49er and 49er FX World Championships head for Marseille

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From September 24-29, over 95 international teams will compete at the 49er and 49er FX World Championship, making it the largest fleet assembled for competition in those classes to date. Among the teams will be seven American teams, including members of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and US Sailing Development Team.

Among the teams will be seven American teams, including members of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and US Sailing Development Team. The newest U.S. team is Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris. Barrows, a 2008 Olympian for the U.S. Virgin Islands, will now be sailing under the U.S. flag starting with this event. He and Morris were teammates at Yale University, where Barrows was named College Sailor of the Year in 2010 and Morris was a four-time All-American.

'Joe and I are excited to sail our first international event together for the U.S.,' said Barrows. 'We have really enjoyed working with the US Sailing coaches and are excited for the future. Switching from sailing for the U.S.V.I. to the U.S. was a very difficult decision for me to make, but it was one that was necessary for me to make an Olympic campaign in the 49er class.'

Olympic gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe and Olympian Molly Vandemoer will compete at the Worlds as the top-ranked members of US Sailing Team Top-Sider in the 49er FX class. During 2013, the two have trained and competed in the Olympic skiff after making the transition from Women’s Match Racing. They won a silver medal in the 49er FX class at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, in January.

Paris Henken and Helena Scutt come to Marseille with an impressive summer record. They won the 49er FX U.S. National Championship, held at Oakcliff Sailing, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and the CORK Regatta, in Kingston, Ontario, CAN, both of which took place in August.

'We were extremely lucky to use a new Oakcliff boat and mast at both CORK and Nationals,' said Scutt, in her blog. 'Their support is tremendous and we can't thank them enough.'

US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider members Fred Strammer and Zach Brown won a silver medal at the Santander World Championships Test Event, earlier this month. The top-performing American team was back in the Olympic skiff after a summer of rehabilitation for skipper Strammer following an injury to his shoulder.

'Our biggest challenge was getting comfortable sailing again with our injuries,' said Strammer. He went onto explain that Brown’s recent accident in which he cut his forehead has healed. Of his own shoulder injury, he said: 'Although I am still two months away from a full recovery, I have good range of motion but lack upper body strength.'

They traveled from Santander, Spain, to Marseille to train in advance of the worlds with the American contingent and US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider coaches.

U.S. athletes competing:

49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.)* and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)*
49er – Thomas Barrows (US Virgin Islands) and Joe Morris (Annapolis, Md.)
49er – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.)** and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)*
49er – Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla.) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.)
49er FX – Anna Tunnicliff (Pittsburgh, Pa.)* and Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.)*
49er FX - Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.)** and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) **
49er FX – Paris Henken(Coronado, Calif.)** and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)*

* Denotes member of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
** Denotes member of US Sailing Development Team

Racing takes place Sept. 24-29. The first three days are for qualifying, the next two days are the semifinals, and Sept. 29 is the Finals. For a full description of the racing format, visit the class website.