SM: You've only just returned to international
board sailing after a few years off. What brought you back?
LB: The US has an Olympic Trials system where
only one regatta counts, so the opportunity is always there to show up and race and see
what happens. I am very fortunate to have so much experience and knowledge under my belt
from over 16 years of racing. After winning three Olympic Trials, I knew I could afford to
take some time off after Sydney 2000 and make a decision to either come back and try
again, or move onto something else. I felt that the chance to go to my fourth Olympics was
too great to miss out on and after almost two years away from racing my board, I really
SM: Are you going to be sailing full-time
between now and the Olympics?
LB: I am fortunate to have started my own
business, WhatKnot. I work for myself making girly sailor bags, check them out at www.whatknot.org, so I can work around
my racing and training schedule.
SM: You've been there since the beginning of
women's Olympic boardsailing. What are your thought on how the discipline has developed
and where it may be going?
LB: In 1992, we raced on Lechner Division II
boards, which were hollow, round bottom boards and very technical to windsurf on. It took
years to master racing on them, but I will always feel that they are the true 'Olympic'
board just for the sheer fact they were difficult to race on and only windsurfers who had
them were doing Olympic campaigns. Then for 1996 and 2000 the Mistral One-design was
chosen and it opened up a lot more doors for more women to compete for the Games, because
they are cheaper to buy (for the smaller/poorer countries) and also easier to get up to
speed and race internationally. In 2004, we are racing on Mistrals again. The ISAF meeting
next May will decide if the board will be changed for 2008. Some people want the design to
change to a more modern realistic board which is windsurfed on in the general public, but
I feel that the Mistral One-Design is the perfect Olympic class board for all types of
SM: What do you think about ISAFs elimination
of the throw out in Olympic competition?
LB: Well, I raced at the 2003 Athens Regatta
in August and for the first half of the series, we had windy, offshore, shifty conditions
and for the second half we had onshore, light and really wavy conditions. That will test
anyone, but not being able to drop a race will change the game dramatically on top of
that. I don't think it is a good idea. If you start out with gear failure, OCS or bad luck
in the first race, your Olympics is over before the second race has begun. One the
greatest things about our Olympic sport is that you get to race in the first race and you
aren't eliminated before the last race like swimming or track and field for
example. I think that without a drop in an 11-race series sailors will feel eliminated
before the last race if they have one bad race.