Next August Kim Couranz and I plan to go to the Snipe Worlds in Denmark, my first regatta outside of North America since 2006. For international events like this, the sailing is the easiest part: once we push off the dock, it's just like home. It's the shoreside stuff that can be distractingly different, which could affect our performance.
So last week I pulled out my old Olympic lists, to remind myself of all the details that add up to international success. Here’s a peek at my notes, reorganized into a pre-event time frame:
Long term (6 months to 1 year out):
Great sailors get snapped up early, so lining up teammates well in advance is crucial. (This is the only item I can check off as “complete.”)
A bad day on the race course is a lot easier to get over if there’s a welcoming couch at “home,” and another bad day is a lot less likely after a good night’s sleep. (Kim, the housing czar has already started the search.)
To even consider sponsorship, most companies need to be approached at least a year in advance. Even private fundraising takes time to plan and execute—and then more time before the checks start rolling in.
Medium Term (1-6 months out)
Buy plane tickets early. Figure out boat transport/storage (or charter). Check paperwork (passport, boat papers, proof of insurance).
Test cold weather options. Don’t pack anything that hasn’t already been worn in similar conditions.
Update any tired gear (lines, hardware, sails) before the boat ships. Don’t try anything radically different, unless we know our speed is off the pace—then try everything we can think of.
Short Term (1-3 weeks before departure)
- Goal: well-rested and well-hydrated for last 2 weeks.
- Travel light! Not easy with all that sailing gear, but packing last minute will help. (The later I pack, the less time there is for impulsive additions.)
After Arrival (3-5 days before event begins)
- Locate housing and boat. The boat park will probably be the most familiar place of all and the center of daily activity.
- Locate grocery store, coffee shop, get recommendations for restaurants. Maximize cultural experiences but minimize culinary adventures.
Once the regatta starts, my ultimate goal will be to relax and enjoy the great team, fantastic meals, and fun competition. Isn’t it amazing where sailing takes us?
And with all this great planning, the sailing will indeed be the easiest part.