Author: Jake Fish

Paine Puts Silver Lining on 2018 World Cup Series Miami

A year and a half ago, with the majestic hills of Rio de Janeiro as a backdrop, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) proved that he’s not afraid of sporting’s bright lights, claiming the Finn class bronze medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics with a stirring win in the Medal Race. Earlier today, on Biscayne Bay, Paine came up big again when the pressure was its most intense, earning the Finn silver medal in the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA.

“For the first event back in the year and a half, it was a great result,” said Paine (above), who officially launched his campaign for Tokyo 2020 this week. “I look forward to improving that in the near future.”

Paine started the Medal Race needing to place one boat between himself and Alican Kaynar (TUR) to move from third to second in the overall standings, while also not letting Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) finish too far ahead. Giles Scott (GBR), the reigning Olympic gold medalist, had simply to finish the race to ensure himself of the gold medal.

World Sailing Recap: Leaders Shine on Final Day of 2018 World Cup Series Miami

Paine put himself in a difficult spot when his start didn’t quite go as planned. Fortunately Kaynar didn’t shine off the line either and both were quickly forced to make clearing tacks and work the right side of the course while the bulk of the fleet streaked off toward the left. While the Medal Race is short, there’s still plenty of opportunity to come back from a bad start as the smaller fleet—10 versus 26 boats in the case of Finn class—makes it easier to find clean lanes. Paine was patient, working past Kaynar on the first beat and then making the decisive move on the final run, slipping past Max Salminen (SWE) and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) to put two boats between himself and Kaynar and claim the silver medal.

“I was fortunate to be close enough to those guys [on the final run] and I saw some pressure on the downwind,” said Paine. “I just knew that was my moment to make the jump, and I worked hard as I could to make it happen. Fortunately enough, I was able to pass them by the bottom mark.”

As the top-placing American in the regatta, Paine also earned US Sailing’s Golden Torch Award.

The only other American team to sail on the regatta’s closing day was the Men’s 470 team of Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif.). McNay and Biehl sailed together in two Olympics, but Biehl retired from Olympic competition after the 2012 Olympics and McNay teamed up with David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) to finish fourth in Rio. With Hughes recovering from a knee injury, McNay called upon his former partner to help him stay sharp.

While a seventh-place finish—they moved up one spot with a third in the Medal Race—isn’t up to McNay’s usual standards at this event, which he’s won three times, but the team’s goal this week wasn’t focused on the results.

“The results this week in Miami I think are a good indication of exactly where our team is at, performance wise,” said Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “We had one medal here with Caleb Paine in the Finn, but have also had some other class results in single digits. Although this is a marker of where we are today, it’s certainly not an indicator of where we’re going. We are steadily building a process and a system to take America back to the top of the podium.”

Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) just needed to beat one boat to lock up the gold medal in the Men’s 470 division. They beat eight, finishing just behind Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in the race. Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) finished seventh in the Medal Race, but were close enough to Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) to hold onto the silver medal position.

“It was an amazing week,” said Peponnet. “We had light winds to begin and that was really good for us because we really want to know how well we were in these conditions, and it turns out we were really good in them. We had very strong winds towards the final days and that also turned out to be good. Overall, we are really happy because we’ve only been sailing together for six months and we’ve done so well.”

If there was a common thread to the five Medal Races on the final day of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, it was that the hard work put in early in the regatta was the key to victory. In three of the five classes, the leader coming into the day was assured or all but assured of the gold medal due to the advantage build up during the full-fleet portion of the regatta. The leaders in the other two classes had solid, if not invincible, cushions over second place.

All five class leaders going into the day stood on the top of the podium at the end of it. But there was plenty of excitement when it came to the remaining podium positions.

It was the final race of the day, in the Women’s 470 class, that proved to be the most entertaining. Regatta leaders Tina Mrak and Veronkia Macarol (SLO) gave the fleet a hint of hope by rounding the first mark in fourth. But an impressive run, which vaulted them into the lead, all but squashed any chance of another team closing the 13-point gap. The real battle settled on silver and bronze, with three teams—Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen (NED), Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska (POL) and Ai Konda Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN)—separated by 3 points going into the race and a fourth, Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR), with an outside chance should two of the three falter.

© Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

The race turned at the bottom of the second run when Zegers and Van Veen ran into equipment issues with their spinnaker, which required Van Veen to come off the trapeze and spend a few minutes inside the boat. In the breezy conditions, this proved fatal as the fleet streaked away from the Dutch team. The Polish and Japanese teams matched each other for the second lap of the race, with Skrzypulec and Mrózek Gliszczynska maintaining the advantage and locking up the silver medal. With a 10th place in the race, Zegers and Van Veen, the defending champions at this event, dropped from second to fifth. Seabright and Anna won the Medal Race and jumped to fourth in the overall standings.

The Laser Radial was the most wide-open of the five classes, with nine of 10 sailors starting the Medal Race mathematically alive for a medal. Alison Young (GBR) had a five-point advantage over second place starting the day. But the way that Young closed the regatta—with four wins in five heavy-air races—there didn’t appear to be much chance to unseat her at the head of the class with the Medal Race being sailed in much the same conditions as the previous six races, 16 knots and choppy seas.

Young jumped out to the early lead with an impressive first beat. Mári Érdi (HUN) would slip past on the second beat, but second was more than enough for the Briton to clinch the overall title. Emma Plasschaert (BEL) played solid defense to hold on to the silver while Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) did the same to claim bronze.

With the gold medal locked up courtesy of a 30-point advantage, Tom Burton decided to use the Medal Race to work on his starts. All evidence to the contrary—his results for the week include two race wins and eight top-seven finishes—Burton wasn’t quite satisfied with his ability to get off the line. That item will remain on his worklist as he pulled the trigger just a hair early in the Medal Race and was called OCS by the race committee. Without anything to gain or lose, Burton was content to follow the fleet around the track after re-starting. He finished ninth and still winning the class by 17 points. Nick Thompson (GBR) and Philipp Buhl (GER) were effectively tied going into the race. And Sam Meech (NZL), the bronze medalist from the Rio 2016 Olympics, was lurking just three points back.

© Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

It all looked good for Buhl (right, in red) when he rounded the first mark in sixth, with Meech in sixth and Thompson (right, in blue) in ninth. But Thompson, who was whistled for a tacking-too-close penalty on the first beat, ground back into contention. It was anyone’s race as the Lasers surfed down the final downwind leg, flicking their bows from side to side and aggressively working the short, steep chop of Biscayne Bay.

In the end, Thompson was unable to dig himself completely out of the hole created by his penalty on the first leg. Like many Olympic veterans in this regatta, however, Thompson is able to look at the big picture.

