British team dominate first day in Finns at Miami
After a frustrating day lost Monday due to heavy storms passing through, the 2010 Finn season finally got underway with the first three races of the Rolex Miami OCR, the second event in the 2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup. With 37 sailors entered from 14 nations, this year's event was always going to be tough with a strong line up including 11 of the top 20 world ranked sailors present.
For many the man to beat here is Zach Railey (USA), the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, who has been training hard over the winter, but the strong British team picked up where they left off last year with a win apiece between last year's winner of the ISAF Sailing World Cup for Finns, Ed Wright (GBR), Mark Andrews (GBR) and Giles Scott (GBR). In fact race one turned into a Team GBR benefit with Wright winning the race from Scott and Andrew Mills (GBR).
The forecast was wind from the north at 8 to 12 knots, decreasing as the day went on. The first start began at 13:30 and that race was very shifty as there was an ongoing battle between the sea breeze and the land breeze making the race course was extremely complicated.
The 2004 Olympic Silver medalist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) had a poor start to the regatta with a 14th, but recovered to place 6th and 3rd in the remaining races of the day. He said “It was a very difficult day, with many shifts and changes in pressure which required us to sail on the sides of the racecourse. After a disastrous first start I was pretty much stuck in the middle of the course and suffered for the duration of the race though I was able to improve from 22nd to 14th.”
“During the other two races of the day I was much more aggressive on my starts which allowed me to decide where I wanted to go and gradually regain confidence in my decisions and manage risks better than the first race.”
Scott leads after day from Railey, who was one of the few consistent sailors after three races. He reported, “Today was very shifty so I am happy to get 3 top 5 results and hope to keep it going tomorrow.” Third place is Peer Moberg (NOR), the only other sailor to maintain top 10 positions all day.
Fleet racing continues until Friday with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday 30th January.
Class website: www.finnclass.org <http://www.finnclass.org/>
Event website: http://rmocr.ussailing.org <http://rmocr.ussailing.org/>
Miami, Fla. (January 27, 2010) – More than 600 athletes representing 45 nations have hit their regatta halfway mark after today’s racing at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR <http://www.rolexmiamiocr.org/> , the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010. The event, the only of its kind in this country, started Monday and continues through Friday for three Paralympic classes and Saturday for ten Olympic classes, which will have been pared down to the top ten in each for medal races that day.
Today was a picturesque light-air day on Biscayne Bay, but many sailors worked the conditions to their advantage. The unstoppable SKUD-18 team of Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julie Dorsett (West Chester, Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.), who hope to have a repeat gold medal performance of last year’s Rolex Miami OCR, added two more bullets to their collection today in the talented seven-boat fleet.
“Our speed was great, and we were really in sync,” said Dorsett, who noted they were happy with their starts, on which they’ve been focusing. “In these conditions you don’t want to make too many tacks, so we were really trying to consolidate our tacks and make each one count.”
Great Britain’s Alexander Rickham and Niki Birrell finished the day in second place with a 3-2 today, tied with Canada’s John McRoberts and Brenda Hopkin, who swapped scores with a 2-3. One point behind is USA’s Jennifer French (St Petersburg, Fla.) and JP Creignou (St Petersburg, Fla.), a new SKUD-18 team that has made an impression in the fleet despite sailing for only three months together.
Norway’s Aleksander Wang-Hansen and crew Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg led the nine-boat Sonar fleet after five races, with a 1-3 today. “We’ve been trying to sail conservatively and consistently, and it has paid off so far,” said Wang-Hansen. “It’s been very shifty, and we’ve been trying to tack on the shifts and stay on the right side of the fleet. We had fantastic down wind legs, and I think that helped a lot.”
A relatively new team – this is their fourth event together – the trio happily traded Norway’s seasonal icy waters for training on Biscayne Bay for the past two weeks to get ready for the tough competition. “The wind is steady in Miami: There is almost always some wind and very rarely too much. It’s shifty, but at least the wind is strong enough to sail in,” said Wang-Hansen, who is new to the helm but not to the Sonar. As a crew, he finished fourth at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Qingdao, China.
“The Paralympic class fleets may be small, but they are very deep, so I think the competition will be fierce,” said US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics coach Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.). “Places could change in any one of the fleets.”
