Outside the Box.

Reminder: Mallory from Central Connecticut Massage and Wellness will be here doing 10$ for a  10 minute…6:30 – 8:00 pm on WEDNESDAY April 1st (and the first Wednesday of every month after that)

Sign up near the office! 

You've probably worked out next to her in class and didn't even know it. 

Meredith is a silent assassin. In the gym, she is quiet and hard working. She never complains, always gives 100%, and has as a positive attitude.

What you DON'T know, is she is a BADASS on the water! 

Take the time to read about her sailing career!

Name: Meredith Killion

Member Since: October 2011

Big Kid Job: Santa Energy – I work in the commercial fuels division: managing gas station operations and inventory analysis.

1) Ahh, the open seas! Sailing isn't something everyone is familiar with…in fact, rowing in WODs might be

the closest anyone at CFNH has come to it! Can you give us a little background on how you got started in the

sport?

My sister and I were big swimmers growing up and our family belonged to a summer club and we would spend all day at the pool after swim practice. When I was in high school, friends convinced me to go to sailing class after swim practice one morning and that’s how it all started. I joined our high school sailing team that year and our coach talked me into sailing in college. I was lucky enough to get paired with an upperclassman right from the beginning and tried to learn as much as I could. I’ve stuck with mostly small boat sailing (two or three people in the boat), but I’ve also done some racing in 30-40 foot long boats with 10 person teams.

2) How did it turn into a professional move for you?

A sailing professional is someone who gets paid to sail and that is definitely not me! The odds are really against you in turning sailing into a career – less than the top 1% actually get paid for it. I have been fortunate though to sail at a very competitive level as an amateur. The sailing community is pretty small, so competitors one weekend might be your teammates the next weekend. I have a couple groups of set teammates that I have sailed with in certain boats for a few years now. I’ve tried to keep learning and take opportunities to sail with new people or in new boats when they come up. The cool thing about sailing is you learn something new almost every race and there are infinite ways to improve.

3) What is a typical race like?

Race organizers put inflatable buoys with anchors in the water that you must sail around in a set order. All of the boats line up behind an imaginary line between two fixed points. A five minute clock counts down and when it hits zero, the race begins. Each race takes about an hour and half. The first boat around the course gets 1 point, second 2 points, etc. Your scores in the individual races are added together and the lowest point total wins the event. The boats and sails are required to meet weight and size restrictions, so in theory the skill of the sailors in getting around the race course is the only variable. The buoys in the water are a mile or so apart, so every boat will take a different path to get around the course. We take into consideration: wind strength and direction on different sides of the course, current, weather forecasts for the day, and the location of other boats – all while trying to make our own boat go as fast as possible. We are constantly adjusting the sails, weight placement, and steering while minimizing mistakes during maneuvers. Because of the strategy and tactics involved, sailing has been described as “chess on the water”. You are thinking the whole time about what the next move is going to be.

4) Has CrossFit helped you at all?

Yes!! 100%. Sailing is a fairly unique sport in that men and women compete with and against each other in a level playing field. But as it gets windier and as the size of the boat increases, physical strength really plays a part in the race. Since starting Crossfit, my strength and power has increased significantly. My typical job in the boat is to trim the small sail upfront and help with tactical decisions. As it gets windier, it becomes much harder to pull in the sail while leaning your weight out over the opposite side of the boat. Think – pulling a rope with all of your strength with your upper body leaned out like in a GHD situp with just your feet attached. A great example happened last year when I was sailing a two person boat with someone I hadn’t met before. It was a very windy race (25-30+ mph winds) and he was worried about me being able to pull in the sail by myself. He offered to help me pull it in every time we turned through the wind, which would have been a big disadvantage. We ended up passing another boat close to us because I was strong enough to easily pull in the sail by myself while the other boat was struggling in the heavy wind. After the race my partner said “well, guess I don’t have to worry about how tough you are anymore”! This is actually a highlight video from the same event shot from a drone https://vimeo.com/94712618 – our team is in the red boats at the :25-:45 sec mark. Pretty hard to tell but, I’m in the boat furthest to the right that turns through the wind and heads out to the right side of the video.

5) Brag a little! Tell us about your latest venture!

Our team of three people was down in St. Petersburg, Florida for the Lightning Midwinter Championship – which also served as the only qualifier for the Pan American Games in the Lightning class boat. Only the top American team out of 70 boats would qualify for the Pan Ams, so we knew we had our work cut out for us. We were right in the hunt going into the last day, but unfortunately, we had a bad start and the final race didn’t go well. The fleet was only able to complete that one race before the wind died. We ended up finishing 4th in the event, 2nd in the Pan Am qualifier, and 1st in the Master's subdivision. We finished ahead of a bunch of world champions and Olympians, so nothing to be disappointed about. Thanks to the coaches and CFNH members who were sending texts and messages! It was pretty awesome to have a remote cheering section for us.

6) Coolest moment in sailing:

Jeez. Too many to name just one moment! From coaching a beginner 8 year old to sail off the dock alone, up to celebrating friends who have won Olympic medals, and everything in between – there have been many cool moments. Even sneaking out of work early in the summer to go sailing is a pretty great way to spend an evening. Personally though, finishing in 3rd place at the Lightning World Championships in Italy in 2013 is hard to top. Nothing quite like being up on stage as the American Flag was raised to the Star Spangled Banner.

7) Scariest moment in sailing:

Getting caught in a thunderstorm squall off the coast in Milford, CT during a race a few years ago. The sky turned green just before it hit. Visibility went down to zero because it was raining so hard and someone on the boat saw 65+ mph wind gusts on the wind instruments before we could get the sails down. Everyone was ok,

but definitely a scary situation. 

8) What's next for you in the sport!?

We have the 2015 Lightning World Championship coming up in July in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada (near Buffalo on Lake Erie). We are looking to improve on our 3rd place finish from the 2013 Worlds, the event is heldevery two years. Plenty of local events and practice between now and then, plus getting to CFNH a few times a week!

Check out this link to watch Meredith from her last race!

This is actually a highlight video from the same event shot from a drone HERE  – our team is in the red boats at the :25-:45 sec mark. Pretty hard to tell but, I’m in the boat furthest to the right that turns through the wind and heads out to the right side of the video.

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