In late May, the pair finished fourth at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in the Netherlands, in preparation for the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth and Portland in June. Though the regatta doesn't matter in terms of their qualification for Rio, it's still a important for their growth.
"Paris and Helena need to gain more experience on the international racing side," says Mckee. "The international standard is very high, and they need to be comparing themselves against that standard, and consistently be making gains and improvements."
Scutt and Henken have learned from observation of their competitors and the men's 49er teams. Plus, they bring their own arsenal of experience to the playing field.
"We both came into this class with years of skiff experience in the 29er," says Scutt. "It has been interesting to watch the class evolve and see the strength of sailors who came in with Laser Radial or match-racing experience, versus fast-boat sailing. For us, boathandling flows more easily."
"I feel like a more experienced sailor now than I was on the 29er," says Henken. "It's more technical. Instead of just one set of shrouds to keep properly tuned, we now have three to worry about. There's more variety in the trapezing, depending on the conditions. There's much more room to play with the boat and modes."
When they started, they were internationally ranked in the 30s, says Mckee. "Now, if you look at their recent results, they've gotten themselves into the mid-teens at major events. That's a huge jump in six months. They have some gaps in their game, for sure, and they're working hard on them."
Henken says boatspeed is their strength, especially in medium and heavy breeze. "We're working on light-air sailing. At the Pan-Am Games in Toronto [in July], we expect to see light conditions, and we're excited to get into that groove and hone those skills."
Scutt is looking forward to gains the team will be making over the coming months in an effort to help the US Sailing Team Sperry qualify in the class, before turning their attention to qualifying as a team themselves. "We're on the steep part of the learning curve right now," says Scutt. "We're thinking ahead to the most important events on our schedule and making training choices so we get the most out of every day."