Author: Kate Drummey

Hempel World Cup Series Miami a Test of Mental Fortitude

Today’s second race for the Finn class at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami was something of a microcosm of the regatta so far. It was all about surviving the storm and limiting the damage.

Only this wasn’t the traditional sort of storm, with the thrashing wind and the waves crashing over the deck. Rather, it was a sudden deluge of rain that sent the breeze into a game of hide and seek during the crucial first leg.

So far it’s been that sort of an event for the 29 sailors competing in the Finn. Light air limited the Finn sailors to just two races over the first two days. Today was better, but with the rain cells rolling through the second of three races, the regatta has been a test of mental fortitude more than physical strength.

“Today we were sailing in a little bit lighter breeze than we have expected and we had some dark rain clouds coming in over the course that were really hard to manage,” said Max Salminen (SWE). “Those races you have to somehow survive and wait for the more solid breeze that came in around noon, maybe, 1 p.m.”

Salminen, who won a gold medal as a Star class crew at London 2012 and finished sixth in the Finn at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is tied on points for the overall lead with fellow Scandinavian sailor Tapio Nirkko (FIN). Jonathan Lobert (FRA), Nils Theunnick (SUI) and Luke Muller (USA) round out the top five.

“I’m super happy to have survived the light tricky races and to be going good in the breeze,” said Salminen.

Muller, who grew up dodging South Florida rain cells, took advantage of the adverse conditions in Race 2 to record his first win of the regatta.

“I applied a little of my storm-cell knowledge in the bay and that was kind of fun, bringing me back to my youth sailing days,” said Muller. “There was a massive storm cell. We had good pressure for the first half of the [first] upwind and then it started just dropping out of the sky and coming back up, and we were going through 40-plus-degree windshifts. I was really just focusing on staying in the pressure and that seemed to go alright.”

The Finn fleet is a little smaller than in previous years, but Salminen sees no drop off in the talent level.

“There’s a lot of the good guys that we’re expecting to sail the Olympics here,” he said. “And also the smaller fleet is perfect training for the Olympics where we are only 19 on the starting line.”

Most major Finn regattas can see fleets of 80 to 100 boats, and a starting line that might stretch the better part of a half a mile, which requires a different approach.

Charline Picon (FRA) is the defending Olympic champion in the Women’s RS:X. But she came into the Hempel World Series Cup Miami with some doubt about her current standing in the fleet. She is still building back her form after having a daughter less than two years ago.

“For me, going here, it was the beginning of the season so I have to see where I am in the fleet after the winter,” said Picon. “I didn’t train on the RS:X since the beginning of December. I did physical training; because of the pregnancy I have to work on that. I know the other girls did a lot of work [on the RS:X], I was a questioning myself a little bit about where I am in the fleet.”

Picon’s day didn’t start well at all. She felt a little under the weather leaving the dock and then she and the rest of the fleet had to wait out the rainstorm on the water. Once the rain passed, the wind filled in at 8 to 12 knots, right in her sweet spot. But the first race didn’t go as planned.

“It was not easy with the wind moving a lot, going to the right,” said Picon. “The first race I had a good start, but I couldn’t tack for the right, so I was on the wrong side. I did a big mistake on the downwind because I wasn’t very focused. I do a jibe and [Lilian de Geus] was just there, so I had to do a penalty and I finished 12th or so. So not a good race, but after that I had to do my best and I managed two good races. I had good speed, good downwinds, very good starts, so I’m happy with my day and the form at the moment.”

The strong finish to the day put Picon into second place in the overall standings, after five races, two points behind Zofia Noceti-Kelpacka (POL) and four points in front of Katy Spychakov (ISR) in third.

While Picon is gauging herself against the fleet as a whole, she’s also keeping a close eye on other French sailors. Last year, in Picon’s absence, Hélène Noesmoen (FRA) won this regatta. And Lucie Belbeoch (FRA) has shown potential as well.

“This year is the year for the selection and there is only one place [in Tokyo in 2020],” said Picon. “I am in front, but I have to be careful and I have to push myself every time to show I am the boss. We don’t know yet [the selection process], I think a committee of selection. I hope not a long selection process because you can lose a lot of energy. I hope to do a good job this season and [leave] no question for the committee.”

