifts were big. Once side would look great, then the next would look great, etc. We made a bold play at the bottom reach by continuing on Starboard gybe into some pressure and were looking at a 10-ish or better result. The pressure collapsed about 15 lengths from the line and we drifted to a 16th. We ended the day in 55th position overall

Qualifier Day #2
Finally some breeze. After a postponement on shore we race three races in mid to upper teen velocities with some high guts. Since the wind direction came from the sea, the waves developed as the day progressed. We rolled a 5-12-7. We had wheels upwind and down. Fun wave riding. A good day. Finally the fleet had some wind to separate the experienced teams from the new teams. We finished the day jumping 39 places to 16th overall.

Qualifier Day #3
Postponement again. The breeze came but not as big as the day before. Since the RC raced three races on Day #2, we were only allowed to race one race. It still made for a long day at the boat park, but it was nice to give a single race your all, knowing you didn’t need to keep any energy in the tank for the next race. We again had some great wheels upwind and down. The top 10 teams quickly broke away from the pack. We rounded 8th at the top mark and recognized that the leaders were setting onto runs when it was a reach. We blasted to the reach mark, picking up a few boats. Our group got further away from the pack. We battled with the Portuguese and Aussies at the end. The Portuguese got us on the inside of the last run, but we held off the Aussies for a 6th place finish. We jumped to 12th overall in the standings, 3 points from 9th.

Final Day #1
The light air was back. More waiting turned into a light air race with crews sitting to leeward. More 45 degree shifts. We worked our sides; had good speed; but lost out on some pressure. We ended up 19th. Not great, but not bad considering the nature of the race. Most of the top-15 teams rolled some bad scores in that race so our overall standing only dropped to 13th, 10 points from 6th.

Final Day #2
More waiting in light air. Two general recalls finally got the race under way. We had a fantastic start, and used it to get right to the last bit of pressure that was working its way middle-right. We hitched back with the pressure as the lefties looked soft. We continued right, but not too far right as those boats weren’t looking good either. A 35 degree shift altered positions and we rounded the mark in about 18th/20th. The reach allowed us to pass some boats; however, the wind dropped to less than 1 knot. Boats were still coming upwind to the first mark as we headed downwind. The RC abandoned racing. At one point in the race we had the position on our nearest competitors to make the top-ten, but nothing’s certain in light air. The fleet was sent in and that meant the end of our regatta.

All told, this was a good event for us. 13th place out of 86 at an ISAF Grade #1 event. We made a great deal of professional gains - both in terms of techniques and mental attitude. We now know we have the stuff to win, but need to improve our batting average. We’ve identified some strengths and weaknesses and are more focused on the overall package. Congratulations to our Israeli training partners Gidi and Udi who one the event for the 2nd year running! Next up is the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria which start on the 10th of May.

A huge thank you to our primary sponsors: CISA Sailing,, Camet International, Kaenon Polarized, Kokatat, North Sails One Design, Anderson-Mitterling, McLube, KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen, and Auto Europe. Thank you as well to all the individuals who have supported our efforts. Keep the emails coming!

We’re now hitting the road to Austria…

(Editor's Note: On Friday, April 14, the top ten compete in the final medal race per the olympic format that is being used.)

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
France: Hyeres Day 3 and 4

As we write this on Thursday April 27th, we are in postponement again. It is lightly drizzling with not a breath of wind.

Looking back at the last qualifying race for Gold Fleet on Wednesday, we were 13 points ahead of the gold fleet cut. Everyone knew the left side was going to win in the 15knot easterly wind, so the whole fleet was fighting for a lane to go left. We got flushed out of the left pack early, and had to try to make something work on the right. We got enough of a shift to go back left, and managed a mid-fleet rounding. We knew we had to pass a couple of boats, and battled hard to get by enough teams to finish 17 th. We qualified for Gold Fleet!

The next day, the forecast was bleak, and we sat on shore under postponement. Finally, they sent us out in what looked like a building sea-breeze. The wind did not materialize, and we raced in 4-6 knots. We got a nice conservative start in the middle of the line, and matched the fleet in tacks. The boats on each far side of the course got around us but we rounded the first mark 15 th. We made big gains on the first downwind, to move to 10th, then missed a shift on the next upwind, but gained it back at the top of the beat, and moved back into 10th on the final downwind.

We moved up to 25th place in overall standings.

(Editor's Note: On Friday, April 28, the top ten compete in the final medal race per the olympic format that is being used.)

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Monday, April 24, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
France: Hyeres Day 2

Day 2 brought the big breeze Hyeres is known for.

Race 1 began in 15-18 knots of wind from the east. The left side is normally favored in this direction so we tried to start near the pin, but the fleet was pushing the line hard and we got rolled over early. We were forced right, but got a shift to bring us back into the race. We did were having trouble locking into our normal downwind speed because the waves were moving so fast. We finished 24th.

In Race 2, the breeze lightened a little, but was still fully overpowering at around 15 knots. Again the starting line was really short, and there were a number of teams disqualified for premature starting. While we started cleanly we were near a group who was over the line, and they took away our lane. We had okay speed, and locked into the waves better on the downwind. We finished 17th.

The third race caught us by surprise (normally we only race twice in a day), but we put everything we had into it. We were going for an aggressive pin end start, but the boat right on top of us, and right below us, were disqualified for premature starting, and totally messed up our start. We finished the race 33rd.

