Grinding It Out for Victory Challenge

American Andrew Lewis, 24, rotates as a grinder for the Swedish America's Cup syndicate. "A Voice From Valencia" from our April 19, 2007, /AC eNewsletter/

VVLewisStB
Victory Challenge

What a frustrating time here in Valencia for Victory Challenge and all the teams. For the past few moths it's been push, push, push, and suddenly we have three days of no wind! Unreal! Luckily we have Dave Perry as our rules guy here so he's been keeping us on our game with a lot of match racing videos. And our team talks keep driving home the importance of keeping our heads high and being ready to fight.Our first matches were supposed to be against Team Shosholoza and Luna Rossa, which would've been a hard day for sure. Shosholoza is a team we should beat, but they have shown some good sailing. We aren't underestimating them. If we get a good start we think we'll be faster when the wind comes on. We'll try for a good clean race and use our talent to beat them. Prada's a whole different story, a hard fight. We think we can accelerate better than them so we plan to hold them to the last second in the pre-start and then go for a timed run for the line. The Prada guys are some of the best starters in the fleet, so we will just try and get off the line in control.Today, I'm just sitting standby for my position as the guys out on the water wait for wind. As grinders we rotate throughout the racing. The rotation is a day-to-day thing and it depends on how people are feeling. For example, if the day before we've had two races or one hard race with a huge tacking duel or if a guy's not feeling 100 percent, we'll rotate. The point is we want as much power in the pumps as we can possibly get. The decision to rotate out is a personal one-we know our body better then someone else. So if you're not full power, it's better to rotate, lay low with a light gym session, watch a movie, stay out of the sun, keep your intensity up, and get ready to destroy the handles the next day. We haven't done any sailing yet, obviously, so no rotation required. When my rotation comes I'll either be an aft grinder or a heavy-air strategist, depending on if they need more power in the pumps.We didn't do as well as we'd hoped in Act 13, but I think we'll do better in the match racing than in the fleet racing. We have a lot of talent on our team. Some people on the outside don't think it's been used well, but those decisions are made by people who are much higher up than me. Let's all keep are fingers crossed for better breeze the next few days so we can have a chance to redeem ourselves.