Four races today have the 49er class nearly back on schedule. In no fleet has consistency been more elusive. With a pair of race wins to close out the day—after a 17th and an eighth to start it—Rio 2016 bronze medalists Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) are now winning by just over six points. The pair was granted average points for their first race, which accounts for the fractional score. Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) are second with Sime Fantela and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) in third. While there’s a significant point spread between first and seventh, the gap between seventh and 14th is much tighter, which will set up a particularly fierce battle tomorrow as everyone aims for a place in the top 10 and a chance to compete in Saturday’s Medal Race.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) held on to their lead in the 49erFX after a fifth and an 18th, which they discard, from two races. The Kiwis are five points clear of Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey who claimed a first and a fifth. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) took the other victory and they are 16th overall.

A pair of Polish sailors have taken command of the Men’s RS:X class. Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) was the top sailor of the day with a fifth, a first, and a second, lifting him 10 points clear of countryman Pawel Tarnowski (POL). Matteo Sanz Lanz (SUI) is third, currently on the wrong side of a tiebreaker with Tarnowski.

Fresher breezes meant lots of foiling for the Nacra 17 fleet, which ripped through four races today and is on track to complete its scheduled 12 before Saturday’s Medal Race. The increased breeze also restored some normalcy to the standings after a lot of inconsistency over the first five races. The top two boats have started to edge away from the fleet. Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sá (BRA) maintain the overall lead, but have just four points over Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS). Third place, John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR), is 16 points further back.

The Men’s and Women’s 470 were unable to race on Wednesday but two good races today has seen their leaderboards take shape.

Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar (POL) won both races on Tuesday and today they did enough to hold on to their lead. They posted a fifth and a 22nd, which they discard. They are on seven points, three clear of Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) who won the final race of the day. China’s Mengxi Wei and Yani Xu took the first win of the day and are down in 14th.

American favourites Stu McNay and Dave Hughes moved up to first overall in the Men’s 470, level on points with overnight leaders Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE).

The day’s race wins went to the fifth-placed Chinese team of Zangjun Xu and Chao Wang as well as Martin Wrigley and James Taylor (GBR) who are in 15th.

The Laser fleet got into the business end of their competition as Final Series racing commenced. Following two days of qualifying, featuring four races, the top 51-boats advanced to the Gold Fleet as the hunt for the podium commenced.

Three races were held but scoring for race seven was under review at 18:00 local time. But after race five and six, Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard was the best performer, continuing his qualification series form in the gold fleet. He finished fifth in the first race of the day and followed it up with a second. He has a provisional score of fifth in the third race. Tomasgaard’s fifth was his worst result so far and as a result, he discards it. Many of his rivals around him count high scores so the odds are stacked firmly in the young Norwegians favor at this point.

Race wins went the way of William De Smet (BEL), Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) and Juan Ignacio Maegli Aguero (GUA).

Consistency is also hard to come by in the 59-boat Laser Radial fleet and the initiative is swinging back and forth.

Alison Young (GBR) advanced to first overall following a discarded 14th and a seventh. Paige Railey (USA) is second overall, two points off Young, following a win in the final race of the day. Donshuang Zhang (CHN) is third.

Racing resumes once again at the earlier time of 10 am. The 49er, 49erFX, Nacra and RS:X fleets will sail their final day of qualification ahead of Saturday’s Medal Races.

Day #3 Morning Report — How to Follow the Hempel World Cup Series Miami

There were several early risers on the third day of the Hempel World Cup Series Miami as the Race Committee made a decision to start racing earlier than normal.

After two days of very light wind that hit the scheduled races, the first warning signal is scheduled at 10:00 local time with several of the fleets commencing thereafter.

The wind is predicted to be stronger than the days prior with a veering north eastlerly breeze coming in between 6-12 knots.

Cloud cover will be present across Miami with a chance of showers as the day progresses but the temperature is warmer than the days prior.

HOW TO FOLLOW

ENTRIES / RESULTS / SCHEDULE
Click here to view the entry list in full.
Click here to view the full results

WATCH
Daily highlights will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.