After dropping his lowest score today, 2.4 mR World Champion and 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) continues to lead his 27-boat fleet. He is followed by 2009 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Champion Thierry Schmitter (NED) and 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Paul Tingley (CAN). Ruf made a remarkable comeback today in his first race after starting prematurely and having to restart. He swiftly recovered to finish tenth, which ended up being his throw-out. “The Rolex Miami OCR is a good regatta to see how you’re doing vs. the rest of the world,” said Ruf, who won the open (able-bodied and disabled) World Championship this year a day early and with one race to spare. “I love big fleets,” he added.
Biscayne Bay’s flat conditions pleased Spain’s Marina Alabau, who posted finish positions of 4-2 in today’s two Women’s RS:X (board sailing) races. The “shifty and gusty” 8-12 knot winds, however, made it necessary to pump the sails, adding greatly to the physical demands for both men’s and women’s divisions. “It is important to be in the gust; if you pump really hard you stay in it, if you don’t pump you fall back in the fleet.”
Alabau, the 2009 RS:X World and European Champion and also the defending champion here, replaced yesterday’s leader and Spanish teammate Blanca Mancon at the top of the scoreboard while Mancon fell to fourth, allowing France (Charline Picon) and Italy (Laura Linares) the luxury of second- and third-place positions, respectively.
“I am watching nobody special, just trying to do my best,” said Alabau. “For sure I can win, but maybe there are five others who can win, too. It’s not going to be easy.”
According to John Craig (San Francisco, Calif.), principal race officer for the RS:X race course, both men’s and women’s fleets have been aggressive on the line. Three of the last two days’ four starts carried the burden of a “black flag,” flown by the race committee after recalling too many starts due to premature starters. The penalty for jumping the start on a black flag means disqualification from that race – end of story.
“Racing among the top 10 in each class is very close,” said Craig. “The physical fitness of these top athletes is a big part of what’s making the difference.”
In Men’s RS:X, Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), who won both races yesterday, maintained his lead today with finish positions of 2-7 worth a five-point lead over Ivan Pastor (ESP).
US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR
49er (36 boats) – 9 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-6-3-7-9-1-(15)-6-1, 35
2. Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch (AUT), 3-5-4-(15)-11-8-3-5-7, 46
3. Will Phillips/ Sam Phillips (AUS), 1-1-1-2-13-12-13-7-(25), 50
Laser Radial (57 boats) – 5 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fl., USA), 1-1-4-(10)-3, 9
2. Alison Young (GBR), 3-11-(16)-1-8, 23
3. Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG), 10-9-2-(58/BFD)-4, 25
Laser (104 boats)-6 races
1. Bruno Fontes (BRA), 5-1-4-3-(15)-2, 15
2. Nick Thompson (GBR), 1-6-1-1-(23)-13, 22
3. Andreas Geritzer (AUT), 8-5-7-(16)-1-1, 22
Elliott 6m (24 boats)- Ties Unresolved
1. Lucy Macgregor (GBR), 3
2T. Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.,USA), 2
2T. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fl., USA), 2
4T. Claire Leroy (FRA), 1
4T. Nicky Souter (AUS), 1
6. Samantha Osborne (NZL), 0
7. Lotte Meldgaard (DEN), 3
8T. Lucinda Whitty (AUS), 2
8T. Silke Hahlbrock (GER), 2
8T. Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Ca., USA), 2
11T. Renee Groeneveld (NED), 0
11T. Anna Kjellberg (SWE), 0
13. Ulrike Schuemann (GER), 3
14T. Susanne Ward (DEN), 2
14T. Mandy Mulder (NED), 2
14T. Jen Provan (CAN), 1
14T. Katie Archer (GBR), 1
18. Linur Kliger (ISR), 0
19. Ekaterina Skudina (RUS), 4
20. Juliana Senfft (BRA), 3
21T. Margarita Cameselle (ESP), 1
21T. Tania Zimmermann (PER), 1
23T. Katy Lovell (New Orleans, La., USA), 0
23T. Chita Wahlroos (FIN), 0
Finn (37 boats) – 5 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 1-2-(19)-1-4, 8
2. Giles Scott (GBR), 2-(7)-1-3-3, 9
3. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fl., USA), 4-(5)-4-4-1, 13
470 Men (34 boats) – 6 races
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR), 8-9-(14)-1-4-1, 23
2. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE), (35/OCS)-14-1-3-3-6, 27
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela (ISR), 2-6-4-6-(13)-13, 31
470 Women (26 boats) – 6 races
1. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin (Shelter Island Heights, Ny.,USA/Hoboken Nj., USA), (7)-6-2-1-3-1, 13
2. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA), 1-(8)-6-2-2-3, 14
3. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 10-2-1-(12)-5-2, 20
Star (26 boats) – 6 races
1. Andy Horton/James Lyne (Burlington, Vt., USA/Granville, Vt., USA), 2-1-3-1-4-(5), 11
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson (NOR), 1-11-2-(20)-1-1, 16
3. Andrew Macdonald/Austin Sperry (Laguna Beach, Ca., USA/Gulfport, Al.,USA), 3-5-12-(16)-5-3, 28
RS:X Men (37 boats) – 4 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), 1-1-2-7, 11
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), 6-5-4-1, 16
3. Kevin Stittle (CAN), 2-3-7-12, 24
RS:X Women (25 boats) – 4 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-4-2, 10
2. Charline Picon (FRA), 3-3-1-5, 12
3. Laura Linares (ITA), 6-4-2-1, 13
2.4mR (28 boats) – 5 races
1. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA), 2-1-2-(10)-3, 8
2. Thierry Schmitter (NED), 1-3-(6)-3-2, 9
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 5-5-(7)-2-1, 13
Sonar (9 boats) – 5 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg (NOR), 1-(4)-1-1-3, 6
2. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA), (7)-1-3-2-2, 8
3. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 4-3-2-(6)-1, 10
SKUD-18 (7 boats)-5 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J., USA/Boca Raton, Fl., USA), 1-(3)-1-1-1, 4
2. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR), (4)-1-4-3-2, 10
3. John McRoberts/Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 3-(4)-2-2-3, 10
Miami, Fla. (January 28, 2010) – Today was a critical day for sailors competing in US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR <http://rmocr.ussailing.org/> , the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010 <http://www.sailing.org/worldcup> . Highlighted by both lead changes and consolidations, it raised the heat for tomorrow’s final stretch: where medal winners in three Paralympic sailors will be named and top-ten sailors in ten Olympic classes will be determined for entry into Saturday’s medal races. Representing 45 nations, 448 teams (633 athletes) are competing on Biscayne Bay for this annual event, which is one of the most important preparation regattas for sailors gunning for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished the day with an 18-point lead overall in the Laser Radial class, followed by Spain’s Alicia Cebrian. While it seemed like it was going to be the steadiest day of the week, it ended up being another day of difficult racing for the 57-boat fleet. Railey said she fought through both of today’s races, from start to finish, and made quick changes due to continually shifting wind.
“We had crazy wind from all different sides,” said Railey, the 2006 US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. “I saw some big comebacks and huge losses. You could go from last to top-five in one shift.”
In the first race, Railey said she played it conservative but got stuck in the middle of two big shifts. She rounded deep, but then made a comeback on the first run and grabbed the lead. The same thing happened in the second race: she sailed conservatively, covered her bases sailing down the middle but ended up lodged between the shifts. In the last downwind leg, she broke free and took a commanding lead.
“Racing was incredibly hard today,” she said. “It was easy to get disheartened, but I kept fighting the whole time. Patience was key.”
The UK’s Nick Thompson, who yesterday trailed leader Bruno Fontes by seven points in the Laser class, today soared past the Brazilian to take a 26-point lead. Such was Thompson’s fortune on the merit of posting two victories in as many races today while Fontes suffered a 20-44, setting him back to second place and tied on points with third-place finisher Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA).
“It was a tough day, real shifty, like yesterday,” said Thompson, “and you had to get in sync with those shifts. When you’re in sync and you know you’re sailing well, sometimes it’s easy to go off your own way and sometimes you’re able to pull well away to extend your lead, but once I got ahead I just decided to be conservative and consolidate, so my leads were not huge. There are three more races, so this certainly isn’t over.”
In the high performance dinghy event, racing among the top 49ers in the world has been especially competitive. The point spread tightened at the top today, with only nine points separating the first- and fifth-place teams. France’s Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis maintained their lead in the 26-boat fleet after 12 races overall, five points ahead of Denmark’s duo of Simon Karstoft and Jonathan Bay who posted a consistent 3-3-3 today.