“Today was a real tricky day in Miami,” said Thompson. “I was tied with three boats going into the medal race. First place was already gone. I knew it was going to be a tough battle but, in the end, I came away with third place. It’s another year where me and Philip had a good battle. I like competing with him. He’s a great sailor.

“The penalty was my mistake. I thought I was probably okay, but the jury ultimately made the decision. Basically, I was coming in starboard and I had a boat going to duck behind me. I tacked a bit too close and that was a bit frustrating on my part. Overall, I am pleased with my performance this week. Just came to work in a few areas, and I walk away with a medal, so I feel pretty amazing.”

Photos: © Jesus Renedo & Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Last Set of Champions Crowned in Miami

If there was a common thread to the five Medal Races on the final day of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, it was that the hard work put in earlier in the regatta proved the decisive component in determining the champion.

In three of the five classes, the leader coming into the day was assured or all but assured of the gold medal due to the advantage built up during the full-fleet portion of the regatta.

The leaders in the other two classes had solid, if not invincible, cushions over second place.

Not surprisingly, all five class leaders going into the day stood on the top of the podium at the end of it. But there was plenty of excitement when it came to the remaining podium positions.

© Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

It was the final race of the day, in the Women’s 470 division, that proved to be the most entertaining. Tina Mrak and Veronkia Macarol (SLO) gave the fleet a hint of hope by rounding the first mark in fourth. But an impressive run, which vaulted them into the lead, all but squashed any hope of another team closing the 13-point gap and taking over first place.

“It was a great week of sailing, particularly on the first few days of racing, we did really well,” said Mrak.

Their biggest challenge this week was sailing downwind in lighter winds.

The real battle then settled on silver and bronze with three teams, Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen (NED), Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska (POL) and Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN), separated by three points going into the race and a fourth, Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR), with an outside chance should two of the three falter.

The race turned at the bottom of the second run when Zegers and Van Veen ran into some equipment issues with their boat, which required Van Veen to come off the trapeze and spend a few minutes inside the boat.

In the breezy conditions, this was fatal as the fleet streaked away from the Dutch team. The Polish and Japanese teams matched each other for the second lap of the race, with Skrzypulec and Mrózek Gliszczynska maintaining the advantage and locking up the silver medal.

“We’ve had a week and it’s been great sharing the podium with our sparring partners. We’ve done our best and we’ve managed to achieve silver so we are blessed,” expressed Gliszczynsk.

With a 10th place in the race, Zegers and Van Veen, the defending champions at this event, dropped from second to fifth. Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR) won the Medal Race and jumped to fourth in the overall standings.

The Laser Radial was the most wide-open of the five classes, with nine of 10 sailors starting the Medal Race mathematically alive for a medal.

© Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Alison Young (GBR) had a five-point advantage over second place starting the day. But the way that Young closed the regatta—with four wins in five heavy-air races—there didn’t appear to be much chance to unseat her at the head of the class with the Medal Race being sailed in much the same conditions, 16 knots and choppy seas.

Young jumped out to the early lead with an impressive first beat. Mári Érdi (HUN) would slip past on the second beat, but second was more than enough for the Briton to clinch the overall title. Emma Plasschaert (BEL) played solid defense to hold on to the silver while Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) did the same to claim bronze.

Rindom says she could improve on her hiking, “I’ve been struggling with hiking this week and that’s something I definitely need to improve on.”

With the gold medal locked up courtesy of a 30-point advantage, Tom Burton decided to use the Medal Race to work on his starts. All evidence to the contrary—including two race wins and eighth top-seven finishes in this event—Burton wasn’t quite satisfied with his ability to get off the line.

He’ll need a little more work as he pulled the trigger just a hair early and was called OCS by the race committee. Without anything to gain or lose, Burton was content to follow the fleet around the track, finishing ninth and still winning the class by 17 points.

Separated by just a point going into the race, Nick Thompson (GBR) and Philipp Buhl (GER) were effectively tied going into the race. And Sam Meech (NZL), the bronze medalist from the Rio 2016 Olympics, was lurking just three points back.

It all looked good for Buhl when he rounded the first mark in sixth, with Meech in sixth and Thompson in ninth. But Thompson ground back into contention and it was anyone’s race as the Lasers surfed down the final run, flicking side to side and aggressively working the short, steep chop of Biscayne Bay.

A year and a half ago, with the majestic hills of Rio de Janeiro as a backdrop, Caleb Paine (USA) proved that he’s not afraid of the bright lights, claiming the Finn class bronze medal in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a stirring win in the Medal Race. Earlier today, on Biscayne Bay, Paine came up big again, earning the Finn silver medal.

Paine started the Medal Race needing to place one boat between himself and Alican Kaynar (TUR) to move from third to second in the overall standings, while also not letting Ioannis Mitakis finish too far ahead. Giles Scott (GBR), the reigning Olympic Medalist, had simply to finish the race to ensure himself of the gold medal.

Scott shares his secret on his this week, “I think consistency in the top positions is key and that applies to most fleets.

“The trick is just to say steady and easy into it at the start and don’t do anything outstanding during the first couple of races of an event. You just keep plugging away and try and secure the top three results. This was my strategy in Miami.”

Paine put himself in a difficult spot at the start when his plan to attack Kaynar before the start didn’t quite go as planned, forcing both sailors to make an early clearing tack and work the right side of the course while the bulk of the fleet streaked off toward the left.

While the Medal Race is short, there’s still plenty of opportunity to come back from a bad start as the smaller fleet—10 versus 26 boats in the case of Finn—makes it easier to find clean lanes. Paine was patient, working himself past Kaynar on the first beat and then making the decisive move on the final run, slipping past Max Salminen (SWE) and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) to put two boats between himself and Kaynar and claim the silver medal.

© Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

In the Men’s 470, Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) won gold. The pair lead the fleet majority of the week and triumphant by a 27-point margin ahead of the French, Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion, who took silver.

Peponnet and Mion have only sailed together for six months and they walk away with silver medals, “Overall we are really happy because we’ve only been sailing together for six months and we’ve done so well. Our height and weight is perfect, that’s what us perform better than most in the fleet.” Said Peponnet.

Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) claimed bronze in Men’s 470.

You can watch the final Medal Races here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZcq- EHxZ3M

The third leg of Sailing’s 2018 World Cup Series will be held in Hyères, France, this April.

By Stuart Streuli & Aadil Seedat – World Sailing

Resilient South Florida Sailing Community Rebounded to Keep World Cup Series Tradition Alive

Every January, for nearly three decades, sailors from around the world have brought their Olympic hopes and dreams to Miami. Getting here, especially for sailors—and boats—based in Europe or farther afield, requires some effort. But there simply are not many places in the Northern Hemisphere where you can find reliably good sailing conditions in January. When you combine great sailing with warm mid-winter weather, Miami’s diverse international flavor and the hospitable local yacht clubs that line the shores of Biscayne Bay—and have always been more than willing to help run such a broad regatta—it’s easy to understand why this event has become such an important fixture on the international dinghy circuit.

