Golden Moments Abound on Biscayne Bay

The tension on the water at Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella was fully loaded as Medal Races across the 10 Olympic fleets drew the first big regatta of 2016, the Olympic year, to a close.

Many podium finishers from six days of racing in Miami will feature on the Rio 2016 pedestal in 188 days’ time and Miami can be viewed as a marker of what is to come this year.

In a week plagued by grey skies and fickle breeze the sun shone brightly in Miami but the light winds remained.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) came into the day as the only team who had gold wrapped up. In the remaining nine events it was wide open and in a shifty northern 6-8 knot breeze there were up, downs, disappointments and highs in their numbers.

Olympic medalists such as Robert Scheidt (BRA), Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) showed their worth, taking the honors in their respective fleets. In the remaining divisions, several new contenders emerged including Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) who won in world class fields.

Nacra 17

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) claimed gold in the Nacra 17, jumping up the leader board after a tense light wind Nacra 17 race.

The Dutch pair occupied third overall heading into the Medal Race with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in pole position and Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) in second.

Eight points split the trio beforehand with an unassailable advantage over the chasing pack. The sailors on the podium were decided, but the color of the medal they’d receive was far from certain.

The leading Australians were penalized at the start and were up against it immediately, crossing the start line well behind the pack. Meanwhile, the Dutch pair got underway without fear and worries as the only way for them was up.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) ran away from the fleet to take the race win by a minute over Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP).

The Dutch crossed the finish line third and had to watch the finishers to see if they’d moved up. Waterhouse and Darmanin crossed in seventh and the Swiss in ninth which gave them gold.

“Out there we used our speed well and we went to the left of the first upwind and it paid off,” explained Mulder. “We were leading at the top mark and consolidated. We ended up third which was enough for the regatta win.

“We were in a perfect position to go full on today and take some risks.”

Darmanin and Waterhouse ended up tied on 119 points with the Dutch but missed out via the Medal Race countback, settling for silver. Buhler and Brugger completed the Nacra 17 podium.

The Nacra 17 fleet will have to go through the emotions again in just a matter of days with the World Championships taking place in Clearwater, Fla., February 6 to 14.

Laser and Laser Radial

When regatta leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was flagged by the officials shortly after the start, it appeared Evi van Acker (BEL) had the opening she needed to close the 6-point gap that stood between her and a gold medal. Indeed, Bouwmeester was 10th around the first mark. But van Acker was ninth. These positions held around the second mark. On the third leg, van Acker made her move.

“I went on the right side when the wind was dying, but I thought change was coming,” said van Acker, the bronze medalist in the 2012 Olympics in London. “The wind turned to the right and I was there when it turned.”

Van Acker went from ninth to third on the second beat and then picked up another place on the final run. Meanwhile, Bouwmeester, who had so little trouble moving through the fleet earlier in the regatta, was unable to make any significant gains during the second half of the race. Van Acker’s second, to Bouwmeester’s’s seventh, was enough to flip flop the overall positions the two sailors held coming into the Medal Race.

Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) struggled during the medal race and finished last. But none of her rivals for the bronze medal were able to take advantage of the situation and Gunni Toftedal held on to the bronze. Alison Young (GBR) was fourth, with Emma Plasschaert (BEL) in fifth.

Paige Railey (USA) won the medal race and while her move from 10th to eighth didn’t factor into the podium standings it did earn her two additional places in her battle for the U.S. Olympic berth in Rio. Her primary rival, Erika Reineke, finished 17th in the regatta and will have to make up 9 places on Railey in Part 2 of the U.S. Athlete Selection Series.

©Sailing Energy / Wolrd Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Displaying a veteran’s poise, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) sailed a steady medal race in trying conditions to win gold in the Sailing World Cup Miami. While the positions around him switched considerably over the course of the 25-minute race, Scheidt rounded each mark in fourth place and finished fourth.

“It was a tough race, the wind was light and shifty,” he said. “I was worrying about the French guy as he was the one I had to finish ahead of to win today. He got to the [first] mark ahead of me, which made things very interesting. At the gate we had a split, which was lucky for me as I finished ahead of him.

“I sailed well this week. The Medal Races are always tough and very close. The day has a huge impact on the result and I took my opportunities today.”

Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), who made his international regatta debut the same year Scheidt won his third Olympic medal, started the day with a one-point lead in the overall standings. Though he didn’t win the gold, he can be comforted that he was just a place away from defeating one of the sport’s living legends. He’s clearly moving up the ladder and in good position to improve upon his 10th in the London Games.

Scheidt, though pleased with his results this week, knows the work of an Olympic sailor is never done. He’ll take some time to recoup, and then get right back to the grind.

“After this I am taking a break,” he said. “In March I will be back training in Rio. Rio is going to be quite a difficult venue with challenging conditions. I’ve sailed there for 25 years and I still don’t know the place. I’ll try and get myself comfortable with the place.”

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Bryony Shaw (GBR) made a terrific comeback in the second upwind in the Women’s RS:X to seal her third consecutive Sailing World Cup Miami gold.

After the first lap of the course, Shaw was as low as ninth, leaving Lilian de Geus (NED) first overall. Shaw knew what had to be done and her never-say-die attitude enabled her to fight and push up the fleet.

On the final upwind Shaw swiftly moved into seventh, sixth and at the top mark had overtaken de Geus and was third overall. She maintained that position through to the finish to seal the deal.

“This week was about consistency,” said Shaw, a Beijing 2008 bronze medalist. “We had a lot of different winds this week so I was happy to sail well in the light winds and strong winds. The focus for more has been on training to prepare for the World Championships. We’ve had a really good quality fleet here so I am pleased to take the win today. It’s good momentum to take into the World Championships.”

De Geus wrapped up the week with silver and Peina Chen (CHN) completed the podium.

London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) started 2016, an Olympic year, with a big, convincing win in the Men’s RS:X.

Van Rijsselberge finished seventh in the Medal Race, his worst result this week, but his consistency over the series kept the pressure off him as he went in with a nice gap between him and the chasing pack.

“I like Miami and like racing here,” said Van Rijsselberge after competition. “I’ve been coming here for eight years now so I’ve got the place sorted and I enjoy racing here.”

Nick Dempsey won the Medal Race finishing six points off the Dutchman to pick up silver and Aichen Wang (CHN) rounded off the podium.


No class had more sailors enter the medal race with a shot at the gold. Six Finn sailors started the final contest with a legitimate shot at the medal. Adding to this was a light, shifty breeze that provided plenty of passing lanes. But when the dust had settled the top two sailors entering the race, Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, were the top two in the final results.

“It was really hard as everybody was really close before the race,” said Zarif. “I thought the left side of the racing area was paying a little bit more. I tried to be there more than the others and it worked well.”

Zarif held the lead around the first two marks, but dropped to fourth on third leg when a big left shift jumbled up the standings. On the fourth leg he ground back to second place, where he finished. Arkadiy Kistanov of Russia won the Medal Race and was able to vault from fifth to third in the overall standings. Jake Lilley (AUS) was fourth in the race and third in the overall standings.

For Zarif, who hadn’t previously won a World Cup race, this was a significant victory as he prepares to compete for the home crowd in Rio.

“Next we will have 15 days of training in Rio now with Rafa [Trujillo] my coach and then we go to the Europeans, Palma, Hyeres, the Worlds and then back to Rio,” said Zarif. “I was happy with the week I had, but I could have finished sixth or first today. That could have easily happened if something bad happened today. I just tried to do the best I could.”

Men’s and Women’s 470

For the Men’s 470 fleet, the crucial moment in the Medal Race came right at the starting gun. Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA), one of three teams that entered the race in a virtual tie for first, controlled the left end of the starting line and were able to tack at the gun and cross the fleet, putting themselves in a very strong position right out of the starting blocks.

