Historic regatta in my view and a milestone event marking the path to follow for future Olympic multihulls.
Historic regatta in my view and a milestone event marking the path to follow for future Olympic multihulls.
Sarah Newberry has 16 years experience as a sailing-athlete and coach. Recently she spent 4 years as a professional athlete in the Olympic sphere, and acted as full-time a training partner for the United States Olympic Team in the lead up to the 2016 Games. Established as one of the best female drivers in performance sailing in U.S. history, Sarah has won five National Championships, two North American Championships, and the ISAF World Cup Miami.
On today’s Episode Sarah and I discuss:
My 3 Big Takeaways
“We ran full-speed into something we weren’t expecting.”
Thus did Dean Brenner, the outgoing head of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, describe the shellacking his team experienced at the 2012 London Olympics when it failed to win a single medal at the sailing venue in Weymouth.
But did they really? Did the team’s failure to get a single sailor on the podium really come as a complete surprise? And did things really go off the rails as badly as it seemed?
First, a reminder of just how bad it was. Not only did the 2012 Olympic regattarepresent the first time the United States failed to win a single medal since the 1936 Games in Berlin, Germany, but it was a year in which the U.S. team had actually hoped to turn things around.
Ever since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, in which the United States finished well down in the overall medal count with just a pair of bronzes, there had been growing concern the team was failing to keep up with the completion. In the years that followed, it had some notable successes, including a four-medal effort spearheaded by a dramatic come-from-behind overall victory by Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl in the Star class at the Sydney Games, and gold for Anna Tunnicliffe in the Laser Radial class at the Beijing Olympics. However, there was no getting around the fact that the United States still failed on each occasion to crack the top three in terms of medal counts.
In the run-up to the games the 2012 Games, the U.S. team had worked hard to increase its cohesion and provide its sailors with more resources, thanks to the financial support of organizations like the Sperry company. It had also updated its selection process, requiring sailors to compete at the international level for spots on the final team, as opposed to just competing again other sailors in the United States.
In the end, though, at Weymouth the U.S. team was only able to even finish in the top 10 in three of the 10 classes: women’s match racing, the Laser Radial and Star classes. The best finish out of the bunch was a fifth in the match-racing event.
Fortunately, if there’s one thing Americans do well, it’s pick themselves back up again after they’ve been knocked down. And that’s exactly what the team did under the leadership of Brenner’s successor as managing director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, former SAIL publisher Josh Adams.
The result has been not only a renewed commitment to doing well at the upcoming Olympic regatta in Rio August 8-18, but at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and beyond in an effort that now goes full-bore from the beginning to the end of each Olympic quadrennium.
As part of this commitment to the long term, the team is also focusing on getting as many young sailors as possible into Olympic-style sailing and training, so that there will never again be a shortage of fresh talent to replace those sailors currently on the team when they decide to move on—much as has long been the case with the better-funded efforts in some other countries.
At the center of this ongoing campaign is what the Olympic Sailing Committee calls its Olympic Development Program (ODP), an initiative that formally kicked off in the winter of 2014-15 with the start of a $7.2 million, 10-year plan called “Project Pipeline:” an effort to provide as many young sailors as possible with high-level coaching, exposure to high-performance boats of the kind that will prepare them for the actual Olympic classes, and the chance to compete at the international level.
Throughout the year, for example, US Sailing now holds a series of training camps, at places like Long Beach, California, Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, and Newport, Rhode Island, where young sailors selected at a number of “observation” regattas are exposed to top-level coaching and have a chance to sail against other similarly selected peers. The sailors at these camps who show the most promise are then invited to become a part of a national travel team, which goes to a number of youth international class regattas. This travel team also serves as a springboard for the US Sailing Youth Worlds Team, which competes at the annual Youth Worlds Regatta, which will be taking place this year in New Zealand in December.
Throughout, these young sailors (around 250 of whom took part in the program in 2015) sail primarily on International 420s, Laser Radials and 29ers—the thinking being that these are not only the boats used in the Youth Worlds, but also provide the best stepping stones toward those same Olympic classes in which it is hoped these young sailors will someday prevail.
“All eyes are going to shift to Rio this summer, but throughout that same time the ODP isn’t going to slow down a bit,” Adams says, emphasizing the long-term perspective of the program. “It just keeps chugging along.”
Another key aspect of the U.S. team’s approach to the Rio Olympics has been to spend as much time racing and training in Guanabara Bay as possible. Photo courtesy Us Sailing/Onne Van der Wal
As for the athletes comprising US Sailing Team Sperry, the group from which the Olympic roster is drawn, Adams says the approach is much the same: access to the absolute best coaching available and lots of sailing at the international level, including as much time as possible sailing on Rio’s Guanabara Bay. The latter, in particular, Adam says is crucial since in addition its well-publicized cleanliness issues, it is also a body of water replete with tricky currents and swirling winds.
To this end, as far back as 2013, US Sailing Team Sperry established a training facility at the Clube Naval Charitas in Niterói, about five miles east of Rio and at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, directly across from the Olympic sailing venue. Not only has this facility provided easy access to the seven race areas being set aside for the Olympic regatta; it also allows the team to keep a full complement of boats and gear at the ready so that when the sailors arrive for either a regatta or training they can get out on the water as quickly as possible.
Not surprisingly, the team has been taking full advantage of this resource since the day it opened, getting familiar with area both during training and in the context of such regattas as the Aquece Rio pre-Olympic test events in 2015 and 2016. In the three months leading up the Games themselves the entire team has also been coming down to Niterói for a series of 10-day training camps—each one of which takes place at the same point in the tidal cycle as the Olympics—to become even more familiar with where they’ll be sailing for medals.
