Category: Newsroom

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: 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.”

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:

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:

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:

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 –
All fleets will commence racing on Tuesday 23 January. To view the full schedule click here.

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 will be available from Tuesday 23 January. Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here –

Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks and get involved in the conversation using #WCSMiami
Facebook –
Instagram –
Twitter – @worldsailing

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 –

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

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

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.

Change of Conditions Shifts the Leaderboard on Day 3 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami

With nine full-fleet races in the books, and just three remaining, for the Nacra 17 at the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, this much is clear: anyone hoping for a place on the podium in the Mixed Multihull is going to have to knock a defending Olympic medalist down a peg.

Five of the six sailors that won medals in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games 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 the opening two days or the full-on breeze on the third, they have been extremely hard to beat, winning five races and posting just one finish outside the top four.

All of the fleets enjoyed big winds on the third day of competition in Miami as a north eastern breeze brought 17-20 knots ensuring plenty of high flying action in the Nacra 17 and the remaining nine Olympic events.

543 sailors from 50 nations are racing on Biscayne Bay, just off Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida, USA. Three more days of competition remain with Medal Races on Saturday, January 27, and Sunday, January 28, bringing the first major event of 2018 to a close.

“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.”

While the results indicate Waterhouse and Darmanin have a solid handle on sailing the foiling catamaran at the edges of the acceptable wind range, both acknowledge this is no time to get complacent with what is essentially a new class, even though the platform, with a traditional daggerboard and rudder, was used at Rio 2016.

“The reach from the offset to the finish is definitely quite gnarly,” Darmanin said. “Being a new class, we are all still learning to find the best way to get across the death angle. You can never know what can happen, but we try our best to stay safe but race at the same time, it isn’t easy.”

The reigning Olympic 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.

“We had a tight regatta in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Jason and Lisa, and I admire them a lot,” said Lange. “For the last six races we were neck and neck and I do love it. It’s what makes sailing enjoyable, but we look forward to catching them up tomorrow.”

The bronze medal skipper from 2016, Thomas Zajac (AUT) is sailing with a new crew in this Olympic cycle, Barbara Matz (AUT). While the consistency hasn’t been where they would like to see it, the new partnership has shown plenty of potential, winning one race and finishing second in two others.

For most of the 21-boat 49erFX fleet, which didn’t start a race until 14:40, when the wind and waves were peaking, today’s conditions proved to be too much with only one race completed.

“Well put it this way,” said Anika Lorenz (GER), when asked about the challenge presented by the wind and waves, “only five boats finished the race without capsizing. It was tough out there with 17 to 20 knots.”

In fact, just seven boats finished the race at all. Many of those who survived the tightrope walk of rounding windward mark found turning back upwind to be a bridge too far. After one race the race committee sent the fleet in for the day.

“Sailing downwind was the biggest challenge and keeping the boat upright was difficult,” said Victoria Jurczok (GER).

Jurczok and Lorenz were one of the few teams to handle the conditions well. The duo 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).

The strategy for the day, said Jurczok, was fairly straightforward, “To start clear and to go as fast as possible with less manoeuvres and play it safe without capsizing. The Brits and the other German team were the ones we were keeping an eye out for, they sailed really well.”

Speaking of the British, Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) move up one place in the leaderboard and are now first in the 49er.

With challenging conditions, yesterday’s leaders, Sime and Mihovil Fantela, drop to 19th place.

However both Spanish teams in the fleet have used today’s strong winds to climb up the table.

Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) had a good day on the water, winning the first three races and getting a second in the fourth. They now sit in second place overall and Federico Alonso Tellechea and Arturo Alonso Tellechea (ESP) are third.

In the Laser, the Rio 2016 gold medalist, Tom Burton (AUS) leads with a 10-point advantage over the the German, Philipp Buhl. Nick Thompson (GBR) drops from second and now sits third on the leaderboard.

Emma Plasschaert (BEL) is top of the fleet after winning both races today in the Laser Radial.

Japan’s Manami Doi sits second and the Rio 2016 bronze medalist, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), is third.

Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) advance up the fleet after securing two firsts in two races completed by the Men’s 470.

French team, Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion move up to second and Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) drop from second to third.

Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) continue to maintain their top spot in the Women’s 470 whilst Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) rise from sixth place to second. The 2017 470 World Champions, Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska (POL) are third.

In the Finn class, the Turkish sailor, Alican Kaynar, endures his consistent performance despite the change in conditions. Kaynar edges first but is equal on points with Giles Scott (GBR), who is second. Caleb Paine (USA) takes third place overnight.

Yesterday’s races saw the Israeli RS:X windsurfer, Noga Geller, dominate the first few races however the increase in wind strength proved to be a challenge for the light wind expert and she drops down to sixth.

Nonetheless, even with the change in conditions, Stefania Elfutina (RUS) managed to claim first place. Blanca Manchon (ESP) lands second and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) is third.

The French are controlling the Men’s RS:X fleet. Louis Giard and Pierre Le Coq are now first and second and Kiran Badloe (NED) is third.

The competition is proving to be unpredictable so far and as we draw closer to the Medal Races, Friday’s action will prove critical for the leading sailors as they look to solidify their spot in the top 10 or climb up the leaderboard.

Racing tomorrow will commence at 11:00 with the Women’s Windsurfing, Men’s One Person Dinghy and Men’s One Person Heavy Dinghy leaving land first.

Paine Is Back in the Saddle and Loving It

The first regatta of Caleb Paine’s push for a gold medal in the Finn class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics got off to a fairly pedestrian start. And he’s just fine with that. After taking all of 2017 off, and then not sailing on Day 1 of the 2018 World Series Cup Miami, USA due to light winds, Paine (San Diego, Calif.) was tickled to be back on the water and back on the Olympic campaign trail.

“It’s great [to be campaigning again],” said Paine (right), who won a bronze medal in the Finn in the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I have Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) here and we have a great program, and not being by myself is quite a great thing. We’re making great progress when we sail together and I’m just looking forward to sailing. It’s an awesome sport, I’m honored and blessed to do it, and look forward to doing it a little bit more.”

Paine walked away from the first three races of his first major Finn regatta in more than a year with a third, a fifth and a seventh, leaving him sixth, of 26, in the overall standings, but just four points off the lead. Muller worked in the opposite direction, starting with a 20th and a 19th before closing the day with a 10th. But there’s plenty of racing left over the next three days before Sunday’s Medal Race for the top 10 in the overall standings. Ioannis Matikis (GRE) is the overall leader with Alican Kaynar (TUR) in second.

“It was a very tricky day of sailing,” said Paine. “It was oscillating back and forth and had different pressure differences. The downwinds were quite tough as well, just trying to stay in the pressure, which was fairly difficult to see. I had some pretty mediocre starts but was able to adjust through the shifts to get back into the race and had an okay day. [For tomorrow], just kind of cleaning up my racing and not making stupid mistakes around the race course. Focusing more on getting off the line for sure would help out my sailing.”

In contrast to Paine’s ability to jump back into the sharp end of the Finn fleet, the Olympic campaign treadmill generally doesn’t look too favorably on extended breaks. The pace of development—in the gear, the technique and the fitness—is unrelenting. So when American 470 crew David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) went down with an injury last fall, skipper and three-time Olympian Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) immediately started looking how to turn this unfortunate situation into a positive. The solution was to pull in a familiar face.

“Dave got injured, and we were brainstorming ways to push the ball forward for our program this month,” said McNay. “When discussion of me possibly sailing and Dave in a coach boat came up, it was really a no brainer who the first choice was, and that was Graham Biehl (San Francisco, Calif).”

McNay and Biehl (at left, USA 1) sailed together in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

“It’s super fun to be back in the boat,” said Biehl. “I haven’t set foot in a 470 for five and a half years. And it’s great to be back in the boat with Stu. You know, things are right back from what I remember. It’s really nice to still be competitive and still racing against the best in the world in the Olympic fleet. The fleet is really close racing and it’s just so much fun to sail the boats. They’re so dynamic, and that’s what makes them so great.”

After four races, McNay and Biehl are ninth, which is a bit below McNay’s recent standard. He and Hughes won this event in 2013, 2016 and 2017. McNay and Biehl were fourth in 2012. But the success of each regatta on the campaign isn’t always measured on the scoreboard. The primary goal for McNay and Hughes is to carry forward important lessons from this event, regardless of the final result.

Naoki Ichino and Hasegawa Takashi (JPN) are winning the Men’s 470 class, with Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) in second.

The Women’s RS:X fleet got in three races today to add to the one it completed yesterday in very light wind. Israel’s Noga Geller won all three and has a five-point lead over Stefania Elfutina (RUS). Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), who sailed in the 2012 Olympics, is the top American, siting 18th.

