August 11, 2006This morning, the waiting was excruciating. The elevator ride to the 17th floor was not long enough to offer any reprieve from the pressure mounting inside me. I opened the door they pointed out and went towards the lights. The selection committee had a sense of humor that lead each sailor selected on a bit, and then broke its poker face. I was five minutes late to a morning activity, and they asked if I was ready to be on time for things. I thought about several excuses but then admitted to losing track of time. They said they would forgive me for the time being, but not if I was going to be late to catch my plane to Hawaii That was the best feeling I have ever had. I am so stoked and so high on life right now. It has been an honor to spend a week with such an amazing group of people and to be around some of the best sailors in the world. The production staff has been top notch. They really looked out for us when they weren’t looking at us from behind the lens. I hope Scott Ikle’s message earlier today will be taken to heart by those not selected. I wish them the best in their future adventures.
August 9, 2006Driving a Catalina is tough enough, but driving one blindfolded takes it to a whole new level. My new hero Robbie Kane docked one expertly with Marcellus Wesley navigating and Jeremy Wilmot engineering. I got a chance on the helm out in the open water approaching the breakwater–the blindfold was a nice twist. Sailing with a blindfold really puts you in touch with the boat and requires you to focus on the crew. The helm loading up, the feel of breeze on your ears, and the input of the crew is all you have to goo by.We had some breeze on today, and were sailing with the same crew as yesterday, which allowed us work on our corners, tacks, and communication. Even with two new bow persons and full crew rotations, our sets improved, communication was more fluid, and boat speed increased. We made it around the track in pretty good form compared to past laps. Today, one thing hit home especially- the direct correlation between the morning team building activities on land, and the team work on the water in the afternoon. Learning to focus on the people around you and fit into the team dynamic has really helped to increase crew efficiency. Every day of sailing brings new lessons and refined maneuvers, so the fun is increasing as exponentially as our collective performance.
August 8, 2006You can’t tell what the pros on the boats are thinking. They have great poker faces. I still have to pinch myself to realize that Andrew Campbell is hanging on to the back of Team Blue’s Catalina 37. I almost get used to seeing Roy Disney at breakfast, but then I pinch myself and realize where I am and what I am doing. This experience is unreal on every front. Everyone is working hard and really maximizing the potential that this experience and platform has to offer. It is so unique and so dynamic that you cannot possibly look beyond the next hour.Today for instance, I was on the bow at the start. That is a very tough, shifty-and did I mention tough?-place to be in 18 knots of breeze. Getting acclimated up on the pointy end was tough, but with the patience of the Black Team and solid instruction from one of my mates I learned a ton and got to see the boat from a 180 degree perspective. One of the constants of this experience has been changing perspectives and applying all of one’s energy into the boat from that new corner. We are all having a blast out there on the water and on land.
August 7, 2006Early to bed early to rise, as they say. Out by 10 p.m., up at 7 a.m. Long days in Long Beach are about to begin. A full schedule of team-building, sailing, and education awaits us. Making good friends as the days progress. Team Blue had a great day yesterday and we totally bonded with each other. We will see what today has in store. I still need to get shoes. I’m so stupid, I should have brought shoes. Off to breakfast Sailing was intense. Our rhythm was a bit off today at the end. Solid breeze continues. Our energy was a little down and our maneuvers were getting sloppier around the really tight triangle. However, our attitude stayed positive and our crew recovered fully after every corner. So that is a big positive to the momentum of Team Blue. Dinner at the QM and Stan Honey got me all wound up. When I hear Stan Honey speak I know that I want to race in the Volvo, no questions asked. It makes this situation all that much more important and all that much more nerve-racking for me.
August 6, 2006Surprise man-overboard swim test at Long Beach Yacht Club. We knew that a swim test was coming, but having life jackets and then getting specific instructions not to wear flip-flops at a yacht club sent a signal that something was going to happen other than a regular swim test. We jumped in with our clothes on. It was surprisingly heavy to have a shirt and shoes on. Sailing the first day was a blast. That is what we came to do-go sailing. It’s fulfilling to get some time on the water in new boats and to see if this team thing could really work. It worked well for Team Blue, the team I am part of as of right now. We remained calm through the whole thing and pushed hard to help each other figure out how to sail the Catalina 37 around the port triangles a little bit quicker than we had the lap before.Sailing Notes: Conditions:12-15 knots, moderate chop, big shifts on the left. Drills: We decided our own positions to start, rounded the track four times, and lined up for a one-lap drag race with a partner. Sail Trim: Jib: Keep cars even with primary, trim leech one inch off spreader. Main: Vang sheet, drop traveler accordingly, and play the mainsheet to moderate heel. Spinnaker: Adjust spinnaker pole butt ¾ way up, snug downhaul, keep spinnaker pole parallel to deck.Boathandling: How to perform three-man tack on jib: Floater breaks, tailer and trimmer move to new leeward side.Comments: We did a good job humping sails, getting the boat to bed, etc. I think we impressed Carol Buchan yesterday with our boathandling and speed in the new boat.
August 5, 2006Five a.m. start to a hectic day. No complaints though, because I woke up quickly. I had some butterflies going, to be sure. The biggest opportunity I have had in sailing is about to commence, and I am not sure what I am heading into. Screaming babies kept me awake for the duration of the five-hour ride to Phoenix. Charlie Enright and I played it safe and sat next to each other. Got to L.A. and were greeted by the camera crew. Pretty wound-up day, like I said, but the Hyatt had all the amenities to calm me down. Went to sleep at 9 p.m. Got all kitted up, that is fun as well. Nothing beats new gear and a sweet bag to carry it in. Robbie Haines and crew made the whole experience as easy as possible.