“I think it was a really tricky day out there,” said Karstoff, adding that positions over the 1.1-mile course “could change so much, so it’s a challenge to keep your cool.”
Kartsoff said he and Bay kept it simple and didn’t panic on the race course. “We had good speed and good starts and that allowed us to get to the good places early, which was key for us.”
In the first race of the day, the Phillips brothers from Australia had a good start off the line, maintained their lane to the left and were the first to tack on the left side of the course. They owned the middle for the rest of the beat and rounded ahead of the fleet. From there, they continued their lead through to the finish. The Finnish team of Lauri Lehtinen and Kalle Bask won the second and third races.
The 49er class started in 1995 and parachuted into the Olympic Games in 2000. The fleet has grown substantially over the last 10 years, attracting sailors from other classes who seek fast and exhilarating racing. Their races are only 30 minutes long, so they can squeeze in up to four races a day in perfect conditions. “It’s the F1 Ferrari of sailboat racing,” said USSTAG’s Trevor Moore (S. Burlington, Vt.). “Every aspect of the game is an adrenaline rush. There’s never a dull moment on the race course. There’s always a split-second reaction needed: the longer you wait, the more costly it is.”
US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR
2.4mR (28 boats) – 8 races
1. Thierry Schmitter (NED), 1-3-(6)-3-2-4-6-2, 21
2. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA), 2-1-2-10-3-6-1-(11), 25
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 5-5-7-2-1-1-1-4-(9), 25
49er (36 boats) – 12 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-6-3-7-9-1-(15)-6-1-10-(10/OCS/RDG)-10, 65
2. Simon Karstoft/Jonathon Bay (DEN), 10-(23)-2-5-6-3-12-14-9-3-3-3, 70
3. Allan Norregaard/Peter Lang (DEN), 6-11-6-11-8-2-10-4-3-7-(25)-7, 75
Star (26 boats) – 8 races
1. Andy Horton/James Lyne (Burlington, Vt., USA/Granville, Vt., USA), 2-1-3-1-4-5-(25/OCS)-1, 17
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson (NOR), 1-11-2-(20)-1-1-2-2, 20
3. Mark Mendelblatt/John Von Schwarz (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/Annapolis, Md., USA), 8-8-1-11-(25/OCS)-2-1-5, 36
RS:X Women (25 boats) – 6 races
1. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-(10)-3-2-1, 8
2. Charline Picon (FRA), 3-3-1-(5)-1-4, 12
3. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-(4)-2-4-2, 10
RS:X Men (37 boats) – 6 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), 1-1-2-(7)-1-5, 10
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), (6)-5-4-1-2-3, 15
3. Nicolas Huguet (FRA), 8-7-8-4-(9)-2, 29
Finn (37 boats) – 8 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 1-2-(19)-1-4-1-1-3, 13
2. Giles Scott (GBR), 2-7-1-3-3-3-(8)-6, 25
3. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 4-(5)-4-4-1-5-4-5, 27
Laser Radial (57 boats) – 8 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-1-4-(10)-3-9-3-1, 22
2. Alicia Cebrian (ESP), (58/BFD)-2-19-5-1-4-4-5, 40
3. Alison Young (GBR), 3-11-16-1-8-(25)-11-9, 59
Laser (104 boats)-8 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 1-6-1-1-(23)-13-1-1, 22
2. Bruno Fontes (BRA), 5-1-4-3-15-2-20-(44), 50
3. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), 2-11-14-11-1-3-8-(25), 50
Elliott 6m - (24 boats)
Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/Ally Martin (GBR) leads Lotte Meldgaard/Susanne Boidin/Tina Schmidt Gramkov (DEN), 2-0
Anna Tunnicliffe(/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Palo Alto, Calif., USA/(Bayport, N.Y., USA) leads Lucinda Whitty/Amanda Scrivenor/Jessica Eastwell(AUS), 2-0
Nicky Souter/Stacey Jackson/Ray Martin (AUS) and Samantha Osborne/Jenna Hansen/Raynor Smeal (NZL), tied 1-1
Claire Leroy/Marie Riou/Elodie Bertrand (FRA) leads Sally Barkow/Katie Pettibone/Nicole Breault (Nashotah, Wis.,USA)/ Sacramento, Calif., USA/ Old Lyme, Conn. USA)
470 Women (26 boats) – 8 races
1. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 10-2-1-(11)-5-2-1-2, 23
2. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y..,USA/Hoboken N.J., USA), 7-6-2-1-3-1-(13)-3, 23
3. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA), 1-(8)-6-2-2-3-5-7, 26
470 Men (34 boats) – 8 races
1. Anton Dahlberg/Sebastian A-stling (SWE), 7-4-2-8-11-(19)-4-4, 40
2. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis (GBR), 8-9-14-1-4-1-(16)-5, 42
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela (ISR), 2-6-4-6-12-(13)-2-13, 45
SKUD-18 (7 boats)-8 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J., USA/Boca Raton, Fl., USA), 1-(3)-1-1-1-2-2-2, 10
2. French/Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 2-2-3-4-(6)-1-1-1, 14
3. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell (GBR), (4)-1-4-3-2-3-3-3, 19
Sonar (9 boats) – 8 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg (NOR), 1-(4)-1-1-1-1-3, 11
2. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 4-3-2-(6)-1-2-2-1, 15
3. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA), (7)-1-3-2-2-5-6-4, 23
Medalists Named in Paralympic Classes; Olympic Classes Look for Gold Tomorrow
Miami, Fla. (January 29, 2010) – After five days of racing on Biscayne Bay, gold, silver and bronze medalists were determined today in three Paralympic classes at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR <http://rmocr.ussailing.org/> , the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010 <http://www.sailing.org/worldcup> . USA racked up the most medals with four, followed by Canada with two and one apiece for Norway, Great Britain and The Netherlands. Also determined after five days of racing were the Olympic class sailors (four teams from women’s match racing and top-ten finishers from fleet racing in nine other classes) who have earned a coveted spot in tomorrow’s final medal races.
The Rolex Miami OCR, which this year hosted 448 teams (633 athletes) from 45 nations, is one of the world’s most competitive regattas for those hoping to claim a sailing berth at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and as such it offers hefty bragging rights for podium finishers as well as critical points on the Sailing World Cup circuit and for certain national team designations and rankings.
Canada’s Paul Tingley secured the first gold of the regatta when his 2.4mR class sailed two back-to-back races (on the staggered-start schedule) in light air. Going into today, he was in the bronze medal position, with Thierry Schmitter (NED) leading and John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA) in silver position, so he decided to get gutsy.
“I wasn’t going to do it by not taking a risk,” said Tingley, who, with a handful of others, chose the right-hand side of the course five minutes into the first race. “I saw them (NED) on the pin end of the start line and I was at the committee boat; I knew I would benefit if the wind went right, and to my good fortune it did, and I got the win.” Meanwhile Schmitter finished ninth, and when Tingley stuck close to him in the second race for a third-place finish to Schmitter’s second, it was game over. “The last race was mine to lose, so I knew I had to stay in Thierry’s zip code, so to say.”
When asked if he was happy with silver, Schmitter said with a gracious smile, “No and yes. Going into this morning I was first and now I’m second. When I went left with John Ruf (who claimed bronze in the end), that was our death. But it has been tight all week-- John led one day, Paul one day, me one day—it’s not like there was one guy through it all who was the leader.”
Tingley won a 2.4mR gold medal at the 2008 Paralympics and a Sonar bronze in 2000. He finished third at the most recent 2.4mR Worlds, which hosted over 100 boats (sailed by both disabled and able-bodied sailors) and was won by Ruf. The 2.4mR is hugely popular because of its compact size--about 14 feet long (4.2 metres)--and the fact that it requires little physical exertion to sail. Its skipper remains seated, looking forward at all times with the majority of his body below the waterline, and has the choice of steering it by foot pedal or by “joy stick,” making it an equal platform for sailors with varying physical restrictions.