Medal Races on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 February will be streamed live on World Sailing’s Facebook and YouTube Channel. URLs and embed codes are available below:

Saturday Medal Races – RS:X, Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX
URL – https://youtu.be/RV7NBYuGefI

Sunday Medal Races – 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial
URL – https://youtu.be/1utr_XXzeZY

SAP SAILING ANALYTICS
Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here – https://wcs2019-miami.sapsailing.com/.

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

PRESS RELEASES
All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the Hempel World Cup Series, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here.

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

Bold Decision Pushes U.S. 49er Team to the Top of the Pack on Day 2

If at first you don’t succeed, try something different. That was the recipe for success today for the American 49er team of Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Mac Agnese (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) who captured a second in their lone race on Day 2 of the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami and now sit in the overall lead by a point over defending class world champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO).

“It was really challenging because it was such light air and the starting line was slightly skewed, so everyone was battling for one end,” said Snow. “The first start, that ended up getting called off, we went pretty safe, and it turned into us being pretty far behind. So for the race that counted, we went pretty aggressive on the starting line and it paid off.”

While the final result in a Hempel World Cup Series regatta is an important achievement for a developing team, sailors often use these events to focus on and test a specific aspect of their game, with the hope of pulling everything together when Olympic qualifying starts later this year. That’s the case with Snow and Agnese.

“Starting has been our main goal this whole month in Miami,” said Snow. “Getting a good start in these really shifty races has led to being able to look outside the boat easier, you’re not in the mix with everybody from the get go. That’s been one of our goals, consistent starting, and in the one race today we made a good start.”

Click here to read the international press release

Getting off the starting line with some freedom to maneuver and make decisions was something of a theme today. In the 49erFX, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Margaret Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) credited their surge to the sharp end of the standings to strong starts in two of three races. They are currently tied on points for second place with the British team of Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth. The New Zealand team of Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech has been nearly unbeatable with two firsts, a second and a fourth so far in the regatta.

“I think good starts definitely paid off,” said Roble. “If you had a good start and could hold your lane for a little while, you were pretty much guaranteed to be in the top 10.”

While the breeze was light and shifty, Roble said that speed was really important today, perhaps more so than one might expect given the inconsistent breeze.

“It was pretty light and tricky out there, and we were just really trying to focus on good lanes around the course and just trying to use out boatspeed to have good races,” said Roble. “I think the pressure was a bit more apparent [than on Day 1 of the regatta] and it was so light that having just any bit of more pressure than the boats around you or on the other side of the course made the difference. We were focused on getting in the pressure and getting into fat lanes when we had it and using our speed to bring it in. The more you can put your bow down and get the boat rumbling, the better off you are.”

The Laser fleet, the largest of the regatta with over 100 entries, sailed two races today to finish its qualifying series. Tomorrow, the fleet will split into Gold and Silver Fleet racing. Two U.S. sailors are well positioned for a run at Sunday’s Medal Race having each scored all top-10 finishes in the qualifying races. Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) is seventh and Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) is 12th. But just five points separate fifth from 15th in the always-competitive class.

“Today [the breeze] was north northwest, the first race we had 8 to 11 knots, it sort of died off at the end, and then the last race was much lighter,” said Barnard. “With those light, fluky conditions it was good to have two top 10s. You just had to be really aware of what was going on around the racecourse and big picture and stay fast as long as you can.”

With 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Barnard is focused on the big picture. But there’s some pretty attractive carrots dangling at the end of this six-day competition.

“This event, particularly for us, is important to re-qualify for the national team, and it’s the Pan American trials and the first part of the [Tokyo 2020 Olympic] test event trials. So really a lot of our trials are starting with this event. But big picture, we’re on a path of progression and we have 18 months to the Games. We’re not trying to be our best selves right now, but just keep on progressing as the season and the year goes on.”

The Olympics are a unique competition in the sailing world and while there’s no way to truly replicate it, the test event at the Olympic venue this summer and the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, are good opportunities to get a glimpse of the experience.