Currently we sit in 28th place, and need another good race today to qualify for the gold fleet, which will be divided at the end of the day.

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
France: Hyeres Day 1

The first day of racing brought light and shifty conditions with chop. We were lucky enough to get slotted into the yellow heat so we were to begin racing first. After a bit of pushing and shoving to get our boat launched we finally made it out to tune up with our partners and a few others.

Race 1: We got an awesome start at the pin end in a dying breeze and immediately tacked. A small group further up the line had a little better start and we were unable to cross. We were pushed even further left a few more times even after finding the deep right to have more pressure and a better shift closer to shore. We rounded the first mark very deep. We kept our heads in it and used our downwind speed to pass close to 10 boats in the light conditions! We closed a lot of distance on the lead pack and took notice of the large left shift of wind. We bailed left after the mark and found ourselves in a clear lane with awesome breeze. With our newly found breeze we were able to reach over much of the fleet to finish a very close 6th!

Race 2: After waiting for 2 hours we finally got our 2nd race started. Again we had an awesome start at the pin end and tacked into a very nice lane. We used our newly found speed and technique learned from practice to maximize our jump on the fleet and we rounded the first mark in second place. We extended on the run nearly catching the leaders and picked the correct gate to gain even more distance. Unfortunately the leaders were so threatened by us they placed a few covering tacks on us and send us back into 3rd by the next mark. On the reach and run we held a close 2nd - 4th with positions changing constantly with the dying breeze. We unfortunately found ourselves in a massive hole on the last leg of the course and watched a small righty puff fill in that allowed about 8 boats to pass us. We finished in 11th place.

At the end of the day we stand 10th place! We hope to continue our newly found speed in the upcoming qualifying races to ensure our gold fleet qualifying position.

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
France: Hyeres Introduction

We have had a great week of training here in Hyeres, France. Recently, we have been training with the top Canadian women's team and their coach Nigel and we have been able to focus on developing some specific skills with them.

To wrap up our last regatta, The Princess Sofia Trophy, which finished April 14th, we moved up one place on the final day of racing to finish 23 rd out of 78 teams. This is a strong finish for us because almost all of the top international teams were competing, and it should boost our world ranking of 28th.

The Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile (known as 'Hyeres' to most non-French speakers) begins tomorrow. There are a few more teams present including the usually-dominant Australians, but the overall fleet quality will be similar to the Princess Sophia Trophy. We hope to build on our last performance by cracking into the top 20 here at Hyeres.

Take care,

Stu and Graham

(Beginning of Hyeres reports)

(End of Palma reports)

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Spain: Princess Sofia Report: Day 4, 5, 6

At the end of day three, we sat in 9th overall with solid and consistent scores. Day 4 & 5 of the Princess Sofia Trophy featured more sun and sea breeze, each day capping off with 10-14 knots. Much of the fleet pushed the left side of the course hard, which is usually heavily favored in typical sea breeze conditions here. However, an Easterly gradient pushing North created some opportunity on the right. We decided not to commit too hard to either side and focus more on choosing good lanes and playing each shift. We had great upwind boat speed in this mid-velocity condition and accelerations off the starting line have gotten much better. We posted scores of 15, 6, 6 on Day #4, which moved us to 8th place overall.

On Day 5, the sea breeze took its time filling in. The left paid early in the first race as the wind diminished. We waited about an hour after the first race for the wind to re-establish itself. This time the right looked like it had more pressure. We had a great start, but our lane forced us to the left side of the course and away from our game plan to go right. We rounded the top mark deep, looking like we might be headed for our first drop race! Downwind we made the decision to break from the fleet in order to find a clean lane and undisturbed water. We picked off about 10 boats by the end of the leg. We continued to make some good decisions upwind and clawed back to a 13th. In our 49-boat fleet, anything in the top 15 is a keeper. Back from the deep! The final race of the day offered the most breeze of the day and our speed was on par with the best. We finished the day with a 10, 13, 6, pushing up to 6th overall. Consistency was paying!

Yesterday (Friday, April 14) was the Medal Race, marking the end of the Princess Sofia Trophy. As many of you know, a new Olympic format was started this year that includes a final medal race featuring only the top ten boats in the fleet. The course is shorter, all scores count double and may not be dropped. We experienced this format at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January. We went into the race in 6th place, needing to beat the Ukrainian team by 6 boats to move to 5th. 1st through 3rd were out of reach. The Israelis and Spanish needed to beat us by more than three boats to push us out of 6th. Protecting our 6th was more realistic than moving to 5th.

This format really forces competitors to play the points game! Our game plan was to start conservatively as an OCS is deadly in a race you cannot drop. We rounded the first mark mid- fleet, keeping tabs on the Spanish and Israelis. We immediately started passing downwind, picking off the Brits and finally the Israelis. We caught a great lift coming off the left side of the course and held on to finish 3rd in the race. However, this did not change our overall 6th place position for the regatta.

This finish bumped us up to #7 in the ISAF World Rankings. 6th at the Princess Sofia is a very solid score and we are pleased. It is now time to persist a top 5 finish. Another chance lies ahead as the Semiane Olympique Francias Regattas in Hyeres, France begins on April 23. We arrive in France on Monday to begin a week of training before the event.

Happy Sailing!

