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Striving for Cohesion with Ten

14 February 2016

Here is Day Two onboard with Team Hydra, recently crowned Corinthian Champs at the Gold Cup. A very special thanks to Hydra media chick Lexi Petter:

Breakfast burritos and yogurts in hand, we convened this morning in a loose circle to listen to our sponsors Jason Carroll and Dick DeVos weigh in on what they think makes a great sailing team click. They both underscored the necessity of repetition in everything we do: if something works, we must note it and do it exactly the same way the next time. This seems like common sense, but when nine people jam on to a Melges 32 who almost entirely come from a dinghy background, this can prove very difficult. Dick DeVos drew a parallel to the methodical pre-flight checklists he completes when flying helicopters and planes.

Another resounding theme was trust. DeVos and Carroll agreed that on and off the water, the Argo and Volpe/ Delta teams act as teams. This translates to an implicit trust in your teammates to do their respective jobs effectively and efficiently every time. Jason nodded, saying that he knows every sailor on his team works as a unit at all times. I asked Jonathon McKee how to make that happen for Hydra. He chuckled and said, “Well, you can’t force it with any sort of exercises, that’s for sure. I guess it takes time.” With only six months to prepare for Worlds, time is against us. This will be one of our greatest challenges. 

Each boat in the fleet took on a youth from Lauderdale Yacht Club as part of a Melges 32 youth initiative. Sixteen-year-old Chase Sabadash of Lauderdale Yacht Club joined Hydra. (I wonder how many other times a Melges 32 has been raced with ten people?) He hiked hard next to Morgan, so he got a perfect vantage forward to all of the antics on board. Erika and Mac knew Chase, so he effortlessly melded with the crew, often joking with us between races. He said of the sailing today: “There’s so much going on. It was crazy to see all that has to happen to maneuver a boat. It’s hard enough getting two people to move together—let alone eight!”

Incredibly variable breezes prevailed today. Farley said in a candid moment to Erika Reineke and me at the end of the day that it was “some of the toughest sailing I’ve seen in years.” This echoed Marty’s words at the post-race cockpit chat on the way in from racing. “I don’t want to overanalyze today. Let’s move on. Tactically, it wasn’t something to dwell on.” Still, we learned a lot about boat speed, boat heel, and roll tacks. 

Tomorrow we will be competing in three races in heavier pressure. It’ll be our chance to shine.