“They’re great honors to be part of those teams, and if I’m fortunate enough to continue sailing well and qualify for those teams, those events will be great experience, and that’ll be really valuable to then hopefully go to the Games,” said Barnard. “But one step at a time, I’ve got a long way to go in this regatta. So I’m just focused on recovering and getting ready for tomorrow.”

In the Laser Radial class, Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) made the most of today’s single race. A fifth place moved her up to 11th place overall, just three points behind Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). That class will get an early start tomorrow as they look to make up for lost races over the first two days.

The Nacra 17 class squeezed in two races toward the end of the day and there is now just four points between the top three American teams. Sarah Newberry and David Leibenberg (Livermore, Calif.) lead the way in 11th place with 40 points. One place, and three points behind, are 2016 Olympians Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) with Ravi Parent (Sarasota, Fla.) and Caroline Atwood a point further back.

A 13th in the lone Finn race today, combined with a third yesterday, has Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) sitting in seventh. Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.), bronze medalist in the class from Rio 2016, is 16th.

Pedro Pascual is the top American in the Men’s RS:X class in 41st. Farrah Hall, who represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympics, leads the U.S. contingent in the Women’s RS:X class. She is 26th. With just two races per class, there is the potential for a lot more racing for the windsurfers over the next two days.

The Men’s and Women’s 470 fleet were unable to get in a race today due to the challenging conditions.

Racing continues on Thursday 31 January at 10 am local time with another packed schedule in a bid to catch up on races lost.

Strong Starts Convert into Race Wins on Day 2 at Hempel World Cup Series Miami

It was a rich get richer sort of day at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, and during each of the first two races for the Women’s 49erFX fleet, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) found themselves in very liquid situations-financially speaking-converting strong starts into race wins with relative ease.

“Starts were really important today,” said Maloney. “In the first two races, we kind of got away, and it made a big difference for the first beat. The rest of the race was a lot easier. For the last race we were kind of back in the pack and decision-making and tight boat-on-boat situations were a lot harder. Just getting a little bit of a clear lane and away from the fleet in the first half of the first beat was pretty beneficial.”

Their result in today’s third race was a 10th, but with the throwout applied and yesterday’s second added to the total, the antipodean pair find themselves 11 points clear of second place after two days of racing. Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) and Stephanie Roble and Margaret Shea (USA) are tied with 15 points, with the British team technically in second due to the tie-breaking protocol.

“It was pretty light and shifty,” said Maloney, when asked about the conditions they faced on Day 2 of the second stop on the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series, “and you were always on your toes. You could be confident in one side, but it was kind of the day that you wanted to be protecting both sides when you were in the lead because there was a little bit of snakes and ladders out there. Overall it was a fun day and we’re happy to come away with our scoreboard.”

The 49erFX is one of two Olympic classes that debuted at the 2016 Rio Games, and the fleet continues to evolve as the sailors who were there from the beginning grow more comfortable with the nuances of skiff sailing, and other talented sailors are lured in by the boat’s easy speed and strict one-design class rules.

“The class is becoming a bit older and there’s more depth in the fleet,” said Maloney, the Rio 2016 silver medallist. “The racing is closer, and you can’t get away with a few things you used to be able to get away with. There’s definitely more depth and anything under 14 knots, the boats are going pretty similar speeds, and it’s more tactical. There’s more of speed differential as it gets windier. As a fleet we’re getting a lot sharper and more aggressive on the start line. Our low speed boathandling control is a lot better than it used to be. You used to see the girls set up away from the line and more sail into it, but now we’re just the same as the guys, crabbing and getting a little more aggressive on the start line.”

After three races yesterday, the 49er fleet was able to squeeze in just a single race. Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT) won that lone race, but a tough first day has them mired in 15th place. The big winners of the day were Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese (USA) who finished second in the race and jumped into the overall lead, with Day 1 leaders Sime Fantela and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) in second by a point and James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) in third, two points further back.

The Laser fleet finished its qualifying series with two more races and will start Gold and Silver Fleet racing tomorrow. Hermann Tamasgaard (NOR) added a first and a fourth to his scoreline and is currently winning by three points over Sam Meech (NZL) and seven points over William de Smet (BEL). But this fleet is particularly tightly packed with just five points separating defending OIympic gold medalist Tom Burton (AUS) in fifth with Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) in 15th.