Sarah Mergenthaler and Amanda Clark
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Palma Final Report

As you may recall from the last report, we only had one day of racing out of the first three days. Therefore, we entered Wednesday with four races under our belt from Monday. Monday's results in the breeze were low to mid-teens (11-13-12-16) -- not a great way to start the event, though it surely could have been worse. Wednesday, however, was a tough day. We seemed to have reasonable speed and decision making, but couldn't put the package together consistently. We scored a 17-18-14. We needed better starts and better speed. Lacking both meant we were forced to battle the middle of the pack, which tends to operate at "fleet speed" and can often dictate too many tacks and gybes. On the bright side, we were consistent on a day when many good teams rolled a "deep" finish (in the 30s). That said, shaving some points off of each race was what needed to be done. We returned to harbor in 23rd.

Day #5 proved to be a better day. We found our wheels again and focused on better starts. Two out of three starts were reasonably good and up and downwind speed was above average. Downwind, we were fast. We rolled a 10-19-4. A good day. The first a final race went well when we punched out with the lead pack and were able to play the game we wanted. Downwind in the last race went extremely well and we were happy that we made some huge leaps forward with our reaching speed. In Race #2 we had an altercation with one of the French teams. We rounded the leeward gate in a very tight pack while the French were coming downwind on starboard. Our attempt to avoid a collision by tacking onto starboard was stalled by the shear number of boats and the French had no place to go. It may easily have become a confused, multi-boat protest; but in the end we decided to withdraw as it became equal to our drop race (19th).

We ended the event 17th out of 76 teams. Good, but not where we wanted to be. Unfortunately, the event was effectively shortened by two days (5 to 3) due to lack of wind. Regardless, we weren't sailing at the level we needed to be. Slightly better boat speed, starts, and pack tactics could have yielded terrifically better results as we ended up only 15 points out of the top ten. We learned a great deal, however, and remain excited. Ending the regatta with some wheels also helped prove to us what we could do. The boat is packed and we now head to Hyeres, France for the Semaine Olympique Francais that begins next week.

(Editor's Note: On Friday, April 14, the top ten compete in the final medal race per the olympic format that is being used.)

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Princess Sofia Trophy Day 4

Our first day in gold fleet brought good racing conditions in a building sea breeze.

The first race got underway in light air and flat water. We got a good start at the committee boat end of the starting line, and shortly tacked to take advantage of our positioning on the right side of the course. We played shifts to keep in touch with the leaders, and rounded the first mark in 9th. On the downwind we continued on starboard, while half the fleet gybed inside of us, soon it became apparent that they had much more breeze. We lost 8 boats before we could recover. We finished the race 16th.

By race two, the breeze had built to 12 knots. We did not have the best start and were forced into poor lanes. We were only beating three boats at the first mark. We were ready for a comeback! We were blazing fast downwind and passed about ten boats, on the next upwind we passed five boats, and on the last downwind passed another five. We finished the race in 14th, our best finish of the day.

The breeze backed off a little in the third race, we won the pin end of the line, but the wind shifted hard right. Practically everyone was in front of us by the first mark. We were not able to mount a big come back this time, passing only four boats to place 34th.

Today/Thursday will probably be our last day of racing (it is nearly impossible for us to break into the top ten with only 3 races today). We are in 24th place, and hope to move up! (event website)

(Editor's Note: On Friday, April 14, the top ten compete in the final medal race per the olympic format that is being used.)

Graham & Stu
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Spain: Princess Sofia Report: Day 1, 2, 3

The Princess Sofia Trophy is well underway. We scored a 15th in the first light and shifty race on Sunday, Day 1. Monday, Day 2 was anything but! We left the harbor on time in a building Northerly gradient. At the start of the first race we saw a steady 15 knots with puffs shooting to 20. Great Sailing!

This was really our first chance this season to test the speed we’ve been working so hard on against the whole Euro Fleet. We got a great start in the first race and held a clean lane up the beat towards the left side of the course. Our speed was on par with the big girls and we were psyched to round the windward mark in 6th, amongst Olympic medallist and World Champs, past and present. The reach was short and in no time we were pumping and wave-riding down wind. The top 8 separated from the rest of the fleet and settled in. We finished 6th, a very solid score.

Race two saw a firm 17-19 knots in a wonderfully steady Northerly. Our game plan was the same: clean start, hold the lane, work left and round in the top 10. We stuck to it and rounded the weather mark in 6th. Approaching the down wind gate, we had an altercation with the Israeli boat. At the two-boat length circle, we hailed, “NO ROOM!” They, however, must have seen something different, because they barged into the space between the mark and us anyway! This hurt our rounding severely and cost two boats. We ended up 8th in Race 2, still a keeper.

Race 3 began in the same wind we’d seen the whole day. We started in a pack of 4 German boats and didn’t get a 100% clean lane off the line. Turned out two of these Germans were OCS! We worked the left hard, trying to burn past the boats in our pack and ended up too committed. Approaching the windward mark on port, we sailed right under the entire Finn fleet, already on their reach, and rounded in 12th. We set on our reach, eager to make up some ground…until our gybing ball blew through it’s mark on our spinnaker sheet. We had to pause for a fix, very costly on a reach as other boats planed by us. We were able to make up some ground down wind, clawing back to a 14th place finish.

After 4 races we sit in 8th place out of 49 women’s boats with scores of: 15, 6, 8, 14. We are currently postponed ashore on Tuesday, Day 3 of racing, waiting for wind (the day was later cancelled due to no wind). Our goal here is to finish in the top 10. So far, we are on pace! (event website)

Stay Tuned,

Sarah Mergenthaler and Amanda Clark
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Palma Report - Day 2 & 3

Monday, Day #2 at the ISAF Grade #1 event was a long one, indeed. 8+ hours. Monday’s no-race for our fleet left us a race behind going into Tuesday. Accordingly, the Race Committee sent out our division early in order to make up the race. Surprisingly, the RC decided to put us last in the starting rotation so we spent an extra hour-plus waiting for our start. The breeze was light when we started. No-shirts kind of light. As we sat near the start line we both took notice of the clouds forming over the mountains that lie Northeast. They were stacking on the far side, indicating a breeze from the North. It was true. The breeze came down in a line. We went a 1/2 pin down on the rig...then a full pin down...then a pin-and-a-half...then two pins down. You get the picture -- the wind was filling in a hurry. We started with breeze in the upper teens/low 20s. Good fun off the line. Plenty of breeze for good up- and downwind action.

Race #1 demonstrated that we had good pace, but not the fastest. We played the shifts and reached the top mark in about 14th. We passed a few boats downwind and held onto our position in the 8-10 range. We then lost a boat on the final reach to end up 11th. An okay start to the regatta. Race #2 seemed to be about the same. This time we were better at the top mark and made a great extension on the run, but fell into a hole of low-pressure. We caught some waves but it was no match for the breeze that had filled in on the edges and we watched as some boats filtered passed us. We ended up 13th. Race #3 still provided the same wind strength, though some major holes were developing. We got off the line well and immediately tacked onto port. Our speed was awesome! We hooked into a couple of swells and easily climbed to windward of the boats to our lee. The boats to our left started to fall into us. Basically, it was too perfect. We decided to tack in order to consolidate with the lefties and maintain our lead on the righties. It worked until the right wheeled up (good), but with a decrease in pressure. We held our lane as the lefties crossed over us. Again we had a good to reach. Downwind was okay, but our last reach left something to be desired. We lost another boat on the way to the finish for a 12th. We determined that we were trying too much on the last reach to protect our leads when we should have focused on the speed that we had. A good lesson! After a long, hour-plus wait we entered Race #4 quite tired. It had already been a very long day. We agreed that the right was going to pay, but some information from the top of the fleet led us to consider the left. We went left off the line and looked good for a while, but the left caved -- and caved hard. A 35 degree righty came rolling through and suddenly we were fighting for scraps in the back of the pack. We rounded 35th at the top mark and regretted our choice not to listen to our first instincts. We decided to rally back, however, and played the shifts downwind. We collected a few boat here...a few boats end up 16th. This was a good result all considering, but not where we wanted to be. Back to the harbor at 7:30pm

Tuesday, Day #3 of the regatta, proved to be a no-go. The fleet was sent out at 11am. We drifted for hours. Skip Whyte, the US Team coach, hopped into our boat for a single-handed coaches' race while we traded out into the motorboat. No breeze. Finally, the RC sent the fleet back to shore. We again waited. At 4pm, the RC canned the races for the day. Ironically, the breeze filled in at 4:30pm to a perfect 12 knots, sunny and warm. Tuesday was the final day of qualification, so we have made the Gold Fleet with our Day #2 scores (23rd place) but have some ground to make up. (event website)

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Princess Sofia Trophy Day 3

Racing has just been cancelled for the day becase of light and shifting winds.

We still stand in 25th place which qualifies us for the Gold Fleet. We will stay in this group until the final day of racing, when the top ten will sail in the 'Medal Race.'

Tomorrow will be fun and challenging. (event website)

Graham & Stu
Monday, April 10, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Princess Sofia Trophy Day 2

Day 2 brought excellent breeze in the high teens all day.

We made a bad decision at the beginning of the day and went out with the first heat to help our training partners tune up. After helping them and watching them race we sat on the water for 2 hours before our first race.

Race 1 was quite windy. We are not sure of the velocity but it was up there. Our upwind speed was again the limiting factor to a good finish. Our downwind legs went quite well and we always gained. We finished the first race with an 18th.

In Race 2 our best moments were at start! Our first start (general recalled) we used our quick tacks to win the pin end. As for the real start, we started in the middle of the line on port under a black flag and made it. Unfortunately our upwind speed wasn't where we needed it to be again and we finished 19th.

Race 3 was our highlight. The wind shifted hard right before the start and we were able to set up our gear for the new conditions in flat water. After a great mid-line start we charged all the way left. Several boats crossed us from the left side, but we found a huge left shift and puff to help us out. We rounded the top mark around 8th and managed the traffic well on the reach to extend to a 5th. At a moment we briefly fell back to 6th, but we used our downwind speed to catch them back to finish 5th.

After the day we are standing 24th of 78 teams. Tomorrow is the last day of the qualifying series for gold fleet (top half) and we hope to make it. Wish us luck! (event website)

Graham & Stu
Sunday, April 9, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Princess Sofia Trophy Day 1

The first day of qualifying brought light and extremely fluky conditions. Only one race was sailed in battling breezes.

We were in the first heat (yellow) and found a great hole near the pin end of the line. We had a great start pinching off several of the boats on our hip sending them deep right. A few other boats beneath us on the line that had bad starts also tacked out. After a near collision with a French team (they had to do a penalty turn) we tacked out and found our lane. We took another tack out left for a new breeze line filling in and found ourselves rounding in 4 th. We caught up to the leaders on the downwind to round in an extremely close 1st – 4th.

