Competing in the ICLA 6 at the recent Sailing World Championships in The Hague, the Netherlands, St Francis Sailing Foundation (StFSF) grantee Charlotte Rose took fifth overall, an incredible accomplishment. Both Rose and fellow US Sailing Team member and StFSF grantee Erika Reinecke qualified the USA for Paris 2024 in the ICLA 6. Reflecting at home in Houston and taking some well-earned time off with just a little sailing and some coaching, Rose is feeling good about where she’s at in her quest for Paris 2024.
“Going into the Worlds, I felt a bit nervous the week prior – my main goal at the Worlds was to just qualify the country,” Rose recalled. “There were a lot of rules, and it was my first combined Worlds, so it was a lot to take in with all the other Olympic classes and everyone there. But once racing started it was about focusing on what I could do. It wasn’t just me stressing about country qualification, everyone else was also. I just felt if I could stay as calm as I could and focus on me, I thought the result would end up okay.”
And it did.
Rose had nothing to lose going into the Medal Race. Entering in 5th overall, she’d managed to put enough points between her and 6th place Emma Plasschaert (Belgium), so the only way she could go was up the leaderboard. With all points in play above her, Rose sailed an aggressive final race in very light conditions on the North Sea. She rounded the leeward gate in fifth and ultimately dropped back to 9th to close out the race but stood by her decision to try mostly anything and give it her all.
Throughout the Worlds she found one of the most difficult obstacles was working the North Sea current but leaning on her college sailing experience at Jacksonville University where much of her sailing was on a river with ripping current, she understood how she needed to set up for racing in The Hague.
“Everyone was pretty shocked by the current and I think a lot of sailors were stressed about that and trying to figure it out,” Rose said. “I’m used to current and knew how I’d set up for it, how the windward mark roundings would go etc. I felt like I had a competitive edge on that, having a good sense of how far I was moving on the line etc. because of the current. But honestly, I just felt really fast the entire week, so I trusted my speed, we had pretty decent breeze most of the week, so I felt confident in that.”
Rose noted that she and her coach Alex Saldanha from Brazil (he coached Robert Scheidt in the Rio quad) started working together November 2022 are working well together and had a simple strategy going into the competition.
“I felt like at the Worlds it was business as usual, we had fun, didn’t take it too seriously but we executed what we needed to execute,” she said. “A lot of it was pretty simple, we tried not to make it complicated, I think people tend to over-complicate a lot of it. Alex and I were consistent about communicating, like what I was seeing on the compass, what I thought was going better etc.”
It was fortunate that the Men’s fleet sailed before the Women’s fleet so Rose was able to observe the outcome of their races.
“I’m very visual so I like to watch, see who crosses and who doesn’t, then I share that with Alex, he does all the measurements – how much current is going on, if the line is square and what the wind is doing relative to that,” Rose commented. “We were also on top of the forecast in the morning and very disciplined about, “this is what is happening right now,” and then taking those facts and figuring out how I could immediately apply it to my next race.”
The women who took places first through fourth to beat Rose are literally the best in the world, she noted.
“I’m sailing alongside world champions, Olympic medalists, youth world champions – gold, silver & bronze medalists. I think at the beginning of the season I struggled with intimidation until my coach reminded me that I also deserved to be up there given I’ve won two Youth Worlds and I have a pretty long list of accomplishments. That built my confidence a little more. Finishing fifth, I felt like I deserved it, not in a cocky way but I’ve worked hard to get here.”
Training resumes for Rose in October and although she has a big gap between international competitions with her next big event the 2024 ICLA 6 World Championship at the beginning of January in Argentina., the pressure is on, she reminds.
“The next couple of months is a lot of training, then the World Championship, then a month later is the Olympic trials in Miami, where I have to beat Erika if I want to go to the Olympics,” Rose smiled.
With the close of Worlds, USA has now qualified for Paris 2024 in the following classes:
– 49er, achieved by Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid (USST) and Ian Barrows & Hans Henken (USST)
– 49er FX, achieved by Steph Roble OLY & Maggie Shea OLY (USST)
Women’s Formula Kite, achieved by Daniela Moroz (USST)
– ILCA 6, achieved by Charlotte Rose (USST) and Erika Reineke (USST)
Photo credit: US Sailing