Autumn Recap

Hello again!

It’s been a busy few months, but this post should bring everyone up to date on what’s been happening with Team Rhode Island, starting with our time in Miami:

We Need Your Help!
We’ve been down in Miami for about 3 weeks now, putting Weetamoe back together and getting back out on the water. After taking the month of October off, it’s been great to be out sailing again! We were able to train with the Canadian Nacra17 team for a few days before they they headed to Abu Dhabi, and sailing with them really helped bring us up to speed quickly and efficiently. We feel as if we haven’t missed a beat! Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on taking everything we learned from Worlds to turn our weak spots into strengths.

While the sailing side of things has been going well, our boat is in need of some help. We need to raise $4,000 to fix our daggerboard cases. We’ve tried everything we can think of, but this repair job will require more than our expertise.Therefore, we’ve started a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise the necessary money to get Weetamoe fixed in time for our next regatta, the ISAF World Cup in Miami, which begins on January 25.

Please follow this link to make a donation: GoFundMe Team Rhode IslandWe’d appreciate any donation to this fund, no matter how small, and please help us spread the word!!

upwind jpeg

ISAF World Championships in Santander:
Once our boat was fully rigged, we headed out on the water and spent the remaining weeks leading up to the regatta training as much as possible. We were lucky enough to have Jeremy’s brother Nathan come out and coach us for a few days, which proved incredibly beneficial. We definitely noticed a huge gain in our sailing over those three days with such a talented coach.

After Nathan left, we rotated between sailing by ourselves, practice races with other international teams, and US training sessions with the teams that had arrived. We learned so much in a very short amount of time, adapting our sailing to every piece of advice we were given. By the time the regatta rolled around, we had made a lot of changes to our technique, and were feeling fairly confident about our chances of making gold fleet.

Unfortunately, our results at the regatta were not what we were hoping for. The wind was all over the place; we couldn’t sail the first day because there was no wind, and then when we did sail it was shifty and puffy and unlike anything we had practiced in. Transitional breeze is difficult enough to sail in, let alone against the top Nacra sailors in the world. Not making gold fleet was a disappointment, but we now know where our weaknesses are, and we are working to never repeat such a result. We took the hit in stride and focused on the rest of the regatta, which unfortunately for us was extremely windy. There were days where we didn’t sail because there was too much breeze, a stark change from the first day of the event. One of the days we sailed 4 races in almost 30kts; it was full on nuclear at times, with boats flipping on down winds and puffs so large we almost flipped on the upwinds. With the exception of one devastating capsize, we held our own fairly nicely, racking up a string of 4th place finishes. We were definitely the lightest team out there, so it felt good knowing that we could handle ourselves in such an extreme condition.

The crazy breeze meant that we didn’t get as many races in as we would’ve liked, but that’s out of our control. We took away a lot of information and new ideas so that when we next compete, we won’t be battling for a top position in Silver Fleet, we’ll be battling for a podium finish.

We decided to take October easy after such an intense event, focusing on getting ourselves ready for the next round of training and regattas. It can be hard sometimes to recognize when it’s time to take a step back and let your mind and body recover. October was the perfect month to step away from the boat because there aren’t any events or training camps. Louisa focused on gaining muscle and coaching at Brown University, and Jeremy focused on his work at North Sails. While it was an uneventful time campaign wise, it was really beneficial for both of us, and we feel more than ready for our winter training!!

Thank you, as always, to our sponsors TeamOne Newport and Sail Newport. Both have been incredibly supportive as we fight our way towards a gold medal.

Sail Newport

team one newport

Podium Finish!

Nacra17 Nationals
This past week, Team Rhode Island ventured south to Oyster Bay for the Nacra 17, 49er, and 49er FX Nationals at Oakcliff Sailing Center. This was our first regatta after months of training in Newport, a chance for us to get some race experience before Worlds and to see how we stacked up against the competition. We felt confident that we’d be in contention for first place, even though we haven’t sailed against any Nacra’s since March, based on the highly regimented practice schedule we’d been adhering to all summer.

We arrived at Oakcliff on Tuesday afternoon, August 19, and immediately set to work getting our charter boat ready for racing. We are very particular about our boat set-up, so it took almost a full day to get the boat close to our standards. Eventually we were ready to go for a sail! We lined up against a few other US Nacra’s in a practice session, struggling a little at first to get used to having other boats nearby. Whenever we practiced alone, we tried to act like there were other boats around, but it’s a different story when they’re actually there. Once the initial hesitations wore off, we were cruising! During the practice races the next day, we won almost every race. This only served to fuel our motivation and confidence to go out and win a National Championship!

Unfortunately, we suffered a slow start to the regatta. We couldn’t seem to go in the right direction and fast at the same time (it was either one or the other). On the first day the Race Committee had us sail 6 races, when the average is about 3 or 4 per day. The breeze steadily picked up throughout the day, starting off light but gusty, and ending with us able to double trap. Oyster Bay is notorious for light breeze, so the Race Committee wanted to get as many races in as possible, in case we couldn’t sail on Saturday or Sunday. Although it left us exhausted, we were thankful for the extra races because it gave us more practice time, and we were able to string a few good races together in the bigger breeze. At the end of the day, we were sitting in 5th place, feeling a little disheartened by our results. We vowed to relax more the next day and have fun, with the knowledge that the results would follow.

Day 2 dawned a little chillier, with an earlier start time and decent breeze once more. We started out strong with a second place finish, mere feet behind the first place boat, which ended up being our best result of the day. We’d gotten better at going in the right direction, but still struggled with speed. It was frustrating and confusing to not have the speed we’d had during the practice races. As far as we were aware, we hadn’t changed our technique in any drastic way. We mulled the problem over throughout the day, and kept doing our best to find that speed we needed to move up in the ranks. Unfortunately, after 4 races that day, we were still sitting in 5th place. 

