by Dana Paxton
With the final round of competition underway at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, today’s racing was a new turn in the quest for top performance. Three races were held for each class, points counting as a sum with the carryover result (a sailor’s overall standing at the end of the qualifying series).
44 TROFEO S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre, day 4 - Nacra 17 fleet
Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha continued up the Women’s 470 leaderboard and are now in fourth overall. In fifth are Sarah Newberry and John Casey, who shot up in the Nacra 17. Both teams counted a race win today. Racing continues on Friday in all classes.
As this is the third day of racing for the Nacra 17 fleet – the first was blown out -- Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Longwood, Fla.) were able to transition through the 34-boat fleet into the top pack. 'The competition has been very high,' said Casey. 'We’ve been in it and out of it. If we make one mistake everyone capitalizes on it. Everyone is close in speed.' The team scored a 7-5-1 in today’s three final series racing, but in the second race were involved in an incident and disqualified.
Newberry explained that they have been spending most of their time training in the U.S. with other multihull teams, and that is where they will focus their time in 2012. 'We wanted to come over here and check in with the fleet,' she said. 'The next time you’ll see us over here will be at the Worlds.'
Casey continued, 'Training has progressed really well. Coming in we were working on boat speed and making sure we’re fast. We’re fast, so now we can check that box. Charlie (McKee) was with us this morning and we sat down this afternoon with Leandro Spina, and we know what we have to fix.'
The Nacra 17 they are using this week is part of Oakcliff Sailing’s fleet. Oakcliff is an official US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider training center. 'It’s incredible,' said Newberry. 'Without Oakcliff and this boat we wouldn’t be here and it gives us a massive opportunity.'
Starting the day with a win in the Women’s 470 were Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.). They went on to collect a 5-9 to earn a fourth overall. They’re only three points behind third-placed Croatian team. Haeger admitted that the first two days of sailing in heavy breeze threw them off their goals, but now they had found their rhythm. 'Romain did a really good job of gathering us together and helping us reset,' she said, noting that the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider coach has been a great asset to the USA 470s. 'It really inspired us to turn the regatta around. We hope to continue our good results.'
Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) continued to improve in the Men’s 470 class, scoring 11-14-10 to stand 12th overall. 'Today we didn’t’ feel like we had great speed and we’re still working on it,' said Hughes. 'We feel as though we’re pretty close to the top group, but just a click behind, so we have some things to work on.'
Hughes and McNay, a two-time Olympian, teamed up for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, in January, and since then have been training together. 'We’ve been pumped up about this regatta because we’re getting a lot of stuff out of the way in terms of the team and problem solving when racing,' he said. 'We are going to work on speed solutions and add a few more events to get more experience. Not sure which ones, but we seem to do better with more racing.'
They won Miami and are now focusing on the new racing format for tomorrow. 'We’ll see how it goes for us,' continued Hughes. 'We raced three days and three races today, and it was a huge percentage of the regatta. It’s good because you have to be on and make sure you’re your best. We’ll see if the winner is indeed the winner.'
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) also had another strong day in the Women’s RS:X fleet and scored 10-9-9 to stand in 10th overall.
Racing continues through April 6.
Results to date:
Overall position, class – sailors (hometown), race results in final series
12th, 470 Men - Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)* 11-14-10
4th, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)* 1-5-9
11th, 470 Women – Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) * ** 16-12-5
26th, 49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)* 26-20-15
36th, 49er - Ryan Pesch (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)* 32-30-DNC
44th – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Aakhus (Corona del Mar, Calif.)** 10-12-1
29th, 49er FX- Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) ** DNF-26-OCS
11th, Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)*13-13-11
39th, Finn – Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)* 17-5-2
14th, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)* 8-9-20
86th, Laser – Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) DNC-37-37-22
5th, Nacra 17 – Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and John Casey (Longwood, Fla.) 7-DSQ-1
10th, RS:X Women – Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 10-9-9
* Denotes member of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
** Denotes member of US Sailing Development Team
Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre