by Dana Paxton
The Medal Round racing concluded the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères with the top American performance of fourth place in the Women’s 470 class by Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha. This event was the final regatta of the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha, Women’s 470
Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) went into the medal race in seventh overall with the goal of standing on the podium. With two scores that are doubled and non-excludable to the overall points score, there was room to move up.
After a brief delay to the start of racing due to very light wind, the fleet headed out to the course under rainy skies. The first race started in light, shifty wind, which made it a challenge for the 10-boat fleet.
'We were caught on the wrong side going up the first the beat and fighting, trying to get all the points back we could,' said Haeger. 'We were forced to wrong side on first downwind and had a pretty good comeback.'
They finished the race in seventh. Next was the final race to determine medals. With the wind building to 10 knots, Haeger and Provancha determined the left side was favored for the start and set off in that direction. Their choice paid off with them rounding the first weather mark in the lead. They continued to charge around the course, slipping slightly into second at a crowded second weather mark rounding. The fleet split downwind and Haeger and Provancha extended to lead the fleet, crossing the finish line with a win.
'We are excited about the win,' said Haeger. 'It was a good way to end the regatta.'
They finished the regatta in fourth place, just three points shy of the third-place team of Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR). Winning Women’s 470 were Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA), with Camille LeCointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) in second.
The team has come a long way in a short amount of time and will go back to the U.S. before heading to the Delta Lloyd Regatta, in May. 'This early on in the quad we’re trying to get better as a team and looking at the big picture of what’s going to get us a gold in Rio,' said Provancha. 'Right now we’re making awesome improvements.'
Speaking about Haeger and Provancha’s performance this week, High Performance Director Charlie McKee said, 'Obviously they’re out of the blocks in the quad having some strong performances both in individual races. They’ve done three regattas here in Europe and they’ve done well in all three. There’s an example of a lot of hard work of training at home. They come here and are able to compete with the top people, so it’s encouraging for them and a credit to what they’ve done so far.'
Although there were fewer American sailors competing at this event, McKee explained that the outcome helps set the tone for US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at this stage in the quad. 'It was a bit of a tough week for us as a team,' he said. 'We had some moments of strong performances, but overall it was a good reminder that we’re not really on top in many classes and we have quite a lot of work to do before we can deliver consistent performances on the international stage.
'It’s good to have two regattas back-to-back in Europe and take some big picture lessons, not just from one week of sailing, but a long period of time with some training in between.
'People are ready to take those lessons and tailor their domestic training. We have to get faster and we have to get more consistent. We had a few less sailors here and a few performances that weren’t as strong as they were in Palma, but it’s really on here too. Most important is that we are driving things from these experiences that are making us better.'
Final standings for U.S. athletes:
4th, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)*
13th, 470 Women – Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) * **
15th, 49er FX - Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) **
16th, Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)*
16th, RS:X Women – Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)
22nd, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)*
26th, 49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)*
32nd, 49er - Ryan Pesch (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)*
41st, 49er – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Aakhus (Corona del Mar, Calif.)**
41st, Finn – Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)* 4-7-11-11-17-6-BFD
69th, Laser – Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) 11-6-15-42-15-BFD-15
Full results here
US Sailing Team website