The team has also been well represented at other events such as the Sailing World Cup regattas in Miami, Florida, and Hyeres, France, so that it can hone its skills against the best of the best. Of course, this kind of thing is neither easy on the sailors nor cheap. But according to Adams, it’s an essential part of becoming competitive at the Olympic level, given the increasingly professionalized training regimens that have become the norm in any number of othercountries, such as New Zealand, Australia, China and Great Britain.
As for coaching, one of the Olympic Sailing Committee’s earliest moves after it met in late 2012 to do a post mortem on Weymouth was bring in two-time Olympic bronze medalist Charlie McKee to serve as the team’s high performance director—a kind of “head coach” for the entire Olympic sailing effort.
“My job is to guide the long-term direction of the team with Josh, make sure our priorities are in line with our goals and guide the training of the athletes, and work with individual coaches,” says McKee, whose medals came in the 470 and 49er classes in the 1988 and 2000 Olympics, summing up his role with respect to the rest of the team.
At the same time, while admitting that he “watches a lot of racing” McKee emphasizes that his approach is a flexible one in which he allows the individual coaches to tailor their coaching to the unique needs of the various different sailors and teams: a smart strategy given that the final Olympic roster alone includes 15 sailors and 13 different coaches and training staff.
It also makes sense given the depth of coaching talent McKee has on hand, including such veterans as long-time Olympic coach Luther Carpenter, Mark Reynolds, Morgan Reeser, Mark Littlejohn and Dave Ullman, who was recently recognized as a Coach of the Year for his efforts. In all, the staff can claim more than two-dozen medals earned as sailors or coaches to its credit—an impressive resume.
Top-quality coaching has been a priority since the very beginning of this Olympiad: here US Sailing Team Sperry coach Dave Dellengbaugh works with 470 sailors Stu McNay and Dave Hughes on the same waters where the Olympic regatta will be held
Equally impressive, says McKee, is the way a number of this year’s Olympic alternates have stepped up to help with the current team’s final preparations by serving as training partners out on the water.
“It’s a really positive thing,” McKee says, citing the way athletes like Laser Radial sailor Erika Reineke, and 49er sailors Judge Ryan and Hans Henken, have been spending weeks helping their teammates during their final tune ups. Also pitching in down in Rio are Nacra 17 sailor Sarah Newberry and 49er sailor Trevor Byrd, who are helping out Nacra 17 Olympians Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee. “The sailors are telling me, ‘I want to get the most out of this quad as I can and use it as a springboard for the next quad. It’s that level of dedication that matches what you need to succeed. That is how you build a program, how you build depth,” McKee says.
He adds that both the current and future teams are going to need this kind of dedication, and more if they hope to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive Olympic environment. “The game is totally different now. It’s full-time all four years for everybody these days,” he says, noting that in terms of on-site preparation for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he sailed a mere two regattas there.
“Clearly, the game has become more time-intensive and physical. The athletes spend more time practicing than we did. It’s also a lot more expensive. Just showing up to race is not a formula for success.”
Then, of course, there is the question of the sailors’ health, both as it relates to the Zika virus and the sanitary conditions on Guanabara Bay.
With respect to the bay, Adams and McKee say the U.S. team was well aware that pollution was a reason for concern well before the media got its teeth into the story, and the team has reacted accordingly: studying the situation in depth and crafting a protocol designed to minimize the risk of illness.
“We got ahead of it several years ago, before the headlines, and ran our own water study, which our medical team used to come up with a set of recommendations,” Adams says. “These include vaccinations, the athletes watching their diet, and cleaning up their boats and gear, as well as their bodies, after each on-the-water session. We also follow a team medical protocol in the event any athlete should get sick.”
As for Zika, Adams admits that, like the rest of the medical community, his team doesn’t have all the answers. However, he says he is in contact with Olympic organizers and the team’s health specialists, who are keeping the team abreast of the latest developments.
“This has been a developing international medical concern, an issue for all the Olympic athletes, not just the sailors,” Adams says. “We are prepared as a team and feel confident in the concrete steps we have taken to prepare the athletes to be healthy and safe.
“In the end,” he adds, with respect to the various political problems Brazil was also experiencing as this issue went to press, “what we want is for people to remember a great regatta,”
Finally, there is the question of how the U.S. team will fare this time around: will fans have to grin and bear a “rebuilding” Olympiad, or will there be a medal or two they can celebrate?
Not surprisingly, both Adams and McKee are guarded, to say the least, when it comes to making predictions. Nonetheless, no matter what happens it’s clear they feel pretty good about both their current team and where US Sailing Team Sperry is headed in general—both making a point of the fact that for 12 of the 15 sailors headed to Rio, it will be their very first Olympics.
That said, there are also some veterans on the roster who are undoubtedly hungry for their place in the sun, and over the past couple of years a number of newcomers have been quite successful on the international stage as well. (For more on who they’re up against, see “Sizing Up the Competition.”)
“You’re never as bad as you look when you’re not winning, and you’re not necessarily as good as you look when you are,” McKee says with regard to how the team did four years ago, adding that if a couple of breaks had gone the other way, the results might have been very different than they were.
Translation: if the team sails up to its potential and makes the most of the vagaries that are part and parcel of sailboat racing, there may very well be reason for U.S. sailing fans to celebrate. Let the Games begin!
SAIL will also be covering the regatta in real-time with a series of daily e-newslettersthat will be broadcast from the beginning to the end of the regatta
New College alumna Sarah Newberry is campaigning to represent the United States in mixed multihull sailing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro...