“We saw an opportunity at the start and we were able to take advantage of it and get an early lead on the fleet,” said McNay, a two-time Olympian in the 470. “Dave called some great shifts on the first upwind.”

McNay and Hughes rounded the first mark with a 30-second lead over the fleet and never looked back, at least figuratively. In light conditions, no lead is ever truly safe.

“It was an easy race course to become frustrated with as it was very shifty and variable,” said Hughes. “By the same token, the teams that did well at this event just embraced it and played it forward from whatever position they were in. We are happy to better them all in the end.”

The most interesting battle of the race was for the silver medal, with Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) rounding the first mark separated by just 4 seconds. On the second upwind leg the Greek duo was able to put over a minute on their rivals and all but clinch the silver medal. Jacob and Graeme Chaplin-Saunders finished second in the medal race and moved up a spot, to seventh, in the overall standings.

McNay and Hughes will hope to carry the momentum they earned in Miami this winter into the class’s world championships in Argentina in February.

“This is the third of three events in Miami this winter and we can proudly say we have won all three of them,” McNay said. “We felt that to do that many competitions back to back to back would be the best way to prepare ourselves for the upcoming World championships.”

Consider it a job well done, on to the next challenge.

“There are many events between now and Rio and we are just going to chip away at one event of a time,” said Hughes. “We’ve got lots to work on and as with any Olympic campaign there are a lot of different boxes to tick.”

Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) started the Medal Race much the way they started the regatta, in last place. The first race of the event, which might seem like it took place a month ago given the twists and turns of this event, resulted in a DSQ for the Chinese team. Likewise, the first leg of the Medal Race didn’t go well and Chen and Gao rounded the first mark in last place, 48 seconds off the lead and in real danger of missing the podium entirely.

But in the light and shifty conditions, persistence was the key; and passing opportunities were there for the taking. Chen and Gao found a few on each of the next three legs, moving to sixth on the first run and then to third on the final run. Meanwhile, their chief rivals for gold, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) and Fernanda Oliveira and Luiza Ana Barbachan (BRA) found the going much more challenging. With those teams finishing in eighth and 10th respectively, Chen and Gao claimed the gold medal, with the Austrians in second and the Brazilian team, which led for much of the regatta, in third.

49er and 49erFX

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) ventured into the 49er Medal Race with a strong lead and as they came through in second, a convincing victory was signed, sealed and delivered.

Portugal’s Jorge Lima and Jose Costa had an outside chance of overthrowing the Spaniards but Lopez felt no worries as he explained, “For us we had to take control of the Portuguese guys today. We had a 12-point advantage so we wanted to control them with some tactics to win.

“We finished second, which was a really good result for us and we won. We’re really happy.”

Lima and Costa settled for silver and Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark (SWE) completed the podium.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) had gold all sewn up before the Medal Race so the pressure was off.

The real battle in the 49erFX was for silver and bronze with Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) split by one point.

Hansen and Salskov Iversen were sublime in the Medal Race. Chased by the Swedes they did not let up. They led from the off and used their superior boat speed to pull away and claim a well deserved silver medal.

From now on, it’s full on to Rio 2016 with World Cups, World Championships and continental championships coming thick and fast before the flame is lit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August 2016.

The 470s, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and RS:Xs will have to reset quickly with their World Championships taking place in February. The remaining fleets will hold theirs later on this year.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Photo credits: Pedro Martinez & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

British, Canadian Sailors Win First Medals of Sailing World Cup Miami

The boat parks along the shores of Coconut Grove will be a lot emptier tomorrow. Most of the sailors competing in the 2016 Sailing World Cup presented by Sunbrella are finished and spent this evening packing up their boats. But the remaining sailors won’t be complaining about feeling lonely. They have all earned the right to sail in tomorrow’s double points medal race, which will be broadcast live across around the world via YouTube and, for U.S. sailing fans, ESPN3. Only the top 10 sailors in each fleet qualify for the medal race, which is a shorter race and worth double points. It’s also non-discardable, which means that there’s always plenty to race for.

Before we set the table for tomorrow’s races, however, we should honor the Paralympic Medalists from the Sailing World Cup Miami. The Sonar and 2.4mR fleets wrapped up their competition today. Great Britain’s 2.4mR sailor Helena Lucas and the Canadian Sonar team led by Paul Tingley snapped up gold.

Tingley and his team of Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes wrapped up gold with a race to spare after a strong series of races. Meanwhile, Lucas asserted herself in the 2.4mR with a trio of victories that ensured she took her first gold at World Cup Miami after five previous attempts.

Lucas had a shaky start, retiring from the first race of the series, but came back dominant, winning seven of ten races over the week.

A perfect final day of three race victories sealed her fate as she ended well clear of Bruce Millar from Canada in silver and USA’s Charles Rosenfield in bronze.

“It’s been a really good regatta,” said Lucas. “We have had some great winds and some good conditions in different directions. It’s made it a good regatta and we had 20 knots yesterday so it’s been great. Miami is always a really nice one to win so it’s great to start 2016 off with a win.”

Lucas won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and was the first British athlete in any sport to be selected for Rio 2016. No one has been able to defend the 2.4mR gold medal at the Paralympic Games but Lucas has a full schedule this year as she attempts to do exactly that.

“This is a good stepping stone for my preparations in September. It’s busy from now on until the Paralympic Games. I have some stuff planned in the UK in February and then from March onwards I will be at the World Cup and EUROSAF events. It’s a busy calendar from now on.”

In a Paralympic year, sailors are looking to peak and lay down a marker in the build up regattas. Those winning medals now, will be winning medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Canadian Sonar team came off the water buoyed by their performance over a strong pack of racers. Their week featured three consecutive race wins midway through that put them in a good spot leading into the final day that featured three races.

A third and a fourth in the opening two was enough to seal gold and with the pressure off they completed the regatta with a seventh.

“It feels like the work is starting to pay off,” explained Tingley, a Beijing 2008 2.4mR gold medallist. “We are committed to the process and it takes time as a team. We have worked hard on our communication and as a result, we executed really well this week.

“The very best in the world are here and we beat the best. Gold is the reassurance we needed going into Rio.”

Australia’s Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden took second followed by Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).

Paralympic racers have a relatively quiet period before a full on period in April and May that includes Sailing World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth & Portland as well as the Para World Sailing Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

Men’s & Women’s 470

The breeze has been quite variable this week. But today was perhaps the most challenging day when it came to predicting what would happen to the wind speed and direction.

“It was very shifty with holes with no wind,” said 470 skipper Panagiotis Mantis (GRE.) “Most of the fleet expected the wind to bend to the left because of the land, but the wind always going to the right.”

Or to put it another way: “It was a hard day, there was a lot of randomness in the breeze,” said Stu McNay (USA) a two-time Olympian. “You make your best guess at the first shift. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong.

“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a number of days like this. But just because you know it’s going to be random and chaotic doesn’t mean you know how to deal with it.”

McNay and partner David Hughes came out on the wrong side of a few shifts today, scoring a 12-1-13. Their worst race result coming into the day was a fifth. But the good news for McNay and Hughes was they were hardly alone among the top five. With the exception of Panagiotis and Pavlos Kagialis, who finished 2-6-2 on the day, every Men’s 470 team in the regatta had at least one double-digit result.

The net result is that McNay and Hughes, Panagiotis and Kagialis, and Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) are all virtually tied going into tomorrow’s medal race. And while the fourth-place boat, Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstäder (AUT), is mathematically alive for a medal, it’s really a battle between the top three to see what color bauble they take home after tomorrow’s medal race.

Because all three are on equal footing entering the double-points race, there isn’t really an opportunity to match race. Both Panagiotis and McNay were unequivocal in how they will approach tomorrow’s race.

“Win the race,” said Panagiotis. “That’s it.”

McNay added: “The other guys who are leading are quite good and we will need to be at our best, just as they will try to be at their best.  Too much variability [to try to match race at the start], first you have to look forward.”

