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Paige Railey - On a roll again
(July 9, 2009) Since its launch in 1994, the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award has been recognized as the pinnacle award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing.
American Paige Railey is the only North American to have won the women’s award, and she did it in 2006 when only 19 years old.
However, since then it has been a rollercoaster for her, but three years later she is on a roll again. Scuttlebutt checked in with Paige for an update:
You were so dominant up to the time you won the ISAF Sailor of the Year award in 2006, but then something changed. Can you explain?
I am going to be very honest when I say it was a burn out. I started to focus too much on other things rather than the main reason as to why I sail which is: I love doing it. I lost that feeling and started to think more on the negative side of things. I had a lot of pressure on me and I was very inexperienced as how to handle it. My failure of losing the U.S. Trials has been one of the biggest learning experiences in my sailing career. After the trials and the initial impact of the loss I was faced with a question. I was either:
A. Going to let my loss break me, or
B. Stand up off the ground, lift my head, and keep moving forward.
To answer how I addressed my problem...I made a choice and said to heck with it!!! Whatever! I lost, I messed up in sailing, I had a down time and I struggled. I stopped caring about what happened in the past and what people thought. I put my blinders on and only focused on a successful future. I don't stress about failure or not doing well, nor do I worry about what happened. My whole outlook on sailing has changed and when I think about everything I say, ‘Wow, I have learned a lot and look at where I am today’.
Now at 22 years old, you are on a roll again.* Can you bring us up to speed on what you have been up to since the 2007 U.S. Olympic Trials?
After the trials I took a step back and had a break. I did some sailing in 2008, but not much. I went back to school and set my focus on trying to get as much as I could done in a short period of time. My time off helped me evaluate my sailing which in the end help me mature with it.
In the fall of 2008 I had a meeting with Luther Carpenter, Anna Tunnicliffe-Funk, and Kenneth Andreasen. We discussed the future and made a plan of becoming training partners. Currently, the US SAILING Team Alphagraphics, which consist of Anna, Emiily Billing, and myself, meet up during the year to do training camps. We also team up with the Under 23 and Under 18 teams and train together. We have a very strong group of sailors and our level is improving as a whole. The dynamics of the team is amazing and we get to work with a variety of coaches. I am very happy with the system that the U.S. has.
From your youth years, your demons were starting line penalties, and then the Rule 42 penalties began to stack up too. What have you done to minimize/ eliminate these issues?
This year has been going great with my penalties. I have had a very, very successful time with it. As I said before, I did a lot of thinking about my sailing. I concluded that if I wanted to improve then I needed to change some things and work on my weaknesses. This year has been dedicated to that and to see my progress has motivated me more to make things better.
How much training and cooperation is occurring now amongst the US Laser Radial sailors, and is this any different than the 2004-2008 quad?
We have a huge amount of fun. This is one of the key ingredients with a successful sailing career. I sit here now in an apartment with all the girls. Emily (Billing) is laughing with Sarah (Lihan) while Anna (Tunnicliffe) watches t.v. and Claire (Dennis) is sitting next to me on her computer. We are all friends and enjoy sailing amongst each other. US SAILING has done an amazing job on the team and in my opinion, I feel our results that the team is presenting represents the improvements.
How much are you juggling right now with your sailing?
I can’t even describe how busy I am. Currently, I am doing more school work then a full time student and I am a full time sailor. Some days I am so exhausted that I fall asleep while doing my work. It’s worth it, but I won't lie; some days are pure hell for me. To summarize since January of 2008 I have had maybe two weeks off where I didn’t sail or do school work.
What is your sailing schedule thru the second half of 2009?
Currently, I am in Copenhagen, Denmark training. I will sail the Europeans which start on the 11th. Then I will head to Japan for the Worlds on the 22nd. The regatta ends on August 2nd and I will return home after a week of backpacking around. I will have maybe a week or so off from summer school and start the fall semester.
Gotta go... off to do some school work.
* Paige Railey record - 2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup Events
2nd - Jan 25-31, US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR - Miami USA
1st - Apr 4-10, Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE - Palma de Majorca ESP
6th - May 27-31, Delta Lloyd Regatta - Medemblik NED
1st - Jun 19-24, Kieler Woche - Kiel GER
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