NOVEMBER 02 2015
Sarah Newberry is a born-and-raised Miami local who also happens to be one of the top-ranked sailing talents in the world. At the moment, she’s training to represent the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Her event is known as multihull sailing, and while we have no idea how that differs from say, monohull sailing, we know (from Newberry’s Instagram feed) that it looks really hard. Newberry likens the path to Rio to a “four-year job interview” of training and competitions—and that’s just to make the cut.
As such, Newberry doesn’t have much downtime these days, but a little while back she met up with The Standard for a laid-back afternoon on the water. “On a good day it’s just heaven to sail out on the Gulf Stream off short in the ocean.” So that's what we did: set off from the no-frills Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island—one of the oldest yacht clubs in the city—and headed for Flagler Monument Island—featuring obelisks dedicated to Miami’s founding father Henry Flagler—before coasting on to Pace Picnic Island. Finally, we landed at our ultimate destination, The Standard, Miami Beach where Newberry spent a few hours relaxing by the pool—vital preparation for the long road of competitions ahead.
Published on October 23rd, 2015
Sarah Newberry and Matthew Whitehead (USA) won the 2015 Zhik F18 Americas Championship, topping the field of 28 teams during the 15 race series held October 19-23 in Charlotte Harbor, FL. In addition to the Americas crown, Newberry and Whitehead won the 2015 U.S. F18 Nationals laurels and the 2015 Zhik F18 Americas Mixed-Crew title.
Newberry and Whitehead finished off the championship the way they started it, with a bullet. The U.S. Olympic Sailing Team hopefuls didn’t need it. Two third-place finishes in Friday’s races had already sealed the title, but the win added an emphatic finish to a dominant performance that saw the duo win seven of 15 races. Their worst finishes were a sixth and a seventh on Thursday, both of which didn’t count under the regatta’s two throw-out format.
Three-time defending champions Michael Easton and Tripp Burd had the winners in their sights as Friday began with winds in the mid-teens and a menacing sky. But despite winning the second race, they were still 12 points back with one race to go and no mathematical chance to win. They finished with a sixth place and wound up 17 points back.
Michael Easton: “It was awesome sailing all week. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to an event where the wind was so steady 10-20 from the same direction for 6 straight days. The level of the US fleet has definitely improved which made coming back in a race and winning races that much harder. Sarah and Matt seemed to have a boat speed advantage for most of the week. We started figuring out our tuning and gears on our Falcon with Glaser sails after losing our rig on Monday, but it was a little too late to stage a big comeback.”
John Casey and Colin Page notched two second-place finishes, but a sixth in Race 2 cost them a chance to overtake Easton and Burd for second place overall. They finished two points back in third. Charles Tomeo and Dalton Tebo jumped up a spot to fourth place on the strength of a win in the first race Friday and a pair of fifths to end the day. Olivier Pilon and Maxime Loiselle of Canada logged a pair of fourths trying to hold onto their Day 4 position, but a 12th place in the last race forced them to burn their second throw-out on that race and they wound up five points back of Tomeo and Tebo. Robbie Daniel Keenan Madewell had their best day of the week, with a third, a sixth and an eighth, to place sixth overall.
Scott Miller and Alberto Serrano won the Zhik F18 Americas Masters title, beating a 10-crew field of sailors with a combined age of 85 or older. Dubbed by sailors as the “strongest men in the fleet” after they ripped the head of 2 main sails this week, they finished 11th overall, finishing in the Top 10 in seven of 15 races. Their best result was a sixth on Wednesday.
Overall Top 5 results:
1. Newberry/Whitehead (24 points)
2. Easton/Burd (41 points)
3. Casey/Page (43 points)
4. Tomeo/Tebo (55 points)
5. Pilon/Loiselle (66 points)
Aug 15 2015, 10:20am
Courtesy of US Sailing Team Sperry. Photo by Will Ricketson
Catamarans will make their first Olympic appearance since 2008 at the Rio Games next summer, in a new sailing event featuring the Nacra 17. The boats are light and capsize easily, with curved, keel-like daggerboards that provide enough lift to raise one of the carbon-fiber hulls out of the water while reaching speeds as high as 35 miles per hour. The Nacra 17 boats are the fastest in the U.S. Olympic fleet; only windsurfers can reach higher speeds, and then only under certain conditions.
The Nacra 17 class is also notable for who makes up its two-person crews: with one man and one woman per team, it's one of the few Olympic events where athletes of both genders compete together. The previous Olympic catamaran was the Tornado class. In 2008, the Tornado class was open to both men and women, but the Tornado was a larger, heavier boat and the crews wound up being mostly men. Part of the reason the International Sailing Federation recommended the Nacra 17 for the 2016 Olympic Games was the boat's suitability for both men and women to crew and drive.
Sarah Newberry and Matthew Whitehead will crew the U.S. Nacra 17 this weekend in Rio at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta, when Olympic sailing teams from 52 different countries will test the venue before next summer's Games.
Newberry, 27, is the driver, and Whitehead, 22, the crew. While most teams have been sailing together for the past quadrennium, or four-year Olympic period, they've been sailing together only since December last year. The biggest challenge for Newberry and Whitehead coming into this weekend's test was establishing a level of teamwork required to hang with the 20 fastest Nacra teams in the world.
"We've spent the past six months in a full-on push to get where we need to be," Newberry said. "And we're there. Our communication as a team is really good and really simple. We use concise keywords because if you end up doing double-takes it could be the difference between being upright and not."
"One of the things about the boat that makes it right for being coed is that catamarans have always been a counter-culture corner of the sport of sailing," said Richard Finney, a sailing instructor who coached Newberry on catamarans as a young adult. "I think when they brought the catamaran back they said, 'Here's a chance to do something a little bit different.'"