The Austrian team of Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar has been the steadiest performer in the Women’s 470 fleet and that consistently has given them a slight, 4-point advantage going into the medal race. Today, in conditions that caused a few of their chief rivals to falter, Vadlau and Ogar were solid, with a 4-5-1. Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan have led the regatta since winning both opening races. But a black flag disqualification in Race 8 and an 8th in Race 10 dropped them to second, one point in front of Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN). Marina Gallego and Fatima Reyes (ESP) are fourth. Sydney Bolger and Carly Shevitz are fifth, mathematically alive for a silver medal, but only barely.


Through five races the top six Finn sailors had been in virtual lockstep in the standings. Three races today finally put some daylight between them. Emerging from the fray was Jorge Zarif (BRA), who currently leads the regatta with 34 points, and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN), who is second, two points back. Those two will enter the medal race in a virtual tie since the race is worth double points and also counts as the tiebreaker in case two sailors finish with the same point total. While they have a slight edge over the third- through sixth-placed sailors, the emphasis is on the word “slight”. Caleb Paine (USA) is third with 40 points, followed by Jake Lilley (AUS) with 43 points, Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) with 44 and Zach Railey (USA) with 45. Given the right set of circumstances—and the forecasted light breeze could certainly provide enough variability—anyone of the top six could find themselves atop the heap at the end of tomorrow. An interesting subplot to the medal race will be the battle between Paine and Railey as this is the first of two regatta that comprise the selection series for the U.S. Olympic Team in Rio. The selection series format counts each regatta as a single result and each will be pushing hard to start the second half of the series with the upper hand.

Laser & Laser Radial

© Sailing Energy / World Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Marit Bouwmeester’s string of firsts was broken today. But the Dutch champion still sailed well enough to assure herself of at least a silver medal in the regatta. She will start the medal race with a 6-point lead over Evi van Acker (BEL), who has also locked up at least a silver medal. To claim the championship van Acker will need to put two boats between herself and Bouwmeester in tomorrow’s medal race. A tough ask, but certainly not impossible, especially considering the caliber of the fleet. Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) is currently third, with an eight-point advantage over Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) in fourth. Alison Young (GBR) and Emma Plasschaert (BEL) both have an outside chance at the bronze medal. In 10th place is Paige Railey (USA), who moved into the medal race after her best day of the regatta. This gives Railey at least 7-place advantage over Erika Reineke (USA), her primary rival for the U.S. Olympic Team. She has the enviable position of entering the medal race with nothing to lose. Any places she gains will add to her advantage in the selection series. But she cannot finish any worse than 10th.

Sailing World Cup Miami is the second of six regattas in the 2016 series. From 25-30 January 2016, Coconut Grove, Miami, United States of America is hosting more than 780 sailors who are competing across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.

More error-free sailing from Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) and Robert Scheidt (BRA) has put those two sailors into a virtual first-place tie going into the medal race. After dominating the qualifying series, Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) faltered slightly today, and is now third, though within easy striking distance of the lead and with a 12-point cushion over fourth. Among the top 10 sailors are four New Zealanders, which could create a bit of a happy conundrum for that country’s Olympic selection committee. Charlie Buckingham, the top U.S. Laser sailor, was 16th in the regatta. He will start the second half of the U.S. selection series with an eight-place lead over Erik Bowers, who finished 24th.

49er and 49erFX

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) defended their title in the 49erFX with a day to spare.

They held a firm advantage before the final fleet race and in true style, they won it by a huge margin handing them a 30 point lead that can not be touched in the Medal Race.

“We’re pretty happy to come away with a win this week,” explained Meech. “We haven’t looked at the results this week so we are kind of surprised. Last year we came away with a win in Miami so it’s nice to do it again.”

Maloney and Meech won the inaugural 2013 49erFX World Championships and whilst they remained in the top bunch of racers last year, they were off the heights they were used to. Meech continued, “We had a pretty up and down season in 2015 so it’s nice to start this one off on top again so hopefully we can continue.

“We’ve had a pretty good summer back home in New Zealand and then coming over here we’ve felt fresh. We’ve been working on a few things and it’s another step forward for us.”

The interviewer of Meech had the privilege to break the news to the young Kiwi and after obtaining the quotes the news was broken to Maloney.

Keeping her professional head Maloney said, “Ahh nice, but it’s before the protest time so we’ll have to wait to make sure. It’s been great though, we kept it at one race at a time and just had fun.”

As the clock ticked onto 18:55, no protests had been received so their gold was confirmed.

Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga (SWE) and Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are tied on 97 points in second.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) are poised to take the 49er title following four final gold fleet races. The Spaniards recorded a 2-3-17-9 scoreline and are 12 points clear of Portugal’s Jorge Lima and Jose Costa.

In the past, Botin and Lopez have struggled in the gold fleet, fading down the pack after a strong qualifying series. They changed the trend in Miami remaining at the front of the pack to sustain their lead.

They have guaranteed themselves a medal but the colour will be decided on Saturday.

Sweden’s Carl Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark hold the final podium position but five chasing teams have a chance to overthrow them in the Medal Race.

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

The ball is in Bryony Shaw’s (GBR) court in the Women’s RS:X as she holds an 11 point advantage over Lilian de Geus (NED).

De Geus had led since day one but when it mattered most, Shaw used all of her experience to pounce, overtake and extend. Shaw had the better of De Geus in all three races. Two fourths and a bullet compared to a pair of nines and a second allowed Shaw to grab the lead and she goes into the Medal Race 11 points clear.

China’s Peina Chen occupies the final podium position on 55 points and has Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) for company six points behind.

Dutch London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge has a firm grip of top spot in the Men’s RS:X. The indomitable Dutchman has remained in the top five all week and Friday’s racing was no different as he posted a 3-1-3. He leads compatriot, training partner and good friend Kiran Badloe by 15 points.

Nick Dempsey (GBR), three points off Badloe has a mathematical chance at gold but he will be looking to consolidate more so than attack in the Medal Race with Aichen Wang (CHN) and Pawel Tarnowski (POL) one and two points behind.

Nacra 17

It will be a three way shootout for the Nacra 17 honors with the top three teams holding unassailable advantages over the fourth placed team.

Eight points separate the top three in what has been a high scoring week in the Nacra 17 with every team surpassing 100 net points.

Australia’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin have remained the most consistent racers over the 15-race series. Going into the Medal Race the Australians have a six point advantage over Switzerland’s Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger.

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) of the Netherlands remain in contention, eight points off the Australians so it will all be to play for on Saturday.

The race wins were shared across the Medal Race qualifiers on Friday with the Swiss picking up the first bullet of the day. Iker Martinez and Julia Roman (ESP), Santiago Lange and Cecillia Carranza Saroli (ARG) and Great Britain’s Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves followed up with a bullet apiece and will sail on Saturday.

From 11 a.m. (EST), on Saturday January 30, the Medal Races from Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella will be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel as well as ESPN3 in the USA. Please note that the YouTube feed will be geo-blocked in the United States.

From 11 a.m. (EST), onSaturday January 30, the Medal Races from Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella will be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel as well as ESPN3 in the USA. Please note that the YouTube feed will be geo-blocked in the United States.The Key Links are:
ESPN3 – http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/2754788/2016-world-sailing-cup
World Sailing TV YouTube URL – https://youtu.be/_V2YQYar0IU
World Sailing TV YouTube Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_V2YQYar0IU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>Seven races will be broadcast live from the northern racing area on Biscayne Bay in Miami, Fla. The schedule in EST is available below:NORTH COURSE – LIVE
11:10 – Nacra 17
11:45 – Laser Radial
12:30 – Finn
13:10 – 470 Men
13:50 – Laser
14:30 – 49er
15:05 – 49erFXSOUTH COURSE
11:40 – 470 Women
12:20 – RS:X Women
12:55 – RS:X Men—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Day 4: Olympic Qualification Keeps Miami Hot

Torrential rainfall and a chill in the air, Miami isn’t usually like this, but competition for World Cup honours and Rio 2016 Olympic spots are keeping the temperatures on Biscayne Bay hot.

Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella acts as the Olympic continental qualification regatta for sailors from North and South America. Qualify here, you’ll be representing your country on the grandest of stages, miss out, it’s the end of the road.

Competitiveness from the front to the back of each fleet has been evident and every sailor has something to fight for. Whether it’s the coveted Rio spot, a Sailing World Cup honour, internal qualification for Rio 2016 or even striving to perfect their game, it’s all on in Miami.

Sailors were made to wait for racing on Thursday as torrential downpours killed off the breeze and produced large quantities of surface water. When the breeze materialised it enabled the sailors to commence racing at 15:20 local time in building conditions that ranged from 12-17 knots from the south east.

Laser and Laser Radial

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016A very fluid weather pattern (in more ways than one) made for a challenging, albeit short, day on the water for the Laser and Laser Radial fleets. The threat of thunderstorms kept the fleet ashore through the early afternoon. Once the sailors launched, the compressed time left the sailors with little time to properly research the breeze. Adding to the confusion, the weather changed just as the Radials were halfway up the first leg.

“In the beginning it was quite light,” said Evi van Acker (BEL). “But then the rain came and along came the wind. So it was quite windy in the race, which was nice to have a little bit of difference compared to the first three days.”

It was also quite shifty and, with the visibility reduced, tough for the sailors to formulate a plan of attack. As is often the case in difficult conditions, the cream rose to the top, with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) nipping Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) by just two seconds and adding to her impressive string of four first-place finishes in the qualifying races. But Bouwmeester was hard-pressed to describe how she won the race.

“I don’t really know,” she said with a laugh. “The weather was quite tricky with the rain so I think I was just a bit lucky being on the right side of the wind shifts.”

Bouwmeester, who won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 Laser Radial World Championships, is probably being modest. But her day did have one significant, and totally unexpected, hurdle that she handled with a veteran’s poise.

“A 470 trailer, they didn’t put it up right after the 470 went into the water and it fell down and it fell straight through my sail,” she said. “So just before [launching] I had a hole in the sail. But thank God it didn’t influence the racing too much

“I didn’t like it. I was like, ‘Bloody 470s.’ But there’s not much I can do about it. This guy gave me some sail tape and I tried to cover it up as good as I can.”

In third in the race, and sitting solidly in second overall was van Acker, who was a little more expansive when asked about the path to success in Race 6.

“I think play the shifts on the first beat and the first reach and the downwind,” she said. “But I could’ve done a bit better. So not super happy with today, but plenty to play for tomorrow.”

Van Acker is the defending Olympic bronze medalist, but there’s a lot of Laser Radial talent in Belgium and she won’t know until late spring whether she’ll return to the Olympics.

“We have a selection committee that will decide at the end of May or the beginning of June,” she said. “But as I said, I’m not really busy with the selection, just trying to do my best in every race.”

Currently sitting third in the overall standings is defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) who finished 35th, by far her worst race of the regatta. After discarding that finish she is just two points out of second and eight points off the lead.

Paloma Schmidt was the only South American sailor, who had not yet qualified for Rio 2016, to make the Laser Radial gold fleet. As a result, she has qualified Peru in the Laser Radial.

North American sailors from the Cayman Islands, Cuba, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago missed out on the gold fleet as Bermuda’s Cecillia Wollman and Mexico’s Natalia Montemayor advanced.

Nine points separated them before Thursday’s racing but they ended up even on 95 points apiece after the single race. Wollman finished 39th and Montemayor, 40th. Results would lead to suggest some strong tactics coming in to play with three races on Friday to determine who will go to Rio de Janeiro this August.

After sailing a nearly flawless qualifying series, Laser sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) had his first significant bobble of the regatta when he was caught over the line before the gun and didn’t return to start correctly, recording a 50-point OCS. As he’s able to discard that score, he retains the overall lead, but the margin has narrowed. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is currently second overall after getting a fourth today.

While the Radials started in light breeze, the wind had picked up substantially by the time the Lasers started sailing. Still, the weather was difficult to read.

“I didn’t have [a really solid plan for the first beat],” said Bernaz. “I just say, ‘OK, let’s sail and watch; what you see is what you get.’ I was on the right, but when I saw the left gaining, I just go on the left side of the fleet. I was losing a lot and I re-gained what I lost. I was fourth at the top mark, third, then fourth again. It’s good to sail in front.”

Bernaz has been on a tear of late, with top-five finishes in his four of his last five major regattas. The lone blip, a 54th at the 2015 Laser World Championships, has knocked his world ranking down to 22nd, but he’s sailing like a medal contender at this event.

“It’s the year of the Games, some [Olympic selection series] for different countries, so everyone is 100 percent, maybe 110,” he said. “It’s a really hard fleet and it’s really hard to be consistent. Now we start the finals, so it’s the top 49, so it’s really hard, really compact.”

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Sailing to his fourth second in the last four races, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) moved into third in the overall standings.

“The first few races I had bad starts and it was difficult conditions, it was shifty and light, and I just made bad decisions at the beginning of the race,” he said. “I knew I had the speed to do better and the ability to do better. From the third day I started to sail more with the fleet, more consistent, better starts.

“Today was a full-on race, it started to blow very hard just a few minutes before the start and we knew we’d have to be out of trouble, have a clean start, and use the speed and hike hard. It was a tough race. The breeze kept increasing throughout the race. I just sailed clean, sailed a solid race. I’m really happy about that.”

Scheidt won three medals in the Laser class, gold in 1996 and 2004 and silver in 2000 before switching to the Star, where he won silver in 2008 and bronze in 2012. With the Star eliminated from the Olympic roster, he was forced to choose between missing the Rio Olympics or returning to the grueling 14-foot dinghy,

“The goal is to try to do the Olympic Games in my home country,” he said. “Unfortunately the Star is not anymore an Olympic class. I wish it was. It’s not easy to come back to the Laser after a certain age. But I’m enjoying it. I’m still having fun out there. I’m still competing at a high level. Of course, it’s not easy because physically it’s a quite a demanding boat. Right now I’m in a good moment, free of injuries and really looking forward to the next six months.”

He hasn’t been as dominant as he was at his peak, when he won eight world championships, but Scheidt is a serious medal threat, and anyone who thinks the pressure of competing in his home country will compromise his performance should check Scheidt’s track record. Among other accomplishments, his final Laser world championship was won on Brazilian waters. He knows what to expect, and how to handle it.

“It’s going to be a different Olympics with the crowd the expectations, competing in Rio, a place I’ve sailed all my life, for an Olympic medal,” he said. “It’s going to be very special. That’s why I’m still doing it. That’s the reason why I’m still training hard, pushing hard. To be able to join the Olympics one last time would be a great thing for me.”

Mexico’s Yanic Gentry made the gold fleet in the cut and with none of his rivals from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico making it, he has qualified his nation in the Laser.

All of the South American sailors aiming for Rio 2016 are in the silver fleet and no racing was possible on Thursday. As it stands, Venezuela’s Jose Gutierrez is 65th on 139 points, Uruguay’s Federico Yandian 66th on 140, Ecuador’s Matias Dyck on 145 and Colombia’s Andrey Quintero 84th on 180.

Nacra 17

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) regained the Nacra 17 lead after they finished ahead of overnight leaders Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) in both of the day’s races.

They have a seven point gap over the Dutch but a scintillating battle is developing towards the back of the pack.

Just one point separates South American Rio 2016 hopefuls from Guatemala and Uruguay with one day of fleet racing remaining.

