by Dana Paxton
With sailors at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères into the final series to determine medal racing slots, U.S. sailors continued their charge at improving results. The characteristic, gusting wind was back in the mid-teens and two races were completed in all classes, except the 49er and 49er FX with three. Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha continued their charge in Women’s 470 and moved up into second overall, while a regatta-ending accident meant Fred Strammer and Zach Brown are out of the 49er.
49er - USA - Frederick Strammer / Zachary Brown
In the Women’s 470, which is sailing as one fleet, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) put together a solid day and moved into second overall behind Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA). They are only eight points back, from first place, with two races left before the medal series on Saturday.
With a later start, Haeger explained in her blog that watching the Men’s 470 racing was helpful:
'We noticed that the left had been working. We had good upwind speed which helped us out and we managed a good finish. The second race, we were a little late on our acceleration and had to tack right away after the start. We ended up ducking the entire fleet and we didn’t really see any good lanes going back left. We rounded the top mark in third which was extremely lucky. With a few boat-handling errors and a speed problem on the second upwind, we lost a couple boats, but caught three boats the final downwind. A lot of good lessons learned today, and we are looking forward to more breezy conditions tomorrow.'
Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) won the Women’s 470 second race and moved up into 15th place.
In the 49er FX, Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) also continued the upward momentum and are in 16th. They credit the hard work they’ve put in training before the regatta to the improvements, regardless of their race results.
'This is our second regatta in Europe,' said Lane. 'We have spent about seven days sailing between the regatta and before. The high level has pushed us. The eye on the prize is a few years away and we’re doing the right things. I feel good. We are trying to take it one part of the race (at a time), focus on start, our speed, the run, communication between us. That 7th (place) was an accomplishment for us.'
Three races were scheduled in the 49er class, but Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) had an accident in the first that dislocated Strammer’s arm forcing them to retire from competition.
Strammer explained they were halfway down the run to the finish line when the accident occurred. 'We jibed and we encountered some extreme motor boat waves, and dug the bow in and capsized,' he said. 'I was trying to climb up the boat as it was coming up on top of me and it happened. As soon as it happened, I knew. We eventually righted the boat and I scampered into the boat and Zach sailed us in and I went to the hospital.' In the process of sailing in, they finished the race in 26th. 'We are done for the event, unfortunately.' The two will pack up the boat and return to the U.S. where Strammer will have additional medical care.
Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) also credits his training to improvements in the Finn class. 'I was definitely fast upwind,' he said. 'We’ve been doing a lot of sail testing, Caleb (Paine) and I. I’m definitely not where I want to be, but on a positive note I seem to be learning a lot and seem to be improving.
Standings to date for U.S. athletes:
Overall, Class, Sailor (hometown), races scores
(At the start of the final series, sailors take their cumulative score from the qualifying series as their 'carry forward' score. It is reflected in the scoreline as the first result.)
2nd, 470 Women - Anne Haeger (East Troy, Wis.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)* 6-2-4 – gold fleet
15th, 470 Women – Sydney Bolger (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sarah Lihan (New York, N.Y.) * ** 23-14-1 – silver fleet
26th, 49er - Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.)*23-26-DNF-25 – gold fleet
30th, 49er - Ryan Pesch (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)* 15-6-14-2 – silver fleet
46th, 49er – Brad Funk (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Aakhus (Corona del Mar, Calif.)** 11-14-20-DNF – silver fleet
16th, 49er FX - Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif.) ** 18-14-13
11th, Finn – Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)* 9-20-13
38th, Finn – Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.)* 4-7-11
20th, Laser - Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)* 34-36-6 – gold fleet
63rd, Laser – Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) 11-6-15 – silver fleet
16th, RS:X Women – Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 14-16-15
* Denotes member of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
** Denotes member of US Sailing Development Team
Racing continues on Thursday, April 25 with the second of the three-day final series before the medal series on Saturday, April 27.
Sailing World Cup website