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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

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.

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

Day #3 Morning Report – Breeze On in Miami

Winds speeds will increase and rougher sea state will develop on Day two of Sailing’s World Cup Series in Miami, USA.

Tension is increasing as we move closer to the Medal Race days and as we draw within sight of the finish line, the wind on Thursday will provide a new challenge for those sailors who had adjusted to the light winds they have experienced so far.

Wind speeds are set to increase today and for the rest of the week. The wind direction will be arriving from the north and will gradually swing to the northeast as the day moves along. The expected wind speeds will range from 13 to 17 knots, providing a change for the 543 sailors from 50 nations competing.

We will also see a change in the sea state with the waters of Biscayne Bay expected to be rougher than usual.

Here is the schedule for today: Thursday 24 January 2018*:

*Subject to change

Event / Class

Race Area

Warning

Number of Races

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X M

Bravo

11.00

3

Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X W

Bravo

13.30

3

Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser

Charlie

11.00

2

Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial

Charlie

13.45

3

Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn

Echo

13.30

3

Men’s Skiff – 49er

Alpha

10.30

4

Women’s Skiff – 49er FX

Alpha

13.30

3

Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 M

Delta

12.00

2

Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 W

Delta

12.10

2

Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17

Echo

11.15

3

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.

Registration Opens for Sailing World Cup Miami 2016

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (November 2, 2015) – Online entry to Sailing World Cup Miami 2016 Presented by Sunbrella is open. US Sailing’s premier event is set to return to Miami, Fla. for top-level Olympic and Paralympic class racing. The event is the only North American regatta to be included in World Sailing’s 2015-16 Sailing World Cup series. The regatta is a mainstay on the winter circuit for sailors campaigning for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is December 4, 2015. Entries must be received by January 4, 2016 to qualify for early entry fee and will not be accepted after January 24, 2016. Competitors and coaches are required to register online, as on-site registration will not be available. Additional fees will apply for entries received after the deadline.

Competitors in the Olympic and Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing from Monday, January 25 to Friday, January 29. Medal Races across the 10 Olympic classes will bring the regatta to a close on Saturday, January 30 where medals will be awarded to the top three boats.

Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center Miami, a U.S. Olympic Training Site, in Coconut Grove, Miami, Fla. Additional hosts for the event include the City of Miami’s Regatta Park, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Shake-A-Leg Miami. These sailing organizations host classes onshore, as well as help run the on-the-water racing. The Coral Reef Yacht Club hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and is the site for the Regatta Village throughout the week.

Event winners in each Olympic class from Sailing World Cup Miami will qualify for the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final, while the best placed ‘home continent’ sailor will also qualify.

Several countries will use Sailing World Cup Miami as an Olympic and Paralympic Selection event, including the United States, with the results in nine classes contributing towards Rio 2016 selection for American sailors. The event is also an Olympic Qualifier for countries in North America and South America.

The regatta has significant ranking implications for sailors hoping to qualify for the US Sailing Team Sperry, the U.S. National Team, which annually distinguishes the top American sailors in each Olympic and Paralympic class.

Sailing World Cup Miami is presented by Sunbrella, and sponsored by Beneteau, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Sperry, Chubb Personal Insurance, City of Miami, Harken, McLube, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, UMiami Health Sports Medicine, Switlik, Sturgis Boatworks, and Vetus-Maxwell.

Registration

(end)

Press Contacts: Jake Fish, US Sailing, jakefish@ussailing.org

SWC Miami 15_aerial

About Sailing World Cup Miami Presented by Sunbrella
Established in 1990 by US Sailing, Sailing World Cup Miami Presented by Sunbrella annually draws elite sailors, including Olympic and Paralympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. The regatta is open to boats competing in events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition and the 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. The 10 Olympic classes are: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s and Women’s Windsurfing, 49er (men), 49er FX (women), Men’s and Women’s 470, and Nacra 17 (mixed). The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR (open, disabled), SKUD-18 (mixed, disabled) and Sonar (open, disabled). In addition to being a Sailing World Cup ranking event, the regatta also will aid in selecting members of the 2016US Sailing Team Sperry.