“We love Miami,” said Anika Lorenz (GER) who is won the 49erFX divsion with her teammate Victoria Jurczok. “It’s so warm, and you don’t need big wet suits. There is great weather and facilities.”

© Tomas Moya/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

But Hurricane Irma almost put a stop to a tradition that dates back to 1990. The Category 5 storm, which made landfall in early September, did greater than $50 billion in damage to Southern Florida. The recovery, especially along the coastlines, is ongoing.

“Irma sunk over 100 large vessels in the mooring fields in the Coconut Grove-area,” said Meredith Brody, regatta co-chair. “Those vessels, between November through January, were pulled out at our regatta site, onto the staging ground of our event. But we worked very hard with the city and lots of different partners to get them removed so the show could go on.”

In addition, the Clubs that play such an integral role in running the event—providing support boats, volunteers, event space and many other invaluable resources—were all dealing with their own issues in the wake of Irma.

“The piers where we do our launching, those were completely destroyed until just days before the athletes showed up,” said Brody. “So, it really was an incredible effort from multiple levels. From the city of Miami, from the state of Florida, [and] we had some government entities involved. We had a huge team that worked on it, and it’s incredible that it all came together.”

© Tomas Moya/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Losing the 2018 regatta would’ve been particularly painful. After many years of running the regatta from multiple locations around Biscayne Bay, the event organizers have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing Regatta Park into a single on-shore venue capable of hosting all the boats, along with regatta management offices and an on-shore festival designed to expose Olympic sailing to a wider audience. The 2017 event served a something of a proof of concept and, spurred on by World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body, event organizers were ready to go all-in in 2018.  

While the use of Regatta Park was touch-and-go during the months and even weeks prior to the Opening Ceremonies at the Coral Reef Yacht Club last Monday, the regatta has gone off seamlessly. Brody’s hope that the athletes “wouldn’t even notice,” seems to have come to fruition as they’ve been free to focus on the competition.

“I love it,” said RS:X competitor Noga Geller (ISR). “The weather is great and you get really good conditions to sail here. There is hardly any seaweed, so it definitely makes it much more enjoyable to windsurf.”

With this regatta wrapping up today, Brody and the rest of her organizing team, including co-chair John Craig, can breathe a sigh of relief, and then focus on making next year event better.

“We have 50 countries competing and over 394 boats with over 500-plus athletes. So really excited to have the world gathered here in Coconut Grove.” said Brody. “We’re looking forward to our big 30 next year.”

Day #6 Morning Report – Final Five Medal Race to Close out 2018 World Cup Series Miami

Miami, USA has delivered a range of conditions for the 543 sailors, from 50 nations, competing in Round two of Sailing’s World Cup Series 2018.
From light winds, at the start of the regatta, to heavy winds towards the end. Sailors racing on Biscayne Bay have seen it all the diversity has caused big movements on the leaderboard.

Yesterday the Nacra 17, RS:X Men and Women, and the 49er and 49erFX completed their Medal Races in perfect sailing conditions.

Today is the last day of the competition and the second, of two, Medal Race days and champions will be crowned in the 470 Men and Women, Finn, Laser and Laser Radial.

The breeze will be slightly calmer than yesterday and is expected to be ranging from 10 to 15 knots, traveling in from the east southeast. There is a slight chance of showers in the morning and the afternoon.

The Laser Radials will be the first class to commence racing, scheduled for 12:00. You can watch today’s sailing action here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZcq-EHxZ3M

Sunday 28 January Schedule*
*Subject to change

Laser – 12:00
Laser Radial – 12:58
Finn Dinghy – 13:43
470 Men – 14:28
470 Women – 15:13

How to follow:

ENTRIES / RESULTS / SCHEDULE
27 Olympic medallists as well as World and Continental Champions have registered to compete in Miami. Click here to view the entry list in full.
Results will be available from Tuesday 23 January here – http://sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
All fleets will commence racing on Tuesday 23 January. To view the full schedule click here.

WATCH
Daily highlights and live streamed Medal Races on Saturday and Sunday will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.

Set yourself a reminder for the Medal Races below:
Saturday Live
Sunday Live

SAP SAILING ANALYTICS
SAP Sailing Analytics will be available from Tuesday 23 January. Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here – https://wcs2018-miami.sapsailing.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA
Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks and get involved in the conversation using #WCSMiami
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/worldsailingofficial/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/worldsailingofficial/
Twitter – @worldsailing

PRESS RELEASES
All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the World Cup Series, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php

LIVE ALERTS
Click here to sign up to receive all of the latest alerts and announcements from Miami.

WORLD CUP SERIES
The World Cup Series is a world-class, annual series of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Over 2,000 of the World’s leading sailors, representing over 75 nations have competed in the World Cup Series which offers a definitive guide to the best-of-the-best in the Olympic sailing world.

Roble, Shea Find Redemption with 49erFX Medal Race Win

Mathematically eliminated from medal contention before the start of the Medal Race, the American 49erFX squad of Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) went into their final race of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, looking for something less tangible, but no less important on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

“This week has been full of highs and lows for us,” said Roble. “The first few days of the lighter air, we had some up-and-down scores. As the breeze built, we had an unfortunate capsize in one of the races that caused the time limit to expire on us. I’m really looking forward to getting more consistent results as we move forward as a team. That being said, heading into the medal race today, we were really hungry for redemption and really wanted to have a solid race against this group of girls, so we were fired up and ready to roll today.”

World Sailing Recap: France’s Noesmoen Shines in Medal Race to Take Women’s RS:X Gold

Roble and Shea showed impressive speed and boathandling in conditions that tested the fleet and caused more than one of their competitors to capsize. They rounded the first mark in seventh and then progressively moved up through the fleet and won the race.

“We had basically a lay day because we couldn’t sail [on Friday due to too much wind], and that gave us some time to really reflect on what we struggled with on the breezy day before, diagnose the problems and focus on how we were going to change techniques and maneuvers,” said Shea. “We focused on a couple of critical moments that led to a bad result earlier in the week, and we corrected some things that really helped us achieve a solid result today. Steph kept her head out of the boat and nailed some really critical laylines. I just put my head down and pulled really hard at times. But Steph was really comfortable with the boat going fast and, you know, she loves the boat-on-boat stuff.”

The race win moved Roble and Shea from ninth in the overall standings to eighth. But the real reward is the momentum they’ll carry into the rest of the season.

“From here on out, we’re going to head to Europe for a bit,” said Roble. “There’s some big training camps going on in Portugal, so we’ll head over there to gain some more experience on the starting line and just racing against other boats. We feel like our boat handling is pretty solid, and we want to continue making gains against the fleet. It will be a pretty Europe-heavy spring and summer leading up to [Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018, in late July], and we’re just looking to make as many gains we can for the big event.”

Among the other Americans competing in the Medal Races, results-based highlights were rare. But, there was plenty of optimism on shore nonetheless. And Finn sailor Caleb Paine has put himself in a very strong position to finish either second or third in his first regatta back after the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Men’s and Women’s 470 classes will sail their Medal Races tomorrow, starting at noon.

“We came into the day pretty happy with how we were doing so far, and we had nowhere to go but up,” said Nacra 17 skipper Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.), who finished ninth in today’s Medal Race for the foiling catamaran class. “We had set our expectations of just having fun and sailing fast around the course, pushing ourselves as hard as we could, and we achieved that, plus some. We were really happy to be up there in the mix at the top mark with those top guys. We’re looking forward to getting the next opportunity to really push it against them.”

As the top American team in the regatta—and because they made the Medal Race—Parent and Persson were named to the US Sailing Team after today’s sailing, putting a big smile on both of their faces.

“I’m humbled by the events of today,” said Persson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) “It’s just been really great working with all the other teams, just getting to know everybody and sailing together and learning together and pushing one another. It’s been a really great experience, so for me, that’s really important.”

Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) capsized in the Nacra 17 Medal Race and did not finish. But their 10th place finish in their first regatta together is a good sign of what’s to come for this duo, both of whom who participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) and Alain Sign (GBR) were eighth in the 49er Medal Race and finished ninth in the overall standings. Sign was a one-time fill-in for Ryan’s normal partner Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.). For Ryan, the opportunity to sail with a Rio Olympian and continue to refine his skills while Henken recovered from injury was quite valuable.

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

“The 49er demands consistent sailing all the time,” said Ryan. “A 49er sailor needs to get reps in, and it makes a big difference. After Hans needed time off for a medical issue, I was contemplating sitting out in Miami depending on which crew could come. My coach, Mark Asquith, set things up with Alain Sign, an Olympian and world-class crew. The opportunity to sail with a top-notch athlete from a different program was great, and brought value for the future. Hans is now 100-percent recovered, and after he finishes his masters degree in March, we will be fully back to campaigning toward Tokyo 2020. We’ll be stronger than ever, and ready to crush racing this summer.”

The only other American team to qualify for Sunday’s Medal Races was the 470 team of Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif.). As with Ryan, McNay had the choice of sailing with a replacement crew, while David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) recovers from a knee injury, or not sailing. The opportunity to reunite with Biehl, with whom McNay sailed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, made it an easy decision. After a sixth and an eighth today, McNay and Biehl are eighth overall. They will sail in tomorrow’s Medal Race, but are mathematically eliminated from podium contention.

Paige Railey’s return to competition in the Laser Radial netted the two-time Olympian a 13th place. It’s a solid start for Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) especially considering her lack of time in the boat over the past 18 months and the heavy-air sailing that dominated the second half of the regatta. Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas) finished strongly for the United States, with four top-10 finishes in the final five races. She was 17th overall. Newly-crowned Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was 32nd.

Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) missed the Medal Race in the Laser class by just six points. He finished 12th, with Malcolm Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) in 27th and Christopher Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) in 31st.

Atlantic and Nora Brugman (Miami, Fla.) were the top American team in the Women’s 470 class, finishing 24th.

Photos: Jesus Renedo & Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

France’s Noesmoen Shines in Medal Race to Take Women’s RS:X Gold

With five sailors in striking distance of the gold medal and seven mathematically alive for a podium position, the Medal Race for the Women’s RS:X at the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, was projected to be the most exciting of the five Medal Races scheduled for the penultimate day of the regatta.

Watch today’s Medal Races here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3t_sodLO8g

And it delivered with abundant speed and excitement in champagne sailing conditions on Biscayne Bay.

 © Tomas Moya/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

When the spray cleared, Hélène Noesmoen (FRA, center) was zipping across the finish line in first in excess of 20 knots and, in the process, moving from fourth to first in the overall standings. Rounding out the medals were Flavia Tartaglini (ITA, left) and Blanca Manchon (ESP, right).

“Today was windy, and I think that is my strong point,” said Noesmoen. “I tried to keep consistent during the week and really push myself in the Medal Race, and it paid off. I had a bad second day, I think that was due to the wind conditions, which dropped me to the middle of the [results] table. But I had an amazing third day, which kept me in the top 10 and allowed me to compete at the Medal Race.”

The turning point in the double-points Medal Race came on the first downwind leg when Stefania Elfutina (RUS), the defending Olympic bronze medalist and regatta leader going into the day, caught the edge of her board after leaping off a wave and crashed into the water. It the time it took her to recover her sail and get going again, five sailors-and her medal chances-passed her by. One of those zipping past was Noesmoen, who rounded the second of five marks in sixth place. While the breeze velocity was quite steady, there were gains to be made by playing the shifts correctly. On the third leg, Noesmoen found an elevator to the podium, moving to second and then to first for the final two legs of the race.

“This race was going well for me until I crashed on the first downwind close to the gate,” said Elfutina. “I’m not sure what happened. I’m trying not to feel disappointed with myself. I enjoyed this regatta and my races. I learned a lot of things on the water. I can’t really say what I learned [about preventing what happened in the final race], it’s just an instinct that your body adjusts to on the water, and it becomes a reflex.”

For the first time, World Sailing employed a reaching start and finish for the RS:X divisions. For sailors that are used to parking close to the starting line and accelerating at the last second-typical of a start in the RS:X class-this America’s Cup-inspired course format required a retooled starting strategy that heavily rewarded precise time-on-distance calculations for the final ramp up. But the course, which features four reaching and downwind legs and two upwind legs, was generally met with positive reviews.

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

As was the case with the Women’s RS:X, no team in the Men’s 49er fleet had secured a podium position of any color going into the Medal Race. But unlike in the RS:X division, the form guide held true with world champions Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) staying right in lockstep with Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) throughout the race and ensuring that the British team would emerge from the race with the gold medal. Holding on for third, though they did put themselves in a bit of trouble by rounding the first mark in ninth, were Federico Alonso Tellechea and Arturo Alonso Tellechea (ESP).

“It was brilliant fun out there,” said Bithell, a silver medalist in the 470 class. “We had good breeze and plenty of sunshine. The Medal Race is pretty quick. It was really exciting, and we were just full of adrenaline. It’s just incredible sailing [the 49er]. It was hectic but Dylan did a really good job.

“Our strategy initially was to start at the boat end, windward of the Spanish. But we got a little late at the start so we had to go to Plan B, which was to be a bit quicker so we just had to use our speed.”

Though they were, effectively, as far ahead of third place as they were behind first, Botín le Chever and López Marra attacked the racecourse with the aim of getting a gold.

“We needed to put the boat between the British and us to win,” said Botín le Chever. “So we went full-on in the start. The wind was really strong so we had to keep the boat upright. We found ourselves in second place. We needed to overtake the Austrians and we did it. We thought that we’d won the regatta, but then we found out that we were second. Congrats to the British.”

Unfortunately for the Spanish duo, the Austrian team that crossed the line second in the race had crossed the starting line early and was disqualified from the race. But the silver medal is a strong result for this team, which was ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It’s a really good position for us,” said Botín le Chever. “We have some of the greatest 49er sailors here. This event is motivation for us to keep on working hard. We have a lot of regattas ahead, we still have a long way ahead.”

Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz started the Medal Race in the 49erFX class with a comfortable cushion. But in the spicy wind and chopped wave conditions-and multiple capsizes-no lead was safe. So the German duo kept the pedal to the metal and finished second in the race behind Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (USA).

“It was a hard wrestle for us today,” said Lorenz. “Our main focus on the boat was to make sure that all the manoeuvers were safe and that we didn’t capsize. We were not really focusing on the other boats.”

The Norwegian team of Ragna and Maia Agerup was one of the boats that capsized, but in the end it didn’t cost them a place in the overall standings. They took silver with Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht (AUT) in third.

Even for the sailors at the front of the Nacra 17 class, today’s race was a learning experience. The 19-21 knots conditions, with 1-meter chop, were right on the edge of what the boats can handle, especially given the fleet’s relative inexperience with the lifting foils, which were added to the class less than a year ago. Upwind, most teams chose to keep one hull in the water and go for height over speed. Downwind, however, it was a wild ride with both hulls riding a meter or more out of the water at times. One sailor was swept overboard when her boat crashed down into the water after foiling downwind at 25 knots. She was quickly recovered and her team finished the race.

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Lisa Darmanin and skipper Jason Waterhouse (AUS) started the race with a 19-point lead, which meant they only needed to finish the race to ensure the gold medal. Instead they added one more victory to their scorecard, showing exceptional control in challenging conditions.

“We’re from Australia,” said Darmanin, a 2016 Rio silver medalist, “so we love the breeze.”

Defending gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) were last around the first two marks, but showed remarkable speed on the final downwind leg, going from seventh to third and preserving the silver medal. Thomas Zajac and Barbara Matz (AUT) were sixth in the race and third overall.

With a second in the Medal Race in the Men’s RS:X, Kiran Badloe broke up a potential one-two finish for France. But it would’ve taken a perfect race and quite a bit of help from the rest of the fleet to unseat Louis Giard (FRA) who started the final race with a 13-point advantage. Tom Squires (GBR) won the race. Pierre Le Coq (FRA) was sixth in the race, which was enough to keep him on the podium.

“Today the conditions were incredible, I really enjoyed the racing,” said Giard. “A lot of the guys in the RS:X class are really good. So we had really close competition and all the time you have to constantly be looking out because if you open a small window someone will slip in.

“I can’t really put my finger on [the key to my success], but I just try my best and I try to enjoy this competition.”

The Finn, Laser and Laser Radial and Men’s and Women’s 470 sailed today and will have their Medal Races tomorrow.

In the Finn class, Giles Scott (GBR) holds first position with a 19-point lead over the Turkish sailor, Alican Kaynar. Caleb Paine (USA) sits third in the fleet.

Tom Burton (AUS) has an unassailable lead in the Laser class with a 30-point cushion over Nick Thompson (GBR). After the tough battle for second place with Thompson, throughout the week, Philipp Buhl (GER) lands in third place on the leaderboard.

Alison Young (GBR) climbed up the fleet and managed to gain first place in the Laser Radial.
Emma Plasschaert (BEL) had led for the majority of the week however she drops to second. The Rio 2016 bronze medalist, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is third.

In the Men’s 470, Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) lead the fleet with 17-points ahead of Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion (FRA). The Swedish, Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström hold third spot.

Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) move up from fourth to first in the Women’s 470. Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) take second and Agnieszka Skrzypulec
Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska (POL) third.

The dinghies will sail their Medal Races tomorrow with the racing scheduled to commence at 12:00. You can watch the remaining Medal Races live here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZcq-EHxZ3M

Day # 5 Morning Report: First Day of Medal Races On Tap

Day five of the 2018 Sailing’s World Cup Series is set to produce some action-packed sailing on the first Medal Race day in Miami, USA.

Racing was cancelled yesterday due to heavy winds however the weather conditions today are expected to be calmer for the 543 sailors, from 50 nations.

The wind direction will sweep in from the east at around 15 to 20 knots with gusts reaching 30 knots. This will provide some action-packed sailing on the first of two Medal Race days.
Saturday 27 January Schedule*

*Subject to change

Event / Class Race Area Warning Number of Races
Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X M Echo 14:25 1
Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X W Echo 15:05 1
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Charlie 10.30 3
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial Charlie 13.30 3
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn Delta 10.30 3
Men’s Skiff – 49er Echo 12:10 1
Women’s Skiff – 49er FX Echo 12:10 1
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 M Delta 13.45 3
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 W Delta 13.55 3
Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17 Echo 13.35 1

How to follow:

ENTRIES / RESULTS / SCHEDULE
27 Olympic medallists as well as World and Continental Champions have registered to compete in Miami. Click here to view the entry list in full.
Results will be available from Tuesday 23 January here – http://sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
All fleets will commence racing on Tuesday 23 January. To view the full schedule click here.

WATCH
Daily highlights and live streamed Medal Races on Saturday and Sunday will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.

Set yourself a reminder for the Medal Races below:
Saturday Live
Sunday Live

SAP SAILING ANALYTICS
SAP Sailing Analytics will be available from Tuesday 23 January. Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here – https://wcs2018-miami.sapsailing.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA
Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks and get involved in the conversation using #WCSMiami
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/worldsailingofficial/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/worldsailingofficial/
Twitter – @worldsailing

PRESS RELEASES
All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the World Cup Series, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php

LIVE ALERTS
Click here to sign up to receive all of the latest alerts and announcements from Miami.

WORLD CUP SERIES
The World Cup Series is a world-class, annual series of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Over 2,000 of the World’s leading sailors, representing over 75 nations have competed in the World Cup Series which offers a definitive guide to the best-of-the-best in the Olympic sailing world.

With One Year on the Job, US Sailing Team’s Malcolm Page Reflects and Looks Ahead

by Stuart Streuli, World Sailing

It was almost exactly a year ago that Malcolm Page, a double gold medalist in the 470 class for Australia, took the reigns of the US Sailing Team. With winds in excess of 30 knots keeping all 10 classes on shore for the entirety of Day 4 of the World Cup Series Miami, USA, we took the opportunity to connect with Page, the Chief of US Olympic Sailing, for some reflection on his first year on the job and a look ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond.

For World Sailing’s report on Day 4, and a look at the first group of Medal Races, please click here.

You’re approaching your one-year anniversary with the US Sailing Team. What’s your assessment of your first year at the helm?
There are some success and there are some going slows. There’s always a little bit of naiveté when you start something fresh and you’re very gung-ho. Looking back now, there’s less surprise. The shift that I’m looking to bring is not easy, it’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes.

Regarding that shift, what’s the biggest stumbling block?

For me the biggest component is that we want to shift to a system where the US Sailing Team, armed with proven coaches and experts in key areas, is guiding athlete performance and strategy. In the past, we’ve had an athlete-driven system, and there was often not much coordination and teamwork between American sailors. We must show these talented young athletes what is required to win; and how to do the job right.

You said shortly after taking the job that you hoped to get two medals in Tokyo in 2020. Has that objective changed at all?
Increasing our medal count in Tokyo and beyond is our clear objective, and it guides all of our decisions, both long and short term. We want to not only build a program to win medals in this Olympic cycle, but to create a sustainable system that reaches from the youth level, to the Olympic Development level and then to the US Sailing Team level.

How do you measure the progress toward that goal?
I guess what we try to work on every day is a process, and focusing on performance, and the ultimate measurement is results. Throughout any year, you’ll have your peak event and more minor events and you might have a second mini-peak in your off season. To get that peak success you’ve got to look at each individual athlete, what they require, where they are in the development process and design the program around them. A great example is what Caleb Paine has done since Rio. He more or less took the first year off and then slowly worked himself back into Finn sailing. He started that by building his body back to weight and fitness, then started sailing periodically. Then in early December, he got back into the boat full-on with other boats as a reference.

The early results are promising. He’s right back among the best in the world at this event.
Caleb is coming back stronger than ever. He really impressed me in that the success he had in Rio hasn’t clouded his ability to view where his weaknesses are.

Let’s look at another class. In the Men’s 470 you have one very strong team—Stu McNay and David Hughes, fourth at the last Olympics—where as in the Women’s 470, it’s all young teams mostly starting their first campaign. How do you design a program that can develop medal-winning talent in both?
I normally break it into two sections. When you look at it from an equipment standpoint, some of the projects you need to do can be done in unison, though, of course , we need need to tailor to the crew weight of each individual team.
For the men, it’s about our athletes working on their weaknesses and refining their ability to go from top contenders to medal achievers. For the women is about going for more of a grass-roots approach. Realistically you’ve got to look at making this a 2024 project and getting all these women to work together as a mass group. Teams will be more fluid and raising the tide from a USA perspective is more important.

Like many Olympic sports, the team concept is a challenge with sailing. These sailors who are working together now will eventually have to battle one another for the Olympic berth. How do you make team atmosphere work?
That is probably the biggest cultural shift I’m trying to achieve. If I look at individual classes, I feel we have success in some examples and disappointment in others. When I look at a youth perspective, the ODP in particular, I think this has been a huge success. The youth teams are working together and creating strong fleets, which is allowing them to achieve international successes such as the recent Youth Worlds, where we earned three medals and had one near miss.
The new generation of sailors that are just getting into it have that approach, they all understand that they’ve got to work together to better. It’s probably the older seasoned athletes that have trouble with that. And in saying that, it’s only 20 percent of those.
Two great examples of that are with the Laser Radial, with Paige (Railey) coming back now and working really strongly with Erika (Reineke) and the Nacra class with Bora (Gulari) and Helena (Scutt) working really well with Riley (Gibbs) and Louisa (Chafee).

What’s your opinion of the U.S. feeder system, particularly the role of scholastic and college sailing? It’s vexed many people in your position.
There are always two sides to the coin. The opportunity that the United States system can provide to our sport and success is huge, but on the flip side, life expectations, educational expectations, career expectations are just as big and can pull people away from sporting success. Bridging that gap is a key part of a system that we need to build. I guess we’re very much at the infancy stage of that but we’re focusing on it heavily.
When I look at the junior level, there’s no country that produces as much talent as the USA. When you look at the college system, it’s a very professional system that has some great skill building in some areas of the sport.
How do they dovetail their career with their sailing? It’s something on which we’re working really closely with the USOC. We have a couple of business mentors that are coming on board to help us design a program that goes around this. When we do launch it, it will have its own system that will build trust with the parents and the young athletes.
It’s happened in other sports already. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel? We have an amazing partnership in the USOC, which has a connection to these other sports and has developed the ACE—Athlete Career Education—program, and they’re helping us bring that to sailing. I know we can do a a lot better than we have in that regard.

There is a lot of talk about the evolution of the Olympic classes for 2024 and beyond. What’s the team’s position on that?
US Sailing obviously has many people in prominent positions at World Sailing level, on different committees, on the council, on the board. So US Sailing is very well positioned. Hearing what information is coming forward, I trust that the council will make the right decision to take our sport forward. From a US Sailing Team perspective, we have our classes that have had immediate success and ones that aren’t as strong. But my opinion is, it doesn’t matter what classes are in the Olympic Games. We still have the right talent and all the resources, we just need to build our system that will ensure our sailors develop the skills necessary to have success no matter what the equipment.

Photos: © Amory Ross and Will Ricketson/US Sailing Team

Limits Reached on Day 4 of 2018 World Cup Series Miami

With the wind and sea state failing to moderate during the day, at 1:30 p.m., the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets were told they would not be sailing on Day 4 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami. A similar message to the other seven fleets participating in the event followed later in the afternoon.

The reports from Biscayne Bay were of winds averaging nearly 30 miles per hour, with gusts close to 40.

While sailors pride themselves on competing in just about anything, there are limits, especially given the number of sailors competing in some of the classes.

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

“We had some hope because yesterday the forecast indicated that the wind strength would drop at midday but it didn’t,” said Antonio Gonzalez de la Madrid (ESP), World Sailing’s Technical Delegate for the regatta. “Instead it increased and the average was above 25 knots. In the afternoon the average wind strength was 27 to 28 knots and gusting up to 35 knots.

“World Sailing’s Race Management policies prioritize fairness and safety when conducting races. The policies recommend not starting a race when the wind is above 25 knots and this is reduced to 22 knots for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 when the sea state is rough.

“It was not safe to go sailing today and it would have resulted in a lot of broken equipment and it’s not good for the sailors to have this problem before the Medal Races.”

For five of the fleets competing this week—the Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX and Men’s and Women’s RS:X—today marked the end of the full-fleet portion of the regatta. The top 10 in the overall standings going into the day will advance to tomorrow’s double-points Medal Race, which will decide the overall podium positions.

While the Medal Race has been a part of Olympic sailing for more than a decade, opportunities to participate in one are inherently limited by the format. And it’s different enough from a normal race—the course is shorter and features on-the-water umpires. So sailing in a Medal Race is a valuable experience even for those athletes who may not have a chance at the podium in this event.

“This is our first World Cup Series in this class and our first Medal Race,” said Enia Nincevic (CRO) who sails with Mihaela De Michell Vitturi (CRO) and qualified for the Medal Race by just two points. “We are far from the medals, but of course we want to win [the Medal Race]. We came here to keep up with the best teams and practice in preparation for the World Championships.”

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

For Nacra 17 skipper Ravi Parent (USA) just making the Medal Race is a something worth celebrating. Despite not finishing the final race yesterday, Parent and crew Christina Persson (USA) are 10th, four points ahead of teammates Sarah Newberry and David Leibenberg (USA).

“I’m really happy with how our progress has gone, having only sailed the boat for a little over a month now. I’m really looking forward to getting a shot at the medal race tomorrow,” he said. “Being that it’s my first World Cup event, against all these amazing sailors, it’s really just an honor to be here in the first place. It took a lot of effort, from talking with professors and getting time off school to organizing all the logistics to get down here, and it’s been my first time doing something this serious. The fact that we’ve reached so much success, it really shows what we’re doing is working and we’re happy to be working with everyone else who’s pushing the sport really hard.”

While the course configuration is fairly standard for most of the classes, the RS:X divisions will try something different, with a reaching start a lap or two of a traditional windward leeward course and then a reaching finish.

“It should be good,” said double Olympic gold medalist Dorian Van Rijsselberghe (NED), “Definitely makes it entertaining for spectators and competitive between sailors. I am looking forward to it. We had the same race format at the last World Championships and I liked it. It looks a bit faster and looks like there is a lot going on.”

Van Rijsselberghe will start the Medal Race in an unfamiliar position, 10th place, with no hope of moving onto the podium, even though the points from this race count double.

“I am in tenth spot and I’d hoped we could’ve sailed today so I can catch up but 10th is okay,” said Van Rijsselberghe, who is returning to competition after a long layoff. “I am confident that I will get around the course in one piece, but the competition is solid, especially between the top three. It’s a lot of work for me, but it should be fun racing with these good guys.”

The five remaining classes—Laser, Laser Radial, Men’s and Women’s 470 and the Finn—will finish their full-fleet series tomorrow and sail their Medal Races on Sunday.

The wind is expected to remain strong. For those sailors who struggled in the light air on Day one and Day two, or had a tough result yesterday, it’s a chance to put those scores behind them and focus on moving up in the rankings.

“It’s a good competition and we have a good level of sailors which makes it interesting,” said 470 skipper Benedetta Di Salle (ITA). “The first few days were light and not so great for us, but since yesterday the wind picked up and we managed to perform better. We prefer windy conditions, so we were happy to sail the next races in these conditions.”

The results remain the same and there is no movement on the leaderboard for any of the fleets. You can view the results here: www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

By Stuart Streuli & Aadil Seedat – World Sailing

Big Breeze a Challenging, But Necessary, Test for Two-Time Olympian Railey

After 18 months away from a physically demanding sailboat such as the Laser Radial, a windy day like Day 3 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, can be a rude awakening. But if two-time Olympian Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) is going to get back into world-class sailing shape in time to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there’s no time to waste.

I haven’t sailed since the [Rio Olympic] Games, and coming into this event we’re extremely underweight and obviously not in the best of shape,” she said. “So, what [a windy day] does for the long term goal is that it really shows you how hard you can push yourself. It also forces you to be really good with all of your boat handling. I think events like this, too, when they’re windy day after day, it’s good mentally. The Games is always a tough mental event. If you can start early on in the quad where you start pushing yourself mentally, I think it’s good training for the big events.”

Railey’s first day back was workmanlike, two 10ths and a 13th. Today was less successful with a mid-fleet finish and a black-flag disqualification for being over the starting line early. She’s 15th overall, but within striking distance of the top 10, and Sunday’s Medal Race. Emma Plasschaert (BEL) is walking away with the competition. Her 20-point total is 22 points less than Manami Doi (JPN) who is second. But Plasschaert has a large number for her throwout, which means this regatta just one mistake from being completely wide open again.

With more than a decade of campaign experience under her belt, Railey is pragmatic about the path to her third Olympic team. The key to campaigning as a veteran is to be as efficient as possible with your time and energy. That means embracing whatever conditions come her way.

I have a bucket list [of things to work on this event],” she said. “But honestly it’s getting off the line, and since it’s so windy—and I’m sitting under 135 pounds—it’s really getting off the start and then just focusing on trying to hike as hard as I can. I’m literally in the phase right now where I’m just trying to get my legs and everything back which is obviously brutal, but whatever, it’s life.”

While many might find that level of physical exertion unappetizing, for Railey it’s a welcome change after a year and a half in the business world.  

“There’s nothing like going out and physically pushing yourself,” she said. “You know, you go to the brink of ‘I don’t even know if I can continue doing this.’ It starts turning into mind over matter. In the working world, a lot of it’s just mental, mental, mental, and then you’re lacking the physical exertion. What’s fun for me is being out on the water and actually feeling the fatigue. People would say that’s crazy, but I actually like to be able to push myself physically.”

Railey is the top-placed American in the fleet by a 18-points. But with the strong winds expected to continue through the weekend, a good result will require her to push herself back into the pain cave time and time again. And while rising stars Erika Reineke, Haddon Hughes and Christina Sakellaris, among others, are not having great regattas, each has shown the potential to place in this very competitive fleet. The race for the U.S. Laser Radial berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has only just begun.

It was a wild and wooly day for the 49er fleet with a number of teams not finishing or even not starting races. Day 2 leaders Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) kept themselves in the pole position with a solid day, including a win and a third. In second and third, after nine races, are a pair of Spanish teams, Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) and  brothers Federico and Arturo Alonso Tellechea (ESP).

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) continued his consistent sailing with fill-in crew Alain Sighn (GBR). They are eighth in the overall standings. The full-fleet portion of the regatta will wrap up tomorrow with three more races, with the top 10 moving on to Saturday’s Medal Race.

“Today, we had some pretty epic breeze on the 49er course, about 18 to 20 knots with some gusts in the 23 range,” said Ryan (at right). “The goal of the day, and actually the goal of our regatta, has been to just try and keep getting around the top mark in the top 15 and pick away from there. Sort of our scoreline reflects that from today. It wasn’t really a superb day, but we did what we needed to do and actually, because of our consistency, we moved up a spot. That’s always pretty rewarding on the big breeze days.”

Capsizes were plentiful today and Ryan noted that they can have a lasting impact.  

“As our coach says, ‘You’ve got to use the K.I.S.S approach. Keep it simple, stupid,’” Ryan said. “Basically, minimize maneuvers, don’t capsize, and make your life easy. On a four-race day, if you have a few capsizes, your energy gets zapped. It just gets worse and worse, and obviously your performance suffers.”

With nine full-fleet races in the books, and just three remaining, for the Nacra 17 class at the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, this much is clear: anyone hoping for a place on the podium in this coed class is going to have to knock a defending Olympic medalist down a peg. Five of the six sailors that won medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics are sailing in the class this week, and showing little willingness to share the wealth, so to speak.

Rio 2016 silver medalists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) have done their homework when it comes to the lifting foils that were introduced to the class less than a year ago. Whether in near-drifting conditions on Day 1 and Day 2 or the full-on breeze of Day 3, they have been extremely hard to beat, winning five races and posting just one finish outside the top four.

“Today was great, quite fresh, which is tricky on a foiling boat,” said Waterhouse. “We scored a three, two, one but we threw away a few points in the first race due an equipment malfunction, which was quite disappointing.”

With a 17-point lead, Waterhouse and Darmanin have a few points to burn. And, he added, there is an upside to the malfunction.

“We are trialing a lot of new systems and we had an issue where something got caught and we couldn’t get the spinnaker up,” he said. “We are actually pleased that happened because we can learn from it. Imagine if that happened at the World Championships or the Olympics.”

The reigning gold medalists in the class, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) are second, though they have nearly matched the Australian team over the last five races. The bronze medal skipper from 2016, Thomas Zajac (AUT) is sailing with a new crew in this Olympic cycle, Barbara Matz (AUT).

© Jesus Renedo /Sailing Energy/World Sailing

The top three American teams are grouped within six points of one another, between ninth and 11th place. Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) (at left) lead the trio, with Ravi Parent and Christina Persson in 10th and Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg in 11th. All three teams are new partnerships for this Olympic cycle and face the double challenge of learning a new boat and meshing with a new teammate.

Giles Scott (GBR) and Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.), both whom who won medals in the Finn class in the Rio 2016 Olympics, are in familiar territory after six races, with Paine in third and Scott tied on points for the lead with Alican Kaynar (TUR). The top 10 is tightly packed, however, with 13 points separating fourth from 10th, which should make for an exciting conclusion to the full-fleet portion of the regatta.

For a team that had not sailed together for five-plus years before reuniting during the lead-up to this regatta, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif.) have shown a remarkable ability to pick up where they left off. A sixth and a ninth today, in the sort of punchy conditions that would expose any rust or lack of cohesion, puts them in sixth place overall, with four races remaining before Sunday’s Medal Race. Getting onto the podium, which is currently occupied by Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) in first with 16 points, Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) in second with 22 points, and Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) in third with 26 points, will likely require some help. But getting as high as fourth is very realistic for the American team. Young guns Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin, who won the 2016 Youth World Championships in the International 420, are 26th.

Afrodite Zeggers and Anneloes Van Veen (NED) showed their skill in the wind and waves today, scoring a first and a second in two races in the Women’s 470 division. That moved them up to second place. Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshikoa (JPN) hung on to the overall lead despite a 17th in today’s final race. But the margin between first and sixth is just 10 points, with four full-fleet races remaining before Sunday’s Medal Race. Atlantic and Nora Brugman (Miami, Fla.) are the top-ranked American team in 24th.

The dramatic shift in the wind conditions, from 6 to 8 knots for races 1 through 4 of the RS:X Women’s regatta to 18 to 25 knots for races 4 through 8, did a number on the results. Noga Geller (ISR) who was so dominant in the light air, struggled to break into the top 20 in the breeze and dropped from first to sixth. Hélène Noesmoen (FRA) on the other hand, sparkled in the fresh breeze, picking up two firsts and a third and vaulting up to fourth place. Consistency across a range of conditions is the key to long-term success and Stefania Elfutina (RUS) showed today that she can handle high winds almost as well as the lightest edges of the wind window. She leads the regatta with 33 points. Blanca Mancon (ESP) is second. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), is 25th.

After a tough start to the regatta, Louis Giard (FRA) has been nearly unbeatable, with two first and two thirds in his last four races in the Men’s RS:X division. With no one else in the fleet able to match that level of consistency, Giard has staked himself to a 12-point lead after six races. Teammate Pierre Le Coq (FRA), the bronze medalist in the class from the Rio 2016 Olympics is second with Kiran Badloe (NED) in third. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the regatta has been the performance of double gold medalist Dorian Van Rijsselberghe, who is returning to competition after a long layoff. He’s in 10th place, with just one single-digit result to this point in the regatta. The class has just three full-fleet races remaining before Saturday’s Medal Race. 2016 Rio Olympian Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) struggled in today’s windy conditions and dropped to 35th overall.

For the Women’s 49erFX fleet, which didn’t start a race until 2:40 p.m., the conditions proved to be too much for most of the 21-boat fleet. Many of those who survived the windward mark found turning back upwind to be too great of a challenge and only seven boats finished the race, after which the race committee sent them in for the day. Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) extended their win streak to four races and pushed their lead to 10 points over Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) who are in turn 10 points ahead of Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht (AUT). No American teams finished the race. Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) are the best-placed U.S. team in ninth place in the overall standings while Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa.) are 13th in their first regatta together.

In the 70-boat Laser fleet, anything in the top 10 is a very good result. String together a few of them and you could well find yourself in the lead. That;s been Tom Burton’s (AUS) experience so far in this regatta. He’s had one bad race, and five no worse than seventh, and is currently leading by 10 points from Philipp Buhl (GER). Nick Thompson (GBR) is third, three points further back. 2016 Rio Olympian Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) hasn’t been able to replicate his first race, a second, but he’s sailed well enough to be inside the top 10 with four races to go before the fleet is thinned out for the Medal Race. Given how quickly points can add up in this fleet, Christopher Barnard, currently 17th, is within striking distance of the top 10. Erik Bowers (at right) is 58th.

Scroll to top