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (Boca Raton, Fla./ West Chester, Pa.) continued their winning streak by clinching the gold medal with a race to spare today. USA’s SKUD newcomers, Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and JP Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.) won a silver medal, which was impressive considering this is only the second event they’ve sailed together. French and Creignou won both races today, but in the first race, they were called OCS for starting prematurely. Dorsett and Whitman’s second became a first, which gave them the win. They chose not to sail the last race out of fairness to the rest of the fleet. The Canadian team of John McRoberts and Brenda Hopkins rounded out the fleet with a bronze medal after posting a 2-2 today.
The race itself was a game of catch-up for Dorsett and Whitman who at first didn’t know whether or not they were early at the start. To be cautious, they decided to restart to exonerate themselves. As they tried to catch up with the fleet, they hit another snag when they hooked a lobster pot, crash gybed and freed themselves off the line. They ended up rounding the mark in third, caught up with the Canadian team and fought them downwind to the finish.
“We pinned them out to the other side, had the leeward advantage and gybed back and beat them,” said Whitman. He and Dorsett have been a dominant force in the SKUD-18 over the last year, winning Rolex Miami OCR and Sail for Gold in Weymouth, England, the venue of the 2012 Paralympic Games. Their 2012 Paralympic campaign is in full force, as they plan to compete in as many national and international events as they can.
Norway’s Sonar team of Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg grabbed gold after a low-scoring week littered with bullets, including today’s win in the last race. GBR’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas finished the event second overall, and USSTAG’s Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendall (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Me.) secured silver with a 2-2 today.
“It’s fantastic,” said Wang-Hansen of his team’s victory. “We came here hoping for a medal. Everything went smoothly … We had a little bit of luck. We tacked on the shifts and suddenly we were up front.”
This is the second year in a row he won the Sonar event at Rolex Miami OCR, but last year he crewed for the British team. The common denominator was the boat itself, a Sonar chartered from Team Paradise. “It’s a fast boat,” he said. “It was good upwind and fantastic downwind. In the last race today, we rounded fourth and were first at the bottom.”
He and his new team plan to return next year to defend their title as they move forward in their Paralympic campaign for a spot on Norway’s Paralympic Team in 2012.
U.S. skipper Doerr was pleased with his new team’s performance this week, after getting off to a slower start on the first day of racing. “Today we stayed very patient,” he said. “We tried to wait for our opportunities to attack. Coming from behind is very challenging -- especially when the guys you need to beat are in front of you.”
Olympic Classes Gear Up for Medal Races
Going into tomorrow’s medal races for the Olympic classes, both Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA) and Nick Thompson (GBR), in the Laser Radial and Laser classes, respectively, are sitting pretty. The rules of Olympic sailing require them to race, but mathematically they have the gold wrapped up.
For others, it’s a do-or-die situation. The USA’s Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) with crew Molly Vandemoer (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and GBR’s Lucy Macgregor, with crew Annie Lush and Ally Martin, will sail a first-to-three points match racing series that will determine gold and silver medals, while Australia’s Nicky Souter/Stacey Jackson/Ray Martin and France’s Claire Leroy/Marie Riou/Elodie Bertrand will sail off for bronze in the petit-finals.
The remaining Olympic classes get only one chance--a 30- to 40-minute race—to make or break their claim to a podium position. Emulating the Olympic format, the medal race counts double points and cannot be counted as the one allowed discard race when it is added to a sailor’s score line from the rest of the series.
In the Finn class, GBR’s Ed Wright must finish eighth or better to take the gold, and only his Skandia Team GBR teammate Giles Scott has a shot at blocking him. Wright is not worried, however. “He’ll have a lot on, because Zach (Railey, from Clearwater, Fla., USA) will be after him. That’s a nice cushion going into the medal race.” Railey is currently in bronze medal position behind Scott. Wright took over the lead in the 35-boat fleet two days ago and yesterday extended it by 12 points over Scott. Today, after two races, 14 points stand between them.
“I’ve been doing a lot of development, so I’m happy with my gear,” said Wright, who almost cancelled coming to the regatta because of a severe foot injury inflicted by a power boat prop. “Luckily it was just the flesh; sailing is a lot easier than walking, especially in this light air since I don’t have to hike as hard.” Nevertheless, he hopes for stronger winds tomorrow. “That way I can stretch my legs a little.”
For results and photos, visit http://rmocr.ussailing.org. Video highlights, produced by T2Productions, air nightly through Saturday and can be viewed on the event web site <http://www.rolexmiamiocr.org/> . Fans can also visit the Facebook fan page <http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pages/US-SAILINGs-Rolex-Miami-OCR/165109312842?ref=ts> and Twitter page <http://twitter.com/rolexmiamiocr> .