About US Sailing
Sailing World Cup Miami Presented by Sunbrella is organized by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, which provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit us at www.ussailing.org.

what IS that secret sauce? (besides grit)

The difficulty of these races so far has done more than any number of easy wins could ever do to validate the reputations of a few people who keep themselves at the top of their fleets. Time after time. No matter what.

Walk a tightrope?

                      Dance . . .on a tightrope?

What is the secret sauce of the Finn dinghy that makes it happen that, again and again, there comes one man who owns his moment?

Start with Paul Elvstrom, who introduced the concept of sailor as athlete. In the Finn. Where he out-trained the competition and ground them down on those occasions when he couldn’t outsmart them.

Four Olympic gold medals, and it took a generation before Ben Ainslie could rack up a bigger medal count. In the Finn. Dominating. In a boat so physically demanding, the best way to describe it would be, say, the athletic equivalent of a horse race where you have to carry the horse part of the way.

At the moment, that man would be Giles Scott. He’s “riding on rails” as they say.

He doesn’t yet have the medal count . . .

But he owns the moment.

Elsewhere around ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, there are other shining examples of the control of chaos. Just, no one riding an 18-month winning streak to rival that of Giles Scott.

Here is a look through the fleet as we anticipate another day on Wednesday that should be much the same, but perhaps with a few knots more average breeze.

If the Chamber of Commerce had stayed up all night working at it, they could not have served up a better day for racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, presented by Sunbrella.

The second day offered a steady diet of breeze in the teens, the allure of a sun-drenched Biscayne Bay, and the kinetic beauty of boats in ten Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes being put to their best and highest purpose.

We’re still early in a regatta scheduled for six days of racing, including a Medal Race on Saturday for top-ten qualifiers. At stake are qualifying points and slots for the finale of the six-event international series that has become the proving ground of the would-be Olympic sailor.

The finale will take place in Abu Dhabi U.A.E. late in 2015, and after that –

After that, an athlete is either ready for Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games, or not.

Nacra 17

In their first trip to Miami, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) have brought their game faces.

The masters of control in the opening day’s big breeze backed up their bright start with a 1-2-7 to solidify their position at the top of the fleet.

Their secret in Monday’s madness, “Our advantage was to have a much taller and bigger crew on the wire as it was single trapezing,” explained Jones. “That was our advantage downwind but we sailed well upwind as well.”

With Jones at the helm and the 6’1″ Saunders in front of her, it proved to be a winning formula as she continued, “Yesterday we had pretty good speed, we didn’t have good starts but we took some pretty huge shifts upwind and that put us in a pretty good position round the top mark and then chipped away for the rest of the racing.”

The Kiwis have always been in the top group at Nacra 17 competitions but are yet to back it up with a podium finish. Whilst that may be in the back of their mind, with nine fleet races remaining ahead of Saturday’s Medal Race the Kiwis will be sticking to their usual pre-sail routine for Wednesday’s trio of races, “We’ll just start again, get a nice sleep in, cruise on down, check the boat is good and then launch an hour before racing. It’s a really high level fleet and the racing is really good.”

The day’s other race wins went the way of Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED) who are 11th overall and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves, (GBR) who are seven points off the Kiwi leaders.

Laser Radial

With first starts in the afternoon, in decreasing winds, the two divisions of women sailing Laser Radials “hoped to get in three races,” said Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, “but we just ran out of time.”

Long shadows were spreading over the boat park at the Olympic Training Site as Murphy de-rigged. She described the day’s competition as, “Pretty difficult. Winds 5 to 15 and really shifty. We saw some 60-degree shifts, and that is rather stressful racing. If you’re leading, you can easily drop a lot of the fleet. If you’re behind, the lottery just might go your way.”

Murphy at 2-2-(5)-3 is presently second in the standings to Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom, 3-(5)-1-1. Belgium’s Evi Van Acker is third with scores of (7)-3-3-5. There are 79 Laser Radials, broken into two divisions.

“On a tricky day,” Murphy said, it feels good to get consistent, high finishes. A sixth and a fourth today qualify, and the fact is, the breeze is tricky but slightly predictable. If it goes hard left, it’s most likely to go back hard right. The question, is how long do you wait? “The thing is to go up the middle and don’t get locked out on either side.”