Guatemala’s Jason Hess and Irene Abascal were in the driving seat for the Olympic spot but two poor results enabled Uruguay’s Pablo Defazio Abella and Mariana Foglia to hit them on the counter attack.

The Uruguayans finished 23rd and 31st, leaving them on 272 points, one behind the Guatemalans who had their worst day on the water after a 37th and a discarded DNF.

In terms of races won against each other, Hess and Abascal lead the stakes 6-5 after 11 and it will be head to head on the water on Friday to decide who takes the single South American Nacra 17 place.

Canada’s Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke have a strong advantage in the North American qualification duel. They are more than 60 points clear of the only other hopeful, Puerto Rico’s Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes. Ramsay and Girke will want to stay out of trouble on Friday to book their nation another Rio 2016 place.

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) were Thursday’s Nacra 17 stars after double bullets. They are fourth overall.

49er and 49erFX

A single race in the 49er Gold, 49er Silver and 49erFX was completed.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech held on to top spot in the 49er and 49erFX respectively. Race wins went the way of John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) in 49er Gold, Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern (IRL) in 49er Silver and Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) in the 49erFX.

On the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification front, there is plenty happening in all three fleets.

Chilean brothers Benjamin and Cristóbal Grez Ahrens haven’t made things easy on themselves in their battle against Uruguay’s Santiago Silveira and Philipp Umpierre for the South American 49er Rio spot. A disastrous start and up and down results gave the Uruguayans the advantage after two days.

The Uruguayans were positioned to make the gold fleet with the Chileans back in silver ahead of Wednesday’s so they had it all to do. Match racing was the name of the game and the Chileans forced the Uruguayans hand with an OCS and BFD to squeeze them back into silver fleet.

Thursday was an opportunity for both teams to reset and from a single 49er Silver race, the Grez Ahrens brothers grabbed the initiative, leapfrogging the Uruguayans. A Chilean ninth compared to the Uruguayans 18th ensures they go into the final day of fleet racing with a six point advantage.

In the north, gold fleet racing will decide the spot. USA in the driving seat with Thomas Barrows, III and Joseph Morris seventh on 71 points. Canada follow with David Mori and Justin Barnes 29th on 104 points and British Virgin Islanders Alec Anderson and Christopher Brockbank are down in 31st.

American sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt as well as Emily Dellenbaugh and Elizabeth Barry have put their nation in a strong position to qualify in the 49erFX. Henken and Scutt are 18th on 142 points and their compatriots, 21st on 161. Their nearest rivals are U.S. Virgin Islanders Mayumi Roller and Agustina Barbuto who trail on 181 in 23rd. Aruba’s Odile and Philipine Van Aanholt hold 226 points in 32nd.

Chile’s Arantza Gumucio and Begoña Gumucio are the only South American entrants who have not yet qualified for Rio 2016 so will qualify this week.

Men’s and Women’s 470

@Sailing Energy / World Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016With a win in today’s lone race, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) moved into a tie for first place with the Brazilian team of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan. Those two teams are starting to stretch away from the rest of the fleet. As this fleet is one of the smallest in the regatta, it will be hard, but not impossible, for anyone else to claw back into contention for the win. The other teams in the top five are Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN), Marina Gallego and Fatima Reyes (ESP) and Sydney Bolger and Carly Shevitz (USA).

Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) were the only team in the top six of the Men’s 470 fleet to record a top-five finish today. As a result the Spanish duo pushed their lead over Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) out to five points. Panaglotis Mantis and Pavlos Kangialis (GRE) are third, nine points further back. A point behind third is Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstäder (AUT). While there are three races scheduled for tomorrow, it’s hard to imagine anyone outside that top four making a serious challenge for the lead.

It’s one on one in both North and South America for Rio 2016 Olympic qualification. Canada’s Jacob Chaplin-Saunders and Graeme Chaplin-Saunders, on 53 points, have a good advantage over Mexico’s Jeronimo Cervantes Belausteguigoitia and Ander Belausteguigoitia, on 90 points, in the North.

Looking south, the 21st placed Ecuadorians, Jonathan Martinetti and John Birkett, have work to do on the final day of fleet racing to catch the 17th placed Chileans, Andres Ducasse and Francisco Ducasse. The Chileans have a 16 point advantage.

Canada’s Allison Surrette and Alexandra Ten Hove are uncontested for the North American spot so will seal that place this week. Chile’s Nadja Horwitz and Sofia Middleton are poised to take the South American spot, holding a 36 point advantage over Argentina’s Mercedes Travascio and Delfinia Bellagio.


@Sailing Energy / World Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016It was the grey beards who dominated today’s lone race in oldest of the Olympic classes. Olympic silver medalists Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) and Zach Railey (USA) went 1-2 in the race and now hold those same positions in the overall standings. But in reality, the top six, who are separated by just three points, are standing on a level playing field with three races scheduled for tomorrow and then the double-points medal race on Saturday. The other sailors in that top group are Jorge Zarif (BRA), Jake Lilley (AUS), Lei Gong (CHN) and yesterday’s leader Caleb Paine (USA).

The 11th placed Chilean, Antonio Poncell, is sandwiched in between his South American rivals from Argentina, Facundo Olezza in ninth and Juan Ignacio Biava in 11th.

Poncell holds 47 points which is 12 off Olezza and two ahead of Ignacio Biava. Canadian Finn sailors have no North American rivals in the Finn fleet with Finn fleet racing to conclude on Friday.

Paralympic Classes

Helena Lucas (GBR) has positioned herself nicely at the top of the 2.4mR leader board ahead of the final day of Paralympic racing on Friday.

A third consecutive race win leaves her three points clear of early leader Bruce Millar (CAN) however the London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist will have to tread carefully on the final day as she discards a 12th from the first race of the series.

Peter Eagar (CAN) occupies the final podium spot with a day remaining but is just a single point clear of Charles Rosenfield (USA).

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell, Scott Lutes (CAN) opened up a six point advantage over 2015 Para World Sailing Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) after winning the single Sonar race.

Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) are third overall heading into Friday’s final Paralympic races.

@Sailing Energy / World Sailing - Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Men’s and Women’s RS:X

The Race Committee had to manually input the results from the RS:X race course into the results system after racing. Results will be available in due course here.

Check back on sailing.org for a full RS:X recap.

Racing resumes on Friday 29 January at 10:00 local time.

Day 3 Morning Briefing: Breeze back on in Miami. Or is it?

Tuesday’s forecast predicted a 14-knot breeze that would last for the duration of the day. Unfortunately, it did not quite play out that way turning into a ‘head out of the boat’ day where sailors light wind skills were put to the test.

Wind in the region of 17-19 knots from the south is forecast for the third day of competition but based on the day’s prior, it would be unwise for anyone to rely on the forecast in changeable Miami weather.

An overcast sky and a spot of precipitation was evident this morning in Miami but the worst of the conditions will pass further north with a 40-percent chance of thunderstorms.

Two days of mischievous breeze have toiled with the schedule and many of the packs will use the day to catch up on races lost.

The day’s schedule is available below:

Class Course # of Races Start time
Men’s RS:X Delta 3 10:40
Women’s RS:X Delta 3 10:30
Laser Blue Echo 2 13:30
Laser Yellow Echo 2 13:40
Laser Radial Blue Echo 3 10:30
Laser Radial Yellow Echo 3 10:40
Finn Foxtrot 3 10:20
49er Blue Charlie 3 10:00
49er Yellow Alpha 3 10:20
49erFX Alpha 4 13:20
Men’s 470 Foxtrot 3 10:00
Women’s 470 Foxtrot 3 10:10
Nacra 17 Charlie 4 13:00
2.4mR Bravo 3 11:10
Sonar Bravo 3 11:00

Day 2: Mind Over Matter on Biscayne Bay

Another day of fading morning breeze and unstable afternoon conditions kept sailors and race committees guessing as to what the wind would do next. Those who guessed right put a few more bricks into what will hopefully become a solid regatta result by the end of the week. Those who didn’t will have work to do when racing resumes tomorrow, under what is expected to be drastically different weather conditions. Of the 12 fleets racing on Biscayne Bay this week, only the 49ers and the Lasers remain on schedule, with six and four races completed, respectively. The Finns didn’t race today and are stuck on one race. The same is true of the Women’s RS:X. For the Laser Radial fleet, which has completed just two races, the situation is particularly acute. That fleet must be split into gold and silver fleets after tomorrow’s racing. The race committees of all the fleets currently behind schedule will aim to make up races tomorrow. There’s forecast to be wind. Rain is expected and thunderstorms are possible.

