How Do You Prepare For Key West Race Week?

Some unconventional high-speed preparation for Key West leaves Air Force Racing with a scar or two before the big regatta.

Every sailor and every team has its own way of preparing for high-level competition. What I find interesting is how this varies from sailor to sailor and team to team.

For some, the preparation ritual consists of a precise and calculated procedure of logistics, boat work, pre-regatta tuning, looking at new sails, video debriefs, strategy meetings, etc…The high performance teams have this scheduling down to the minutes and seconds of the day. On the other hand, you have the sailors who prefer to wing it or sink their nerves at the beer tent the night before.

I’m writing about this because all of a sudden I have been thinking about how our team ‘Air Force Racing’ prepares for an event.

For the most part we are just going through the motions. We start by setting up our conference call with the God Father, Vince Brun, to lock in our sail inventory; we then organize logistics and make sure the boat is 100 percent race ready. This is pretty standard, but our main difference is how we prepare mentally and physically.

For the team, deciding to compete at Key West Race Week, or any regatta for that matter, involves bringing the two vans equipped with the Melges 24, four Moths, and the coach boat. It’s an interesting package to see travelling down the road and some might think it’s a bit much for a 24 program. That has some truth, but for us it’s necessary for our pre-regatta preparation.

In our opinion, the best way to turn your sailings instincts and sensors on is to chase your teammates around the course at 20 to 30 knots of boatspeed. The foiling moth is demanding-adrenaline-pumping sailing that pushes your limits- especially when it’s choppy! However, lately we are realizing it might not be the smartest way to prepare for an event.

Right now we are driving down Route 1 to Key West a day behind schedule. Bora (our helm) has a nice scar under his eye, from a previous foiling session, and I am still very dazed after I got ejected from the boat earlier today.

This makes me wonder how other teams prepare for regattas. Giving yourself a mild concussion and then driving down the Keys cannot be too common. On another note, is there a way to do this without risking injury? Personally, I don’t think this team can go back to Laser sailing… It is what it is, and we love it.

Have you ever thought about the unique things you or your team does to prepare for an event? Leaving superstitions aside, I think you will realize everyone has their own rituals for preparing for the big event.

Safe travels,
Jeremy

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