Laser

Brazil’s five-time Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, owned the course today along with Aussie Matthew Wearn. Sailing in separate divisions of the 107-boat fleet, each won a race.
After five races, Scheidt leads the standings with scores of 2-(4)-2-3-1. Wearn looks good to go the distance at (7)-7-1-1-2 and, being a Western Australian in his twenties, he naturally has a nickname. Try Wearn Dog.

Nick Thompson of Great Britain likewise looks good at 6-4-2-(10)-1, and behind Thompson comes Jean Baptiste-Bernaz, who has burned his throw-out with 37 points in race five.

49er FX

New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were left somewhat disappointed as they returned ashore after four 49erFX races with a handy advantage at the top of the leader board.

For many a 2-2-5-9 scoreline would be a day of work well done. But for the Maloney, the ninth, which they discard, left her visibly frustrated, “We had a good downwind, gybing in pressure,” explained Maloney, “but I probably took it a little bit too far and gybed a bit too many times near the finish and we lost a few boats.

“It was a tricky out there, a head out of the boat type of day. We’ll learn from the mistakes we made today. Hopefully we’ll improve on that but all in all it was a pretty consistent day.”

The day prior the Kiwis were one of eight boats to complete the single 49erFX race in the big Miami breeze. With their nearest rivals counting hefty scores, the Kiwis are the only team with single digit scores and subsequently lead Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) by 17 points.

That in mind, they’re still striving for me, “Tomorrow we are going to improve our starts by getting a good lane. If we do that, our results will improve,” concluded Maloney.

The day’s victories were spread four ways. Third placed Leonie Meyer and Elena Christine Stoffers (GER) claimed the opening win with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR), Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) all claiming bullets.

49er

Consistency is king in sailing and after two days of racing, Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) are a fine example of that statement.

From six races they hold a trio of race wins, a pair of twos and a discarded eighth. Their score of seven points leaves them 14 clear of David Gilmour and Rhys Mara (AUS).

With six races down, 49er qualification is done and dusted. The top 29 teams now advance to gold fleet racing where the competition and fight for points will heat up.

Botin and Lopez’s advantage is a healthy one but as shown at the 2014 editions of World Cup Mallorca and Hyères, Botin struggles when it comes down to gold fleet racing. Only time will tell.

At the cut of mark Julien d’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA), Yago Lange and Nicolas Aragones (ARG) and Canada’s Michael Brodeur and Daniel Inkpen all sneaked in to the gold fleet by a narrow two points.

Men’s RS:X

After the conclusion of the six race qualification series, there is very little separating the top Men’s RS:X sailors.

France’s Louis Giard holds on to his overnight lead but with three days of gold fleet racing ahead of him, he will be under no false pretences that the work is done. Eleven points split places first to eighth with Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), defending Miami Champion Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) breathing down Giard’s neck.

One of the biggest smiles of the day on the race course came from youngster Mattia Camboni (ITA). The 2013 RS:X Youth World Champion put in a hard fought performance in the fifth race of the yellow fleet. Working his sail hard on the run to the finish the Italian stormed to the race victory ahead of Ricardo Santos (BRA) and Nimrod Mashich (ISR).

Women’s RS:X

Defending Miami Champion Bryony Shaw (GBR) showcased her skillset once again in the Miami sun, advancing to top spot following three top results. A fourth, a bullet and a fifth give her a one point advantage over Russia’s Olga Maslivets and a two point advantage over Lilian de Geus (NED).

The leading trio shared the race wins between them but it’s Shaw’s consistency that ultimately sees her top the billing.

Finn

Giles Scott stumbled all the way to fifth in race four, but that did not alter the Finn class story line. Britain’s gold medal hope, who has not lost a regatta in eighteen months, now has scores of 1-1-1-(5) and a lead of three points over Australian Jake Lilley-and Lilley has already used his throw-out.

Having come in as the obvious favourite, Scott is inevitably in the spotlight. But he’s a realist. “People ask me about my form,” he says. “It was great to go last year unbeaten, but, ultimately is kind of means nothing.”

Not when, really, it’s all about Rio, 2016.

At 2-3-(26)-1, Lilley is, yes, three points out of first, but those are a big three points, and another bad race would really hurt. Great Britain’s Ed Wright has been consistent at 3-(7)-6-6, but this is a unique fleet where, for the last 18 months, consistent high place finishes have not been enough.

