The Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta (Olympic Test Event) concluded on Saturday with US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes finishing in the top 10 in five of 10 classes. 'We came here with 25 athletes to learn as much as we can about the Rio sailing venue and Guanabara Bay,' said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. 'It was a great week of sailing and racing. US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes performed well, and learned a lot about the sailing venue where we’ll be sailing in the Olympic Games in two years.'
Paige Railey, Laser Radial, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
Due to the significant distance between Brazil and the team’s usual training and racing areas in North America and Europe, the team has established a training venue in Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to a generous donation, the US training venue also features a full fleet of Olympic-class boats for American athletes to use for both training and racing. 'One of the big successes of this trip was testing out that [training] venue and getting set up there, and now American sailors can come down and train here anytime they want.' In terms of the racing conditions delivered by the 2016 venue, Adams noted that the team is leaving Rio with an optimistic mindset. 'Everyone involved in this event is impressed by the variety that Rio delivers, from the big-swell ocean courses to the inside courses on Guanabara Bay which are flat, tactical and feature a lot of current. I think it puts [the idea] in the minds of all US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes that they need to be well-rounded, that they have to go home and train in all conditions, and spend as much time in Rio as [they] can before The [Olympic] Games.'
Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, Women's 470, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider - 2014 Aquece Rio
For American sailors, it was a productive week on the water. Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) battled at the top of the Women’s 470 fleet, and didn’t fall below second place overall until a difficult medal race placed them in fourth overall. Haeger and Provancha showed impressive speed in all conditions, recording three wins over eight races. In the Men's 470 class, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (San Diego, Calif.) finished the event strongly with a 3,2,3 scoreline in the regular series and a fifth in the medal race, earning them ninth overall.
Laser Radial athlete Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), who finished in eighth overall, noted that she felt strong this week while racing in Rio. 'I earned some unnecessary points, and made some basic errors, but besides that I feel like I sailed smart tactically,' said Railey. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) finished seveth in the Laser fleet, capped by a second place finish in Saturday’s medal race. Buckingham said the time spent in Rio was well worth it. 'I’m happy with how I’m sailing, and things are on track. It’s a very specific venue, so I’m going to try and learn as much as I can about it. We’ll definitely be putting in a lot of time here.'
Brad Funk (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.), qualified for the medal race in the 49er class, and said that their approach to the Olympic Test Event was slightly different in some ways than a typical regatta. 'We came into the regatta essentially treating it as practice races,' said Burd. 'That outlook allowed us to learn something from every race and every leg, even when we got it wrong. We're walking away from this week very comfortable, and more knowledgable about this spectacular venue.'
In the highly technical Finn class, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) said that equipment selection was a big focus for him this week. 'I learned what equipment isn’t really suited to this venue,' said Paine. 'I’ll work with my coaches to do some fine tuning going forward. I plan on training here with the best equipment, and getting used to performing at the highest level on a daily basis. We need to replicate that Olympic-level standard every day.'
For the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider’s Olympic-class athletes, the focus now shifts to the ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain (September 8-21). A performance peak event for American sailors, the ISAF Worlds brings together the world championship regattas of all ten Olympic classes into a single event. Half of the available qualification spots for the sailing events at the 2016 Olympic Games will be awarded at this event.
Results: Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta (Rio Test Event)
US Sailing Roster (Class, Athlete/Team, Hometown):
470 Men (Men’s Two-Person):
9th, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)
470 Women: (Women’s Two-Person)
4th, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)
13th, Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
49er (Men’s Two-Person High-Performance):
10th, Brad Funk (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)
17th, Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Francisco/San Diego, Calif.)
49erFX (Women's Two-Person High-Performance):
12th, Kristen Lane (San Francisco, Calif.) and Maggie Shea (Chicago, Ill.)
15th, Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.) and Kathleen Tocke (Buffalo, N.Y./Newport R.I.)
Finn (Men’s Heavyweight One-Person):
12th, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)
Laser (Men’s One-Person):
7th, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)
26th, Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Laser Radial (Women’s One-Person):
6th, Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
8th, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)
Nacra 17 (Mixed Multihull):
11th, Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Miami, Fla.)
17th, Stephanie Hudson (Winnetka, Ill.) and Ian Andrewes (Kailua, Hawaii)
RS:X Men (Men’s Board):
26th, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)
28th, Jonathan Rudich (Clearwater, Fla.)
Coaches supporting US Athletes this week in Rio:
- Dave Ullman
- Vince Brun
- Mark Littlejohn
- Morgan Reeser
- Charlie McKee
- Luther Carpenter
- Leandro Spina