After a few tacks at the bottom of the course we moved into 3rd briefly. Unfortunately shortly after when we elected to go left, the wind clocked hard right. We found ourselves sailing in a completely different breeze than the rest of the course and actually set our spinnaker twice to the weather mark! We rounded further back in the high teens and continued to play the massive shifts on each leg. We were able to catch back up to 15th, which is still a solid score for qualifying.

The other heat weren't able to finish within the time limit so their race was abandoned. The 2nd heat is to sail their make up race this morning so we get a small break. Conditions today look just as light, but much more promising for a sea breeze. Wish us luck! (event website)

Graham & Stu
Sunday, April 9, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Palma Report - Day 1

Hello from Palma! As you may remember from our last email, we finished up the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week on April 4th. On the 5th we took the fast ferry (4 hour) to Palma de Mallorca and have been training here since. We've continued to grow our training relationship with the #1 World-ranked Israeli team. We've also done some racing/training with the top French teams, among others, and are looking forward to some very prosperous partnerships.

Today was our first day of racing in the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta. There are 83 men's teams with a great depth of talent. We are divided into two qualifying groups. This is truly a special regatta on the European Tour - warm water, good-attendance, great racing. Nonetheless, the fleet launched at 12:30pm for a planned 2pm start. Roughly 5-8 knots of breeze with increasing chop. We waited a while as our group was slated to be the 4th start behind the Finns, 470 women, and the other men's group.

After a General Recall (par for this fleet in lighter winds) we were off. We had a somewhat clean start near the boat end, but needed to take some sterns to get right in order to execute our plan for the beat. The race course was a mixed bag of pressure and shifts. We had the benefit of learning from the previous three fleets and it was obvious that keeping one's head out of the boat was paramount. That...and a bit of luck was certainly needed. 1 knot to 9 knots of pressure could be found; as could 10-80 degree shifts. We leveraged right with Nic Asher from Britain. It paid. As we tacked back to starboard with Nic below and to leeward of us we could see the entire fleet below us. The Japanese above and behind started to collapse into us, showing us that the right was starting to die. It did. Nic, however, was far enough to the left of us that he got into the lefty with the approaching French and crossed us easily as we drifted with zero breeze.

At the top mark we were in the mid teens. We took the left pressure downwind until it too started to die, gybed, and reached the bottom gate in about 10th. After playing the shifts and pressure up the 2nd beat, we gained positions back to 6th or 7th for the top reach. The reach allowed us to pass one boat, but the run proved even better as we passed the lead pack with a left shift to take the race lead. The breeze once again shifted and, accordingly, we doused the spinnaker to maintain our lead going into the final turning mark. was not to be. The Race Committee abandoned race! A good call, but hard to swallow after a long-fought battle in which we were now leading. The fleet was left wondering why the RC hadn't shorted course or abandoned earlier. Fun stuff, regardless. We're pleased that we were able to keep our heads and work the shifts.

Tomorrow is supposed to be better breeze, but no one is certain. Our division of the men's fleet has no races under its belt, whereas the other division completed one race. We start Monday in the same grouping as today to even the races across the board. (event website)

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734

(Beginning of Palma reports)

(End of Barcelona reports)

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Barcelona Race Week Final Day

On the final day of racing the winds were so light that they had to postpone the start of the first race until 1:30pm, with no start permitted after 3pm.

We had a good start in the middle of the line. Eventually, we were forced to tack, but it was just a little too early and the left pack just got in front of us and the right pack just crossed us too. We were in 13th at the first mark. Through some good decisions and good speed, we passed seven boats on the downwind leg, but at the very bottom of the run, the Finnish team blatantly fouled us and locked rails with our boat. Again we were playing catch up and passed group of boats to place 6th in the race.

We placed 9th overall in the regatta, but most importantly, this racing has helped show us what we need to practice before the next event. Yesterday, we took the ferry to Palma de Mallorca, and today we have been rigging and tuning out boat for the Princess Sofia Regatta April 9-14.

Stay Tuned!

Graham & Stu
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Final Report

Hello from Barcelona one last time. We we're able to get out a report on the third day, so this email will cover Days #3 and #4 of the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week.

After a very long shore-delay on Monday, the fleet was sent out for three races. After a black flag that caught many Greeks and Italians, the first race proved to be a good one. We rounded the top mark in 4th, made some good decisions downwind, and took the leeward mark in 1st. We maintained the lead, give or take some distance with the Greeks.

Race #2 was also a keeper. We reached the first mark in the top 6 and held on for a 4th. Nothing too flash happened as the wind trend turned the course into an obvious side choice. Some decent downwind work helped us pick up some boats.

Race #3 was certainly not a keeper. A tough start mixed with some not-so-great speed meant we took a 9th. That became our second drop. We realized soon after the race completed that neither of us had much in the tank for the long day. We put the boat away around 8pm that evening, so it was indeed a long day of waiting and racing. We rounded out the day two points out of second and tied for 3rd place overall, but losing the tie-breaker. A good spot to be in, but we needed a good last race.