“The regatta really starts tomorrow with everyone in Gold Fleet,” said Chris Barnard (USA), who is currently seventh.

Monika Mikkola (FIN) won the only Laser Radial race and is leading the fleet with two races in the books. But it’s tight at the top. Mikkola is tied on points with Alison Young (GBR) and Zoe Thomson (AUS) is just a point behind that pair.

“I just got some pressure first and was able to make it simple,” said Mikkola of today’s race. “It was a bit of a combination of being in right place at the right time and a bit of luck. We’ve only done two races now, so it’s all open. And all the girls here are phenomenal. It’s going to be really hard. Tomorrow there’s supposed to be a bit more wind, so you’ll probably see the more usual names at the top of the leaderboard.”

The light wind specialists in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X came to the forefront in challenging light breeze on Biscayne Bay.

Chinese racers have always been known to excel in light wind and Mengfan Gao (CHN) was the personification of this statement out on the race track.

In a variable 5- to 8-knot breeze, Gao grabbed the lead on the first upwind and never relinquished it, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of Poland’s Maciej Kluszczyski. The race win propels Gao up to first overall, one point ahead of Thomas Goyard (FRA) after three races.

London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Zofia Noceti Klepacka (POL) also led the single Women’s RS:X race from start to finish and moves up to second as a result. China also has a leader in the Women’s fleet in the shape of Yunxiu Lu, who is on a run of three consecutive bronze medal finishes at international events, after she finished third behind Klepacka and Bryony Shaw (GBR).

The 27-boat Finn fleet were only able to sail one race in 6 to 8 knots of breeze. The phrase, “snakes and ladders,” could not be more appropriate for the fleet as sailors shuffled throughout the race.

In the end, Anders Pedersen (NOR) took the race win to advance up to second overall. Tapio Nirkko (FIN) snapped up a second and holds top spot after two races.

The Finn fleet will sail three races on Thursday, starting at 10:00 local time, in a bid to catch up on races.

The Nacra 17 class was able to squeeze in two races toward the end of the day. The Brazilian team of Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sá (BRA) continued to control the fleet with a fourth and a first and now has an eight-point lead over defending regatta champions Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) and Rio 2016 gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG). Both teams have 15 points.

The Men’s and Women’s 470 were unable to get a race in today due to the light winds.

Racing continues on Thursday 31 January at 10:00 local time with another packed schedule in a bid to catch up on races lost.

Day #2 Morning Report – How to Follow the Hempel World Cup Series Miami

In the lead up to Hempel World Cup Series Miami, many of the 665 sailors from 60 nations had spent considerable time in Miami, training and preparing for the competition.

The competitors aimed to apply their training to the competition so the first day saw some close racing in light airs and blue skies.

As the saying goes, you can’t win the event on the opening day but you can lose it, and many of the pre-event favourites but in steady performances that will hold them in good stead as the week progresses.

Racing is scheduled to start at 10:30 local time as the Race Committee aim to catch up on races lost. The forecast is for light breeze once again. It is predicted to come from a northerly direction and remain from this direction as the day goes in. A 5-10 knot breeze is predicted with the best of the breeze on the eastern side of the field of play.

Some showers are forecast later on in the day and could impact the breeze.

Sailors Put Training into Practice at Hempel World Cup Series Miami

After nearly a month of training and competition on Biscayne Bay, many of the top sailors competing in the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami have seen just about every wind condition Miami has to offer.

But that doesn’t make it any easier to race when the breeze is out of the west, a direction notorious for lower velocity and little consistency when it comes to the wind direction.

“The wind was constantly shifting to the right [side of the course],” says 49er skipper Sime Fantela (CRO), “but the pressure was staying left, so it was not an easy decision where to sail. The ones who managed to tack when they wanted and have their line, they were winning.”

Fantela speaks from first-hand experience. With a 3-13-2, Fantela, who sails with his younger brother Mihovil as a crew, emerged relatively unscathed from the opening day of the regatta and will carry a three-point lead over Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) in second and a seven-point advantage over James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) in third.