Newberry and Whitehead racing the Nacra 17
The first English account of catamaran sailing comes from a British adventurer who spotted the boats along the southwestern coast of India in the 1690s. The word "catamaran" is a bastardization of the indigenous Tamil word for the boat, kaṭṭumara. Unlike most sailboats, catamarans grew from beach culture. They were designed to be launched from beaches, and the people who crewed them reflected their heritage.
Catamarans have long had a sort of outsider status. In a 1876 New York Yacht Club race, for example, a Long Island teenager in a catamaran beat out a roster of New York City millionaires; multi-hull boats were banned from the club's races for the next hundred years. In the 1960s, Hobart Alter, a sailor, surfer, and fiberglass-and-board pioneer who died last year, developed the Hobie Cat, probably the most widely known catamaran—yet another non-traditional sport that emerged from Southern California.
"Catamarans don't fit into yacht club parking lots, or boat parks," Finney said. "They take up more space, and they're wider. They've always been problematic. The boats are different, and the people who crew them are different."
To guarantee their places on the U.S. Olympic squad, Newberry and Whitehead will compete in two qualifying events next winter: the ISAF World Sailing Cup in Miami and the Nacra 17 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.
"The two events are quite close together, they're both in the U.S., and the combined results from those two events are the Olympic trials in that class," said Josh Adams, managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. "Sarah and Matt are focusing on both types of qualifying: to make sure the U.S. has a spot at the Games in the Nacra 17 class, and to make sure they're the crew."
While Newberry and Whitehead will measure their teamwork against the other international teams this weekend in Rio, the regatta serves more as proof of readiness for the venue than for the athletes themselves.
"Some of it's still under construction, but everything seems to be on track and doing well," Adams said. "So far, no major problems."
One of the lingering questions concerning all saltwater sports at the 2016 Games, however, has been water quality in Guanabara Bay. Newberry said it's something people are thinking about.
"There's a lot of conversation about that right now, but we just have to go out and do our jobs," she said. "The U.S. Sailing Team came down and tested the water quality and tells us it's fine. That makes going out there easy because what else can we do? We feel we've taken all of the precautions we can."
You get the immediate sense when you meet Americans Dan Morris and David Liebenberg that they are on a mission and won’t be distracted by the pitfalls and shortcomings of recent US lack of success in Olympic Sailing. They are on a mission, and have put aside 6 years to achieve their objective. Following the 2016 Rio Games, the pair will set their sights immediately on the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
As four dozen Nacra-17 catamarans rounded the second mark during an ISAF World Cup race, they caused an aquatic traffic jam in the middle of Biscayne Bay. The sounds of the sharp turn in a stiff breeze were unmistakable — rippling sails, clinking halyards, battering waves and, above the din, yelling sailors.
What else would you expect? Pensive, peaceful sailing does not apply to the Nacra cats, fleetest of the Olympic fleet and the only co-ed division. One man and one woman sail these $35,000 thoroughbreds of the sport, and they can reach speeds of 27 mph as they fly on one hull across the water, reminiscent of the supersonic America’s Cup AC72 hydrofoils.
Maneuvering the Nacras not only requires strength, agility and tactical prowess but also interpersonal skills. Impeccable seamanship and unflappable partnership characterize the top Nacra duos.
“The mixed-gender concept is quite interesting,” said local sailor John Casey, who is paired with Kristen Lane of San Francisco. “Men and women don’t communicate the same way. They are emotionally different. They don’t handle pressure in a high-performance environment in the same manner. Learning to talk to your partner is the biggest challenge of this class.”
The ISAF regatta featuring 800 sailors from 63 countries in all Olympic and Paralympic classes has turned Miami’s blue backyard into the globe’s sailing mecca through Saturday. The event gives still-evolving Nacra teams a chance to prepare for the world championships and Olympic qualifying.
The Nacras are like the mixed doubles division of tennis. Skipper and crew need the grace of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the timing of George Burns and Gracie Allen, and the harmony of Sonny and Cher. Even when a squall blows through, as it did Monday, when five masts were snapped, including Casey’s.
“Men normally see things black or white, and women see more shades, more choices,” said Casey, who sails out of the Miami Yacht Club. “Men live in the present a little easier. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just different.”
Two-time U.S. Olympian and former Bacardi Cup and national Laser champion Mark Mendelblatt of Miami is partnered with his wife, Carolina Borges, a two-time Olympian in windsurfing for Brazil. They have not required a marriage counselor.
“Not yet, anyway,” said Mendelblatt, who decided to try Nacras when the Star class was removed from the Olympics. “She’s more patient; I’m more prone to get excited. She’s a natural crew because of her windsurfing strength. She’s not afraid of the speed and closing in on other boats while I’m the big, heavy guy accustomed to the slower, tactical Stars.”
They have handled stress well, such as on Monday, when they capsized and had to be picked up by another Nacra.
“We’re getting it together,” he said. “We try not to be rude, but we’re tough on each other. We feel comfortable saying anything to each other.”
The U.S. is not on pace to place any Nacras in Saturday’s top-10 medal round. The Americans are emerging from a state of flux, with many changes of partners since last summer. Casey and Miami’s Sarah Newberry decided to dissolve their alliance after finishing 30th in the 2014 world championships, about 15 places lower than they expected. Both are used to driving, and Casey felt out of position as crew.
Newberry, who is in 21st place as the top American, has been partnered with Matthew Whitehead of Panama City, Fla., for two months and likes their progress.
