Summer 2012

Dear Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation,

I am writing to thank you for your support of my summer sailing this 2012 year. It truly has been one to remember and I have been able to have some incredible experiences sailing around the world that would not have taken place without the help you have provided.

This summer I first ventured to Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota for the US Women's Double Handed Championship. Conditions were extremely humid and EXTREMELY light. There was an organized clinic the first two days and then the regatta the last three. With literally no breeze, and my partner Kennedy Placek from SFYC and I being bigger than the younger girls, we had a tough time staying fast with the other boats. We were very inconsistent with several top 10 finishes and unfortunately almost as many bottom ten finishes. We were not pleased with our overall finish but we had a great time in Minnesota.

Next I flew straight from Minnesota to Newport, RI to practice for the Jr. European Championship in Lake Garda, Italy with my skipper Claudia Taselaar. She and I had not sailed together since CISA clinic in April and had lots of training to do. We sailed for 8 days straight on our own and with LISOT in an organized clinic at Roger Williams University. Not only did we train for long hours, but also we were privileged to watch the America's Cup boats practice out of Fort Adams. Claudia's father Pieter Taselaar is a former Melges 32 world champion and was invited to sail on the boats so we were VIPs for the day and watched some awesome racing. After some epic sailing and spectating, I headed back home to California and sailed the C420 Nationals and the CFJ Nationals.

The CFJ Nationals were hosted at Balboa Yacht Club this year and it was an awesome event. I sailed with Scott Sinks and we came out hoping to defend our 2011 National Championship title. In some light and choppy conditions, we were able to do it again and are now proud two time National Champions winning by 30 points. We had a blast and learned a lot. After coming off this win, I had a week free and then was bound for Lake Garda, Italy.

In Lake Garda, I was to sail the Jr. European Championship in the International 420 and represent the USA. It was an unbelievable experience. I learned so much from being dropped off at the wrong hotel 500km away from my actual hotel surrounded by non-English speaking Italians, to getting locked out of our hotel room... oh and did I mention having a skipper with a broken ankle (that's another story). We sailed in 30 plus knots everyday in the most beautiful, picturesque venue I have ever had the pleasure to compete in. We got a full 5 days of training in followed by a 3 day qualifying series and then a reserve day and the championship. On the reserve day we managed to get in some cave swimming and a truly awe-inspiring gondola ride. We practiced hard and Claudia, my skipper's ankle was feeling better until we started racing and were adjusting our jib and she slammed her ankle again and injured it even more. She was carried everywhere and was not allowed to do much. With the strong winds she was unable to hike the boat flat so we were unable to point as high and did not qualify in the fleet we were hoping. Our finish was a huge disappointment and filled with injury but we made it and had the time of our lives .I am honored to have been a part of Team USA, something I will treasure always. Bonds among us were forged quickly in our 2 weeks together. I am so grateful for the many friendships with my teammates from across the country as well as new international sailing friends I have made.

None of my adventures and sailing opportunities would come to life without the support and dedication you as a foundation generously give to the sport of sailing. Thank you for everything you have helped me achieve in the past few years. I credit most to you. Without the benefit of the foundation I would never have gotten this far. Every one of these regattas whether successful in the score line or not, is a learning experience and a chance to improve in the sport I love so much. Looking forward to my next big regatta in late September. Scott Sinks, Daniel Ron and I will be traveling to the Midwest to compete in US Sailing's Champion of Champions regatta in Wisconsin.

Thanks again!!

Greer Wattson