Of the three races today, Sime Fantela was most pleased with the second one. The short course format used by the 49er class made passing a challenge.

“The start was not that great, and we managed to come back,” he says. “We rounded [the first mark] I think in 23rd and managed to finish around 12 to 15. It’s quite tough with 40 boats on the start and the racecourse was a short course so not so many clear lanes. You have to dig your way through.”

Like the Fantela brothers, the team of Botín le Chever and López Marra also struggled in the second race, finishing 16th. But a win in the first race and a fourth in the final one more than balanced that one hiccup.

“Try to make a good start and then see what’s going on and try to catch the best shift,” said López Marra when asked about the key to a strong race today. “The seabreeze and the gradient wind [were fighting one another] and that’s why it was so shifty.”

As Spain was unable to qualify for a country berth in the 49er class at last summer’s Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, the top priority for Botín le Chever and López Marra is to earn that berth this year at the world championships in New Zealand at the end of the year.

That’s one box that has been ticked by Sime and Mihovil Fantela. They are the defending world champions after a breakout performance in Aarhus and have punched their ticket to Tokyo. However, as they are relatively new to the class—Sime won a gold medal in the 470 in Rio 2016 while Mihovil sailed in the RS:X class until 2016—they are not letting that success go to their heads.

“We still have the same goal, the same focus, the same will to train and improve,” said Sime Fantela. “We missed some strong wind training [last year] so we’re trying to look this season for the strong wind places to go and train. Lots of training, lots of days out of home and looking forward to Tokyo.”

The 30-boat 49erFX fleet followed the 49ers later on in the afternoon and in a shifting and variable breeze, just one race could be completed.

Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) found some form and led the race from the top mark through to the finish. Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and Germany’s defending champions Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) followed.

American favourites Stu McNay and Dave Hughes avoided any major pitfalls on the water and stand in third place, of 37 boats, after two races in the Men’s 470.

“We rolled a third and a fifth today,” says McNay. “We did the big picture things right, but made a couple small errors. We did lose a couple of points. Dave and I have been sailing for a long time, we’ve raced in Miami for years. It’s a challenging venue, so we’re always glad when we walk away from a shifty day like this with scores we can carry forward.”

For Hughes, this regatta as close to a home event as he’ll ever get, something he tries not to take for granted.

“This is always a lovely event and always kind of the way to start the year for us,” he says. “I live in Miami, so it’s got a special meaning for that. It’s a bit of an added stress because it is a home event and we are always looking to be proper hosts to everybody who comes here, off the water, at least. But it’s wonderful because all of our international friends come to our home. It’s a treat and for us this is just a staple of our sailing and our Olympic careers.”

With a seventh at last summer’s Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, McNay and Hughes qualified for the United States for the berth in the Men’s 470 class at the Tokyo 2020 regatta. Now they are focused on making sure they are the team to claim that berth. They’ve been down this road before, having sailed together in the Rio 2016 regatta — McNay sailed with a different partner in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 — but that doesn’t make it easy.

“We’re trying not to be distracted, trying to keep our priorities in line,” says McNay. “Not let one piece of equipment become distracting, not let one detail of a skill become distracting. Give our prioritization to each item, as it deserves, as it will help us most, which is a challenge because perspective is the easiest thing to lose when your head is this deep in something.”

Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) hold the early advantage in the Men’s 470 on five points. They are two points clear of Italy’s Giacomo Ferrari and Giulio Calabrò and a further point ahead of the Americans.

The Italians took the first race win of the day and Japan’s fifth placed team of Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi sealed the second.

Among the fleets that got in two or more races, only the Women’s 470 duo of Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Zohar (POL) had a perfect day, winning both races. They trailed around just two of 12 marks and currently have a six-point lead over Fabienne Oster and Anastasiya Winkel (GER) and a nine-point advantage over Benedetta di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini (ITA).

Spain’s Angel Granda-Roque and China’s Bing Ye are tied on nine points apiece in the Men’s RS:X after a tough day on the water. In light winds the sailors had to pump their sails hard to take the initiative. Granda-Roque took an eighth and a first with Ye securing a fifth and a fourth. The first victory of the event went to France’s Thomas Goyard but a blackflag in the second pushed him down to 29th overall.