Olympic Medal Races Determine Prized Podium Positions
Miami, Fla. (January 30, 2010) – It was “one race, one chance” today at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR <http://rmocr.ussailing.org/> , the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010 <http://www.sailing.org/worldcup> . After gold, silver and bronze medalists were determined yesterday in three Paralympic classes, it was now the turn for sailors in ten Olympic classes to claim podium positions, but the plot came with a twist. Just as will happen at the Olympics in 2012, only the top-ten finishers--determined after five days of fleet racing--earned the right to sail in today’s single medal race for each class, except for in Women’s Match Racing. In that event, which makes its Olympic debut in 2012, sailors competed in finals and petit-finals to determine medalists. The Rolex Miami OCR, which this year hosted 448 teams (633 athletes) from 45 nations, is one of the world’s most competitive regattas for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. As such, each nation’s medal tally is closely watched; USA had the most medals with 10, followed by Great Britain with six, France with five and Spain with four.
In the Women’s Match Racing finals, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) defeated Lucy MacGregor’s GBR team in a highly charged, best-of-five series. Team MacGregor hadn’t lost a race since the first round until today’s race three against Tunnicliffe. Tunnicliffe went on to win the fourth race s well, tying up the score 2-2, so the tie-breaker became a do-or-die match for the gold. After a tough start, Tunnicliffe trailed MacGregor on the first beat, but MacGregor hit some waves and slowed down and Tunnicliffe caught up by the bottom mark. On the downwind leg, MacGregor jibed early, and Tunnicliffe extended on port and jibed, catching the waves. From that point on, Tunnicliffe defended the starboard layline and narrowly edged out MacGregor by half a boat length.
“We had a great day on the water,” said Tunnicliffe. “My team did a great job of staying in the game despite the two losses in the beginning. We fought back and kept it calm and pulled off the moves we needed to and are so happy we came out on top.”
Thanks to a substantial 35-point lead in the Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) wrapped up the gold medal a day early in the 57-boat fleet, but today she added another bullet to her collection. Following in second was Spain’s Alicia Cebrian who sailed a consistently strong event, and the bronze medal went to GBR’s Alison Young. Railey’s strengths this week were her boat speed and being able to see the pressures and realizing the phase of the shift a few seconds ahead of her competition. By the end of the regatta, she had found her groove and won several races comfortably. Coach Luther Carpenter (LaPorte, Texas) said she managed risk very well in very difficult conditions.
“I’m so pleased about winning the gold,” said Railey. “I wasn’t thinking about the results. I was out there taking one race at a time and pushing myself to use new techniques I’ve incorporated into my sailing. I’ve been learning when to take risks and when to stay conservative.”
2008 Olympians Amanda Clark (Shelter Harbor Heights, N.Y.) and Sarah Chin (Hoboken, N.J.) won an impressive gold medal in the Women’s 470, after taking a year off since the 2008 Games in Qingdao, China. Leading into today’s medal races, they were two points away from the top (the top three were only separated by one point each) and finished fifth in today’s race, which secured their overall win. France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux won silver and Denmark’s Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer won bronze.
“It was a very tactical regatta; we couldn’t necessarily rely on being fast in a variety of conditions to pull us through,” said Clark. “It was the best racing we could ever ask for.
“It’s great to win our first major regatta back,” she added. “This was a huge positive for us. We wanted to enter this quad with a strong start, proving we still have what it takes. This time around, we’re ready to be on the podium.”
Norway’s Eivind Meklleby and Petter Morland won a gold medal in the Star class in a come-from-behind victory over USA’s Andy Horton (S. Burlington, Vermont) and James Lyne (Granville, Vt.), who led the 24-boat fleet throughout the regatta. Only three points separated the two teams going into today’s race. Horton and Lyne went back at the start for an unforced error, so they played catch-up for the rest of the race and finished fifth in the race and second overall, only one point behind the Norwegian team. Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and John Von Schwarz (Annapolis, Md.) rounded out the podium with a bronze.
