by Dana Paxton
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships eighth day of racing continued in a fairly consistent sea breeze of 12 to 18 knots which later strengthened to 17-20 knots.
Laser Radial Class. Paige Railey (USA)- ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
It was do or die in the fleet racing classes for US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics athletes competing in the Finn, Laser Radial and Men’s 470 classes as well as Women’s Match Racing today. Paige Railey, who turned in a 10-12 to hold onto her third place overall in the Laser Radial fleet, advances into the Medal Race on Sunday, December 11. Also advancing is Zach Railey, who finished 13-2 in the Finn, for ninth overall.
'I feel really good about today,' said Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). 'It’s good to get into the top 10. It was on the line going into today and I think it came down to that last race and whether I had a good race of not. I was, again, cautious on the starting line as I’m carrying the black flag from earlier in the week. I had two decent starts and I tried two settings on my boat, so we definitely improved my speed over the last two races. We feel really good about where we’re going. We’ll look at the points tonight and see if we can move up.'
Paige Railey maintained her third place overall by scoring a 10-12, but drops the 12th as her throwout. She stands 12 points out of first place. With only 10 competitors in Sunday’s medal race and double points on the line, she will go out and challenge for a podium finish.
Sunday’s medal races will be held on the spectator-friendly Centre Course, which is a U-shaped bay surrounded on two sides with rock jetties and a sandy, shallow beach front. A large grandstand area has been erected at one end of the farthest tip of one jetty, making it a prime location for racing fans.
'Racing is right in front of the grandstands,' explained Zach Railey. 'It’s definitely fun finishing on the reach and coming into the break wall. It’s a unique set up and fun to race there. The medal race will be a shorter race course and only 10 boats. I will be a little less hectic.'
Stu McNay and Graham Biehl had a disappointing day, scoring 21-16 and finishing in 13th, and ending their medal race and World Championship podium chances.
'We went into the day in 10th overall and we knew we had to have a good day to stay in it,' said Biehl after racing. 'We struggled a bit coming off the (starting) line and really had to fight our way through the races. At the end of the day we didn’t have the results we wanted. We are disappointed; we know we can sail much better than that, but at the end of the day we’re going to the Olympics and we’re pretty psyched about that.
Genny Tulloch’s (Houston, Texas/Sausalito, Calif.) 'Team GetSailing' ended Group B’s round robin with seven wins, six losses and will go into the Women’s Match Racing repechage round.
Stu McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) now find themselves in 11th overall. The Perth 2011 Race Committee staged today’s races on Centre Course, which is inside a U-shaped beach area, lined on both sides by a rock jetty.
'It was really cool to be on the media course and see the spectators in a grand stand,' said Biehl after racing.
'In the first race, we lost two boats on the final run and came 12th, and we were pretty happy with that. Then, in the next race, we had about seven or eight general recalls. We got lost with the wind and fell back; it was not a very good race for us. We still have two races tomorrow and we’ll try and do well and make the medal race.'
The Star class begins its series on December 11. The Men’s RS:X, Laser, Women’s 470 and 49er classes will race December 12-18.
To follow the live blog from event organizers and link to live tracking, please visit the event website. For class results click here.
US Sailing Team website