The Men’s RS:X was the final fleet to start its first race of the regatta, doing so around 1:45 p.m. on Day 2 of the regatta. Matteo Sanz Lanz (SUI) won that race, and the next one for good measure. He leads the regatta by two points over Pawel Tarnoski (POL). 2016 Olympian Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is 29th and the best-placed of four Americans in the field.

As a team the U.S. contingent in the Nacra 17 class had a solid day and now has three teams in the top 10 of the 19-boat class. Bora Gulari and Helena Scutt lead the way in sixth, with 34 points. Ravi Parent and Christina Persson are a point behind in seventh and Riley Gibbs and Louisa Chaffee are ninth. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) blitzed the fleet today, winning all three races to build a 9-point lead over John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR). Reigning gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) has a much better Day 2 of the regatta and moved up to fourth. With the Nacra 17 fleet less than a year into the transition to the lifting foils, this class, as a whole, is on a steep learning curve.

Tom Burton (AUS) shows no signs of losing any of the speed that earning him a gold medal in the Laser class in the Rio 2016 Olympics. He’s currenly the only sailor in the 70-boat fleet with three single-digit finishes, after four races. Burton has a four-point lead over two-time world champion Nick Thompson (GBR). Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) is eighth while Christopher Barnard is 12th and rising star Henry Marshall is 18th.

A fourth and three firsts has put Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) into the lead in the 49erFX class. Sisters Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) are second, sixth points behind. The top two U.S. teams are closely grouped in 10th and 11th, with Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) three points ahead of 2016 Olympian Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and 2008 Olympic gold medalists Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who are sailing their first regatta together.

Day 1 leaders in the 49er class, Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) have maintained their overall lead after six races, despite getting tagged with a Black Flag Disqualification in Race 6 for being over the starting line before the gun. The reigning 49er World Champions, Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR), who were also a victim of an early start in Race 6, are tied on points for second with Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT). Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) is sailing this regatta with Alain Sign (GBR), a substitute crew as his normal crew Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) is out with an injury. Ryan/Sign sit 11th with Chris Rast (Holland, Mich.) and Trevor Burd in 14th after two top-five finishes to close out the day.

Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoskioka (JPN) have won two of the four races sailed by the Women’s 470 fleet and lead the regatta by a point over Bàrbara Cornudella Ravetllat and Sara López Ravetllat (ESP) who themselves are just a point in front of third place Silva Mas Depares and Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP). Atlantic and Nora Lucia Brugman have separated themselves slightly from a pack of young, but enthusiastic, American women’s 470 teams. They are 23rd of 33.

Three sailors are tied on points at the top of the Laser Radial fleet. Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU), Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) and Valentian Balbi (ITA) each have 10 points after three races. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., at right), the top American, is eighth, but just nine points off the overall lead.

All photos: © Richard Langdon & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing


Strength and Speed Are the Key to a Physically Demanding Day 2 of World Cup Series Miami

With the wind hovering in the 8- to 12-knot range on Day 2 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, the sailors competing in the Women’s RS:X were forced to pump their 8.5-square-metre sails for the entirety of three 30-minute races.

Contrary to the other seven boats that are currently used for Olympic sailing, the RS:X Windsurfer is at its most physically demanding in lighter air.

It isn’t so different from a 5,000-meter foot race. In fact, given the full body contraction required to fan the large sail, it may even be more taxing. And while the relentless pumping is essential to a good result, tactics do still play an integral role, requiring athletes to think clearly while at their physical redline.

“It was tough always, but it was successful,” said Stefania Elfutina (RUS, at right), the bronze medalist in the class from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “The light winds meant we had to pump more and that made it tough, because after the second race, I was so tired. I lost all my strength on the water. I am pretty happy with today’s result though, I scored a 4, 2 and 2.”

Normally, a scoreline such as that would be an express ticket to the head of the leaderboard. But Israel’s Noga Geller (ISR) showcased her superior fitness today, winning all three races, to go along with a second in yesterday’s lone race. After two days, she has a five-point lead over Elfutina, who is nine points clear of Fujiko Onishi (JPN) in third.

“I had a good day,” said Geller. “All my races were smooth, and I kept good speed and tactics in all. The offshore wind was pretty stable, so I had to find the pressure and take the right shift at the right time. I kept pumping after the start and during downwind. It was really close between [Stefania and I], especially the last race. I started second and I caught up on the gate. In the end, I went to the better side, which paid off.”

Elfutina likened the finish of the third race to a battle of wills, “We were quite close throughout the race, but we were so tired that we didn’t even fight much to win. We both sailed on different sides and met again towards the finish. I think she had more power than me and managed to use that to win.”

