Miami, Florida, USA (November 19, 2018). Learn, build, grow…and win. This describes the latest evolution in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Lt. j.g. Nikole ‘Nikki’ Barnes and Lara Dallman Weiss’ Perfect Vision Sailing campaign to represent the U.S. in the Women’s 470 at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan. Since making their international debut as a team at the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, and arriving back to the U.S. with a clear idea of what’s needed, Barnes and Dallman-Weiss immediately set about the next steps. This started with spending a month campaigning and training in San Francisco, California.
West Coast Campaigning & Training
Nikole ‘Nikki’ Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss training with Coach Udi Gal in San Francisco Bay Credit: Udi Gal.
“Our initial goal for the San Francisco trip was to meet with a donor from the St. Francis Yacht Club (SFYC). By remaining flexible, yet goal-oriented, we were able to accomplish much more on the trip west,” says skipper Barnes, a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and member of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, bronze medalist in the 420 at the ISAF Youth Championships in 2011, Quantum Sailor of the Year in 2016, and 2017 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Connecticut, who is currently stationed at USCG Sector Miami in the Incident Management Division.
Indeed, the visit quickly expanded into networking with other potential donors, participating in a give-back opportunity to teach high school girls from across the nation about high performance sailing at a clinic hosted by SFYC, coaching by former Men’s 470 Olympian, Udi Gal, and partnering with German 470 Women’s team Nadine Bohm and Ann-Christin Goliass, in some of Gal’s training sessions.
“My coaching style and demands are quite high. This style is not suitable to every athlete, especially the newer generation. Nikki and Lara are reacting very well to a tougher, higher-demanding work ethic — together we nailed down lots of big steps in their progress in very short time,” says Gal, three-time 470 World Champion bronze medalist and two-time Olympian representing his native Israel in the Men’s 470.
More than One Way to Lead at Sea
L to R: Lara Dallman Weiss, Lt. Cmdr. Krysia Pohl and Lt. j.g. Nikole ‘Nikki’ Barnes after the Leadership Conference at USCG Sector San Francisco. Credit: Perfect Vision Sailing
The worlds of an elite athlete and Coast Guard officer came together when Lt. Cmdr. Krysia Pohl, chief of the inspection division at USCG Sector San Francisco, invited Barnes and Dallman-Weiss to speak as part of the service’s Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council’s (LDAC) speaker series. LCDR Pohl, a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, is a fellow 470 sailor who was named the 2000 Coast Guard Female Athlete of the Year.
“I think that by Nikki telling her story to shipmates whenever possible, the Coast Guard can see some ROI that aren’t just sailing results. There were some tangible takeaways that units received when Nikki and Lara came to speak. For example, one of the basic leadership teachings includes self-leadership, not just leading others. Nikki is an outstanding example of leading self and is an inspiration. I wanted others to feel inspired by her duty, that we can do it all, especially when we work hard enough, that we can have a military career and also achieve success in our personal lives,” says Pohl.
Top Competition at Oakcliff
Back on the East Coast, Barnes and Dallman-Weiss competed in Stages 2 and 3 of the Oakcliff Triple Crown Series, in Oyster Bay, New York. These events were held on the back-to-back weekends of October 13-14 and October 21-22. Having just returned from an intense month of sailing in San Francisco, the duo didn’t make the appropriate transition into racing and ended the weekend with a fourth place Stage 2 finish. Monday morning, joined by coach Eyal Levin, the duo regrouped and shifted their mindsets. They approached Stage 3 with a whole new perspective and it showed in a win.
“Last year, Nikki competed in the Triple Crown Series with Oakcliff‘s High Performance Fleet Manager, Robyn Lesh,” says Dawn Riley, Oakcliff Sailing’s executive director and the first woman to manage an America’s Cup sailing team, America True, as captain and chief executive officer. “This year, Nikki returned with Lara Dallman-Weiss and they were the only team to defeat three-time Olympic competitors Stuart McNay and Dave Hughes throughout all three stages of the 2018 series. We are extremely impressed with Perfect Vision Sailing’s inherent talent and expect big things to come.”
Barnes and Dallman-Weiss returned to Miami in late October to train for their next major competition: World Sailing’s World Cup Series – Round 2 in Miami, January 27 to February 3.
“Throughout this campaign, our only limit is time, and because of this we need to be ruthless about setting priorities. Since we have a heavy training and racing schedule over the next year, we have recently taken a step back to analyze learnings to date, seek continued advice from our strong team of mentors and adjust our overall plan as needed to assure we are right where we need to be when our country qualifiers take place. That said, this month starts a heavy training phase in Miami,” says Dallman Weiss, a member of the New York Yacht Club, three-time skipper and crew of the year at Eckerd College, U.S. Sailing Development Team member in the 470 class in 2013, and North American champion in the Farr 40 class.
Support Team Perfect Vision Sailing – 2020 Olympics
To support Barnes and Dallman Weiss, donate to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association’s Elite Athletic Excellence Fund (www.cgaalumni.org/eliteathlete). Or, send a check made out to Windmark. We ask that the memo DOES NOT include any names, this will ensure that donations can be used towards any of our budgeted items! Checks can be sent to: Lara Dallman Weiss or Nikole Barnes, P.O. box 263, Newport, RI 02840.
For more information about Barnes and Dallman Weiss’ Olympic campaign, visit www.perfectvisionsailing.com or Email: [email protected] Follow on Facebook www.facebook.com/perfectvisionsailing and Instagram @perfectvisionsailing