Local sailor Carson Crain is trying to make the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team and we will be covering his progress. Crain is going to need support to reach his dream; we have plans to help him and we hope you will also.
Where did you grow up and how did you get introduced to the sport of sailing? I grew up in Houston, Texas. My family has vacationed in Northeast Harbor, Maine every summer, so when I was 8, I started taking sailing classes at the Northeast Harbor Sailing School. At age 9, I began competing on the Texas Sailing Association (TSA) youth circuit in the Optimist fleet. From there, I continued competing year round with the goal of representing the United States at international Optimist events.When and where will the next summer Olympic Games be held?
The next Summer Olympics will be held in August of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The sailing competition will take place inside the Rio harbor, with most of the courses being sailed on the south side of Guanabara Bay.
How many hours a week do you practice?
My practice schedule is set up in training blocks of multiple days. The intensity of each block will vary depending on conditions, recovery time, schedule, and focus. When on the water training is the primary focus, we will train 4 or 5 days on and then 1 or 2 days off. Each on the water training session will be very intense and last for 2-4 hours. Along with the on the water training, I will be doing my gym work, recovery/flexibility training, and aerobic training. Together these add another 1 or 2 hours a day to our daily training days.
Is there one move in windsurfing that gives people trouble?
At this level, I would not say there is one move that windsurfers struggle with. Many windsurfers come from a windsurfing only background and therefore some struggle to fully grasp the concepts of racing tactics and positioning. This is a skill that takes time to develop and is one of the defining areas that separates the best in the world from the rest of the fleet. Coming from a sailing background, I find myself in the fortunate situation of having lots of experience with racing tactics and only having to adjust these tactics to the high speed racing of the RS:X.
What other activities do you like to do when you’re not windsurfing?
I like to stay very physically active, so if I am not windsurfing I can usually be found surfing, kite boarding, or playing Ultimate Frisbee with friends. When possible we like to use activities like these to cross train or recover from our windsurfing sessions.
Do you have a girlfriend and does she like to sail?
I do not currently have a girlfriend. Since my training and competition is rather demanding and hectic, it is a struggle to maintain that type of relationship. For my social life, I try to spend as much time as possible with my close friends from Houston during breaks in my training.
The US sailing program didn’t win a single metal in the last Olympics, what can we all do to get the US program back in the money?
As far a getting the US Olympic Sailing Team back on the right path, it is important for us to look long term. Developing Olympic Medalists takes time and so it is important for us to continue to encourage the development of youth sailors and provide them with a clear pathway for Olympic Sailing. This quad, the US Sailing Team has put a heavier focus on domestic training and brought in expert coaches with Olympic experience.
Do you have a site where people can go and get the latest info on your campaign and also make a contribution?
Yes. Followers of my campaign get the latest information about my travels through several avenues. My website www.crainsailing.com allows followers to read blog posts, see videos and photos, and donate to my campaign. I also use my Facebook page “Crainsailing Olympic Campaign”, Twitter @Crainsailing, Instagram @Crainsailing to keep people informed about my campaign. Contributions to my campaign are always welcome. You will find information about campaign sponsorship opportunities, how to make tax deductible donations, and how to purchase Crainsailing campaign t-shirts under the Support Me page of my website, www.crainsailing.com.
People talk about the Olympic experience. What would it mean to you to represent your country?
Representing my country in the Olympics is something I have dreamed about since I was 11 years old. Along the way, I realized that to compete at the highest level you have to devote 100% of your efforts towards achieving your goal. At this moment, I can see how far I have come and the hard work needed to make my dream to reality.
Tell me a little about your practice sessions.
My coach, Kevin Stittle, and I like to plan our practice sessions around a specific focus. This ensures that we are maximizing our time on the water and always striving to get better. Before we leave the beach we will lay out a brief plan on what our goals for the session will be and why these skills will be important to future competitions. During the session this plan will always be changing and adjusting depending on the conditions and how I progress through certain maneuvers. Sometimes we have the opportunity to train with other windsurfers and this allows us to work on specific racing skills, such as congested starts and practice races. For me the most important thing about each practice session is knowing why you are training a certain skill and ensuring you devote yourself completely during the training. It is more important to have a high quality day on the water than a long day in which you accomplish very little.
If you could meet one person from the sailing community who would it be?
Although I have met him before, I would love to spend more time talking to Nathan Outteridge. He is an extremely successful Olympic sailor, winning Gold at the 2012 Olympics in the 49er class, and also was the skipper for 34th America’s Cup Team, Artemis Racing. I would be interested to hear more about the 34th America’s Cup and how he was able to make the transition from Olympic Sailing to the America’s Cup.