The final day of racing was almost a no-go as the wind was zero to light. The RC was determined to race, however, and the fleet was sent out for one final race. It was crew-in-the-boat conditions; very spotty. We started poorly, which led to many tacks in the first 1/3rd of the beat. Things went well, though, and we were in some left pressure with the Spanish team we had to beat (for 3rd) and the Greek team we had to beat (for 2nd) behind us. We crossed their line to consolidate, but then found ourselves battling a team-race with the rest of the Greek team! That sent us the wrong direction in a hurry and we lost our lead on the other Spanish and Greeks. Downwind we made some gains, as we did at the leeward mark. It was a solid race -- a 5th -- but not enough to put us in 2nd or 3rd for the regatta. We took 4th overall by one point. Ironically, the Spanish team we had the mark-room issue with two days prior was the team that beat us for the bronze. Congratulations to the Israelis, Greeks, and Spanish who finished 1-2-3. Here are the top 5:

1-ISR-Gideon Kliger/Udi Gal
2-GRE-Mileos Michalis/kagialis Pavlos
3-ESP-Francisco Sanchez Ferrer/Alejandro Ramos Lspez
4-USA-Mikee Anderson-Mitterling/Dave Hughes
5-ESP-Gustavo Martmnez Doreste/Dimas Wood Valdivielso

The BOSW was a fantastic tune-up regatta for the rest of the European tour, which is exactly what we meant it to be. We're getting in the mode of racing in Europe, dusting out some of the cob-webs, and are looking forward to Palma and the Princess Sofia Trophy which begins next week.

The boat's loaded and we're boarding the 4pm ferry this afternoon for Mallorca.

Until next week...

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Monday, April 3, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl
Spain: Barcelona Report #2 - Days 2 and 3

The last two days brought generally stronger winds, great racing conditions, but not the best results for us.

Sunday's racing happened in 11-16 knots, and we were not fast enough upwind to race with the leaders. We were very fast downwind and put together a 9, 8, and 12 on the day.

Today, Monday, our highlight was a fourth place finish in the first race. The wind was on the lighter side, 8 knots and building. We got a great start near, but not at, the boat end of the starting line. Shortly after the start, a right shift lifted everyone on our hip but did not reach us. We tacked and ducked most of the boats to our right then caught the next shift to round the first mark in 7 th. We were fast downwind, and passed two boats. On the final downwind we passed another boat to finish in 4th!

The other two races did not go as well. We placed 13th and OCS (false start disqualification).

We are currently in 10th place. Tomorrow is the last day of the regatta and there are two races scheduled.

Take care,

Graham & Stu
Monday, April 3, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Report #5 - Race Day #3

We're currently sitting on shore waiting for the breeze to fill. This has become a regular occurrence. However, yesterday the breeze filled in quite nicely after a fairly long delay. We saw 12-15 knots by the end of the day, sometimes nearing 17/18 for periods. Three races were sailed. We raced solid races that helped propel us up the overall standings.

Race #1 was showing some left, so we leveraged to that side. The right started to come in, though, so we made our way back right, taking many sterns in the process. It paid. We hitched into some more pressure to reach the top mark in 6th. We passed a boat on the reach; another on the run. We held onto 4th place approaching the last mark with an overlap. The Spanish didn't see it our way, however, and we ended up 5th. We learned that we need to shout louder and sooner for our overlaps.

Race #2 was a solid race, as well. We traded had pace up the breeze; worked well on the shifts and the reach. The front pack of eight broke away from the rest of the fleet. It soon became a one-way track as the big righty established itself. We took a 6th.

Race #3 was a battle with the Israelis that ensued after the start. We both leveraged right. Tacked back to starboard shy of layline. Our speed was very good with them up the breeze. We held with them on the reach, but missed a key swell at the outer mark that the Israelis used to extend. The rest of the race saw our extension grow. We took 2nd behind the Israelis.

Overall we've moved up 5 places to 4th. We're a couple points out of 3rd.

More today....It's sunny in Barcelona.

Stay tuned,
Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Sunday, April 2, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Report #4

After a day of boat work and registration on Friday, Saturday gave us Day #1 of the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week. 29 men's teams and 10 women's teams were combined for one start. We raced three races, beginning at 2pm local time. It made for a long day, but a perfect warm-up for getting our heads back into racing.

Race #1 was raced in the forecasted breeze of 5-9 knots. At the start, we and the Israelis tacked early onto port to leverage out to the right breeze. This worked, but we got too greedy and took too much of the right. The Israelis tacked back onto starboard earlier than us and took the fleet lead. We rounded 6th or 7th and made some gains downwind to crawl back to 4th or 5th. We held that position until the final reach when the wind switch 180 and a few poor gybes in no breeze pulled us back to 8th.

After an hour's wait, Race #2 was shot off in a breeze direction opposite to the morning's breeze. We got punched off the start, pulled out middle-left with the Israelis, tacked out right, played a few shifts, and ducked one boat as we approached the starboard layline. That boat was shy of layline so we continued two lengths and reached the windward mark first. We picked the proper angle on the reach and extended from there to take the win. We found the choppy, but powered conditions to our liking.

Race #3 wasn't our best showing, by far. A poor start sent us into a ping-pong with the pack. We finally broke free but lost out again at the final approach to the windward mark. The reach allowed us to pick up some boats, as did the downwind. Again, we had a cluster at the bottom mark, cleared that, then fouled the US women's team. Our grind-back was lost to the 720 penalty. We ended up 10th.

All is all, a good day. We remain excited about the progress we've made but need to get ourselves back into racing mode. Putting the pieces together is key. The reaches were great -- something that's been a problem for us before. Downwind and upwind speed was fine to fast. Starts need to get better and problem management is always key. We're also testing out a new sail design at this event, so this is the first we've seen it in racing conditions. Every leg is a steep learning curve.