In the Men’s 470 class, the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling was third going into today with the knowledge that whoever finished first among yesterday’s top-four boats would secure the gold medal. “There is so much to tell,” said Dahlberg about today’s action on the race course. “It was one of the closest races yet, and every inch counted.” He explained that yesterday’s leaders (and eventual bronze medalists) Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) became part of a “tough lineup” and got caught up on the top mark. “They had been in second and had to do penalty turns; a lot of boats did turns.” Dahlberg and Ostling, in eighth at the time, scooted clear. By the second windward mark, France (not in medal contention) was leading with the Swedes in second and eventual silver medalists Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) behind them. “We all did a jibe set,” said Ostling, “and we were focused on our position with Australia when suddenly they jibed away (to make sure they covered ISR), and we were glad. We managed to get a boost for boat lengths at the end and won.”Dahlberg and Ostling competed here three years ago but admittedly were beginners trying to get experience. “Now we have a lot more confidence, for sure on the downwind legs,” said Ostling. “This is our first gold; it’s big for us, big for Sweden.” The duo is hoping that the same scenario might play out at the 2012 Games if they are fortunate enough to represent their country there. “In Beijing we were 15th, and with more experience, hopefully we can medal,” said Dahlberg.For the French 49er team of Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis, it was important to finish in front of the Austrian team of Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch and the Danish team of Simon Karstoft and Jonathon Bay. The three were one-two-three going into today and finished the regatta in the same order. “After a really good start, our goal was to control them and we managed to do that,” said Christidis matter-of-factly. “Usually we have a longer rest after our Worlds, which this year were held in January in the Bahamas (the team finished fourth), but we came right to Miami because this event and the World Cup is very important to us.
In RS:X Men’s (windsurfing), The Netherlands’ defending champion Dorian Rijsselberghe watched Spain’s Ivan Pastor most closely in his play to win the gold. With a short 500-meter windward leg, Rijsselberghe’s entire race took less than 30 minutes to complete. As he tells it, he was next to Pastor at the start boat, and in the beginning Pastor was controlling him. “But the more we were going the more I got control,” said Rijsselberghe, “just by speed and hard work.” Then it was the tacking game. “My goal was first to get rid of him to be sure he was not in front, then start racing others.” The light 7-9 knot breezes were typical of “pumping conditions” that have prevailed here for the windsurfers and continually tested their physical strength. “In these conditions you have a maximum heart rate of 4-5 times normal, and you have to get ‘over the hump,’ as we say and get up on a plane. Today there was not a lot of wind, but just enough to have a nice race.” Pastor took the silver, while France’s Julien Bontemps won the bronze.In RS:X Women’s , the battle between Spanish teammates Marina Alabau, the defending champion, and Blanca Manchon, yesterday’s leader, wound up with Alabau snatching gold and Manchon settling for silver. “I was worried for the French as well at the start,” said Alabau, “but it was me who rolled Blanca, and she had to tack to the wrong side. I was more concentrated on not losing second, but thinking maybe to get a first. By the first mark, I was second behind Laura (Linares of Italy), and I just had to keep my position.” Linares, who won today’s race, took the bronze and epitomizes the up-and-coming youth contingent at this regatta. Coming into today in fourth, the 19-year-old said, “I was determined more than in any other of the races. I was calm; I believed in myself. I just finished a youth period and now I am not anymore a youth, so I am entering another period where it will be my job to be a professional sailor trying for the Olympics.”
“Not only did we have terrific racing this week by the best sailors in the world,” said Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Regatta Co-Chairperson, “but also we had the best, most qualified group of volunteers we’ve ever had. They worked tirelessly to run a superb event.”
Medals were awarded tonight to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic event at a ceremony held at Coral Reef Yacht Club. In addition to her gold medal, Paige Railey was chosen to receive US SAILING's Golden Torch Award, given to the American sailor deemed to have the best overall performance among all classes. Tunnicliffe was the last athlete to win the award in 2006, so she presented Railey with the trophy.
For complete results and photos, visit http://rmocr.ussailing.org. Video highlights, produced by T2Productions, can also be viewed on the event web site <http://www.rolexmiamiocr.org/> . Fans can also visit the Facebook fan page <http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pages/US-SAILINGs-Rolex-Miami-OCR/165109312842?ref=ts> and Twitter page <http://twitter.com/rolexmiamiocr> .