Off to The Games

Annie Nelson and Susan Korzienwski, two of the United States top female catamaran sailors are off to the ISAF Worlds in Austria this month, reporting in daily.

Teamed Up for the Worlds

Terri Mckenna

Off to the Games Susan Korzeniewski and I are off to compete in the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria. The games are on Lake Neusiedl about 1.5 hours from Vienna. The lake borders Hungary and is large enough to see on an atlas. Held every four years, they are set two years before and after the Olympics. The top one or two teams qualify from each country, depending on the class. Ten gold medals will be awarded after 10 days of racing which begins May 10. It will be a long grueling battle. Last summer we qualified when I won the Hobie 16 Women's North American Championships in Ventura, Calif. Susan opted to skipper in the Open event due to personal schedules, and we teamed up after that. She is a skipper and crew with heaps of spinnaker experience, including the Worrell 1000, Tiger Worlds, and Alter Cup, and that will be critical for success this time. We'll be giving updates from the event on a daily basis, at least that is the plan. Both Susan and I have competed in this event but not at the same time. I won a silver medal in '98, and she won a bronze in 2002. We would like to bump those up and make it a trifecta. And we're hoping that by combining our skills we can do it. The Women's Multihull class has traditionally been a Hobie 16. Last Spring we found out that the organizers had dropped our event and made the Multihull event an Open event. When the news spread, the women began networking and lobbied to get it reinstated. After contacting Hobie Cat Europe they agreed to provide the boats, and the organizers let us in. Whew! One little problem though, the boats would have spinnakers. No one in the States, and in many countries for that matter, had sailed with the retrofit. No problem, we got a kite and went sailing. Well, I wish it were that easy. The boat is very different and at least twice as fast downwind. We were hesitant about bearing off in the puffs as Hobie 16s are notorious for pitch poling when loaded up, but for us that hasn't happened yet. In fact, it has been a blast learning what once was a familiar boat, and adding another dimension. The crew must be strong and fearless, and the boat is lively and quick. It's similar to learning to fly small airplanes in that it responds to everything so you better respond too. Larger planes have more power, glide better, and more controls to make it efficient. This little Cessna 152 jumps at every wave, puff, and body movement. A perfect boat for women as we can hold it down in a breeze and muscle it as well. For complete results: -Annie Nelson and Susan Korzeniewski