Jeff, I second your congratulations to all of the players over the cycle.
A bit of history on this catamaran background thing being important... Dean Brenner was the Olympic director when the Tornado was the OPEN olympic boat. Dean's philosophy was based on the same notion that you spoke of... Catamaran experience was irrelevant. What you needed was great sailors who were committed to Olympic competition.... It was a 6 month learning curve to get one of these sailors up to speed on an Olympic class and they would be the best sailor in the class in the US... and then be positioned to move up the ISAF world ranks. Dean used the Johnny can Charlie story as evidence for this philosophy... In his conversation with me... after Randy S retired.... Johnny, Charlie, Lars and 4 or 5 other College All American sailors started in the Tornado Class. The coach em up strategy/ every team for themselves was implemented... Well... it took a bit longer... 8 years and some exclusive technology assistance... and they got a Silver.... but... the next 4 years did not go well and the next technology flyer failed completely and they finished DFL. After Weymouth... The US concluded that the coach em up strategy was a failure...
Josh Adams was tasked with building something that looked more like the rest of the worlds. The plan would take at least 8 years... BUT... The hope for the 2016 quad for the US was that New Classes (N17S AND Womans FX) historically favored the US because we could get up to speed sooner then the world.
I look at these results as strong evidence that the coach em up strategy IS a total failure.
The Mendelblatts ARE Olympic Caliber Sailors, who know how to campaign...and use coaching.... Bottom line.. 4 years training... usual finish in the 20s. I would conclude that coaching up an olympic level displacement sailor takes... at least 8 years... just like it took Johnny and Charlie, Lars etc.
Gulliari is a another successful world class sailor... but with lots of apparent wind experience... So... in the two years of his coach em up experience... he manages a thirty something finish and backs into the slot. Moreover, he declares that there is a lot for him to learn with 5 months to go.... ... I conclude that even taking a world class apparent wind sailor and trying the coach em up approach is a failure.
Final point on the failure of the coach em up approach.. is Bundy's experience in the 49ner... When the T and Open was dropped... Bundy tried to switch to the 49ner for AUS and it was a failure.
The coach em up approach just doesn't work!
Now... the rest of the world.. shows us that training EARLY in catamarans is a key to being able to win on the world stage..that seems to be the backgound of a lot of the top 10 teams. (Hell Waterhouse and Phipps are spawn of ELITE cat sailor).
My take home... Those of us in the rank and file simply have to reach out and get top junior racers in our regions some early exposure to catamaran racing.. Mentor them as they cross train in cats while dinking around in 420s in college and HOPE that US Sailing can hire some great coaches. Not the same as the rest of the world... but it may be our only option.
So.... ask me about running a TRY IT OUT clinic in your area... We will see if we can make this American hybrid solution work!