We're under AP right now. No breeze for Day #2 just yet.

Stay tuned,
Mikee Anderson-Mitterling
David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl

Spain: Barcelona Report #2

Barcelona Race Week is a smaller regatta with only 29 teams in the 470 class, 19 men's teams, and 10 women's teams. We are racing as a single fleet but are split in the scoring process.

Our first race was to start at 2 o'clock, so we had a leisurely morning in front of us with time to check email and look over our boat. We launched around 12.30 to be first out to the race course and with the other two US teams, we began tuning up our speed, and getting familiar with the course area for the day.

The first race began in 9-11 knots of wind, and we got a good start near the pin. Our speed upwind was not great, but we were fast on the top reach rolling over several boats, and gained distance downwind. The wind was dying over the race, but we managed 10th place in the race.

After the first race the wind died entirely and refilled from the opposite direction. Race two began in 10 knots of wind and upwind swells! We had a poor start near the boat end but found a good exit, and shortly tacked back to starboard. We locked into the upwind waves and found a high speed grove upwind. We passed half the fleet back to round the first mark in 9th place. We rolled two boats on the first reach leg, then passed two more on the downwind. On the final downwind, we were well behind the leaders, but gained tons of distance to finish 5th.

In Race 3, we had an excellent start in the middle of the line in 9 knots of wind. We rode starboard tack most of the way left, tacked and ducked several boats on our hip, and found an excellent speed mode higher than everyone else. We rounded the first mark in 2nd place. We extended on the downwind, but got mixed up in too many tacks on the next upwind. We finished the race 4th.

We are in a three way tie for 4th place and top American team! With the scores so close, and nothing decided, racing will be exciting. There are twelve races scheduled with two drops. For complete results you can check out: http://

'til tomorrow,

Graham & Stu
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Report #3,

Today is Race Day #1 of the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week. 29 boats. Grade #2 ISAF ranked regatta. Four days of racing. Three to four races per day; two on the last day. First race is at 2pm today. 12-noon the following days.

On Thursday we had a great practice in 12-18 knots of breeze from roughly a Southerly direction. We worked on tuning mostly, but also worked in some starts and round-the-marks practice. We were pleased with our pace as the day progressed and are both learning more about the jib we've been working with. A solid 4.5 hour session. Friday was supposed to be a quick 1.5-2 hour session, but the wind gods didn't play. Instead, we replaced a bent centerboard gasket, cleaned the boat, re-checked our tuning numbers, registered for the event, and basically got all the miscellaneous out of the way.

Off to get into our wetsuits...stay tuned!

Mikee Anderson-Mitterling & David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Team McNay-Biehl

Spain: Barcelona Report #1

We have safe fully made it to Barcelona and have already put in two excellent days of training on site. We had no problems with our boat and it is working excellent.

Our first day of training brought awesome breeze in the 15+ knot range with some big swells. We got some great rides on the downwind with the big swells and found that we were still as fast as ever.

Yesterday brought light winds in the 6 knot range with a lot of chop. We found our speed was very quick upwind and found to be average on the downwind.

Barcelona is quite a site with its random bits of architecture scattered throughout the city. Our boat park is actually located under probably the largest solar panel we have ever seen! We have yet to venture into the city itself, but we have located a nice mall that has some excellent sandwiches. Tomorrow we will take a day off to do some sight seeing, it should be pretty spectacular.

For those of you who have not checked our website recently, we have now added a blog page to our website ( )! This blog page will keep you more up to date on our day to day sailing and news, and we will even be able to attach pictures! Have fun with our blog page; please leave any of your comments and encouragements on the blog for everyone to see!

Graham & Stu
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Report #2

We've spent the last two days training in Barcelona with Skip Whyte and the rest of the US 470 teams. More foreign teams have been filtering into the venue and tomorrow looks to be a good day for more on-the-water competition. Yesterday served up some good breeze after the Westerly and North-Easterly battled (the NE'ly won). We worked are great deal on upwind kinetics and making certain that our crew work and trimming was timed right and coordinated. Downwind wave riding was a blast. Barcelona is known for short steep chop mixed on top of swell. As one gets closer to the harbor and sea wall the patterns become more erratic. Fun stuff. Today there wasn't a breath of breeze until roughly 2pm, so we had a late start. Much less velocity today, so the name of the game was working the boat through the waves and chop. We spent the entire practice experimenting with set-up, trim ranges, and body worked. Most of it didn't work, but we took home a few gems! With each little success or lesson we add to our repertoire...

Stay tuned,
Mikee Anderson-Mitterling & David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Team USA 1734
Spain: Barcelona Report #1

Hello from Barcelona. As you may recall from our last email from Detroit, we traveled to Europe on Friday and Saturday. The flight took up most of both days, though we arrived in Barcelona mid-afternoon on Saturday. Our connecting flight took us from Frankfurt to Palma de Mallorca and then onto Barcelona – a bit of an extra stretch in the plane, but well worth the time. We flew over the Alps in bright, clear sunshine. Breathtaking! On our way to Barcelona we approached Palma from the North and exited over the harbor. A gorgeous view of the island and a perfect vantage of its famous cliffs. Barcelona, too, was brilliant. We could see the old city, the Olympic Stadium, the Porto Forum (from where we'll launch for the regatta), among many other sites.

