World University Games in Hong Kong

Good morning!

So it's our first morning in the Athletes Village and Wow! is all I have to say. Everywhere is set up for the games, it is absolutely unbelievable. When we arrived in the Hong Kong airport, we were immediately greeted by WUG officials and were quickly brought through customs. it was if we were royalty and we got to surpass all the lines to get out of the airport. It was dark when we left the airport, but we saw the amazing lights of downtown Hong Kong. The cities here lit up to the max! my time is cut short, we are off to the gym/grocery store. But I'll write back later today. I have a meeting at 2 and the opening ceremonies are tonight as well. But i am just amazed at how big of an event this is and the entire city shut down for it!! I'll write back later

Perry Emsiek

Day One:

August 16 2011 - World University Games 2 on 2 Team Racing in the 470 Class

Good afternoon from the Universiade/Athletes Village in Shenzhen, China! Today was the first day of team racing for the World University Games. Our team consists of Scott Furnary who is a recent graduate of Georgetown, Zeke Horowitz, Alyssa Aitken, and me, all rising seniors at College of Charleston. This morning we arrived at the Shenzhen Maritime Sports School excited to start racing. We have been in China for a week now rigging boats and getting in some practice so we were overly eager to start competing.

Six teams are competing in the 2 vs. 2 team racing regatta in the 470 class, while 7 teams are sailing 3 vs. 3 in Radials. We were preparing to have a light air regatta, given that Shenzhen is known for their absence of breeze and high heat index. Although we did have the unbearable temperatures, we also had a lovely easterly breeze of 8-12 knots. I do not think any of us Americans have EVER sweated this much in our entire life! Nevertheless, the American team sure enjoyed this breeze while racing the lighter teams.

Going into racing we knew our biggest and most valuable strength would be our knowledge of team racing from college sailing and this became very clear early in the day. The foreign teams may have more skilled boat handling in the 470, but we feel good about our team racing skills. All I have to say is... thank goodness for the judges! Our knowledge of the team racing rules was very crucial on the water and definitely allowed us the advantage against the other teams.

Because we engaged our opponents during prestart and started team racing immediately, we executed our game plan and took control. Due to the coaching we receive in college sailing and specifically the spring team racing experience, we were fortunate to go 4-0 against Japan, China, Brazil and Russia. We were happy with our success for day 1 and are extremely anxious to get back out on the water tomorrow!

Besides sailing, we have been to a USA vs. Mexico basketball game and last night, we went to a USA vs. Thailand Men's volleyball match. Ironically, I ran into a volleyball player from Newport Beach who was a year behind me at Mater Dei. Talk about a small world!

Thanks to the NHSF for their assistance. I really appreciate it.

Hope all is well in the states and see you soon!


Day Two:

There was a 2:00pm starting signal for the 470 and Radial Team Racing regatta with 10-12 knots of easterly breeze. Scott, Zeke, Alyssa and I were thrilled for the breeze and even thought that it might too much for the powered up 470's! The 470 carries a pretty big main and doesn't have any hiking straps for the crew making it a little uncomfortable upwind in much over 8-10 knots of breeze for us. But we were pleasantly surprised with another day of perfect breeze and the race committee did a great job of completing 7 really good races to complete both of the round robins.

The first two races of Day Two completed the first round robin and we were fortunate to finish with a 5-0 record. The Brazilian team was considered the "team to beat" since their team included a Radial World Champion, so the win against them was extra special for us. As the racing in the second round robin progressed, the wind lightened up until the seabreeze prevailed and by the afternoon it had glassed off. The race committee completed three races in the second round robin and we managed to go 2-1. We were pleased with our results and were in high spirits sailing to the dock. Two races would be sailed tomorrow to complete the last round before the semi finals.


Day Three:

Today we were given the pleasure to sleep in and hang around the village this morning until our bus time of 1:00pm. There has been a constant trend of having breeze in the morning and dying throughout the day and although we were refreshed, we were a bit skeptical of having the first warning at 3:00. But we were pleasantly surprised to arrive at the venue to see 7-10 knots of breeze. Racing began promptly at 3:00 and after two races we were headed for the launch ramp at 4:00.

Our last race against Brazil could not have been any more heated! At the end of the race we did not know who actually won and we desperately needed to win this race to break a tie breaker with Russia. A rather questionable call was made against us by one judge: Scott and I were confused with the judge's call for the red flag since we were not given ample time to avoid a windward boat or given an escape route. Our protest resulted in a long debate with all of the judges. Fortunately, the four judges over ruled the call giving the penalty to Brazil and the win to us. With that win we are in the number one seed going into the semi finals with a record of 9-1. Russia is 8-2, Brazil is 6-3, and China 3-7. It will be difficult racing tomorrow but we are proud of our hard work and cannot wait to race tomorrow!

In the Laser fleet, Charlie is sitting in 3rd! He is sailing very well and we plan to go watch him dominate the medal race and see him on the podium!

Thank you to NHSF for all their support in racing at the World University Games. I will send an update after the finals.


The Latest:

Ni hao,

Our time in China is coming to a close and we are heading to Charleston tomorrow to start classes. Our sailing finals wrapped up two days ago on the 20th, while fleet medal race finished up yesterday. Because of poor planning by race committee, the 1st and 2nd place teams sailed a best out of three series for gold and the 3rd and 4th place teams sailed against each other for bronze.

Therefore, there were no semi-finals for the team race event. Although it allowed us to only get the gold or silver medal, the 3rd and 4th place team were not given the opportunity to sail for the gold. With this scheduling and because we were seeded 1st after the round robins, we sailed against Russia for the gold. Russia proved to be a very team whose sailors also sailed very well in the 470 Fleet Regatta. They were the only team we lost to in the round robins.

We went out to the race course knowing that we only had to sail three races today but we also knew they would be extremely challenging races due to the fact that Russia is comprised of very skilled and fast sailors. Racing started promptly at 1:00pm and we understood what we had to do if we wanted to be standing at the top of the podium. We had to at least be even or win the start because the race course was too short to play catch up. Sadly, our start was not up to par. We were chasing one pair and the team with the 4th place finish looses the race. We could not execute any maneuvers to get our player out of the 4 spot so Russia won the first race. Our spirits were dampened slightly, but we still had a fighting chance. We came on stronger in the second race and won it with a 1 and 2 and now we had to put everything on the line for the final race. Our team fouled on the first upwind in the last race, which seriously hurt our chances of winning. The Russians pulled away while double teaming our other boat and we had no chance of recovering. It was a horrible way to end the regatta since we had sailed so well and rarely fouled throughout the entire regatta. It was a shame to lose that way, but we were still proud of our efforts in China and being on the podium was the most unbelievable feeling! I took many photos, which I will email when I get back to the states. We're proud to have taken the silver medal but really wanted the gold. Congrats to Russia for winning the gold medal!

Being in China has been an experience of a lifetime and it was completely unforgettable. The production that the Chinese put on was impressive and unreal. I am eternally grateful to have taken part in the World University Games and was able to meet so many great people from around the world. Although I am happy to come back home, I will surely miss the Universiade Village and its surroundings.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially my parents, the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation, and the College of Charleston coaches (Ward, Nick, and Greg) for preparing us to team race at a high level.

I'll never forget this!