by Dana Paxton
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships continued with fleet racing in the 49er class, Women’s 470, Men’s RS:X, and Laser class. With a set of significant thunderstorms rolling through overnight, conditions on the course were moderate, shifty and, at times, rain-covered.
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ top performers included: Erik Storck and Trevor Moore, second overall, in the 49er; Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, third, in Star; and Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan, seventh overall, in Women’s 470.
The event serves as the second and final U.S. Olympic Team Selection Event in the nine Olympic fleet racing events. It is also the country qualification regatta where USA will look to secure an Olympic berth in all 10 Olympic events.
In the 67 boat 49er fleet, which is split into two fleets daily, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (North Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) found the combination that clicked and won the day’s first race.
'The first race was great,' said Storck. 'We started in a decent position, probably 8-10 boats down from the (race committee) boat. We were able to continue on toward the left, which was our game plan. Then we found ourselves doing too many tacks, and we convinced ourselves to stick with our game plan. We chased out left and got leverage on the fleet. Then we got a nice puff and ended up first at the weather mark. We were able to extend on the fleet and put that number one up on the board.'
The next two races went their way as well. As Storck described, they followed a similar game plan to the winning formula in race four. 'The pressure was significantly left for the whole beat and we brought ourselves down to the pin, maybe one boat to leeward, at the start. We were pulling the trigger at the right time. We had good boat speed. Doug Charko our meteorologist gave us good things to think about. How the pressure was going to come across the course from the left. And it was just like college sailing; if you start at the pin 80% of the races, you’ll do well. And that’s what we did today.'
The 1-3-3 for the day finds the top American skiff sailors in second overall, three points behind leaders Peter Krüger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell (DEN).
'There’s a lot of really good competition,' said Storck. 'The Danish and Kiwis sailed well. It’s too early in the regatta to tell what’s going to happen. We’re going to keep putting up top fives and top 10s and get to the final series.' The 49er fleet continues its qualifying series on Wednesday.
Mark Mendelblatt (Miami, Fla.) and Brian Fatih (Miami, Fla.) came back strong in the Star class, scoring a 4-4 on a tricky day with intermittent rain. They are tied on points for second overall with Mateusz Kusznierwicz and Dominik Zycki (POL), and sit only one point from new fleet leaders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA). Yesterday’s fleet leaders Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) dropped out after they sustained injury and dropped out of the regatta.
Women’s Match Racing continued with the seeding matches for semi-finals. The top four teams, including Anna Tunnicliffe’s (Plantation, Fla.) Team Maclaren of Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), spent the day practicing while the repechage round was completed.
Wednesday will see the quarter-final round where Tunnicliffe will match up against Nicky Souter (AUS), the third-place team from the repechage round. Quarter finals are a 'first to three wins' round. The top four teams will advance to the semi-final round on Thursday, December 15 with the finals scheduled for Friday, December 16.
For Genny Tulloch (Sausalito, Calif.), Alice Manard Leonard (East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.), the team saw their chance at a World title end when they finished the repechage round with seven wins, eight losses, 11th overall.
The team, sailing together as Team GetSailing, lost to Rita Goncalves (POR), and then won handily against Renata Decnop (BRA).
'In our first match was against Rita Goncalves we were sailing pretty well around the course,' explained Leonard. 'A couple of things didn’t go our way and we had a couple pretty big boat handling errors that let her catch up with us. We got ahead of her and then she passed us on a shift, but we were still ready to take on the next one.
'Against Renata Decnop, we had a good start against them. We sailed really clean around the course. It was a straight forward match. We lead the whole way, no penalties.'
The team then lost their final match against Stephanie Hazard (NZL). 'We took that race like we take every race, one at a time, trying to get a win on the board,' continued Leonard. 'We had a good pre-start against her, and got the start we wanted. We ended up leading her, then at our last windward mark the wind got squirrely. The windward mark was up under a (cargo) ship, and we got caught in a vortex. We got into a luffing match where she was able to roll us and win the match.'
Although the team had not yet debriefed the day, Leonard summed up the team’s outlook. 'We try to take every regatta and every race as a learning experience because what really matters is our Trials in May and the Games in August.'
Sarah Lihan hikes out while Amanda Clark drives the 470 - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) slipped down two places to seventh overall in the Women’s 470 (Women's Two Person Dinghy). They scored a 15-16, while world number one duo Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York/Fishers Island, N.Y.) went 6-19 to climb up to 19th overall.
World Championship racing in the Women’s RS:X, Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Finn classes were completed on December 11. The Olympic Trials Tracker has been updated showing final points for all American competitors in those classes.
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