Upon arrival we met up with Jean who passed us the keys to our car for the next three months. We're using a Peugeot van with roof racks and plenty of space in the back for gear. Sunday found us resting and tackling some of the needed organization of a long European campaign. Our hotel is located about a 20min drive North of the sailing venue and about 30min from the city center. Since we rarely have the opportunity to explore the cities we visit while 470 sailing, we decided to head into the city as tourists and kill two bird with one stone – recover from our jet lag and see the city when we had the chance. A good decision! Approximately 12-15 miles of walking ensued while we visited two cathedrals, the old city, and plenty of small shops and local attractions.

Today, the 27th, was spent unloading the containers. Skip Whyte arrived last night. The three of us met at 9:15am and headed to the warehouse South of the city. It was a tall order as we three had to unload the container since the rest of the US 470 team hadn't yet arrived and Sally Barkow's Yngling team and head coach Gary Bodie were having a devil of a time finding the warehouse (directions were confusing, at best). Three containers and three 470s, two Lasers, two coach boats, two Ynglings, and many parts later, the containers were unloaded and we headed to the Porto Forum and wait for the rest of the sailors to arrive.

Success by 6pm. With all bodies accounted for we headed to El Masnou, some showers, and a much deserved dinner.

Thank you to Paco and Deidec and the Hotel Torino in El Masnou. Thank you to Maine Sailing Partners for the mast bags that protected our mast so well during ocean transit. Special thanks to Marylee Goyan, Robbie Haines, Tim Hogan, Julee Steffy, and CISA for all their continued support for our Olympic campaign.

Tomorrow we put the boat together and hit the water. We're well-rested and ready to train.

Stay tuned,
Mikee Anderson-Mitterling & David Hughes
Team USA 1734
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Team USA 1734

Hello from Detroit. Yes, Detroit. We are on a layover before catching a flight to Europe and a busy Spring season in Europe. Up first is the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week, followed by the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, and then Semaine Olympique in Hyeres, France. We'll wrap up this segment in Europe by representing the top Men's team spot at the ISAF World Games in Neusiedl, Austria. For sure, these next seven weeks will be exciting, long, full of challenges, and a great chance for us to test our racing as a team!

Our first job once we get to Barcelona is to pick up our van, have a good dinner, and get some rest. We'll spend Saturday and Sunday organizing ourselves for the week, and most of the day on Monday unloading the container. If all goes well, we'll get out on the water for practice on Tuesday.

To recap previous updates, we spent the month of January and some of February in Miami. There we sailed the 470 North American Championships and the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. Both were ISAF-graded events, completed the 2006 US SAILING TEAM rankings, and were qualifiers for the World Games and Olympic Test Event (in China this coming August). We finished 2nd and 4th respectively and were the top Americans in both events. We were quite happy with these finishes in a fleet dense with foreign talent. Nonetheless, the regattas gave us the top spots on the US Team, World Games, and Test Event. The results also launched us to 19th in the World rankings. Good stuff!

Back in San Diego we've been busy with campaign organization, presentations, boat work, and so forth. It's a full-time job. The No. 1 US Women's team -- Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler -- came to San Diego for two-weeks of training. The camp was very productive on many levels. We focused on boat-handling, in-boat communication, starts, downwind technique, and crewing. Also, we took a tour of the Olympic Trials venue in Long Beach and worked on sail testing. Afterwards, we flew to Miami for Miami Race Week. Mikee raced Mumm 30s and Dave raced Melges 24s. Busy...busy!

Special thanks to Brian Camet, Alex Camet, Jane Rowe, Julie Michels, Kim Kruger, and Marissa Parks for all their help with video taping. Stay tuned for an edited piece available on our website.

Thank you to the gang at North Sails, particularly Vince Brun, Steve Pickle, Chris Snow, Andy Stagg, Chad Hough, Trick Murry, and, of course...Bobby!

Special thanks to Brenda Martin and Billy Clark at Bank of America. Thank you to Tom Carruthers, Whit Batchelor, and JWorld San Diego for lending their coach boat. Thank you to Jay and Pease Glaser. Thank you to Bill Shore, Mark Ewing, Justin Smith, Chuck Brown, Sarah Callahan, and Deneen Demourkas. Thank you to Ray Pope, Jen McCoy, and Rocco at Rigworks, Inc in San Diego.

Thanks to for providing flights to Europe, to Matt Porter and the team at Kokatat Watersports Wear, to Darren and Steve Rosenberg at Kaenon Polarized for all their continued support for our vision, Steve 'Haro' Harrison for his welding expertise, Cameron Roy at Auto Europe for setting up the Euro-van for the upcoming trip, and McLube for providing ample product!

Lastly, a huge thanks to coaches Skip Whyte and Morgan Reeser.

We'll be in touch from Spain!

Stay tuned,
Mikee Anderson-Mitterling & David Hughes
Team USA 1734

Scuttlebutt Sailing Club

GMT Composites

Team McLube

Lemon & Line

Newport Shipyard

Kaenon Polarized

Melges Performance Sailboats

Atlantis WeatherGear

North Sails

North U.

Team One Newport

Doyle Sails

Annapolis Performance Sailing

Ullman Sails

Point Loma Outfitting

click here for list of preferred suppliers

 Latest Issue  |  Archives  |  Calendar  |  Photos  |  Classifieds  |  Extras  |  Forum  |   Scuttlebutt Sailing Club  |  Privacy  |  About  |