Israel has long been a powerhouse in Olympic windsurfing. And this cycle is no exception. For Geller, simply making the Olympic team may be just as challenging as winning a medal. Maya Morris (ISR) is sixth in the overall standings with 22 points while Hadar Heller (ISR) is seventh just a point behind. Of the seven Olympic medals Israel has won since 1996, three have come in windsurfing. Whether it’s Geller, or one of her teammates, who represent Israel in 2020 in Tokyo, there is a good chance to build upon that legacy.

That, however, is a long way down the road. The immediate future involves six more full-fleet races and then the Medal Race on Saturday. Elfutina, for one, is hoping for a little more wind.

“The next few days should be windy and I know I’ll have to pump less,” said Elfutina, “hopefully I can focus more on strategy than strength.”

In the Men’s RS:X fleet, the Swiss, Mateo Sanz Lanz finished first on the leaderboard followed by close rival, Pawel Tarnowski (POL) and Ivan Pastor Lafuente (ESP) in third.

After not even leaving the dock yesterday, the 26 competitors in the Men’s Heavyweight Dinghy division, a.k.a. the Finn class, were happy to get in three races today. This regatta marks the return to World Cup Series competition for two medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, gold medalist Giles Scott (GBR) and bronze medalist Caleb Paine (USA).

However it was Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) who ruled the day, climbing the ladder with an eighth in the first race, a third in the second and finally a first to close things out.

“It was a hard day,” said Mitakis (at left), who finished 11th in the Rio 2016 Games, missing the Medal Race by a single point. “We had eight knots and free pumping conditions which made it frustrating for us. We were close into the [Rickenbacker Causeway] on the Echo course and that’s where it gets shifty. Overall it was tough, but I think I did okay.”

Paine, who sits sixth, but just four points off the lead, agreed with Mitakis’ assessment of the wind on the race course.

“It was a very tricky day of sailing,” he said. “It was oscillating back and forth and had different pressure differences. The downwinds were quite tough as well, just trying to stay in the pressure, which was fairly difficult to see. I had some pretty mediocre starts, but was able to adjust through the shifts to get back into the race and had an okay day.

After winning a bronze in Rio, Paine took some time away from the campaign trail. He started training again last fall, and this event is his first major competition on the road to Tokyo. As with the Israeli Windsurfers, Paine knows the value of a strong national training group.

“It’s great [to be campaigning again]. I have Luke Muller (USA) here and we have a great program, and not being by myself is quite a great thing. We’re making great progress when we sail together and I’m just looking forward to sailing. It’s an awesome sport, I’m honored and blessed to do it, and look forward to doing it a little bit more.”

A little further downwind from the causeway, the 49erFX fleet was relishing a steadier breeze and ideal water conditions.

“It’s not too wavy and the water is quite flat,” said Victoria Jurczok (GER), “it’s something different and really fun to sail here.”

Jurczok and teammate Anika Lorenz (right) were the class of the fleet today, picking up a fourth and three firsts and moving into the overall lead by six points.

“We found out the pattern of the shifts for the day,” said Jurzcok, “so we knew what to do and where to go.”

With six races down, the 49erFX fleet is halfway to Saturday’s Medal Race. But as well as they’ve sailed to this point, Jurzcok and Lorenz are not taking anything for granted, especially with the forecast calling for significantly more breeze over the next few days.

“The next few days are going to be windier,” Jurczok added, “so it’s going to different game for us.”

In the 49er, Croatians brothers Sime and Mihovil Fantela continue to hold their lead on day two whilst Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) are in second, but equal on points with Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT).

It is all to play for in the Laser Radial fleet as the top three sailors are locked on equal points. Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU), champion of the 2017 Laser Europa Cup held in Lithuania, is first followed by Valentina Balbi (ITA) and Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) in second and third.

The Laser finished the day with Tom Burton (AUS) in first place on the leaderboard. Nick Thompson (GBR) progressed to second and Thomas Saunders (NZL) is in third.

Australian Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Nacra 17 sailors, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, dominated today’s races winning all three. They hold a nine-point lead over the Great Britain’s, John Gimson and Anna Burnet.

The Japanese maintained their dominance in the Men’s and Women’s 470.

The opening day leaders, Naoki Ichino and Hasegawa Takashi (JPN), defend their top spot in the men’s and in the women’s fleet, Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) remain first.

Thursday’s racing is scheduled to commence at 10:30, local time, starting with the 49er. Schedule, results and live tracking is available here.

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