“Matt is so mellow, and I’m the high-strung one,” said Newberry, who has been reading books and articles on gender relations. “It’s such an exciting sports-car type of boat, with so many moving pieces requiring quick decision-making that you really need good chemistry.”
During Monday’s madness, when half the fleet didn’t finish, the jib of Newberry and Whitehead’s boat ripped in half when they capsized. On Wednesday, a mast cleat broke, but Newberry and Whitehead quickly devised a way for him to wrap the spinnaker sheet around the cleat.
“We took a deep breath, resolved it and only temporarily fell behind one boat,” Whitehead said. “We balance each other.”
For those with compatibility problems, sports psychologist Jerry May is available. But not on the water, when partners are pelted by salty spray, hiking out high above the waves, and there’s no time for a battle of the sexes.
Explained Casey: “To make the boat do what you want each second of the race when the breeze is blowing, you’re hanging off the trapeze and you’re on the edge of a wipeout, you really have to understand each other.”
Oct 1, 2014
Key West, Florida (October 1, 2014) – Papa’s Pilar®, the super-premium rum inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s spirit of adventure, announced plans today to support U.S. Sailing hopefuls Sarah Newberry and John Casey in their quest to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Newberry/Casey are the top ranked U.S. Olympic Nacra 17 (performance catamaran used for racing) Team, and multiple-time National and North American Champions in a variety of high-performance, high-speed, multihull classes. John is one of the most accomplished multihull sailors in the U.S. as both helm and crew, and Sarah is the top ranked female helm (driver) in the Western Hemisphere.
From October 19-24, the duo will compete in the National Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas. Then, it’s off to Miami for three important events: the U.S. Training Camp (December 16-21), North American Championships (January 17-19, 2015) and ISAF World Cup (January 27-31, 2015). Papa’s Pilar will join Newberry/Casey on their Olympic journey at these and other events, speaking engagements and regattas. As part of the partnership, the team’s boat and uniforms will bear the Papa’s Pilar logo as they compete, travel and explore the world. Along the way, the award-winning rum hopes to inspire the team to live as Hemingway did.
“Papa’s Pilar is proud to support Sarah and John as they embark upon their biggest adventure to date,” said Lindsey Kops, brand director for Papa’s Pilar. “Like our award-winning rum, they are bold, well-traveled, and uniquely American. These tremendous athletes truly embody the brand’s ‘Never A Spectator’ mentality.”
“The way we live and compete is a reflection of our sense of adventure,” said John Casey. “With a deep love of the ocean, we immerse ourselves into each event and challenge on and off the water. Like Hemingway, we don’t spectate…we live.”
PAPA’S PILAR RUM
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About Hemingway Rum Company, LLC
Hemingway Rum Company, LLC is a distilled spirits company based in Florida that’s dedicated to producing super-premium multi-sourced solera blended artisanal rums. The Company’s inaugural offerings are Papa’s Pilar™ Dark and Blonde rums, incepted and crafted by a seasoned team of best-in-class partners. The Company encourages consumers of legal drinking age to Live Courageously and Drink Responsibly and proudly supports local organizations that serve Ernest Hemingway’s adventurous, literary and conservational legacy.
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By 2006, Newberry had won the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship and enrolled at New College of Florida, a school with a sailing club that operates in Sarasota Bay.
Published on November 25th, 2013
Among the Americans campaigning in the new Olympic multihull event – the Nacra 17 – is of Miami, FL, who shares of the lessons since beginning her journey a year ago…
What an amazing experience it was to be able to participate in the 2013 TEDxYouth@Miami event. I was honored and humbled to have shared the stage with so many young and brilliant people. It was especially cool that Max Blum, one of my students, was there presenting and had inspired me to create my own talk.
For those of you who couldn’t make it, and who haven’t watched the video, I’m going to use this post to share the things that I spoke about on stage, and a little more. Just a quick update: right now John Casey is on his way back from an AWESOME Cata Cup event in St. Barth. He headed over there a few weeks ago to race on the Cirrus F18 with Luke Ramsay, our training partner in the Nacra 17. I was jealous but so so excited for the guys to get in some great sailing in one of the most beautiful venues in the world. Thanks to St. Barth Properties for their endless support of John Casey, and, consequently, me!
Since he’s been gone, I’ve been hitting the water with some talented sailors, spending an ungodly amount of time in the gym (with great training partners like Kristin Lane and Emmett Moore), and working hard on chipping away at all of the (much less fun) on-the-land tasks involved in an Olympic Campaign. Before JC left, and after he gets back, we’re in full on winter training mode here in Miami and thoroughly enjoying it. We’ve had so many gorgeous days out in the gulfstream, and in the bay, and are really pleased with the strides we’ve been taking forward with the carbon rig and our performance as a team. You can’t beat 18 knots in 8 foot swell and deep blue water! Oh yeah, and 80 degree weather…
In between all of this fun stuff, I put together a talk for this year’s TEDxYouth@Miami event. If you’re not familiar with TED or it’s little brother, TEDx, an event like this is made up of a combination of TEDTalks video and live speakers that are curated to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. You can find more information on TED and TEDx here.
Three years ago I had my first TED experience, and it marked a very important moment in my maturity, and it empowered me to use my passion to set some of the biggest goals of my life.
As a TEDX presenter I had the opportunity to share a little about my relationship with the water, my family’s love for the sport of sailing, and some of the successes that I have had as an athlete in this sport. I was a young adult considering who I wanted to be, reflecting on what I loved and was passionate about, and trying to discover how to create a lifestyle in which I could pursue these things.
So, naturally, I decided it would be a great idea to announce, in front of a global audience, my intention to start a four-year campaign to compete for an Olympic Medal in the 2016 Games.