Just one race was possible in the Women’s RS:X and China’s Yunxiu Lu took the win. She was followed by Italy’s Flavia Tartaglini and Israel’s Yarden Isaak.

Brazil’s Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sa shone in the Nacra 17, snapping up two out of three victories. The pair thrived in the 7-9 knot breeze on the Echo racing area and discard the seventh they picked up in race two.

2018 Miami gold medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took the day’s other race win and are tied with Spain’s Iker Martinez and Olga Maslivets (ESP) for second on five points.

London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA) picked up the single race win in the 25-boat Finn fleet. The towering Frenchman fought hard against Croatia’s Josip Olujic throughout the race and the momentum swung back and forth. Lobert held the lead early on in the race but the Croatian hit back to claim it at the midway point. Lobert advanced on the final run and took the race win by just two seconds.

The Laser fleet is the largest in Miami with 101 boats registered to race. As a result, the first two days of competition are qualifying races before the top sailors move into the gold fleet to decide who qualifies for Sunday’s Medal Race.

The top ranked sailors were all aiming to get off to good starts and they did exactly that. In the yellow fleet, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sam Meech (NZL) and World Cup Final medallist Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) took a race win apiece with another single digit finish. Meech leads on three points with the Norwegian second on four. Matt Wearn (AUS) posted a 5-4 in the yellow fleet and is third.

In the blue fleet, consistency was at a premium. Joaquin Blanco (ESP) and Elliot Merceron (GBR) were the top performers and are fourth and fifth overall. Blue fleet victories went to William de Smet (BEL) who is 22nd and the 18th placed Yuri Hummel (NED).

The Laser Radial class was able to get in just a single race, which was won by Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) with Zoe Thomson (AUS) in second and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) in third.

Racing resumes on Wednesday 30 January at 10:30 local time. The fleets who were unable to complete a full schedule of racing on Tuesday will sail an additional race, minus the Men’s and Women’s RS:X.

Photos: Jesus Renedo & Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Experience Pays Dividends on Tricky Start to 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami

COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (January 29, 2019) — Today’s forecast for Day 1 of the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami was for a light breeze that would eventually settle into a southwesterly direction. The term, settle, however, is relative. When the wind flows from the mainland onto Biscayne Bay, it’s not known for being reliable.

“Once the breeze is out of the west here, it’s anything goes,” says three-time Olympic sailor Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.), who is competing in the Men’s 470 class with crew David Hughes (Miami, Fla.). “We have a pretty good meteo team, and they did suspect that the breeze would be around 215, 230 [on the compass] and that happened. It was within range of what we expected, but in this breeze direction, it’s hard to say you expect anything.”

The capricious breeze made for a stressful opening day of the regatta, with over 650 athletes from 60 countries in 10 classes all looking to start this event—a key milestone on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic regatta—on the right foot. Regattas can’t be won on the opening day, but they can sure be lost.

Fortunately for McNay and Hughes, they avoided any major pitfalls on the water and stand in third place, of 37 boats, after two races.

“We rolled a third and a fifth today.,” says McNay. “We did the big picture things right, but made a couple of small errors. We did lose a couple of points. Dave and I have been sailing for a long time, we’ve raced in Miami for years. It’s a challenging venue, so we’re always glad when we walk away from a shifty day like this with scores we can carry forward.”

For Hughes, this regatta as close to a home event as he’ll ever get, something he tries not to take for granted.

“This is always a lovely event and always kind of the way to start the year for us,” he says. “I live in Miami, so it’s got a special meaning. It’s a bit of an added stress because it is a home event, and we are always looking to be proper hosts to everybody who comes here, off the water, at least. But it’s wonderful because all of our international friends come to our home. It’s a treat and for us this is just a staple of our sailing and our Olympic careers.”

With a seventh at last summer’s Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, McNay and Hughes qualified for the United States for the berth in the Men’s 470 class at the Tokyo 2020 regatta. Now they are focused on making sure they are the team to claim that berth. They’ve been down this road before, but that doesn’t make it easy.

