A Fork in the Road
Nov23

A Fork in the Road

Hello everyone, Since the end of the 49er Nationals in late August Dane and I have been offered some life altering opportunities as well as have had some challenges to consider regarding competing as a team. With a few significant decisions and milestones to weigh regarding the future of the McBride/Wilson 49er campaign, it’s high time for an update. As some of you may know Willie received an offer in September to coach the top US Sailing Women’s 49er FX Olympic hopefuls, and Dane also received an offer to assume responsibility for the 29er Youth Olympic Development Program. Unfortunately, Willie’s role coaching the women’s team would conflict with the men’s 49er Olympic Trials. We’ve spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of each option, consulting our various life coaches and mentors, and then came back together as a team to make a final decision. The conversation covered a lot of ground, with discussions about our chances of qualification, how our other obligations factored into the equation, and even how a run for the 2020 Olympics might look in each scenario. After a lot of thought and deliberation, we have decided to suspend our campaign while Willie coaches through the end of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Dane will shift his attention to school while continuing to train in the 49er. The last two years of sailing and campaigning have taught us invaluable life lessons as well as built our personal knowledge and skill as both of the coaching offers from US Sailing attest. We don’t consider our efforts missing the mark, nor do we feel we are walking away dissatisfied. Rather we feel we are pursuing the best course of action given all of the factors involved. To everyone who read our social media, who signed up for our mailing list, and who donated to our campaign, we are both deeply grateful. This campaign has absolutely been one of the most informative, soul searching, and formational experiences of our lives, and we would not have been able to experience it without all of you. Words can’t describe our depth of gratitude. And although we have yet to attain the goal we set out to pursue, ultimately we are still committed to and on that path. We’ve learned it’s not a straight line, nor a predictable one. “There is no job, no amount of power, no money to approach the Olympic experience.” —Olympic Gold Medalist, Al Orter Thank you all for helping to give us a taste of that experience. All the best, Willie and...

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Soul Searching, Soul Sailing
Apr05

Soul Searching, Soul Sailing

Hi everyone, It’s been several weeks – even months at this point since our last post here, but during the radio silence we’ve been busy at work off of the water, really reflecting on our first year of sailing together as a team, and our paths looking forward.  After a poor performance at the Miami OCR, our post-regatta process has been a soul searching endeavor, touching on aspects of sports psychology, daily meditations, and for both of us, several introspective weeks getting back to the roots of what makes us happy and productive, and reflecting on the mental challenges at play.  The whole journey so far has been an incredibly informative one, and through our passions for sailing we are excited to continue to forge ahead. For the last year, we have pushed very hard with an emphasis on spending as much time on the water as possible.  Our focus at practices was on learning everything we possibly could about the 49er, and our learning curve was off the charts for the full twelve months.  Between January and September of 2014, we sailed almost exclusively at home, pushing the limits of the boat and building our understanding of what the 49er is capable of.  We sailed rudderless, we sailed blindfolded, we sailed wing-on-wing downwind with the kite – every drill during every practice was aimed at building feel in the boat.  In September, we got our first experience sailing with the entire 49er fleet in Spain at the World Championships, and at first the experience was overwhelming, but after returning home and digesting all of the data from the event, we set about narrowing in our focus for maneuvers and boat speed techniques, practicing more practical skills for racing.  Before the January Miami OCR, we had a few practice sessions with other teams on the water, during which we were able to start putting our speed techniques to the test, and by the time we got to Miami we felt that we had very competitive speed and boat handling.  After some very successful practice races, we were confident going into racing, but during the regatta, our teamwork broke down, and the resulting performance was extremely frustrating – disappointing even given our strong lead up. For me, the time off has been an opportunity to reflect on how this Olympic sailing campaign fits into the broader context of my life at this moment in time, and in the future.  Our time in Miami this winter was an emotionally draining experience, but taking the last few weeks to recharge my batteries has opened my eyes once again to what a truly incredible experience and opportunity this...

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Miami Heat
Jan06

Miami Heat

Two zombies stumble into a chain link pen in a rainstorm… On Sunday night, we were those zombies, as we rolled into the Miami Rowing Club after a 50 hour driving marathon across America, greeted by a 30 second rain squall.  After unloading our two boats in tow, and one on the roof, we grabbed a quick dinner, and hit the pillows hard at the home of our incredible hosts, the Lewis family. As soon as we got to the boat park this morning, the racing started, as the first order of business was to try to be rigged in time for practice races at noon. An hour later, we scarfed a few sandwiches, pounded our remaining supply of water, and headed out for our first sail in Miami in the 49er.  In 6-9 knots, practice racing went very well and we’re feeling excited about the gains we’ve made in the last few months, but there is lots more sailing to come, and many more conditions to be tested, so we look forward to a productive month! One of the biggest challenges today was staying hydrated.  With the humidity, and the scorching sun, we were drenched in sweat from the time we stepped out the door in the morning.  By lunch time we had finished all of our water, and ended up cutting our session to two hours.  After putting our boat away, we made a b-line for the sports store, where we bought more reusable water bottles and grabbed some electrolyte supplements.  We’re all set for tomorrow, and looking forward to a nice, full day of training! We’ll be posting periodic updates throughout the month, and we’ll try to update our Facebook page daily, so be sure to follow along with our progress! Best, Willie and...

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A Pilgrimage to the Gorge
Aug20

A Pilgrimage to the Gorge

In June, we spent five days adventuring in the outdoor Mecca known as the Columbia River Gorge. A sailing, kiting, windsurfing, hiking, outdoor playground unlike any other. This was the locale for the 29er Gorge Speedfest, a clinic and regatta that Dane and I were lucky enough to be coaching. We squeezed in 49er practice time and a little kiting, hiking and even were able to make a few new friends in Hood River, holy ground for the kiting community worldwide. To support the Mcbride.Wilson campaign, please consider making a donation by visiting...

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Between Air and Water
Aug12

Between Air and Water

By Craig Wilson. Sailing is complicated. Not the type of sailing you’re probably thinking about, which might include the grandiose America’s Cup, or the painfully dull meandering wine and cheese bar that typically depicts “sailing” in Hollywood rom-coms. The type of sailing I’m referring to is the all-consuming kind. The kind that engages mind, body, water and air completely. There is no activity as dynamic as sailing. It requires a communion and interplay of a wholly fluid environment. A dual environment of water and air that is entirely unpredictable, chaotic. And yet, within any given moment, when done well balance is struck, energy harnessed, and harmony achieved. If ever there were a metaphor for mindfulness this might be it. This is why the photograph above serves as such a powerful allegory. The sailor frozen in a moment of perfect harmony of mind, body, water and air. The interplay perfect and the entirety of forces at play unique to the moment. The only thing the sailor is required to bring to that moment is their full attention. There is literally no other way to play the game other than being present. As a sailor, the quest is to constantly be in tune, that’s the magic of this type of sailing, riding that edge balancing the interaction of a multitude of forces. Not controlling them, rather responding with them. Craig Wilson is a life long sailor, coach, entrepreneur, and author. The photo above is of Willie McBride, in the foreground, and Dane Wilson, eclipsed, training for the US Olympic qualifiers, striking a moment of balance. Published with permission from Mind + Matter....

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