Looking back I’m not sure where I got the nerve to make this announcement, but I’m glad I did.
An Olympic Campaign can be described as an intensive, four year project with a major focus on peak-performance in the year of the Olympic Games. Being a campaigning athlete means that we sail up to 200 days a year, travel around the globe to train and compete, and balance physical and mental fitness with logistics.
Since I began this campaign, as most of you know, I teamed up with one of the most talented male sailors in the United States, John Casey, began a full time training schedule, won two US National Championships, one North American Championship (Nacra 17 NAs 2013 in Pensacola!), a World Cup event, and were the top ranked American team at the US Nacra 17 National Championship. We even got a taste of what it’s liked to be ranked #1 in the World and we’re working hard to keep chasing that level of success.
Now, instead of trying to figure out how to follow my dreams, I am in active pursuit of success and I have learned that there is so much work to do and so little time to do it in, and that this is something that never, ever changes when you set extraordinary goals for yourself.
What has become more and more clear to me as I train, compete, and travel as a full-time sailor is that the quest for success as a world class athlete teaches simple, universal lessons. Here are some of my favorites:
Accept the possibility of failure. Know that you need to fail in order to grow, and understand the potential for failure to occur. While I have experienced some of my greatest successes over the course of the past two years, I have also experienced some of my greatest failures – and, at least in those cases, they taught me more than winning ever would have.
Believe. No matter how many times you have lost before, you WILL win the next one. This belief is directly related to how much work you put in to accomplishing the task at hand.
Keep good company. People who are as talented and excellent as you want to be challenge you to work harder, improve faster, and be MORE CONFIDENT in your ability to come out on top. Surround yourself with excellent people, you will be even more challenged to be excellent yourself.
The only way to win is to share your secrets. Winning is a collaborative process, and you cannot succeed by keeping those around you down. Share with your competitors, and they will become your best training partners.
Empower the people around you. Don’t just empower your teammates, classmates or co-workers. Share your experiences and your skills with people you meet. YOU are the only person who knows the lessons you have learned, and you can help build your working environment through a willingness to share with others. By doing this, you inspire those individuals to share in the same way, and you show others that it takes a lot more than speed and talent to become a true champion.
Never stop learning. I was at TEDx as a presenter because I taught my student Max how to sail, and he taught me, through his presentation on his own sailing experiences, that perseverance and confidence are two things that even the youngest student can learn and even the highest level coach cannot simply teach. You have to have a desire to succeed and the patience to learn from mistakes.
There are no magic tricks involved in becoming a champion and this is not a list of tips for getting ahead in life or sports or business. Becoming a champion is as simple as becoming a person who strives for excellence and seeks to help create it.
And that is who I want to be. Not just one of the best competitors in the world, but:
A person who knows the risk of failure and has total confidence in her ability. Someone who believes, faithfully, that she will win because she has prepared to. I want to be a person who is always looking hard for ways to help create a stronger culture of excellence and who is willing to share, endlessly. And not only a competitor and athlete, but a friend and supporter who empowers the people around her to achieve.
Finally, I hope very much that even after the Olympics are over in 2016, and well up until the very last days of my life, that I will have succeeded at always being a good and curious and generous learner. That is really the key – learning from failures and successes, and never failing to take pleasure in the process.
People train their whole lives to win a medal. I am training to win a medal, and this endeavor is training me for life. What’s the difference between me and a true champion? Just a little more work, everyday. And that is a simple, universal lesson.
Thanks so much to Arvi Balseiro, Lisa Herbert, Cindy Ley, Sheryl Rudnick, Ivonne Labrada-Leichtling, Naomi Siegler, Amy Lehman for facilitating so much of this event, Andrea Livingston, Michelle Fotiadis, Jennifer Geimer, Karen Gulaskey, Tom & Lisa Mozloom, Cheryl Rogers, Tracy Ross, Jill Sevilla, and more for helping run this event. I am honored to have shared the stage with Jared Keinert and 2 Billion Under 20, Lauren Maunus, McCall Horton, Philip Koenig, Anyssa Chebbi, Haley Oberhofer, Michael Anthony Espino, Noa Richard, Josiah Mozloom, Max Blum, James (Woody) Beckham, and Jay Flores!
Sarah Newberry: Primed to take the next step
Published on January 21st, 2013
The pendulum has swung back. Interest in multihull sailing is on the rise. Heck, even ISAF decided a new catamaran design – the Nacra 17 – was Olympic worthy. So for the next four years, the race is on to see who can become the very best by the 2016 Games.
A leading contender is the team of Sarah Newberry (24) and John Casey (38). Both have made their mark in the U.S. multihull scene and are primed to take this next step. With the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami next week, Scuttlebutt checked in with Sarah regarding their campaign:
1. What has, up to this point in your sailing, given you the confidence to take this step?
I think that the Olympic path is one I have always wanted to be on. I spent a long time trying to understand the way a campaign works from the outside, and asking questions because I was too shy to take action instead. A lot of experienced friends, like Jay and Pease Glaser, were very patient about this.
Then, after sailing very well for several days at the 2011 US Multihull Championship, I lost first place in the event because I was unprepared. I had only practiced once or twice in six months, and honestly, I didn’t even really understand how to sail the F16 Viper. I learned what lack of discipline and dedication could feel like, and it shocked me into changing the way I looked at sailing – I decided to re-approach my sport. I realized I had to treat myself like a real athlete or I would never be happy racing.