Nacra 17

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) arrived back at Regatta Park, a new venue for Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, late in the day with a consistent day of racing under their belts in tricky conditions.

A 3-4-3 in stable conditions is a day to be proud of, but in the Miami shifts, that’s impressive. The trick? “Have your head on a screw,” exclaimed Waterhouse. “Just keep looking around and making good tactical decisions. The first race was a boat speed race and the next two were tactical chess playing races.

“It was a lot of fun out there and I’m sure there were a lot of ups and downs and we are happy to come away on the right side of it. We had a really good day and were really consistent, it was tricky and typical of Miami. We can take it forward for the rest of the regatta.”

The Australians are two leading lights in the Nacra 17 fleet, modest in their approach, humble in their ways yet full on and intense in the racing arena. They won gold at the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015 and are backing that performance up with further results to match.

After five Nacra 17 races they lead the way on 13 points, Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) follow on 20 and Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) sit third on 26.

Race wins on the day went to Iker Martinez and Julia Roman (ESP), Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) and Paul Kohlkoff and Carolina Werner (GER).

49er and 49erFX

‘Keeping it consistent’ is a term every racing sailor aspires to and that term could not be more appropriate in the Olympic sailing arena.

Sailors don’t necessarily have to win a race to claim a medal. Regular results at the front of the pack can go a long way to ensure you’re there at the end when it counts.

Argentina’s Victoria Travascio and Maria Sol Branz are well known for their light breeze consistency and they personified that once again by picking up a 2-1-2.

“We did very good and it was really cool,” explained Travisco. “We managed three good starts and that was it really. The first we went on the left, had a good start and stayed on the left.”

The Argentineans demonstrated their light wind nous in the middle of 2015, winning Pan American Games gold on Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Miami’s conditions on Tuesday suited them and they have leapt up the leader board, tied for third with Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) hold their overnight lead with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in second.

Defending Miami 49er champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) took over at the top of the pile after four races. They opened up with a 13th, which they discarded before swiftly following up with a fourth, second and a first. They occupy first overall on 12 points.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) are second on 19 and overnight leaders Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) drop to third on 24 points.

Men’s and Women’s RS:X

A single Men’s RS:X race was completed in the light air with the Women’s RS:X unable to sail.

Chinese racer Chunzhuang Liu asserted his light wind prowess again, overcoming Dorian van Rijsselberge by 15 seconds to take his second race win.

Liu has opened up a three-point gap over van Rijsselberge after two races but it’s still very early days in the competition with everything to play for.

Paralympic Classes

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Three 2.4mR races have thrown out different victors in each. Bruce Millar (CAN) took the first bullet on the opening day and in Tuesday’s two, Peter Eagar (CAN) and Helena Lucas (GBR) crossed the line first in races two and three.

As a result, the trio are separated by one point at the top of the leader board. Miller leads on three points followed by Eagar and Lucas on four.

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) grabbed the lead in the Sonar following a second and a discarded seventh. Race wins went to Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Jacob Haug and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund who are eighth and fifth respectively.

Racing resumes on Wednesday 27 January at 10:00 local time. The Laser, Laser Radial and 49er will complete their qualification series and many of the fleets will be looking to catch up on races lost over two challenging days.

Men’s & Women’s 470

Today, on the Women’s 470 course at the Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, it was all about the pressure. From the wind, that is. As with yesterday, a promising breeze in the morning dwindled quickly. By noon it was decidedly in the single digits. By mid-afternoon it was on the edge of being unsailable. By that time, however, the women 470 sailors, were ashore, washing off their boats and thinking about what went right or what went wrong—or maybe a little of both—in their two races.

“When it’s so light, the pressure [is most important],” said skipper Fernanda Oliveira (BRA), who, along with teammate Ana Luiza Barbachan, scored a first and a second today and are currently first, by 3 points over Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT). “You have to be paying attention all the time. I think that we did well downwind, and rounding the marks we could gain some points. It’s going well, lets see what happens in the next few days.”

Oliveira also stressed staying sharp before races, especially when there are postponements and general recalls.

“I think that a routine is the best way to keep focus on our goal,” she said. “We are trying to just be checking, all the time, the wind and the current, the courses if they change something, paying attention all the time. If you relax and relax and relax, and try to start it again, it’s complicated. The routine is the most important thing so you make all the times the same thing and then it’s easier to be ready to go.”

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016With the class’s world championship scheduled for next month in South America, the fleet at the Sailing World Cup Miami is smaller and not quite as deep as in past years. But Oliveira stressed that it’s just as important to stay focused.

“We are trying to do our best; we are trying to train, to make this event like a training for the world championships,” said Oliveira. “But we have a lot of young teams here that are sailing very well, so we have to pay attention to them.”

Some top Women’s 470 teams have skipped this event to rest for the world championships, but Oliveira said that with the pressure of a home Olympics looming on the horizon, she is happy to stay busy.

“The pressure will come for all sailors, and for all Brazilian sailors also,” said Oliveira. “We have to keep paying attention. It will not be easy, it’s a special [Olympics]. I think we are OK; we already did a Games together so we have some experience as a team. In six months we’re going to be ready to go. From now until April, we have a lot of events, so there’s no time to be thinking on it.”

So the motto for the day: on the water, seek out the pressure; off the water, try to keep it at bay.

It was also the experienced Men’s 470 teams that rose to the top, with the top five teams in the overall standings after three races each featuring at least one former Olympian. At the head of the class is the home team, Stuart McNay and David Hughes, who won both races today by a combined 90 seconds. McNay is looking to head to his third Olympics this summer. Two points in arrears—each team has discarded its worst finish—are Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) with Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstädter (AUT) in third.

Laser & Laser Radial

Sailing World Cup Miami 2016Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg continued his solid start to the regatta with a first and sixth today. It was a slight step down from his 2-1 yesterday, but it was still the best score of the day, nipping Filip Jurišić (CRO) by virtue of a tiebreaker. Van Schaardenburg retains command of the overall lead, six points ahead of Jurišić. Behind the Croatian sailor, however, lies a tightly packed mob of top Laser talent; just 23 points separates second from 22nd. Included in that group is five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) in 13th and American medal hopeful Charlie Buckingham (USA) in 14th. Buckingham is in the first stage of the selection series for the U.S. Olympic Team. While US Sailing Team Sperry teammate Chris Barnard (USA) is not off to a good start, Erik Bowers (USA) is just 2 points behind Buckingham in the overall standings. The Lasers will hope for two races tomorrow and then, regardless of how many races have been completed, the fleet will be split into Gold and Silver Groups for the final two days of full-fleet racing.

In the Laser Radial, defending gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) continues to round back into form after some time away from the boat. She was second in today’s lone race, which didn’t start until after 4 p.m. local time. Another veteran of the London Olympics. Evi van Acker (BEL) is just a point behind and her country woman Emma Plasschaert (BEL) is just a point further back in third. With just two races in the books, and three scheduled for tomorrow, there is plenty of time for the leaderboard to shuffle around. Reigning Olympic silver medalist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is fourth. If there’s a surprise in the early going, it’s that the top U.S. sailors, Paige Railey and Ericka Reineke, are back in 16th and 17th, separated by just one point in the first half of the selection series for the 2016 Olympic team.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami, & Daniel Smith, World Sailing

SWC Miami Day 1 Morning Brief: Light wind start to 2016

Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella, the first big Olympic sailing battle of the Olympic year, will see its opening day on played out across Biscayne Bay in light winds.

