By Morgan Larson
As I recline my chairback on United #888,outbound for SFO and home, I look back over twelve days in Qingdao. After eleven days of sailing (sort of) in 3-6 knots, all I can
think about now is the rush of the medal race and how exhilarating it
was for Pete Spaulding and me to race a 49er around the track with nine other elite teams in 20
knots of wind against an outgoing tide! The Spaniards and French
jumped to an early lead, but those of us running 3rd to 10th traded places back and
forth all the way to the finish.
Our coach, Stevie “Wonder” Erickson,
is always saying “never die”.
The Danish brothers, Peter and Soren Hansen, were a great
example of “never die.” Their jib halyard broke on the first beat, but
they kept pushing all the way through the race without a jib, rounded the last mark 10th out of 10, and then slid past all of us who capsized on the final run and grabbed a
The Danes’ performance made me think back to my second Worlds in the 49er,
when Kevin Hall and I broke our mast in a capsize on the final run.
We righted the boat and pulled the pieces onboard and Kevin looked
downwind and said, “Hey, I think we can finish this race.” So we held
up what sail was left and finished second!
To many, Qingdao was a drifter, but to Pete and me it was a great example of how you
must be solid in all conditions. We took a
swim that cost us a medal, so you can be damn sure that, along with our light air
training in San Diego, you will see us
mixing in a few days of big breeze sailing under the Golden Gate.