On Sunday, the last day of the regatta, we decided to make a radical change. We switched out Oakcliff’s race main, which we had used for the previous two days, for our old, ratty main we’d been using since the Miami World Cup. Our thought process was that we’d used our old main during the practice races and felt fast, so might as well give it a shot. 

Our gamble paid off: there were only 2 races sailed that day, a Championship race and the Medal Race, and we won both of them!! Finally, we were sailing at the level we’d been practicing at all summer, and were seeing the results that proved we are indeed a force to be reckoned with on the race course. The Medal Race was particularly satisfying to win, and our success that day allowed us to jump from 5th to 2nd overall!

After sailing catamaran’s for only 9 months, we had a podium finish at the Nacra 17 Nationals!!

medal race win

Crossing the finish line of the Medal Race in First

New Boat & Santander, Spain
Jeremy and I were home for about 36 hours before we hopped on a plane and flew across the ocean to Santander, Spain for the ISAF World Championship. The regatta we’ve been preparing for all year. We arrived in this beautiful city and immediately went to the boat park to greet our new boat! Originally, we had not intended to buy another boat until next year, but the opportunity was too good to pass up. Our options were to scramble to find a charter (after our charter fell through), spend an exorbitant amount of money to send Weetamoe to Spain and back, or buy this boat from an Australian Sailing Team member. We decided to buy the boat.

We lugged our giant sailing bags and sail box through the boat park, excited to meet our new Nacra. We had to put the hulls together, add the tramp, and put up the rig, but it was our boat, so despite the jetlag and exhaustion from the overnight flight, we set to work. We spent all day in the boat park, but thankfully the sun was out and there were a few other teams milling about. The regatta doesn’t start until mid-September, but we arrived early to get our boat sorted out and check out the venue. We’ll be on the water sailing for the next couple of weeks, working on a few more techniques and making sure the boat is perfect before racing begins. 

Be sure to stay tuned as we get closer to the World Championship! There will be more pictures and blog posts to follow soon.

Thank you to Team One Newport, who made sure we look good for Worlds, and Sail Newport, our home training base.

Results for the Nacra17 Nationals can be found here:

and TV coverage of Nationals can be found at :
(although they mispronounce Chafee)

TeamRI is LIVE!

Team Rhode Island 2016 is now live!! 

Team Rhode Island consists of Jeremy Wilmot and Louisa Chafee, who are pursuing a Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the Mixed Multihull Nacra17. They both hail from Rhode Island, and have a fierce passion not only for the state but also for the sport of sailing. 

Creating the Team

We began sailing together in a training camp in December of 2013. Jeremy needed a crew, and I needed a skipper, so we paired up for the training camp with no expectations other than to get more time and experience on the boat. On the first day, I fell out of the boat three times. Yet Jeremy remained patient, and we persevered through the windy training camp, holding our own against more experienced teams. When January training camps rolled around, Jeremy and I paired up once more. I only fell out of the boat once, and we were doing well against the other US teams present. After a week of sailing, Jeremy suggested we become a team and campaign for the Olympics as Team Rhode Island. 

World Championships in Santander, Spain

After deciding to campaign together for the Olympics, we prepared for the ISAF World Cup in Miami. This regatta determined the US Olympic Team, and allocated the first two rounds of spots for the World Championship in Santander, Spain. Based on how we had done in the training camps, we were expecting a top 15 result. But it was a grueling regatta with extremely tricky winds, and we finished as the 5th US team and 23rd overall. We were 2 points out of making the US Team, and 1 point out of a spot in Santander. Despite the frustration of finishing mere points out of qualifying, we left Miami feeling confident that if we could finish that well with only a few weeks of sailing together, imagine what we could accomplish with months of practice! Years of practice! 

Jeremy and I continued to sail training camps in Miami throughout the winter, working around my college sailing schedule and Jeremy’s professional sailing schedule. We held onto the hope that when round three of spots for Santander were announced, the US would be allocated at least one more spot for the Nacra 17. We were guaranteed that next spot, and so we trained, and we waited. 

After I graduated from Brown University in May, Team RI was finally ready to fully launch their campaign. Then the good news came: round three berths had been given out, the US had been allocated another spot for the Nacra17, and Team RI was going to Santander, Spain for the World Championship!!


Jeremy and I decided to purchase a brand new Nacra 17 in order to properly practice and prepare for the Worlds and the Olympics. True to sailor lore, before we were able to sail our new boat Weetamoe, we had to christen her properly! I asked my grandmother, Virginia Chafee, to do the honors of showering the boat with champagne. 

On June 12, which proved to be a beautiful, sunny, blue-sky day, Jeremy and I finally brought our boat down to the water. A small crowd of spectators comprised of family and friends watched as we carefully wheeled Weetamoe into the water, ensuring that her hull did not actually touch the water. Mrs. Chafee gave a small speech, the proper dedication speech for all boats being christened: “I name this boat Weetamoe. May God bless her, and all who sail upon her.” Mrs. Chafee showered the hull with champagne, and after her two crew members had taken a quick swig, we put her hull down in the water. Jeremy’s mother collected the cork, which in sailor lore had to be placed in the hull to ensure luck. Then we were off! The first sail on Weetamoe!

Jeremy and I have been continuing to sail every day since the christening, spending more time on the boat, perfecting our boat handling, speed, and technique. We use Sail Newport as our home base, because we are positive that with the wonderful winds Newport yields, specifically light and shifty in the morning and strong sea breeze in the afternoon, by the end of summer we will be able to handle any condition. 

Please remain on the lookout for more updates as we continue our Journey to the Olympics as Team Rhode Island!