What’s it like racing on a charted or borrowed boat? Do you feel like this puts you at a disadvantage?
It’s not a big disadvantage. Sometimes it’s an advantage as guys lean on their boats for an edge. College sailing taught me to loose my preference for my own boat. It makes you realize that the fundamentals are what count. You win by being a great sailor, not by having great equipment. There are drawbacks, but it’s taught me some good lessons.
Do you plan to buy a Star in the near future? If so, what design and build?
Next year I’ll hopefully buy one. I’m not sure what kind I’ll get. It’s really tough to get a designer to make you a custom boat. The top guys in the world have those. There’s a P-Star builder in Michigan. I’ll probably consult with him and see if they will make some adjustments. It’s a fun conversation to have. We want a high-quality boat that’s good in all conditions.
What sort of training program are you on?
I bike to work every day, and I lift as many days as I can. I work with Annapolis Sailing Fitness, as I’m trying to gain some weight to bring the boat up. Stars require a different level of fitness. With Lasers its lots more running. You have to be aware of [these differences], as it makes an impact on your sailing. If I get to a point where Star sailing is exhausting me, I’ll know that I need to work harder in the gym!
Why weren’t you at this year’s Miami Olympic Class Regatta?
I was there but I didn’t sail. We had just gotten back home from the Star Worlds in Rio and my crew needed to work and I needed to figure out a way to pay my rent. Plus, the logistics of getting our boat up there so fast were really hard. So I was there as a coach for Charlie Buckingham, he’s on the US Development Team for Lasers. I learned a lot from coaching Charlie but I would always rather sail the event. The reality of an Olympic campaign is that you can’t always do every event. The [Star] sailors who sailed both [the Worlds and the OCR] needed to have two boats and crews to get them set them up. I’m jealous of those guys!
What draws you to Olympic sailing?
I really enjoy the purity of Olympic sailing. For the most part guys are only in it to be great sailors. Being there makes you a great sailor. I love the pursuit of excellence [that is Olympic sailing]. There’s a great fraternity of respect, and great friendships.
You’ve been sailing with a few different crew in the past two years, but you’ve settled on campaigning with Brad Nichol for the 2012 Games. What makes this partnership so strong?
Brad is a very good marketer of our sailing and he’s great at fundraising. He’s a great Star sailor and he’s proven himself in the class. He’s got lots of experience and history with Stars. And he has a strong desire to win. Hopefully he sees an opportunity with me. He and I are on the same page.
What are your thoughts on US Sailing’s one-regatta format for selecting the sailors who represent the U.S. at the Olympics?
The one-regatta format has a lot of merit. It’s probably the right way to test a sailor for the one-regatta Olympics. The reality is that I think that they are moving towards a multi-regatta format. I do not think that this is a failure of the one-regatta system; it’s a failure of participation. An international [multi-regatta] format would benefit classes like the 420. Some classes will be a better fit for it than others.
How strong do you think your chances are to make the team for the 2012 Olympics? Also, how do you think your chances are for medaling in 2012?
It’s hard to say. I’m still new to the class. You can never be sure how many legends will come out of the woodwork and put up a serious fight. There are a lot of guys out there that I can’t compete with right now. My biggest challenge is to fundraise properly to get a boat and sails.
What do the next few years of your life look like as you prepare for the 2012 Games?
I’m really excited to be involved with a lot more sailing, and more sailing in other boats. Sailing Lasers limited this for me. I need to do a lot of other sailing to raise money for my Star campaign. I’m really psyched to do this—I enjoy all [sailing]. It all contributes to making me a better Star sailor. I couldn’t be happier.
Tell me about the Melges 32 sailing that you’ve been doing.
I’ve been racing on a boat called Ninkasi for a little over a year. I’ve done every event with them except for this year’s Key West Race Week. I started trimming main for them and just recently I switched into the Tactician’s role, which I will ideally hold onto. The 32 is really fun, it’s a great way to get back into the team dynamic. I really enjoy rallying people around a common goal.
What other avenues of sailing interest you? The America’s Cup? The Volvo? Big boats?
I grew up in a household where the America’s Cup was a normal thing. I really appreciate how those guys pursue the sport. Aside from the Olympics, the Cup is the highest level and I look forward to hopefully getting into it.