3 Lessons from 2 Weeks in Rio

  |   Regatta, Sport, Training, Travel

Everyday is filled with opportunities to learn and grow. We try to make the most of our days by taking each of these opportunities. These are just a few of so many lessons from our opportunity to train in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


  1. Drinking water is a privilege, not a right.


We have become accustomed to having fresh water on demand at any time, in any place throughout our lives. Even in California’s drought; sweet, cold, fresh water is served at no cost up front. We can even drink the water as we take a shower.


This is not the case in most other places in the world, including Brasil. Every sip of water comes at a cost. We pay for a glass of water at a restaurant. We even pay to fill a bottle at the gym. To fill bottles at home, we need to treat and filter it first. Staying hydrated is not only important for performance, it is important for health in general…hydration is a privilege to be cherished!


  1. There is no Magic Eye…On water or land.


Recognizing patterns is a powerful skill on the race course and in most aspects of life that we have experienced so far, allowing us to make better and better decisions based on what we observe over time.


Racing a 49er in the afternoon breeze to leeward of Sugarloaf Mountain on Guanabara Bay is a time when the breeze is constantly pulsing, oscillating, and developing into an entirely different breeze. This is a time when it is easy to convince yourself that you and your “Magic Eye” have discovered a pattern, a pattern that will help you predict the character of the breeze in the next leg or the next race. In reality there may not be a pattern that we can comprehend in this moment, no matter how clear it may be in hindsight.


Racing a high performance boat or racing through life, there are times to ignore the “Magic Eye,” and just do the next best thing. Set the rig up for the breeze you see for the first beat, and sail toward the best breeze you can see at that time. Off the race course… No matter what has happened so far, do the next best thing with what you know now.


  1. It Takes Three.


Olympic sailing shares a common aspect with all other professional sports. Success is the result of having the right people involved in the right way, athletes and coaches come together to create a team. The team is not complete without the right coach, as it is incomplete without the right athletes. A winning 49er team is built from three great sailors: a helm, a crew, and a coach.


Guanabara Bay’s unforgiving racecourses highlight and emphasize the importance of the coaches role. In addition to keeping athletes hydrated and switched on, the coach is continuously collecting information about the state of the breeze and current that affect the playing field. This information is passed on to the athletes to support good decisions that lead to good races, great regattas, and a successful campaign.

AUTHOR - Dan Morris