“We’re trying not to be distracted, trying to keep our priorities in line,” says McNay. “Not let one piece of equipment become distracting, not let one detail of a skill become distracting. Give our prioritization to each item, as it deserves, as it will help us most, which is a challenge because perspective is the easiest thing to lose when your head is this deep in something.”

The second-placed American team is Lucas Calabrese and Jack Parkin in 11th. Calabrese won a bronze medal for Argentina in the London 2012 Olympics—he’s now sailing for the United States—while Parkin is a former youth world champion. The team is new, but could pose a threat for the U.S. berth in the class.

In the Laser class, both Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Rio 2016 Olympian Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a strong start to the regatta and sit in amongst a knot of five sailors with 13 or 14 points. With 101 boats in the fleet, the Lasers are sailing a qualifying series for the first two days before splitting into Gold and Silver fleets for the remainder of the regatta.

Two-time Olympian Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished 10th in the single Laser Radial race. Charlotte Rose was 16th with Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in 25th.

Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) made the most of today’s lone race in the Finn class. He finished third while Rio 2016 bronze medalist Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) struggled with a 23rd.

Youth World Champions Emma and Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) showed little fear of the grand stage, putting together two top-10 finishes in the 28-boat Women’s 470 class. That places them in fifth, with another pair of sisters, Atlantic and Nora Brugman, the next highest American team in 12th.

Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Margaret Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) finished eighth in the lone 49erFX race. Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Anna Tobias finished 24th.

The Nacra 17 class features seven American teams looking at the lone U.S. Olympic berth. Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.) have the inside track in this regatta after a solid trio of top-12 finishes. They sit in ninth place overall. Ravi Parent (Sarasota, Fla.) and Caroline Atwood and 2016 Olympians Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, R.I.) are close behind in 13th and 14th, respectively.

The 49er class also finished three races today. Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese rebounded from a tough start—a 40th in Race 1—to score two top-10 finishes and are the top American team in sixth with Harry Melges IV (Fontana, Wis.) and Finn Rowe (Lake Forest, Ill.) in 17th.

In the RS:X divisions, 2016 Olympian Pedro Pascual is 36th in the men’s division while Dominique Stater is 26th in the women’s.

Racing starts tomorrow at 10:30 am on Biscayne Bay and will run through the Medal Races in all 10 classes on Saturday and Sunday, with a live broadcast available on World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook channels and also on a Jumbotron in Regatta Park in Coconut Grove during the Hempel World Cup Series Miami Festival.

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

Day #1 Morning Report — How to the Follow the Hempel World Cup Series Miami

A light breeze will be present on the opening day of the Hempel World Cup Series Miami providing a test for the 665 sailors from 60 nations

A morning northwest land breeze will turn to a light gradient wind from the west as the day progresses. The wind will turn at around noon, when most of the fleets will be out on the water racing, so postponements may be expected.

From 10:00 to 12:00 local time 6 to 10 knots are forecast before it decreases to 4 knots at 12:00, when the when veers. Although Miami has clear blue skies, the temperature is quite cool and not warm enough for a thermal sea breeze to develop. Once the wind has veered, a breeze in the region of 5-10 knots is forecast and is not predicted to go beyond this speed.

It is quite a change in conditions from the glamorous days the sailors have had in the build-up to the event, but sailors are prepared to expect the unexpected and will be raring to go in any conditions.

Find out how to follow the event below:

ENTRIES / RESULTS / SCHEDULE
Click here to view the entry list in full.

Results will be available when racing starts on Tuesday 29 January – http://sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php.

WATCH
Daily highlights will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.

Medal Races on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 February will be streamed live on World Sailing’s Facebook and YouTube Channel. URLs and embed codes are available below:

Saturday Medal Races – RS:X, Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX
URL – https://youtu.be/RV7NBYuGefI

Sunday Medal Races – 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial
URL – https://youtu.be/1utr_XXzeZY

SAP SAILING ANALYTICS
Live tracking, sailor analytics, live weather data and racing status will be available on the platform here – https://wcs2019-miami.sapsailing.com/.

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

PRESS RELEASES
All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the Hempel World Cup Series, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here.

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

US Sailing Event App

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