A mixed bag of conditions on Miami’s waters were prevalent in the build to the regatta and that trend does not look like changing with ups and downs in wind strength, wind direction and temperature predicted this the week.

As sailors arrived at the venues – US Sailing Center Miami, City of Miami’s Regatta Park, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Coral Reef Yacht Club and Shake-A-Leg Miami – a slight flutter of flags and palm trees could be seen.

A north easterly 4 knot flicker will kick off the morning. As the day progresses the direction will shift to the east and pick up later in the afternoon to 8-11 knots. The 470 and 49er fleets are due to start first at 10:00 local time. The remainder of the fleets will follow as the day advances.

The day’s schedule is available below:

Class Course # of Races Start time
Men’s RS:X Delta 3 11:00
Women’s RS:X Delta 3 13:30
Laser Blue Echo 2 11:00
Laser Yellow Echo 2 11:10
Laser Radial Blue Echo 2 13:00
Laser Radial Yellow Echo 2 13:10
Finn Foxtrot 2 13:00
49er Blue Charlie 3 10:00
49er Yellow Alpha 3 10:20
49erFX Alpha 3 13:20
Men’s 470 Foxtrot 2 10:00
Women’s 470 Foxtrot 2 10:10
Nacra 17 Charlie 3 13:00
2.4mR Bravo 2 13:00
Sonar Bravo 2 11:00

A confirmed number of 711 sailors from 64 nations in 514 boats will race across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets throughout the week.

As well as World Cup glory being on the line, a number of North and South American nations will by vying for an Olympic berth. One spot in each of the fleets for both continents will be up for grabs with two available in the Men’s RS:X.

The nations aiming for Olympic qualification are:

Nacra 17

North – Canada, Puerto Rico

South – Guatemala, Uruguay, Venezuela

RS:X Men

North – Aruba, Canada, USA

South – Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela

RS:X Women

North – Canada

South – Argentina, Peru, Venezuela


North – Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico

South – Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela

Laser Radial

North – Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, St. Lucia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago

South – Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela

470 Men

North – Canada, Mexico

South – Chile, Ecuador

470 Women

North – Canada

South – Argentina, Chile


North – Canada, British Virgin Islands, USA

South – Chile, Uruguay


North – Aruba, US Virgin Islands, USA

South – Chile


North – Canada

South – Argentina, Chile

—Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Olympic Dreams On the Line at Sailing World Cup Miami

With the calendar switched to an Olympic year, the intensity on the water at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella is a match for the famously bright South Florida sun. In less than 200 days, many of the nearly 800 sailors gathered in Coconut Grove this week will walk in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. For the sailors with a confirmed spot in the Olympic Regatta, this event is about sharpening their tactical game, refining their equipment and improving their conditioning. Others have a more immediate focus as they are in the midst of a selection series for their respective countries or working to qualify their country for the Olympic regatta.

“There’s a lot at stake this year at Sailing World Cup Miami,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “For the first time in the event’s 27-year history, it’s being used as part of the U.S. selection process and part of country qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

For American sailors in eight of the Olympic classes and the 2.4mR, this event is the first of two events that will determine the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for this summer’s Games.

Sailing World Cup Miami is the second of six regattas in the 2016 series. From 25-30 January 2016, Coconut Grove, Miami, USA is hosting more than 780 sailors who are competing across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.

Sailing World Cup Miami is the second of six regattas in the 2016 series. From January 25-30, 2016, Coconut Grove, Fla., is hosting more than 780 sailors from around the world who are competing across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic classes on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.

The Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella is the second event in the six-regatta 2016 Sailing World Cup. Competition in US Sailing’s premiere racing event gets underway this Monday in all 10 Olympic classes and two of three Paralympic classes. Saturday’s Medal Races will be carried live on ESPN3.

The Olympic classes competing this week will be: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X, 49er (men), Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Nacra 17 (mixed) and 49erFX (women). Paralympic classes included are the 2.4mR (open, Para World Sailing) and Sonar (open, Para World Sailing).

Befitting an event of this magnitude, this evening athletes, volunteers and regatta officials participated in an Opening Ceremony on the lawn of the Coral Reef Yacht Club. The 68 national flags ringing the lawn—and the variety of languages heard in the various boat parks—are a stirring reminder of the global popularity of this event. The event record of 855 sailors, which was set last year, is safe; the 2016 edition of the Sailing World Cup will rank third in terms of attendance. The 68 nations attending breaks the record set in 2015.

“Sailing World Cup Miami is a pivotal event for Olympic sailors on the road to Rio. The caliber of the athletes that will be on show in Miami is exceptional and many of the medalists here will be on the Olympic podium in August,” said Sailing World Cup Manager, Antonio Gonzalez de la Madrid. “Racing in Miami in January provides a welcome respite for the European sailors looking to escape the European winter. We have World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) in the 49erFX, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) in the Nacra 17 and Danish Laser Radial star Anne Marie Rindom. That’s to name but a few in the world class fields we have on show in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.”

The trickle down of having all these top international athletes training and racing in the United States every January should not be understated.

“The training leading up to this regatta is at a very high level,” said Adams. “For the US Sailing Team Sperry and our overall Olympic program, there’s great value in this event. Our athletes are able to go out and train against the world’s best.”

Racing gets underway tomorrow at 10 a.m. (EST), weather providing and will run until the late afternoon each day through Friday. Saturday’s double-point medal races—a shorter sprint for glory with just the top 10 sailors in each class competing—will start at 11 a.m., and be broadcast live on ESPN3.

—Stuart Streuli, Sailing World Cup Miami

Photo credits: Pedro Martinez & Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

An entry list for Sailing World Cup Miami can be found here
Once racing starts on Monday, January 25, results will be available hereLIVE VIDEO
Medal Races on Saturday 30 January will be broadcast live on the World Sailing YouTube channel as well as on 10 major broadcasters including ESPN3 in the USA.LIVE TRACKING
A majority of the fleets will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking, which will be available here

Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7″ or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application –
Click here to download the Android Application –

The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. Once racing commences, the competition status screen will be available here\

Sailing World Cup Miami
The Sailing World Cup Miami 2016 presented by Sunbrella is the premier North American event for top-level Olympic and Paralympic class sailors, and the only North American regatta to be included in World Sailing’s 2015-16 Sailing World Cup series. Competitors in the 10 Olympic and two Paralympic events will have five days of fleet racing from Monday, January 25 to Friday, January 29. Medal Races across the Olympic classes will bring the regatta to a close on Saturday, January 30, where medals will be awarded to the top three boats. The regatta is organized by US Sailing.

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. The Coral Reef Yacht Club hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and is the site for the Regatta Village throughout the week.

Sailing World Cup Miami is presented by Sunbrella, and sponsored by BeneteauJeanneauLagoonSperryChubb Personal InsuranceCity of MiamiHarkenMcLubeCoral Reef Sailing ApparelUHealth Sports Performance and Wellness InstituteAdventure Sports MiamiSwitlikSturgis Boat WorksVetus-MaxwellPapa’s Pilar RumNacra Racing, and Beneath the Waves.

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.

Olympic Sailors Gearing up for Live Miami Showdown

Sailors from 64 nations are gearing up for the first big showdown of Olympic and Paralympic sailing in 2016, Sailing World Cup Miami presented by Sunbrella.

More than 780 athletes will feature across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 January. Whilst the Paralympic racing wraps up on 29 January, the Olympic competitors will be fighting it out to appear in Saturday’s live television broadcast of the Medal Races.

