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The 2015 Volvo Gill British Nationals was an amazing experience, possibly the best in my life so far, although I was only 12. I had three marvelous coaches, Tomas Ruiz de Luque, Mitch Hall, and Scott Lindley, and such an incredible team. We had two and a half days of practice with perfect conditions and I learned so much after just 2 short days.
The first day of the regatta was wet, cold, and windy. Race committee had us postponed on land for multiple hours until finally, after a numberless amount of card games were played, the AP flag went down. We all rushed to our boats adjusting our sails while struggling to put our dry suits on. Everyone was racing to get their boats to the beach at the same time every other sailor was, making for huge messes and a numerous amount of paint chips. Once the hundreds of sailors attending the regatta had gotten their boats to the beach, we all waited anxiously for the launch flag to go up. After waiting for maybe half an hour of our team getting to know each other better and awaiting the launch flag, AP was put up yet again. We were done for the day. Many sailors let out a breath of relief, not wanting to sail in thirty knots and three-foot waves. That night most of our team played card games and really connected with at least one person. By the end of the night we all knew each other fairly well, which made us so much stronger as a team. The next two days of the regatta were rainy but not as cold or windy. The sailing was good and our team definitely connected a lot more.
We had our lay day next which was very, very fun. Our team went to a castle with little, wet, grass hills resulting in every guy and me sliding down them in every way possible. We all ended up getting multiple grass stains and killing lots of grass. The next activity planned was segways. We were all thrilled yet nervous, none of us ever having been on a segway. So our team went out and yet again, it’s me and the guys doing stupid stuff and falling off our segways a various amount of times. The last two days everyone was split into gold or silver fleet. No matter which fleet you were sailing with the whole team was supportive. After another long two days the regatta was over. But the scores didn’t matter, we all knew that, we all knew it was the experience and what we learned from the regatta. Although no one said it, I know we were all thinking it as we did our last Team USA team hug, embracing each other and our coaches in a bone-crushing hug. We all waved goodbye to each other already missing each other.
We all exchanged numbers and some sort of social media to keep in touch with one another. I am actually texting one of my teammates, Mateo Farina, right now and our whole team has a running group chat. All in all, that trip was the best experience ever and I made 14 new best friends along the way.