The World Junior Champion is also faring well in his first year in senior competition. Anders Pedersen of Norway is fourth overall after a 4-9 day. He said, “Today’s racing was tough. It was very shifty and up and down in pressure. The first race for me was good. I had a good start and got the flow. The second was difficult. I lost the wind half way up the first beat, and got knocked out of rhythm. The rest of the race was a struggle to hang onto the fleet.”

As for the shift from Junior to a Senior, “The perspective hasn’t changed that much, really. My goal is to do well in the Olympics. It’s good to feel that I am fighting with ‘the big guys.’ ”

Forty boats. It’s lonely at the top.

Women’s 470

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie came to Miami as favorites, and so far, they’re living the role. You have to love a pair who meld into Team Jolly. 420 class world champions and gold medalists for New Zealand in the 470 at the London Games in 2012, they are “on track for Rio” as either of them will tell you.

After two days in a fleet of 29, Team Jolly is sitting on scores of 2-2-1-(7) and a three-point lead over Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire, also GBR, are another seven points back in a tight grouping with boats from Russia, Japan and Slovenia.

Mills and Clark are a case in point of what it takes to compete at this level, beyond the relentless physical training and hours and days and weeks in the boat. Mills has it that, “I would guess almost a fourth of our time is spent making up ropes, preparing and polishing the boat before any big regatta. And it’s not just our boat that needs the love. We make sure we have a spares bag made up with almost anything we can think of that we would be able to change or fix on the water, just in case. If we didn’t have spares on the water in the coach boat, we would have to go ashore to sort out problems. And miss races.”

At ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, that wouldn’t do.

Men’s 470

Panagiotis Mantis and crew Pavlos Kaglias of Greece lead the Men’s 470 standings, but the banana peel under their heel takes the form of a throw-out used in the opening race. They look good on scores of (25)-4-1-1 but cannot afford another bad result.

Two hungry teams are only one and two points back, respectively, and they could better afford a bad race in the coming days. Britain’s Luke Patience and Elliot Willis wrapped Tuesday with scores of 1-2-(5)-4 followed by Australian’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at 5-1-2-(12). Behind them, it’s an eight-point jump to fourth.

And why don’t they ever get the crew’s perspective?

They do. Roger Hudson would probably rather have had his talking moment on Monday, when he and his skipper, Jim “Squirrel” Asenathi, placed 4th and 6th – and it was Asenathi’s birthday. Two 13ths on Tuesday pulled the South African sailors down to 10th overall, but the experience jelled in Hudson’s analysis of the racecourse.

“The defining thing,” he said, “is that even though it’s breezy, it’s really on and off, with a lot of pressure differences. It’s quite light in patches, and the wind comes through in big blocks. There are huge gains to be made, and lots of position shifting. It’s like sailing in Greece, with the wind coming off the land, broken up by land features, and that’s maybe why the Greek guy won two races today.”

Bouvet and Mion End Belcher Win Streak

MIAMI, Fla. (February 1, 2014) – The Miami weather saved the best for last on a special Medal Race Saturday edition of the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Medals were decided in 10 Olympic events on Biscayne Bay under sunny skies and enough wind for good racing. This year’s regatta offered a little bit of everything, including success from former champions, major upsets, and a glimpse into the future of Olympic level one-design sailing. Continue reading

Paralympic Class Medals Awarded Friday; Medal Races on Saturday

Pascoe 1_2.4mrMIAMI, Fla. (January 31, 2014) – The three Paralympic class events awarded gold medals on Friday at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. The 2014 gold medalists are Megan Pascoe (GBR) in the 2.4mR, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) in the SKUD 18, and Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA) in the Sonar.

Saturday will be the penultimate day of racing for the Olympic class sailors. Contenders will be forced to elevate their game in the medal race series. Sailors and their crews have had at least a week of acclimating to the light, and at times, unpredictable winds on Biscayne Bay. Only the 49er and 49erFX fleets completed races on Friday. The sailors and Race Committee made valiant attempts to get in racing on a hazy, humid day with light air to no avail.

Saturday’s medal race series includes the top ten ranked sailors in each fleet competing in one race with double points applied. The 49er and 49erFX will conduct a series of three short races worth single points each. Continue reading

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