Set to be shown in front of a live audience on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel and on more than ten global broadcasters, Sailing World Cup Miami will provide sailing fans with a window of opportunity to see who is looking strong on the Road to Rio.

Live Medal Races will be available from 11:00 EST on Saturday here:
URL – https://youtu.be/_V2YQYar0IU
Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_V2YQYar0IU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

If World Cup glory was not enough to drive the sailors forward, those from North and South America will be aiming to qualify their nation for Rio 2016 as the event acts as the Continental Qualification regatta for both regions.

Puerto Rico Nacra 17The Nacra 17 will be fiercely contested as Puerto Rico’s Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes face off against two Canadian teams for the North American spot. Long term campaigners and Olympians Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke will be the main Canadian hopefuls aiming to to overcome the Puerto Ricans. They’ll have compatriots and relative newcomers to the Nacra 17 Maxime Loiselle and Justine Antaya for company in the fleet.

Throughout 2015 the Puerto Ricans faced Ramsay and Girke on six occasions in highly competitive fleets. Figueroa and Valdes finished ahead of the Canadians at World Cup Miami, the World Championships and the European Championships.

Ramsay and Girke were in front of the Puerto Ricans at World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth & Portland as well as the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta.

At each regatta the separation between the teams was minimal. That rivalry will resume in Miami for what could be the final bout between the teams as there will be no second chances for whoever misses out.

As for South American qualification, Guatemala’s Jason Hess and Irene Abascal, Uruguay’s Pablo Defazio and Mariana Foglia and Venezuala’s Yamil Saba and Andrea Saba will go toe to toe for the Rio 2016 spot.

At the head of the fleet World #1 Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) will spearhead a pack of 49 that includes high profile Nacra 17 contenders. Teams such as three-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), World #2 Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and the experienced Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) will all be on the start line.

In the 49er, crews from the British Virgin Islands, Canada and USA will be going for the North American Olympic spot and duos from Chile and Uruguay will aiming for the South American position.

The 66-boat 49er fleet features a strong and seasoned contingent of skiff racers. London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are amongst the entrants. They are joined by defending champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jonas Warrer and crew Anders Thomsen (DEN).

Newly crowned 49erFX World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) are amongst the 36-boat 49erFX fleet in Miami. The Italian duo won their first World Championship together in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year and will be looking to bring that form into Miami.

They will be joined by World #1 duo, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), defending Miami champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) as well as three leading Danish crews.

Partnerships from Aruba, US Virgin Islands and USA will be aiming for the North American Rio 2016 place and Chilean sailors are the only representatives from South America.

Forty-nine sailors will compete in the Finn class. London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN), World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS) and national favourites Zach Railey (USA) and Caleb Paine (USA) will all be in the running for the medals. Sailors from Argentina and Chile as well as Canada are looking to qualify for Rio 2016 from South and North American.

In the Men’s and Women’s 470, fleets of 24 and 18 will sail on Biscayne Bay across the week. Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) and two-time World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will lead the charge in the Men’s and Women’s fleets.

South American Olympic Qualification will be between Chile and Ecuador in the Men’s and Argentina and Chile in the Women’s. As for North America, Canadian and Mexican sailors will compete for the Men’s Rio 2016 slot and Canada’s Allie Surrette and Ali Ten Hove are left uncontested in the Women’s.

Paralympic sailors had a fast paced finish to 2015 with back to back regattas in Melbourne, Australia. The Para World Sailing Championships was quickly followed by Sailing World Cup Melbourne in December and for those in the 2.4mR and Sonar, they’re back on the Paralympic campaign trail in Miami.

2015 Sonar Para World Sailing Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR), runners up Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) and bronze medallists Aleksander Wang Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) will all be in Miami.

Paralympic sailing regular Paul Tingley and his crew of Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) will join the fleet, as will as the strong French trio of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary.

Twelve boats will compete in the 2.4mR. London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be wanting to break her Miami hoodoo and take a maiden victory on the American waters. However, four Canadian and three American sailors will be aiming to put a halt to the Britons charge.

Watch a promotional video to Sailing World Cup Miami here:
URL – https://youtu.be/gAmGURstKko
Embed – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gAmGURstKko” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Racing is set to commence at 10:00 local time on Monday 25 January across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets. Medal Races on Saturday 30 January will bring Sailing World Cup Miami to a close with the races to be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv

By Daniel Smith – World Sailing

Editors Notes

Entries for Sailing World Cup Miami are available to view here – http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registrant_list.php?regatta_id=11442&custom_report_id=66 and results will be available throughout when racing commences on 25 January here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking. Live tracking will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7″ or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sailviewer-3d/id912801278
Click here to download the Android Application – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stsportservice.sailviewer

The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. The competition status screen will be available when racing commences via – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php

High resolution imagery free for editorial usage will be provided throughout Sailing World Cup Miami by Sailing Energy. Imagery will be available to download via http://worldsailing.photoshelter.com/archive

A daily agency news feed will be available from Sailing World Cup from Wednesday 27 January until the conclusion of the event on Saturday 30 January.

For further TV news information or interview requests please contact:

Daniel Smith
World Sailing Website and Media coordinator
M: +44 (0)7771 542 131
E: Daniel.Smith@isaf.com

Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
M: +44 (0) 7922 140 148
E: smollartrogerson@sunsetvineapp.com

Pilar Alberola Albors
M: +44 (0) 7546 830 192
E: palberola@sunsetvineapp.com

Blanca Handrich
M: +34 657 854 173
E: blanca.handrich@sunsetvineapp.com

The International Sailing Federation will be releasing international press releases after racing throughout the duration of Sailing World Cup Miami. All the latest news and reports will be available to read here – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php

The hashtag of Sailing World Cup Miami is #SWCMiami16

Follow the event on World Sailing’s social networks:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ISAFWorldSailing
Instagram – https://instagram.com/isafworldsailing/
Twitter – @worldsailing

World Sailing Marketing and Media Department
Tel: + 44 2380 635 111
Fax: + 44 2380 635 789
Email: marketing@isaf.com

Editors Notes
Sailing World Cup
The Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 2016 Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup champions will be crowned

2016 Sailing World Cup
Melbourne – 7-13 December 2015
Miami – 23-30 January 2016
Hyères – 25 April – 1 May 2016
Weymouth and Portland – 6-12 June 2016
Qingdao – 12-18 September 2016
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – 24-28 October 2016

View the World Cup qualification system here.

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Numbers are cruel.

At ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, presented by Sunbrella, 716 sailors came to compete in ten Olympic classes. Five days of qualifying races ended Friday. Now ten boats advance in each of those ten classes. Allowing for double-handed boats, that computes to 150 sailors on the water for the Medals Races on Saturday.  The other 566, all of them hopeful, all of them skilled, are free to go.

The Finns actually got two races sailed in winds down to 4 knots at times. A little heel to weather was in order.

Photo by Walter Cooper

Photo by Walter Cooper

The most bitter loss on Friday, of course, was to place 11th.

On Saturday, with three medals per class, make that fourth.

The Paralympic classes have completed their dance cards. They don’t sail a medals race. And it’s just possible that Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad is still grinning from Thursday’s race seven. That was the one where his two closest competitors, both leading him in the standings, were OCS (On Course Side, aka over early at the countdown to the starting signal) and he was “OSS” or – no, this one’s not in the official book – On Start Side. Where you want to be.

And then the wind dropped out.

And time ran out on completing the dance card. Erikstad was left right there. Stuck in gold.

Numbers are cruel. Timing is everything.

For a class by class summary, here is your link: http://www.sailing.org/news/39683.php

SAF Sailing World Cup Miami 2015, presented by Sunbrella, is sponsored by Beneteau, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Sperry Top-Sider, Chubb, and the City of Miami. Thank you to our supplying sponsors at Harken, McLube, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, University of Miami Health System, Vetus-Maxwell, and Adventure Sports.

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.”


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.


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.


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.”

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