Last fall I gave a presentation which was livestreamed to a global audience. I shared how my passion for the sport had grown over time, and how it had led me to decide to pursue a path to the 2016 Games. Having to announce this goal to folks around the world was a pretty big step. Saying it out loud really directed my approach.
When the Nacra 17 was announced this past spring as the multihull for the Games, I made the phone call and put my name on the list to purchase a boat. Afterward, in a panic, I called my mother and said: “Mom, I think I just did something really crazy.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish it, but I knew committing to the boat was the next step and that my conviction was really all I needed to make everything work out.
So the answer is: it wasn’t so much the confidence as much as blind determination that has gotten me this far. Now I have started to develop the kind of true confidence that one needs to keep taking intelligent steps forward.
2. Has the uncertainty of multihulls in the Olympics since 2008 had any impact on how you approach sailing?
This is a great question. I think it really has impacted the way I approached the idea of becoming involved in Olympic sailing. I certainly do not take for granted the fact that the multihull has representation now, and I feel that ensuring that it continues to be represented is a responsibility that we share as racers and enthusiasts.
Multihull sailors know what it feels like to not have an Olympic path. The uncertainty, at least in my case, has created quite a sense of urgency to participate – and especially a sense of urgency to participate in a way that can help to develop multihull sailing from the ground up in the United States. I don’t want to see the path disappear again. I think it’s lent me a very community-oriented sensibility. I want to share my experiences and processes to help raise the level and build the sport.
3. When ISAF selected the Nacra 17, they did so based on a new prototype. Now that production has begun, how are the boats getting distributed?
There are ten boats coming to North America in the first container. Six of them are going to U.S. teams, and the others belong to teams who chose to have their boats shipped here. The boats arrived in time for us to begin training last week, and we are looking forward to competing next week in the ISAF World Cup Miami. More boats will come for U.S. teams late next spring as well.
4. This is a mixed event. Does the Nacra 17 lend itself to a specific skipper/crew combo?
I don’t think it’s fair to say yet. We know that in our case the female skipper and male crew combination is the way to go, and while in many cases we think this will turn out to be a strong approach, we really don’t believe that we can speak for other teams.
As far as our campaign is concerned it’s very simple. I am a bad crew. Not because I’m bad at crewing, but simply because compared to John it takes me years to hoist the spinnaker. So my abilities are limited and I know it. As a fantastic skipper, John Casey could easily take on either role – but would need a strong lady on the bow to pull strings.
As you can tell, we’re playing on our strengths as a team and not just as individual sailors. I can’t wait to see some serious female crews take on the guys at top mark roundings though!
5. How did you and John get connected? What do you see as each of your attributes that will make this a good team?
I feel very fortunate to be teamed up with John. We’ve known each other a long time even though we had never sailed together. When I was fifteen and puttering around the race course on a Hobie 16 I was idolizing guys like John Casey who were out there racing Nacra 20s and F18s up the coast in the Worrell 1000 and the Tybee 500.
Our situation just sort of unfolded. We were both hoping to put together a strong campaign, and I had even tested the waters a bit with some fantastic crews. By the end of this summer, the idea of sailing together was introduced to us by some mutual friends in the multihull racing world. John has always really been a skipper, and one of the best in the country. So when he offered to crew for me I was pretty floored.
After a few practice days to feel things out we had realized that not only was the skill level there, but we also seemed to genuinely get along. That was a big plus. John fell into the crew position so easily it’s almost frightening – I think when you sail a performance multihull with a 115 pound girl, the crew position is especially challenging at first because it requires so much communication to get everything flowing. It’s a big transition to make.
Moving forward there are a few things that I think will be the standout attributes. John comes on board as a highly experienced helm, and a very good coach. I am learning so much from him. His experience also makes him a very patient crew, and the ability to stay calm and reason things out on the boat is something that we share. I like to think that what I bring to the table is good communication skills and a natural feel for the helm. I’ve sailed a lot of boats with a lot of different partners. What we both know is that being a successful mixed-gender team is hard. We’re totally on top of that idea. Good communication is something that keeps any business running or any relationship strong and so it’s one of our biggest goals as a team.
Finally, while we know that there are going to be difficult moments along the way we share an incredible dedication to our practice as athletes and sailors. This is something that makes me so excited about our partnership.
6. The US Olympic review report would like to see training opportunities improve stateside to reduce the cost of European training. How much can you accomplish in the U.S. and what needs would pull you out of the country?
So much can be accomplished here in the U.S. There is an incredible amount of talent in U.S. multihull sailing right now. We have a community-oriented training approach, and we know that there will be a lot of value in staying in North America for training.
With that said, most of the racing we do will happen in Europe. So we are trying to stay very smart about selecting which events to sail abroad. We are choosing the events that fit our plans as a group – and we are really looking forward to being able to show what we can do as a U.S. team in the next year. For now we know that we’ll be spending quite a bit of time prepping for the Nacra 17 World Championship in Holland in the summer. Most likely you’ll see us in Europe for little while beforehand at least. And as we move forward we’ll be sharing information on our campaign and the group training on our blog. Keep your eyes peeled. Good things are happening for U.S. multihull sailing!
You can follow Sarah and John at…
Website and blog: www.usamultihull2016.com
by Jake Fish, US Sailing 19 Nov 2012 15:19 HKT15-18 November 2012
Newberry becomes first woman skipper to win event
Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and Kenny Pierce (Hialeah, Fla.) capped a perfect week by finishing first in Sunday's only race. The duo won the 2012 U.S. Multihull Championship, hosted by the Pensacola Beach Yacht Club, with 14 wins in 14 races. Not only were they undefeated, but Newberry made history by becoming the first woman skipper to claim the U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Trophy, a US Sailing National Championship.
"I'm so pleased and so honored," said Newberry, who was sailing in her fifth U.S. Multihull Championship, all as a skipper. "It was great to sail with Kenny this week, who's such a great sailor, and has been a hero of mine." Newberry and Pierce are members of the Miami Yacht Club. Pierce is the 2006 Nacra 20 National Champion.
Newberry and Pierce won by a 23-point margin over Sandra Tartaglino (Tiverton, R.I.) and crew Glenn Holmes (Pensacola, Fla.). Finishing third was Eric Witte (Fairfield, Conn.) and Tyler Holmes (Panama City, Fla.).
"I thought we communicated well this week, despite not racing together before," said Newberry. "We made good transitions and were always focused on our next move."
Newberry has started an Olympic campaign for Rio 2016, with crew John Casey. "We will start training more full time in December," she added.
There was very light wind today for the F16 Catamarans on Santa Rosa Sound. The Race Committee originally planned for two races on Sunday.
Newberry finished sixth out of 19 teams last year at the U.S. Multihull Championship in Long Beach, Calif. The last woman to win the U.S. Multihull Championship was Kathy Ward who crewed for Mike Montague in 2003.
The U.S. Mulithull Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., Gill North America, and Hobie Polarized. This Championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.
Dan Morris and Dave Liebenberg Launched their official 49er campaign back in October and launched their new website over the
Christmas /New Years Holidays. They will be spending the winter in Florida before embarking on an extensive European tour mixed in with
some Long Beach training before rounding out the year in Argentina, and with some luck and support, a spot on the Olympic Team sailing
the murky waters of Rio in 2016.
Good guys and a good program...
Returning to San Francisco Bay in early February, we could not be happier with our first winter in Florida
that marks the beginning of what will be a very successful Olympic Effort! We began training in Florida at
the end of November. After nearly six weeks of training on the water, grinding in the gym, and toiling in
the boat park we had our first opportunity to compare ourselves to the very best in the world.
In mid-January we competed in the 49er Midwinter Regatta. Finishing this regatta with an improved understanding
of what it would take to perform well at the upcoming ISAF Sailing World Cup - Miami.
We had a chance to analyze our weaknesses and to narrow the focus in our training.
With less than a week before the start of SWC - Miami, a new 49er became available. We purchased the boat
and worked long hours, taking shifts working and sleeping through the nights. With two days left before the
start of the regatta we were back on the water training with help from coach Chris Rast. He worked with us
throughout the event and was a great asset to the team.
59 teams showed up to compete at SWC - Miami. The fleet was split into two groups that would race separately for
the first two days of qualifying racing. Results from those days would be used to seed the fleet into Gold and Silver fleets.
Our goal for this event was to make Gold fleet. We had a strong start to the regatta on day one,
and moved up the scorecard everyday throughout the event. We made Gold fleet and finished in 14th overall.
This was a great way to begin our Olympic Effort!
Our results in Miami have made us one of two teams on the US Sailing Team Sperry. As a part of the US Team
we will have additional support with logistics, coaching, and performance based funding. We are very excited to
be a part of the US Sailing Team as our campaign progresses.
After SWC - Miami, we had a full workload to pack up the new boat to be shipped to Palma de Mallorca for our
next big training block and regatta. We sent our new boat, race sails, and tools to Europe. After packing up the
new boat, we moved the old boat to Clearwater for the last regatta of our winter in Florida.
The North American Championship in Clearwater, FL was another great learning opportunity for D&D Racing.
The 2016 World Championship will be held at the same venue next February. Three days of racing in Clearwater
with a variety of conditions gave us an idea of what it will take to perform well next year. Clearwater can provide
a huge variety of conditions that all have their own pattern. We will make it a point to spend a large amount of time
in Clearwater next fall/winter to learn these patterns and prepare for the World Championship that will be a part of the US Olympic Trials.
These three regattas allowed us to define our strengths and weaknesses. The biggest takeaway is that we have the ability
and confidence to hang with the very best in the world! Getting off the starting line consistently is one of hardest things to
do in 49er class and is the area we need to spend the most time developing. There are several other smaller areas that
we will be focusing on, but our relative lack of time in the boat is our biggest weakness. Not all time in the boat is created equal,
excellent training partners and a top notch coach make time on the water infinitely more valuable. This is why we are spending
4 months in Europe this summer sailing against the best in the world.
Spending the rest of February in California, We will find a good balance of sailing, fitness training, and fundraising to occupy
every bit of time between now and March 4, when we depart for Palma de Mallorca to begin our European tour!
You get the immediate sense when you meet the crew of D&D Racing, they are on a mission and won't be distracted by the pitfalls and shortcomings of recent US lack of success in Olympic Sailing in general and the 49er class in particular. With only a Bronze medal at 2000 Sydney Games via the McKee brothers in the 49ers debut year, Three cycles since have been a complete drought. Dan Morris and David Liebenberg are well aware of the circumstances and the long road to hoe it will be to change the status quo. With funding and monetary support inferior to many of the top teams just a fraction of what other countries offer their athletes are assisted with, it's a challenge both off and on the water.
At 27 and 24 years of age respectively, the college grads with lengthy sailing resumes, embody a very serious tone to their program, and are willing to put in the hard work and sacrifices that need to be made in order to succeed. This is not a one and done project, they have put aside 6 years to achieve their objective. Following the 2016 Rio Games, the pair will set their sights immediately on the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Their recipe for success incorporates intense training and competing against the best in the world. To beat the best, you need rise to their level.
After conducting a lengthy interview with David & Dan , it's hard not to believe they have the ability to change the recent course of US 49er success!